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Standard Tibetan Grammar Volume I, The Thirty Verses of Minister Thumi

Standard Tibetan Grammar Volume I, The Thirty Verses of Minister Thumi

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Title Standard Tibetan Grammar Volume I, The Thirty Verses of Minister Thumi
Author Tony Duff
Details 834 pages, 6" X 9" (larger book size), US$80, available in e-book (PDF) format
ISBN paper book 978-9937-572-35-4, e-book 978-9937-572-14-9
Texts Seven Tibetan texts included (see listing below)
This is the first volume of two volumes that set out Tibetan grammar in complete detail and in complete accordance with the way that Tibetans understand their own grammar. Although there are a number of books available on Tibetan grammar, all of them come from a Western approach and not one of them shows the actual meaning of Tibetan grammar as understood by Tibetans. These two volumes correct that completely. They offer commentary and background written by a Westerner who has studied Tibetan grammar in Tibetan classes in a purely Tibetan environment and couple that with authentic translations of several of the most important Tibetan grammar texts. These two volumes really do make the first standard reference on Tibetan grammar that has been published in English. Go here for a complete listing of all of our works on Tibetan grammar, which includes the two standard references just mentioned.

This first of two volumes focusses on Thumi Sambhota’s first and basic treatise that defines Tibetan grammar. The second volume focusses on Thumi Sambhota’s sixth treatise that defines Tibetan grammar. (There were eight defining treatises written by Thumi Sambhota but only the two just mentioned are still extant.)

This first volume begins with a sub-volume that provides extensive historical background, far more than seen in any other Western publication, and includes selections from various Tibetan history texts not to mention the fruits of the author’s own, considerable research during the many years that he has lived in Nepal. It continues with a major exposition of the lineages of grammar and the main texts used for the study of Tibetan grammar. Again, none of this information has been seen to date in Western publications. This prefatory volume continues with a history of the three language revisions.

The next sub-volume contains the actual explanations of Tibetan grammar. It begins with Thumi Sambhota’s first grammar treatise, The Root of Grammar in Thirty Verses. This is the first authoritative translation of the text into English. The treatise is followed by hundreds of pages of explanation that show every single nuance and detail of the text, all written by the author. This explanation includes a wealth of detail that shows how Tibetan grammar works in its own right and also shows how it can or cannot be related to English grammar. This section of the book is a treasure trove of information for any translator, covering many points of Tibetan grammar and its relationship with translation into English which are essential for any translator to know.

The sub-volume continues with a very long chapter on pronunciation. This is one subject that is still not being taught properly even in major programs around the world. The reason is simply that very few Westerners have understood all the details involved in Tibetan pronunciation. The author not only includes those details but uses extensive quotations from the Tibetan sources to show how it does work. The first translation ever of a Tibetan text on pronunciation is included in the book.

Also included is an investigation of the hottest debate in Tibetan grammar, the debate over how many vowels there are in the language. The author presents the opinions of many great Tibetan scholars of the past including Thumi Sambhota, Sakya Pandita, Situ Panchen, and others. The complete section on this issue taken from Situ’s very famous Great Commentary on grammar has been translated and included. This is not only interesting in its own right but provides a glimpse of this famous grammar text.

The book ends with a long sub-volume that explains where the nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives of English grammar can and cannot be found in Tibetan grammar. It includes chapters on punctuation and how it works and where one could find English punctuation or not within Tibetan punctuation. A long list of the many punctuation marks in the Tibetan language with explanations is also included.

The book contains translations of the following texts:
The Root of Grammar, The Thirty Verses by Thumi Sambhota
The Thirty by Yangchen Drubpay Dorje
“The Fine Explanation Great Living Tree”, The Clarifier of the Meaning of The Essence of “The Thirty” by Yangchen Drubpay Dorje
“Supreme Expert Situ’s Words”, A Thorough Explanation of the Grammar Shastras of the Language of the Snowy Land, Application of Gender Signs by Ngulchu Dharmabhadra (PART I about the Thirty Verses only)
The Essence of the Elegant “Thorough Explanation”, The Literal Aspect of the Snowy Land’s Grammar Shastras, Application of Gender Signs by Khenpo Ngedon Jamyang (PART I about the Thirty Verses only)
“A Beautiful String of Pearls to Adorn the Necks of the Wise”, A Thorough Explanation of the Specific Texts The Thirty and Application of Gender Signs of the Shas­tras that Authentically Set Forth the Signs of the Snowy Land by Situ Chokyi Jungney (Section on vowel definitions only)
A New Bud of the Story Of How The Production Places, Producers, And Efforts of Tibetan Letters Are Identified by Yangchen Drubpay Dorje (a text on the Tibetan system of pronunciation)

Download Tibetan texts in TibetD format: not yet available.

Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 2 Write a review »

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Extraordinary grammar books January 15, 2019
Reviewer: James Lewis  
This volume one and volume two of the Standard Reference Tibetan grammars are extraordinary, incredibly valuable.

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Phenomenal A++++++++ September 27, 2018
Reviewer: J. Lucas from Nepal  
This grammar book will literally blow your mind!  It's so clear and concise and the only book on Tibetan grammar you will ever need, period.  There aren't enough words to describe how good it is, just buy it and see for yourself.  You will never regret it!  Thanks again Tony!

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