Talk:Tibetan alphabet

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a comment[edit]

I agree with Erg55 that the edits you have made on this page are good in that it provides more information about the letters in the alphabet, something that seems to have been missing. I believe the "n with a hyphen over it" can be encoded with unicode (n̄). I agree with erg55's comments about what could be explained to improve the article. Overall I think the changes are good improvements. Sj31 (talk) 03:55, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Hey Sam[edit]

Your edits look really good. It looks like you added a lot of info about the alphabet that wasn't there before. . . even if the bots didn't appreciate it. Also the way you rearranged some of the information makes more sense. The one thing I would suggest is too clarify things with the consonants and vowels. If possible you can maybe use some IPA symbols or something but just saying that they have the vowels "a, i, u, e, and o." doesn't really tell us much. All those vowels can be pronounced several different ways in english and they probably aren't the same as how they are in Tibetan. Same thing with the consonants but to a lesser extent. Also I'm very confused with what " ’ a chung " means. Also I don't know if this is possible or not but maybe you could find a way to write n with a hyphen over it instead of describing it. But very good improvements overall. Erg55 (talk) 18:55, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, the additions don't really say anything about how the letters are pronounced. There may have been a time in the past when each letter had one pronunciation, but in modern Tibetan varieties, they can have multiple pronunciations. The original pronunciations are believed to be roughly the same as the IPA sounds (i.e., [a], [e], [i], [o], [u]). a chung is the Tibetan name for the letter འ, which is written ’ in the standard Roman transliteration. This sound it silent in all (almost all?) modern Tibetan varieties, and it's unclear what sound it was intended to represent—there have been some disagreements among scholars on this point. Suggested possible values include [ɦ] and [ʔ]. The a chung is also sometimes transcribed as "v", although there is no indication that it had a sound anything like [v]. One more thing: I'm not sure what the additions means by n-with-hyphen. The standard Roman transliteration uses no diacritics. I have seen variant forms that use "ñ" instead of "ny".—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 05:05, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

question on tibetan script[edit]

isn't there the lower case letters as well. the printing tibetan script is called uchen, i forgot what the cursive or normal handwriting script is called.

here's a picture of a handwritten script: [1]

(u know its pretty hard to write uchen, its very boxy and sharp, used for printing and larger banners, but the other script is used for writing letters and notes).

i haven't been able to find a font for it.

Wow, I've never seen Tibetan in hand-writing. Thanks for the picture. And to answer your question: No, there are no lower case letters in Tibetan. As far as I know, Latin, Greek, Cyrillic and Armenian are the only alphabets with upper and lower case distinction. Oh and... please sign your comments. — N-true 01:04, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

The handwritten form of Tibetan script is called Ume (pronounced oo-mey). It has various levels of shorthand, which will greatly vary the length and appearance of the script according to the level in which it is condensed. 21:17, 4 November 2006 (GMT)

There are many different kinds of block, cursive & semi-cursive Tibetan scripts. The classification of Tibetan scripts into only Ucen (dbu-can) "headed" & Ume (dbu-med) "headless" is way too simplistic. There are more refined classifications of the various types of Tibetan script.

Chris Fynn 20:06, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

In the first row of the consonants, the Romanization n¯a is supposed to be n with a macron, but I can't find such a Unicode. If you can find it, please replace it. --Menchi 08:50 13 Jun 2003 (UTC)

After only 15 month, it's fixed. It is U+0304 (̄). It's a combining macron and you write it after the "n" and hopefully it gets rendered O.K. Works for me (W2K, Mozilla 1.7). See also Combining Diacritial Marks. -- Pjacobi 19:26, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Instead of using a combination of two graphs, it would be better to use the single Unicode letter for n+tilde: U+00F1.Jakob37 08:19, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Despite the claims of the article, it doesn't appear to be using the Wylie system. I am editing the article to bring it into conformity with the system it says it's using. --Marnen Laibow-Koser (talk) 20:05, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

An dbu-med font has been created by Xenotype for the Macintosh -- too bad their keyboard entry software is so awkward. Jakob37 13:02, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

One of the main features of Wylie's romanization system is that it uses no diacritics. So, if the romanization is in this article is following the Wylie system, there should be no need for characters like ā (a macron) - which is btw Unicode character U+0101 / ā. (talk) 14:10, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Displaying Tibetan Script[edit]

Does any body know if Tibetian script can be writen vertical and still mean the same as writen from left to right? -CVest

It took me a long time to figure out how to display Tibetan script on Wiki pages in my browser. The info page linked from the Indic script warning tag does not talk about Tibetan. After downloading several fonts, I found the best one to be one mentioned in the external links at the bottom of the article. It is open type and has a GNU license, from The Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library. Works for several systems, but I'm not sure about Mac.

