Virtually Learning Tibetan

So the last few days, I’ve discovered a few cool tools/services that are being offered to help preserve the Tibetan language.

Earlier this week, I was browsing Facebook, when I saw a photo pop up on my news-feed. The photo was actually a poster for a free online Tibetan languages class being provided by Online Buddhism Class. I thought this was genius. The class was being taught by a Tibetan (at least I’m assuming through the name), it was live and interactive, and best thing is, you can attend class from the comfort of your home. I’ve spoken to other Tibetans around my age before who were interested in taking a Tibetan class to learn or improve their Tibetan, but didn’t have access to any, or if there were classes in their cities, they were aimed at young children, making it awkward for us older people to sit in a class full of 6-year olds reciting thier kha-ka-gah-ngas.

I was excited to take part in this class but realized afterwards, classes take place while I’m at work, so I can’t actually attend. Regardless, I thought I’d at least post this info out on Lhakar Diaries for anyone interested. I’ve never actually heard of Online Buddhism Class before, so I can’t vouch for the quality of their service, but I definitely think it’s worthwhile to check out if you’re free Wednesday mornings at 9amEST. Would love to hear from people who have or are taking part in this. For now, I’ll just keep an eye out for classes being offered when I’m not at work. I don’t know know why no one’s thought of this before (or maybe it’s just me who’s never heard of this before)!

Also, a couple of days ago, a friend called me asking about Tibetan fonts for the Android since he just made the switch from the iPhone to an Android. Although I’ve tried countless times, I still can’t figure out how to get full Tibetan capabilities on my Android. I’ve been able to download a Tibetan keyboard on my phone, and am able to copy and paste text from web browsers into an application that can reveal the Tibetan text, but for applications like Facebook or texting, I haven’t been able to find a way to see the text at all.

My friend’s call prompted me to search for Tibetan apps on the Google Play Store for Androids, and I found two neat new Tibetan apps. The first one is called ‘Match English Tibetan’. It’s a REALLY (read: extremely) simple app where 4 words appear on the left written in English, and four on the right in Tibetan text, and you match them up. The app isn’t too exciting or glamorous, but it’s definitely, a neat little time passer if you want to practice your Tibetan reading skills in the most simplest of forms. I’m not 100% how accurate it is since I haven’t been able to ask someone who really knows how to read Tibetan to check for accuracy and I haven’t been able to recognize some of the most simplest of words like ‘cat’, but then again, my Tibetan skills aren’t the greatest. Would also be great to hear from people who are using this app to let me know if this app is in fact accurate.

Finally, during my Tibetan app search, I came across another new app called TbTxt, which allows you to send and receive texts in Tibetan. I was really excited to see this app since although I could send txts in Tibetan with the keyboard I had downloaded, I wasn’t able to receive Tibetan text messages (little blocks would show in its place). Along with this app, I think you’d have to download a Tibetan keyboard as well. Below is a screenshot of the app:

Obviously, from this conversation you can see I really need to take that online Tibetan class.