Saturday, September 09, 2006

grammar and pronunciation classes

i have been commuting to swayambhu side of kathmandu (west) from my east side boudha dwelling to attend a tibetan class with the translator tony duff, an australian who has been studying tibetan intensely for more than 30 years, who is the translator of tsoknyi rinpoche among other great lamas, and a student of the infamous chogyam trungpa rinpoche, who was based in boulder colorado and founded the naropa university there.

in our first few classes we've only laid out the proper foundations for correct pronunciation of the language, which has opened my eyes to some misconceptions that have been taught to me by western teachers, namely that there are actually no homonyms in the tibetan language (every word that is spelled differently has a distinct pronunciation, however subtle. this is lost on the vast majority of western translators/scholars as well as many tibetans. i feel like we've set the foundation for further sensitivity for my spoken tibetan, hopefully it will help me be able to hear exactly what people say and to speak more like a tibetan does.

about to eat the creole style redbeans and rice daniel and i have made for us, ian mccormick (fellow rice grad/fulbrighter nepal/buddhist philosphical studies), the housemanager ram and his wife, and zangmo, the housegirl.

daniel and i may take some buses down to chapagaon to visit the monastery i'll move into in about a week. i'd like him to see where i'm going to be located and it will be a good chance for me to drop some stuff off. the monsoon has continued strong, it rained all night last night, and manohari, the former director of the wisconsin program (who dined with daniel and i last night on durbar marg) said it should last another three weeks or so.

a lush green trip into the countryside, however wet, awaits!

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