Could we replace with Indic Script warning tag with something that would help users know what they need to read the script in this article, and others on Wiki with Tibetan script? Or, maybe add Tibetan to the Wikipedia:Enabling complex text support for Indic scripts page? --Dorje Shedrubn 22:15, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Works fine for Mac. Trondtr 21:17, 24 June 2006 (UTC).
Tibetan has been added to the Wikipedia:Enabling complex text support for Indic scripts page. However no info for Mac. Chris Fynn 19:52, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Can someone explain to me why the Tibetan script that appears in the article is not properly stacked (as one would expect by using a Tibetan-aware font such as Tibet Machine Uni ---- as opposed to a Tibetan-unaware font such as Arial Unicode MS), also in other articles which contain Tibetan script. Is there some way one can control this when editing text for a Wikipedia contribution? The Wiki-edit was not recognizing the OpenType info pertaining to Tibetan stacking. What to do?? p.s. My Tibetan stacks up just fine when I use it in MS Word. Jakob37 13:10, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Jakob, that sounds like a uniscribe problem associated with whatever browser you're using. I suggest you consult this webpage It usually requires you to copy the USP10.DLL file to the folder containing the browser. 03:53, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I did what it says to do on the URL you supply, but all it did was turn Firefox's Tibetan script into illegible vertical black and white stripes.....Jakob37 13:06, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't know. Have you tried IE? Also, are you sure that the font showing up is really Tibetan Machine Uni, as opposed to Arial Unicode MS? On IE that is controlled manually using "Tools:Internet Options:Font:Language Script:Tibetan." I think the default is set for Arial Unicode. 03:07, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes! I got it to work in the IE environment when I followed your instructions. --- Now I guess I have to pester Mozilla about how to do it in Firefox... .....Jakob37 14:37, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

I was having the same problem on XP using MS Internet Explorer. On this system I have installed the Jomolhari font in addition to Arial Unicode MS, and the system has usp10.dll in multiple locations. All I was geting was boxes on the Wiki pages. All other Indic and Asian languages work fine. The only language that had a problem is Tibetan. I work regularly with Indic scipts and am puzzled by how hard it has been to get Tibetan to work. On double checking the "Tools:Internet Options:Font:Language Script:Tibetan." I found that somehow after installation of the 3rd party font the font mapping for Tibetan had been defaulted to no value. Fixing that solved it. A better step-by-step guide is really needed I think. Buddhipriya 00:39, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Problem in Safari[edit]

I'm having trouble with Tibetan. The actual characters are rendered just fine, but all the diacritic marks are shifted, so that rather than being on top of the characters, they're beside them. Is there a quick way to fix this, or what's going on? Thanks for any help. -- Hidoshi 02:20, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

At least IE has an option to specify fonts specifically for Tibetan. In FireFox you need to specify a Tibetan font as the font for "Other Languages" - which is OK so long you need to use only one "Other Language" Chris Fynn (talk) 15:12, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Problem with Firefox (Windows)[edit]

There seems to be something on this page (maybe an included template?) which causes most (but not all) Tibetan characters to render as boxes in Firefox on Windows - though I have no problem viewing other pages containing Tibetan script with this browser and have proper fonts, Uniscribe, etc. installed.

No problems with IE. Chris Fynn 19:49, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Your system must lack a font containing Tibetan codes. Jakob37 08:52, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Not that. If you name a Unicode Tibetan font as the default in Firefox under Tools, Options, Content, Fonts & Colors, Advanced, Fonts for, Other Languages it works. Chris Fynn (talk) 15:06, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't on Mac. I did as you described and entered "Tibetan Machine Uni" as font for "other languages", and it still shows question marks where there should be tibetan characters. Doesn't work with Jomolhari, either. -- megA (talk) 19:34, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

requests for Tibetan script to be added to articles[edit]

Is there a place we may ask for Tibetan script to be added to particular articles? Chris 08:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

similar to the template for {{Burmese}} Chris 22:58, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I have now created one at {{Tibetan}} Chris 02:11, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
I've added a name in Tibetan script to the article Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (ཞབས་དྲུང་ངག་དབང་རྣམ་རྒྱལ།). —Preceding unsigned comment added by CFynn (talkcontribs) 15:40, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Tibetan Scouting[edit]

