Tibetan script -101
Modern Tibetan text or script (BodYig) was developed in 7 Century by TheuMi SamBhota, a minister in King Song
Tsen Gonpo’s period. Tibetan script was based on Divangari which in turn was developed from Siddham script.
Tibetans still use Siddham script in decorating temples walls and Mani wheels.
There are 30 characters, 4 vowels, 10 numerals and few extras. Characters are of
broadly, masculine (5), feminine (19) and neuter (5) types. There are 5 prefix, 10 suffixes and 2 suffix suffixes.
3 upper stacks(RaGo, LaGo, SaGo) and 3 lower stacks(YaTak, LaTak, RaTak).
Grammar is similar to Hindi and Sanskrit but way Tibetan is written is more like a
Sanskrit, without space, except for paragraphs. Thus Tibetans scripts are difficult to read unless one is
familiar with the words in context. Word is read arbitrarily and many words have similar sounds but
Spoken language has gender specifications too- Masculine,
Feminine and Neuter. Also there are honorific and commoners language for rest of us.
They are pronounced very similar to Hindi alphabets. For example Ka, Kha, Gha and Ra, La, Sha, Sa etc.
However, numerals are pronounced similar to Japanese. For instance, Chik, Nyi, Sum etc.
There are four/five different types of, not fonts, Tibetan scripts. They are OuChen, OuMeh, Chuk,
DupTsa, PeTig and TigMaChuk. OuChen is mostly preferred in publishing materials-books,
news papers and magazines. DutTsa is for bill boards and Titles. Chuk is preferred for writing correspondence
by hand if paper and pen are used instead of computer or typewriters. In this regard, short-hand can be quite
fast but also very intimidating if not familiar with Chuk.
Difference in calligraphy among five are not
subtle. Therefore, knowing one may not be sufficient but helpful in understanding the others.
Unlike English alphabets, reading a Tibetan word or text is simple. Apply the same
sound to word as you will to a character. When vowel is added, stacked in Tibetan, word will sound bit
different but it has the combined effect. For example, Ka vowel O is Koo.
Tibetan calendar is based on Indian system of cosmology-lunar system. Full moon must fall on 15th of the month and there are exactly 30 days in a month. New Moon is first day of every month. Every thing else must cycles at 60 and 12
intervals but for seven days in a week. All seven days refers to some constellations in the sky- Sunday is Sun,
Monday is Moon; Wednesday is Mercury etc. Now and then Tibetan Calendar adds or deletes a day or a month.
Thirteen months in a year is common occurrence.
Auspicious days are 10, 15, 25 and 30 for observing good deeds.
Portent years of life are 13, 25, 37, 49, 61,73,05,97. Somehow, gravity and sunlight plays a role in our life-neurologically
speaking. Epilepsy strikes more often on new and full moon. my personal observation.
Age: Birth Day
Age is incremented with every Tibetan New Year not birthday. If you are born 2 days before a Tibetan
new year, you will be 1 year old after 3 days. Therefore, for a Tibetan birthday does not play much hype.