Portal:Tibetan language

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Welcome to the Tibetan Department: a Tibetan language learning and language acquisition initiative at Wikiversity, part of the Centre for Foreign Language Learning and the School of Language and Literature. Given the medium, it will be primarly a dynamic resource for Teaching and Learning Online. That said, resources to print and extract will also be found. The initial syllabus will be Classical Tibetan and accordingly is a partner with Topic:Buddhist Studies. In time, other Tibetan language registers and dialects will also be included.

DISCLAIMER: The term 'foreign' is disfavoured in describing languages due to the subtle construction of an Oriental 'otherness' (refer Said) with an attribution of implied negativity. We should iterate Wikiversity with appropriate nomenclature and/or locate a forum to capture this proposed iteration for deliberation by our peers and implementation and repair by our Community.

IMPORTANT: all Internet browsers are not created equal. There are many factors which may impact upon your enjoyment of these resources, particularly the facility to discern the Tibetan script in this learning initiative. It is first recommended that you try multiple browsers, ensuring that Tibetan Unicode True Type Fonts are installed on your terminal. Oprah 9.64 for Ubuntu/Linux reveals the text whereas Mozilla Firefox 'Shiretoko' 3.5 for Ubuntu/Linux as yet, due to a bug, does not. With fortitude and perseverance the challenge(s) will met and the issues, resolved.

Learning Tibetan: an introduction[edit | edit source]

We will create and trailblaze a 'Tibetan language' (Tibetan: བོད་སྐད།;Wylie: bod skad) learning curriculum with individual lesson plans collaboratively within this article and its associated pages. We will document our learnings, successes and challenges on our weblogs which will also be housed within Wikiversity so that we create a tool and resources that aggregate our learning and reflections, information and data that others may refine and draw learnings from in our wake. This endeavour is a study in skillful means and efficient sustainable learning and reflexive language education. The presumption of this course is that most people will be learning Tibetan to either access Tibetan Buddhist and/or Bonpo texts and hopefully contribute to their translation in whatever capacity and/or are travelling within a particular Tibetan dialect speech community. If the reason is something other than these or aspirations of being a polyglot, let us know! Therefore the language acquision variety will be focused on the Classical Tibetan of Tibetan Buddhism though contemporary spoken Tibetan will also be foregrounded, which of the principal spoken dialects is yet to be determined. I hope they will all be preserved.

This learning initiative is fundamentally political. Tournadre, who has instituted a transcription system of the Tibetan, frames the situation in French, subsequently rendered into English by Brown. Read the following:

Inspiration[edit | edit source]

Tucci taught himself Sanskrit whilst still a minor. Mezzofanti learnt thirty-eight languages fluently without ever leaving Italy. Though the neuroplasticity and learning ability of children is of a much greater propensity as documented by such as Pinker (1994): as adults and mature-age students, if we apprise ourselves of lifelong learning tools and techniques to maximize memory and learning potential we will succeed in our language acquisition and quickly.

Kent Sandvik who is a major mentor for this first stage of our endeavor and hopefully may be brought in as a development partner in future, generously provides the following wisdom and implies that language learning is situation-specific and ease of language acquisition:

"...depends per individual. However, the rule to learn a language, or a craft, or playing the guitar, or painting, is to spend 10-20 minutes every day or more on it. This is far better than a huge vacation effort that is then forgotten later. This constant pattern recognition will create the needed causes for you to learn it. This, and especially helping someone else out with teaching them a language, a craft, and so on."

Sapiential circle[edit | edit source]

Jim Carrol (2005: p.24) quotes the term 'sapiental circle' and gives credit to Margaret Mead as the point of origin:

"The phrase "sapiential circles" comes from the observations by anthropologist Margaret Mead about how groups generate knowledge within their community; the larger the group, the more knowledge is exchanged."[1]

Bennis outlines in the introduction to Bennis & Biederman (1998) about how the book came to be:

"This book was born forty years ago, in a conversation with Margaret Mead. Mead was already world renowned, as famous for her social activism as for her cultural anthropology. I was a newly minted assistant professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One snowy night in Cambridge, I went to hear Mead lecture at Harvard. Afterward, I introduced myself, and we talked. I had become interested in extraordinary collaborations, the process whereby Great Groups are able to accomplish so much more than talented people working alone. I told Mead that I was interested in writing a book on how networks of gifted people have changed the world.

"That's a wonderful idea," Mead said, "especially since it's never been done before. You should call it Sapiential Circles."[2]

The concept and term "sapiential circle" was further refined by Houston (in either 1982, 1987 or 1996). That was where I first encountered the term. Mead was a mentor of Houston.

This learning initiative is a sapiential circle embedded within the Internet which is also a sapiential circle. Wikiversity and Wikipedia and other such projects are interpenetrating sapiential circles. A sapiential circle is a learning community engaged in the teaching, learning and the continuity of teachings and learnings. Every sapiential circle will have specifics skills inherent embedded in the experience of constituents and these may be discoverable either through working together naturally or through a possible skills audit of the specific group, for example.[3] This may or may not be perceived as invasive and is only a suggestion. Learning that is of value is not just that which develops our bright side, but also our murk side. The bright side is things we are naturally gifted in and find easy and the murk side are areas in our life experience where learnings and activity are particularly challenging.