Can someone render "Be Prepared", the Scout Motto, into Tibetan script? Thanks! Chris 03:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Something like: གྲ་སྒྲིག་གྱིས་ Jakob37 08:56, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

OpenOffice and Tibetan[edit]

I find that OpenOffice's Writer, despite other admirable qualities vis à vis Microsoft Word, doesn't handle Tibetan script quite right. I complained to some sort of forum for OpenOffice, but the responses were few and they didn't seem to really know what they were talking about. Anybody have ideas about how to solve the problem? (which is that stacks don't quite stack right)Jakob37 09:17, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

OOorg should work fine for Tibetan on Windows XP providing you have an up to date Uniscribe [usp10.dll] installed in Windows\System32\ (or in C:\Program Files\ 2.3\program\]. Not necessary on Vista. The usp10.dll that ships with all versions of XP does not work for Tibetan.
MS Office (Microsoft Word) has its own *local* version of usp10.dll that does have support for Tibetan script. If you have MS Office then copy the usp10.dll from your MS Office installation to C:\Program Files\ 2.3\program\ folder. Otherwise you can get a copy of an up-to-date usp10.dll with Microsoft's free WordViewer program.
Then in OOorg Writer go to: "Tools" > "Options" > "Language Settings" > "Languages"
and check the box "Enabled for Complex Scripts (CTL)"
and, in the same dialog box, under "Default Language for Documents", "CTL" choose "Dzongkha" - ("Tibetan" is not yet an option).
Then go to "Tools" > "Options" > " Writer" > "Basic Fonts (CTL)" and put the Name of an OpenType Tibetan font (e.g. "Jomolhari " or "Tibetan Machine Uni") in all the boxes. [Both these fonts are freely available on the web.]
Chris Fynn (talk) 14:36, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


I have replaced the first occurrence of the "jomolhari" font with "Tibetan Machine Uni" (i.e. the word "dbu-can") and also the first occurrence of the "jomolhari" font under the rock-photo. This is to see if other users --- especially under Firefox --- will or will not see more normal Tibetan when using the more widely available Tibetan Machine Uni font. Curiously, I find that after installing the Jomolhari font, it stacks properly in the second occurrence at the top (i.e. the word "dbu-med")but in the second occurrence under the rock-photo it still does not stack properly, at least under Firefox. Feedback appreciated!Jakob37 00:53, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

It's very small, especially under the rock-photo. But it works perfectly well for me (WinXP, Firefox). — N-true 01:28, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Also works fine for me in both browsers. When specifying font name 'jomolhari' should probably be 'Jomolhari'. Also regarding text in caption under rock picture the subjoined letter "MA" in the "Padme" of "Om Mani Padme Hum " should get shifted slightly to the left when using the Jomolhari font - this is intentional in the design of that font. - Chris Fynn (talk) 14:50, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Neither Jomolhari nor Tibetan Machine Uni seem to work with Firefox on Mac. (Tried both in Preferences>Content>Fonts>Advanced>Other languages) —Preceding unsigned comment added by MegA (talkcontribs) 19:40, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Pictures of the Script?[edit]

Can someone add an image of the alphabet and its sounds for those of us whose browsers go berserk when confronted with non-standard fonts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

the gigu "verso" and special symbols[edit]

Would it be possible for anyone to add discussion of the gigu "verso" and the special religious symbols in Unicode to this article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:22, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Why font tags??? There has to be a better way.[edit]

I see several people have complained, but there seems to be an "I'm alright Jack" attitude prevailing here. If I remove the font tags I can see the Tibetan script fine. Firefox correctly chooses Arial Unicode MS to display it. Of course I don't get the proper glyph-shaping behaviour, but I doubt another font would do that for me either (WinXP).

My point is why break this article for a commonly installed font and require people to download a specific font? This is not making this information easily available.

OTOH if you are going to do this kind of thing, please do it through a script template and CSS rather than forcing one choice on everybody.

