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Barnard College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


This work documents a sample of the rich qualities of Tibetan language and discusses how Buddhism is embedded and woven throughout its character. From translation compounds revealing the deeper meaning of Lord Buddha to morpho-­‐ syntactic implications of the emptiness of the self, Tibetan offers a window into an insider’s understanding of Buddhist philosophy. With such a vibrant linguistic story, Tibetan language ought to be respected and upheld, taught and treasured. But, the Chinese occupation in Tibet has resulted in a physical and cultural degradation of Tibetan culture. One of the least tangible yet most affective oppressions has been upon the language itself. Amongst Tibetan school closures, obligatory education in Mandarin, arrests of Tibetan scholars and violent prohibition of cultural expression, China has been committing unjust violations of Tibet’s linguistic human rights. This research, based in a Tibetan exile community in Dharamsala, India, aims to defend the preservation of the Tibetan language and truthfully portray its deteriorating political status within the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China and throughout the exile diaspora.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Linguistic Anthropology | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Politics and Social Change


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