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11436Re: [Buddhism_101] pronunciation of Tibetan terms & names & mantras on websites

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  • Jane Harper
    Oct 4, 2009
      The audio files at tibetanlanguage.org are for learning the alphabet. I
      wasn't talking about learning to translate, just to read and pronounce.

      A "native Tibetan speaker" is sort of a myth, because there's no single
      Tibetan pronounciation. There are hundreds of dialects; one of the things
      that validated the current Dalai Lama as the incarnation of the last was
      that he could speak the central Tibetan dialect even though he was born in
      far northeastern Tibet.

      I've studied 14 languages and I'm well aware of the music of which you
      speak, but I don't think it's relevant unless you're learning the spoken
      language (and modern spoken Tibetan bears the same relationship to classical
      written Tibetan as modern Hebrew does to ancient Aramaic, according to my
      Tibetan teacher).

      Of course, all this sidesteps the fact that the mantras are in Sanskrit to
      begin with, not in Tibetan, and what one hears at a dharma center is
      Sanskrit as pronounced by a Tibetan, rather like hearing a Texan trying to
      read French phonetically ...


      On 10/4/09 19:13, "ken" <gebser@...> wrote:

      > Hi, Osel,
      > Thanks for your reply. I looked around tibetanlanguage.org and didn't
      > find any audio files. I'm not really looking to learn the Tibetan
      > language anyway. I just want to hear how a few words are pronounced,
      > preferably from someone who actually speaks the language. I've studied
      > several languages and actually learned a couple and know that there's
      > some things you just can't get from a book. There's a musicality to
      > language, even when it's not sung. It's an aspect of language generally
      > overlooked by American teachers of foreign languages who seem to view
      > language as a mechanical assemblage of parts. It's probably a good part
      > of the reason why so few native-born Americans actually speak foreign
      > languages.
      > Well, not to get into a criticism of the American educational system or
      > into a theory of language, I just want to hear specific Tibetan words,
      > names and phrases as spoken by native speakers. It's hard to believe
      > that I'm the only non-Tibetan speaker who has an interest in this,
      > (though I think I've been the only one in the world on other, but much
      > more recondite issues).
      > Youtube is nice for some things. A lot of the videos there, however,
      > are quite distorted, sounding more like a machine gun from outer space
      > or an echo chamber hell than anything remotely human... great stuff for
      > sci-fi flicks though. The videos on the topics I was interested were,
      > unfortunately, all this way. And, finally, as said, a .wav file of
      > someone's voice is not difficult to produce... and I still believe that
      > people would seek it on the web. The web does offer quite a few
      > buddhist mantras for cell phone ring tones, I discovered. And I did
      > find something which purports to be an mp3 of the mantra I was looking
      > for, only to discover that the new Linux distribution I just installed
      > last week has no facility for playing mp3s!? So maybe I found what I
      > was looking for (just for myself, just for today), but I won't know
      > until after I plough through some technical swamps.
      > Addressing your first questions last, actually I go to my local sangha
      > quite often... not as often as I would prefer, but life is full of
      > necessary trivialities. This is, after all, samsara. But no, there are
      > no Tibetan speakers there in any event (what the relevant point to this
      > thread touches), and so no help on that count.
      > To that very point, however, it seems near to unjust that there are so
      > many wise, learned, talented, and compassionate Tibetans who would love
      > to come here, but thirty people across an entire city can't afford to
      > sponsor them. Samsara is really messed up, don't you think?
      > We'll be okay though.
      > On 10/04/2009 03:06 PM Jane Harper wrote:
      >> Ken: I'm presuming from your question that you do not have a teacher with
      >> whom you're in regular contact, nor do you regularly attend a Dharma center.
      >> I'm in the same boat, and had the same concern -- and found that most
      >> traditions make recordings available via their web shops, and there are lots
      >> of recordings on YouTube that contain non-initiatory material.
      >> You could also fairly easily learn to read the Tibetan for yourself, just
      >> for the sound -- check out tibetanlanguage.org.
      >> Osel
      >> On 10/4/09 13:38, "ken" <gebser@...
      >> <mailto:gebser%40mousecar.com>> wrote:
      >>> One minor but significant difficulty I often have in my practice-- and
      >>> I'd expect many others do too-- is an inability to know how to pronounce
      >>> Tibetan names and terms. I feel this inability most when learning a new
      >>> mantra, but at other times too.
      >> --
      >> No matter how much people seem to be careening off the road, they always
      >> have a good heart. The negative things that they do are due to their NOT
      >> having pure perception. (Chokyi Nyima Rimpoche)

      No matter how much people seem to be careening off the road, they always
      have a good heart. The negative things that they do are due to their NOT
      having pure perception. (Chokyi Nyima Rimpoche)
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