Moilleadóir 17:23, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

OK, maybe I spoke too soon. Firefox seems to have come to terms with the page now. CSS is still a better way to go though. ☸ Moilleadóir 17:43, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

A problem is that the Arial Unicode MS you get as a default does not display Tibetan properly. Sure it contains basic glyphs for the Tibetan characters in Unicode - but it lacks the OpenType tables, combining and composite glyphs neccessary to render Tibetan properly. See: Complex text layout.
In CSS better to define something like this
style=font-family: Jomolhari, Kailash, Kokonor, 'Tibetan Machine Uni', 'DDC Uchen', 'Microsoft Himalaya' ; 
These are all widely available Tibetan script fonts. Jomolhari, Tibetan Machine Uni, and DDC Uchen are OpenSource fonts which are also included in many Linux distros; Kailash and Kokonor commercial fonts which are bundled with OSX; and Microsoft Himalaya with MS Windows. Unfortuneately Microsoft Himalaya often renders at a much smaller size than the other fonts listed and this sometimes makes it illegible.
- Chris Fynn (talk) 14:21, 25 May 2013 (UTC)


Hi... There seems to be a contradiction, and i'm not sure which is right. Tibetan script mentions that the "Om mani padme hum" is written with "ན" (and it seems that's what's depicted in the photograph), but the Image:Om-mani-padme-hum-mantra.svg (and what it was based on, Image:Mani_mantra.jpg) as well as the Om mani padme hum page use "ཎ", which looks to be a mirror image. The unicode references are U+0F4E for the "left-directional" one and U+0F53 for the "right-pointing" one. Does anyone know which is correct? --Storkk (talk) 11:12, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

This may hinge on whether the syllable in question is correctly "ni" (U+0F53-based?) or "ṇi" (U+0F4E-based)... anyone? --Storkk (talk) 11:22, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
"Maṇi" definitely contains ṇ (IPA: [ ɳ ]) in Sanskrit. However, the sound ɳ does not exist in Tibetan, so they presumably pronounce it with the closest equivalent, [n]. The Tibetan script includes special characters used for writing all the sounds of Sanskrit, including ཎ, used to write ṇ. However, this means that there is a contrast between the normal Tibetan pronunciation of the word, which uses n, and the precise Sanskrit spelling, which uses ṇ. Since "oṁ maṇi padme hūṁ" is such a widely-known phrase, you might expect to see "nativised" Tibetan spellings which ignore some of the nuances of Sanskrit. However, that's the limit of my knowledge. I don't know which is used more commonly, or whether one is considered to be incorrect. The image shown is odd, since it does include other specifically Sanskrit elements, such as the long ū in hūṁ. The use of "n" might just be a error by whoever painted it on the rock.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 01:06, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
It definitely should be ཎི U+0F4E U+0F72 and is always written that way by Tibetans. However both ༀ་མ་ཎི་པདྨེ་ཧཱུྃ and ༀ་མ་ཎི་པདམེ་ཧཱུྃ are correct. The former being more usual, but the latter distinguishing the six syllables more clearly. It is also not strictly necessary to use the tsek character or dot between the syllables when writing Sanskrit mantras in Tibetan script. In fact when these mantras are placed in Buddha images and so on, then the tsek character (U+0F0B) should never be used.
- Chris Fynn (talk) 14:51, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

List Tibetan-script Unicode fonts/keyboard layouts on major platforms?[edit]

In the interest of encouraging readers to try out the script after reading about it, it might be useful to include in the article the names of fonts and keyboard layouts that render Unicode Tibetan-script correctly on the Windows, MacOS X, and Linux platforms. This would be a good source:

If I get any feedback here then I'd be willing to draft a short section.

Ste3ve H (talk) 08:51, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Help needed on wiki "Imagine Peace" page[edit]

Help is needed to edit the Tibetan entry on Imagine Peace Tower to show the proper characters in that script. Photograph of this panel is at: and the characters used should depict this exactly even if some would translate the English phrase "Imagine Peace" differently. Thanks.Irv (talk) 19:26, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I've completed this task. --Gimme danger (talk) 20:19, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Tibetan letters too small in the tables[edit]

In all but one of the tables the Tibetan letters are so small as to be difficult to read. Does anyone know how to fix this? Moonsell (talk) 11:09, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Maybe try Windows 7. Gantuya eng (talk) 11:35, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Tibetan characters became tiny on my PC last time when they installed so called Utibetan with Windows XP. Gantuya eng (talk) 11:38, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, Gantuya. I use a mac. Maybe there is a font substitution problem or something. Moonsell (talk) 22:52, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Mac is exotic for me. Gantuya eng (talk) 12:07, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Still can't see Tibetan Scripts[edit]

I installed fonts from Microsoft and then went to control panel and fonts but I still see no tibetan symbols. Rather, I see nothing when I go to the Tibetan wikipedia. Can anyone help me?