With the modern resource of the Internet, creativity and dedication we may learn and teach many things. Now the following sounds like a lot of work but if we work together and train and entrain our efficiency it isn't and will not be. Therefore, communication is imperative. This is why we must all employ our weblogs. Reflective learning is key. In this way within this medium the weblog forum is a tool for both communicating with ourselves and others as well as providing fertile information for others. Please contemplate what tools you feel we may need for this journey and recommend them in order to keep each other informed and apprised in our endeavour. There are innumerable resources out there and available on the Internet. Do not assume anybody else is aware of what you are aware of: COMMUNICATE. This endeavour is a study in skillful means and efficient sustainable learning.

The model of 'Sapiential Circle' envisioned here is a form of sustainable learning community, a community that teaches as they learn or by learning, teaches.

First things first we need to establish learning objectives and source Tibetan language learning resources online and document them and discuss them ranking them as whether they are of benefit now or in the future and learn the script and associate the phonemes.

Mentors and modalities[edit | edit source]

Within this vast whorling World there must be one accomplished Tibetan/English teacher who will tender their work and time pro bono and be happy to be a Wikiversity Mentor for this learning initiative. Even more so when they realize that it will be recorded and will teach innumerable students in the future. We may capture their mentoring or even full Lesson Plans of both the teaching and the learning aspects via such technologies as Skype with an audo-visual recording plugin for example and WizIQ for example. Wikimedia will host this uploaded audiovisual content which may be placed in Wikiversity or Wikisource or there may be a more approprate location. It would be appreciated if someone would investigate and report back.

Though there are excellent resources and tutorials in Wikiversity another wiki community to be aware of is WikiEducator. WikiEducator is a powerful community of mentors that will assist in providing support and linkages for this learning initiative on Wikiversity. Have a look at the WikiEducator Website.

Another powerful free online resource is WizIQ. On this platform we may: 1) Enjoy teaching and learning in live classes. 2) Connect with other members interested in the same subject across the world. 3) Develop subject expertise by attending public classes given by experts on a variety of topics. Now this functionality does away with the need for Skype and a recording application and it seems that multiple individuals may be linked real-time with a teacher/mentor and that proceedings may be recorded. Though it may be that recorded classes will have to be viewed through WizIQ and I would like the recordings to be housed for posterity in the Wikimedia family. Though this may still be a valuable learning/teaching and recording tool. If the proceedings are recorded in WizIQ then investigation is required to ensure that the information will be available free and accessible in the future.

Another powerful free resource is iTalki.com:

italki.com is a free language learning website where you can find everything you need to learn a language online. italki applies Web 2.0 concepts, such as social networking, user-generated content, and crowdsourcing, to language learning. italki is home to a global community of language learners representing over 90 languages worldwide. This website is one of the first social networks focused on learning foreign languages and continues to be an innovator in this space with features such as multimedia chat, socially-driven questions and answers, open-source file sharing, and collaborative knowledge-based wikis.

italki believes that being able to communicate in a foreign language is an increasingly critical skill, and that the internet is radically changing how a language can be learned. While globalization is making foreign language skills a necessity, technology and italki are making acquiring them easier. With italki, anyone, anywhere in the world can learn a language for free.[4]

The Kaltura audiovisual enhancement/extension of Wikimedia should have interesting benefit for our learning initiative. READ THIS.

Podcast in Wikimedia in our weblogs[edit | edit source]

We may also wish to integrate podcasts with our Weblogs. Audacity is a great say to record. It is very easy to have a podcast tied to a weblog in Wikimedia. For example WikiVoices do this currently. Refer: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2009/07/5-resources-for-creating-and-hosting.html

This is a good resource for turning Skype dialogues into audio blogs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NotTheWikipediaWeekly/Helpful_Hints#Podcast_hints_.28see_also_how_to_host_a_conference.29

Audacity converts .mp3 and some other file extension into .ogg format. To enable Audacity to write mp3 files, the "LAME dll" has to be downloeaded and pluged-in to the Audacity software. Commons has a 20 megabyte limit for uploaded files, take note if uploading ogg files to Commons.

Wikimedia Commons[edit | edit source]

Commons is targeted at educational media files including photographs, diagrams, animations, music, spoken text and video clips. The expression "educational” is to be understood according to its broad meaning of “providing knowledge; instructional or informative”. All these varieties of media may be brought to full use in this learning initiative to ensure a richness of materials to suite different temperaments, interests and learning styles.

Commons:Commons:Project scope/Allowable file types

{{Commons:Commons:Project scope/Allowable file types}}

Textbooks[edit | edit source]

Learning Tibetan for Beginners (PDF)
A Textbook of Classical Tibetan
Research on Tibetan Languages: A Bibliography

Lesson Plans[edit | edit source]

We need to establish contained lesson plans which associate readings/theoretical learnings and activities, tasks and practical skill development. We also need to discern learning objectives and outcomes for each lesson plan and these will feed into the overall Level 1 learning objectives and outcomes. Please refer herein for an example of a Lesson Plan exercise entitled 'Sanskrit first lesson exercises with use of colour.pdf' for a Sanskrit learning course that uses colour. Colour is very important for memory encoding and ease of conceptual association. (NB: I may initiate a similar giddy up to this Tibetan Wiktionary language learning for the Sanskrit. Setting up the bones so someone else may add the water and stir.)

