4 - LessonHOne
dāà ("ti ger") . A lengthy set of practice drills that teach how to di fferentiate tones is
provided i n Appendix B.
l.3 Vrowel Length
In English, the meani ng of the word "dog" does not change if we lengthen the
pronunciation of the "o" vowel so that it sounds like "doooooog." In Tibetan, however,
the length of the v owel differentiates words just as di fferenti̅consona ntsi̅do i n English.
There are, fortu nately , only twoi̅relevant vowel l engths i n Ti beta n. relatively l ong and
relatively short. Long vowels will be noted by repeati ng the vowel. For example, i n ri̲
("hill") the vowel i s short, but i n ri̲i̲ ("to fall") it is l ong.
l. 4 ྃ་ The thi rty written letters
i̅The 30 written l etters i n the Tibetan alphabet are listed below, together with their
approxim ate pronu nciati ons and the notational sym bols Ishalli̅employ for them i n thi s
book . Two of these 30 , འ་ and ཨ་, are v owels, and the rem ai ning 28 aue consona nts. It
should be noted that many letters suchi̅as ཀ་ and ག་ differ only in the tone of the
accompanyi ng vowel---not i n the quality of the sound.
--------- flfl------ fl རྒྱfl u C རྒྱflརྒྱ uu l
l. ཀ་ gā[ similar to the "g" in gone
2. ཁ་ k āsimi lar to the "k " i n kill
3. ག་ ga̲ or k a̲ similar to the "g" i n gone or the "k " i n kill
4. ང་ ŋa̲ simil ar to the "ng" i n si ngalong
5. ཅ་ jā similartothe "j" injar
6. ཆ་ chāsimilar to the "ch" i n champ
7. ཇ་ ja̲ or cha̲ similar to either the "j" i n jar or the "Ch" i n champ
8 ཉ་ ña̲ similar to the " ny" i n canyon
9. ཏ་ dāsimilar to the "d" in dig
10. ཐ་ tāsimilar to the "t" i n tap
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lA ll letters h avi ng no written vowel are considered to pxossess aun i nherent "a" vowel.
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