BTW I am using Safari. Can anyone tell me if it's the browser or something and if it is how can I put the Tibetan script on Safari?Kanzler31 (talk) 22:46, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Also in Firefox the vertically combined characters are simply sequenced horizontally. Also vowelisation signs are not combined with the consonant vertically in Firefox, they are shown horizontally. How to manage this problem? ༄༅།།གང་ཐུ་ཡཱ།། (talk) 09:06, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

OK FINALLY I've got the font to work. Needed to download another font for Tibetan. Now it FINALLY works. Kanzler31 (talk) 19:03, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

symbols in boxes are expressed in kokonor font[edit]

This font is no longer available and was intended only for Mac users. --NotDoingDone (talk) 18:23, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

image for the Tibetan alphabet has 'a' and 'sa' mixed up[edit]

"Tibetan script"

The glyphs for ཨ་ (a) and for ས་ (sa) are mixed up in this image. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:33, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I've also noticed this. The symbols for 'a' and 'sa' need to be swapped. Notice the discrepancy with the neighbouring description of each letter Harlandski (talk) 16:34, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Dead link in external links[edit]

It says there are too many external links, so can we just get rid of the dead one? Cathfolant 22:34, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

IPA for ཅ, ཆ, ཇ, ཞ and ཤ ?[edit]

This article gives the IPA transcriptions for these letters as: ཅ ca /tʃá/, ཆ cha /tʃʰá/, ཇ ja /tʃà/, ཞ zha /ʃà/[, ཤ sha /ʃá/. However, the linked article on Wylie transliteration gives them as: ཅ ca /tɕá/, ཆ cha /tɕʰá/, ཇ ja /dʑà/tɕʰà/, ཞ zha /ʑà/ɕà/, ཤ sha /ɕá/. I also see that the Omniglot page on Tibetan gives the latter pronunciations.

See also the Standard Tibetan article (assuming this is being used as a phonological standard), in which tʃ, tʃʰ and ʃ are absent from the table of consonants. I can only presume that the transcriptions provided in this article are in error, but should rather this be clarified by someone who is certain what the correct sounds are. Could such an editor look into this matter? (talk) 08:30, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes, you are correct there is an issue. Standard Tibetan, which is based on non-elite Lhasa speech, does not have voicing distinctions; this is a mashup of Modern Standard Tibetan and some bits of what we believe Classical Tibetan sounded like. FYI zh and sh fell together as ɕ, differentiated by tone only; voiced stops like j became part of the plain-aspirate distinction and are also distinguished only by tone from ch. Ogress smash! 09:30, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I have attempted to clarify things but I fear I did not see ཞ shown in IPA as ཞ zha /ʑà/ɕà/, only ཞ /ɕà/. Ogress smash! 09:37, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
There are two issues here: voicing vs. non-voicing and palato-alveolar vs. post-alveolar. I agree with Ogress’s comments about the voicing issue. Per Tournadre and Sangda Dorje, the originally voiced stops and affricates can be “lightly voiced”, but I don’t think anybody gives zh voicing in Ükä (I shouldn’t say “anybody”, because I really have no idea; but I’ve never heard of it). Regarding the second issue, I think the transcriptions I’ve seen almost always have palato-alveolars and, in the audio samples that Tournadre and Sangda Dorje provide, it sure sounds to my ear like palato-alveolars, similar to the palato-alveolars in Chinese (pinyin’s x, j, and q). Writing these Tibetan sounds as post-alveolars is not so much wrong as non-standard and less exact. – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 14:05, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Greg Pandatshang You may be amused to learn that what actually happens is hyper-aspiration: aspirates are like SUPER-ASPIRATED and plain stops are aspirated. It's the weirdest thing and sounds like crisp wind to me.
In conservative "monastery" dialects, there are prenasalised stops, but that's not Standard Tibetan by a far cry; they also sometimes have voicing in the "low" consonants like in Dzongkha. I think it's called "breathy voice" but I'm not positive, as I am only informally aware of Dzongkha.
Anyways, they are not identical to x, j, q but they are close, making them Voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilants and stops: tɕá, tɕʰá, tɕʰà, ɕà, ɕá. Ogress smash! 20:19, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, you seem to know of what you speak. I can only relate what I've heard from Tournadre and Sangda Dorje and a smattering of other sources. By the way, did you intend the voiced ʱ in tɕʱá and/or tɕʱà?
The pre-nasalised consonants in those accents would be འག, འཇ, &c., then? – Greg Pandatshang (talk) 03:39, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
@Greg Pandatshang: I did not intend the voiced superscript h; I legitimately misread it. Can you fix them? They are so small I apparently can't sort them properly.
Also, yes, usually འ as prefix, nasal as prefix, even rarely caused by a final nasal from a previous syllable. Ogress smash! 03:46, 28 July 2015 (UTC)