48 - Lesson Three

The yaks killed ti gers. (emphasis on tiger) i̅ i̅ i̅
The direct objecti̅ (the person or thing directly affected by the verbal action) is not
marked by auny gramm atical particle i n Tibetan. It can be filled by a noun (or noun
phurase) or an adjective (or adjective phurase) or both. In examples a., b., and c. a si ngle
noun ("yak" or "tiger") i̅served as the object of the verb "ki l l ed." i̅ Se
Se ntences d f. illustrate the above rules usi ng several new active verbs and
nouns ཟས་ ("ate") , ཉོས་ ("bought") , and ཤུ་ ("meat")
d. སྟག་གིས་ཤ་ཟ་ ས་པ་ར་ ད།
dāà ki shā sɛ̲ɛ̀bəreè
ti ger by meat ate past compl.
(The) ti gers ate m eat.
e. ཁོས་ ཤ་ཟ་ ས་པ་རེད།
kȫö̀shā sɛ̲ɛ̀bəreè
heby m eat ate past compl.
He ate meat. ཚེ་ ཚེ་ f.
f. འགྲོག་པས་མེ་མདའ་ཉོས་པ་རེད།
drogbɛɛ̀ me̲nda ñö̲ö̀bəreè
nomadby gun bought past compl.
(The) nomads bought guns.
3.2 Plurality andsingularity i̅ i̅ i̅ i̅ i̅
i̅In English, nounsi̅change their fo m to i ndicate plurality. Tibetan nouns do not do
this. They may connote either si ngularity or plurality dependi ng on the context, although as
as i ndicated earli er, u nm ark ed nouns nornmally convey the plural. Ultimately, plurality
and si ngularity are detemnined by semantiCContext and by one of a variety of
semantica[y puralor singuar modifiersand postpositions
3.2.lSingularity i̅ i̅ i̅ i̅ i̅ i̅ i̅
i̅Si ngularity is i ndicated by modifying nouns with a dete minative such as འདི་
(
"this") or དེ་ ("that") , or by the number "one" (གཅིག་ or ཅིག་ or ཞིག་ or ཤིག་) . i̅ i̅
i̅Nounsi̅modified by the above detern inatives will often be translated in English as
articles, but it is importa nt for the reader to rem em ber that Tibe̲tan has no articles per se.
Thus, although གཡག་འེདི་ ("thisyak") will often be translatedas "theyak, " technically it
means "thi s yak." Simi l arly, the word "one" will typically be traunslated as "a" or "an" ---
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