Skip Navigation




"Welcome to Tibetan at Emory", a video message by Tsepak Rigzin

Tibetan belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family of languages, a group that includes around two hundred and fifty languages spoken by about six million people in Tibet, China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan. Although some Tibetan dialects are nearly mutually incomprehensible, they share a literary language whose roots extend back to the importation of Buddhism from India to Tibet in the seventh century. According to Tibetan historical accounts, the king at the time sent a minister to India to develop a script for writing Tibetan for the purpose of translating a vast number of Indian Buddhist texts from Sanskrit. The script he developed was based on a variant of Devanagari, a Sanskrit alphabet, and has remained in use for printed tracts until the present day. Tibetans use many other scripts, however, including a cursive script for writing letters and an ornamental one exclusively for Sanskrit mantras.

Departments & Related Programs

Tibetan Studies Program in Dharamsala, India
South Asian Studies at Emory
Emory-Tibet Partnership
Drepung Loseling Institute

Jor Lok: Tibetan Spelling and Pronunciation

Audio clips and visual images illustrate Tibetan spelling and pronunciation in the traditional Jor Lok system. Use in conjunction with classroom instruction or textbook study to master the rules of Tibetan spelling, pronunciation, and orthography.

Emory Favorites

Emory Tibet Digital Library
Jor Lok podcast on iTunes U
Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
Nitartha International
Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library
Voice of Tibet
Radio Free Asia - Tibetan
The Government of Tibet in Exile
Amdo Tibetan Learning Materials (eastern Tibetan dialect)
The Tibetan Language Student
Tibetan Wheel of Samsara