Here are some I created earlier *waves hand with a flourish* (none of these are set in stone and they are all malleable, it was just to convey a rudimentary structure):

Registration and introductions[edit | edit source]

This section and activities is all about letting learning initiative members, project drivers and Wikiversity custodians know that you are interested in a learning initiative. A meet and greet is a time-honoured way to establish a sense of emergent community and common objectives. Registration and introductions

Lesson One[edit | edit source]

Lesson Two[edit | edit source]

Lesson Two & a Half *heheheheheh*[edit | edit source]

Lesson Three[edit | edit source]

Lesson Four[edit | edit source]

(Five of us have registered interest so far. When the first four lessons have been completed and edited by all registered team members we will collaboratively start mapping and engaging the course proper. By then we will be working as a team as well. Should we have an exercise or lesson on team building within electronic forums?)

Lesson Five[edit | edit source]

Lesson Six[edit | edit source]

Lesson Seven[edit | edit source]

Lesson Eight[edit | edit source]

Lesson Nine[edit | edit source]

Once all the lesson plans have been set there will need to be a tweaking and a re-ordering and a re-numbering. There must be a more appropriate way to codify Lesson Plans and to re-categorize. Ideas? There may be information on this topic within Wikiversity, please someone report back via including the information in their Wikiversity Weblog.

Lesson Ten[edit | edit source]

Lesson Eleven[edit | edit source]

Lesson Twelve[edit | edit source]

Lesson Thirteen[edit | edit source]

Lesson Fourteen[edit | edit source]

Lesson Fifteen[edit | edit source]

Structure[edit | edit source]

This point of entry to the project has pretty much progressed organically and is in effect a brainstorm. We need to discuss and act on establishing a coherent structure to our learning initiative. It can evolve and change as we evolve and change. So if u feel u have a calling for organisation, jump right in and be bold and start to organize. Lets collaborate so it is efficient and intuitive and a powerful tool. Do we want to look at how other language learning material is set up on Wikiversity or do we just want to fly by the seat of our pants?

Category pages appear to be coded to categorize items alphabetically. For Lesson Plan category pages this is not the most appropriate way to list. Please may someone inestigate if there is a way of hacking or tweaking the code or creating a new protocol or even seeing if there is a more appropriate Wikimedia Template than Category Pages.

Team members[edit | edit source]

Inaugural Team: July 2009[edit | edit source]

Free Tibetan Language learning by Teleconference[edit | edit source]

  • INTRODUCTION TO TIBETAN: A ONE-HOUR GROUP CLASS BY TELEPHONE CONFERENCE CALL This gentleman, David Curtis, is offering a Free Introduction via Teleconference online. I don't know if it will continue to be free but we should approach him and find out if he is will to have his teleconference recorded and upload on Wikiversity. We need to establish contact wit him and outline the nature of our learning initiative.

Tibetan texts online[edit | edit source]

To amass a cache of Tibetan language text online, please note here being as descriptive as possible as to the title, source, nature of work, script, file format, etc. Remember that Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons may hold Tibetan and Sanskrit works and any pictures or sound files or audiovidual files as it already does.

Digitizing projects of Classical Tibetan texts include:

The Tibetan Collection at the University of Virginia[edit | edit source]

The Tibetan Collection at the University of Virginia is one of the most complete Tibetan literary collections in the World. The core of the research collection comprises circa 3,000 pecha volumes holding in sum 8,000 specific textual titles. The greater number of these pecha titles and other texts are accessible in VIRGO, the University of Virginia's online catalog system. Importantly, the full suite of these materials may be circulated to Tibetan scholars for their research. (For a tidy fee of course.)

The Tibetan materials are broad including Tibetan literature, Tibetan religion (mostly Buddhism), Tibetan language, Sanskrit language and traditional writings on Tibetan Buddhist art and iconography.

In order to access the resources of VIRGO, follow this metatext: VIRGO linkage and depending on your browser, scroll downwards to the second type of searching parameter,eg. 'keywords', where a limit may be applied to the search and select 'Language' and 'Tibetan'.



Initiatives to be harvested, prioritized, actioned & wishlist![edit | edit source]

Tibetan Language learning project: developmental initiatives

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Carrol, Jim (2005). What I Learned from Frogs in Texas. Source: [1] (accessed: July 9, 2009
  2. Bennis, Warren & Biederman, Patricia Ward (1998). Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration. Basic Books. Source: [2] (accessed: July 9, 2009)
  3. For an example of a skills audit please refer: Loki´s Media Blog.
  4. Source: http://www.italki.com/static/about.htm

Resources[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Subject classification: this is a religious resource.
Completion status: this resource is a stub, which means that pretty much nothing has been done yet.