Lesson One H
" g" sou nd whereas spok en pronunciati ons use the falli ng vowel tone, except i n disyllabic
compounds where the second syllable begi ns with a consonant.
i̅When one encounters a complex syllable the first step is to identitVwhich of the
etters is the root. Because vowels are away swritten above or below the "root" letter,
syllables with vowels are easy to decipher.
i̅In situations without written vowels, i̅identifying the root letter can be di fficult at
first and a process of elimination of options is useful. For example, if y ou encountered
the syllable ནག་ you would see that it consists of the consonant " n" and the consonant " g."
Si nce there is nowritten vowel, the i nherent "a" vowel would be i nferred. But which is
the root letter? The a nswer i s that " n" i s the root l etter and " g" is a slot4 (suffixed) letter.
The i ncorrect hypothetical alternative would have been that " g" is the root letter and "n"
i s a prefixed l etter. We k now that thi s hypxothetical alternative i s impossi ble because " n"
never occurs as a slotl letter (see section l.7.l) . On the other hand, "g" does occur as a
slot-4 consonant. The syllable is therefore pronounced na̲g.
Similarly, the syllable ངག་ must be read as ŋa̲g si nce ང་ never occurs i n the lslot ,
and ག་ can fi ll the 4 -slot.
Some combinations usi ng the letter "g" in the 4 -slot are
ནག་ na̲g or na̲à black
ལག་ la̲g or la̲à hand
ཐཁ་ tāg or tāà rope
དུག་ tu̲g or tu̲ùpoison
i̅འོག་ ɔ̲g or ɔ̲ɔ̀ i̅ under i̅ i̅
Notice thatthe last example, ɔ̲g, beginswith the letter vowel "a" (འ) . When it functions as
as the root letter and has a written vowel, the vowel i s pronou nced low tone.
l.7.2.2 The suffixedletter ང་
Thi s consonant usually adds the sou nd " ŋ" after the vowel.
རང་
སོང་ ཆང་ རིང་ ལུང་ ཡོང་ ཉུང་ མིང་
ra̲ŋ sōŋ chāŋ ri̲ŋ lu̲ŋ yo̲ŋ ñu̲ŋ mi̲ŋ
sel f went beer long handle come few name
̅ In colloquial Ti betan, however, the "n" endi ngs are sometimes pronounced as
nasalized vowels, i.e., vowels that contain an "n" sound maude simultaneously with the
vowel. For example, སང་ could also be pronounced sōn and ཡོང་, yo̲n. Reading
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