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A Textbook in Classical Tibetan




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ISBN 9781032123561
March 1, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
288 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

 
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Book Description

A Textbook in Classical Tibetan is the first comprehensive course book in the Classical Tibetan language written in English. The textbook describes the grammar of pre-16th century Classical Tibetan works for beginners and students of intermediate level. It is intended to cover the most essential topics that can be mastered within two semesters of an academic class. Classical Tibetan is a written Middle Tibetan language that has been in use in Tibet from the 9th century. Until the early 20th century it served all purposes, from administrative, to medical, to religious. Nowadays Classical Tibetan remains an important part of religious identity and services for communities also outside of cultural Tibet, foremost in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, but also elsewhere, most importantly in Europe, Northern America, and Australia.

The main body of the textbook consists of an introduction to the Tibetan script, eighteen lessons, and a reading section. Each lesson elucidates several grammatical topics which are followed by an exercise and a word list. The chapter Readings contains four supplementary readings. In addition to the main parts of the textbook, a brief introduction to Tibetic languages provides linguistic context for the language taught in the textbook whereas the chapter Translations of Exercises and Readings contains translations and explanatory notes to the exercises provided at the end of each lesson, as well as to the readings.

A Textbook in Classical Tibetan is essential reading for both undergraduate and graduate students without any knowledge of Classical Tibetan, but also those who would like to deepen their experience of the language by reading annotated excerpts from well-known pieces of Tibetan literature.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Structure of the textbook

Language history

Tibetic languages and their genetic affiliation

Geographic distribution of Tibetic languages

Characterisation of Tibetic languages

Tibetic languages in diachrony

Written vs spoken Tibetic languages

Classical Tibetan

Tibetan script

History

The script

Syllable

Numbers

Punctuation marks

Word order in dictionaries

Tibetan transliteration of Indian scripts

Lesson 1

Word

Tibetan as an agglutinative language

Particles. An overview

Noun

Adjective

Demonstrative

Indefinite particle

Noun phrase

Grammatical case

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 2

Word order in a clause

Absolutive

Copula ཡིན་ and its negation མིན་

Number

Personal pronouns

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 3

Locative

Dative

Copula ཡོད་ and its negation མེད་

Genitive

Possessive pronouns

Final particle འོ་

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 4

Tibetan verbs. An overview

Intransitive verbs

Terminative case

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 5

Transitive verbs

Tibetan as an ergative language

Ergative

Comitative

Translation of clauses

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 6

Elative

Delative

Negation

Imperative

Prohibitive

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 7

Nominal particles

པ་ ~ བ་ particle

པ་ particle

པོ་ ~ བོ་ particle

པོ་ particle

མ་ particle

མོ་ particle

ཀ་ ~ ཁ་ ~ ག་ particle

ཀོ་ particle

General remarks

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 8

Converbs

Coordinative particle

Non-controllable transitive verbs

Speech register

Adverbs

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 9

Gerundial particle

Focus particle

Diminutive particle

Apposition

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 10

Concessive particle

Postpositions and postpositional phrases

Possessive particle ཅན་

Adjectives ལྡན་ and བཅས་

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 11

Questions

Nominalisation

Relative clauses

Exercise

Word list

Lesson 12

Case converbs

Verb + case particle

Verb + པ་/ བ་ + case particle

Reading

Lesson 13

Direct speech

Indirect speech

Interjections

Compounds

Modal verbs

Causative verb འཇུག་

Reading

Lesson 14

Passive

Possessive attributes

Complex attributes

Ellipsis

Omission of coreferential arguments

Impersonal clause

Other pronouns

Reading

Lesson 15

Morphology of transitive and intransitive verbs

Other converbial particles

Light verbs

Incorporation

Idioms

Measure words

Comparative and superlative

Double case particles

Ergative in quotations

Reading

Lesson 16

Auxiliary particle ཀྱིན་

Analytical verb constructions

Concessive auxiliary རུང་

Purposive particle རྒྱུ་

Reading

Lesson 17

Clause chaining

Determiners

Reduplication

Numerals

Reading

Lesson 18

Impact of Sanskrit on Classical Tibetan

Metrics

Reading

Readings

Reading I: Householder Dbyig-pa-čan

Reading II: The descent of Tibetan people from a monkey and a rock-ogress

Reading III: The death of Mi-la Ras-pa’s father

Reading IV: A Treasury of Aphoristic Jewels

Translations of exercises and readings

Exercises

Readings

Linguistic glossary

Appendices

Appendix A: Writing instructions

Appendix B: Transliteration systems. A comparative table

Appendix C: Combinations of sub-, pre-, and superscripts with base letters

Appendix D: Particles

Appendix E: Semantics of converbial particles

Appendix F: Analytical verb constructions

Appendix G: Syntactic structures

Glossary

Symbols and Abbreviations

Sigla

References

Subject index

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Author(s)

Biography

Joanna Bialek is a research associate in the Department of Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Germany.