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Classical Tibetan

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Classical Tibetan refers to the language of any text written in Tibetan after the Old Tibetan period and before the modern period, but in particular refers to the language of early canonical texts translated from other languages, especially Sanskrit. The phonology implied by classical Tibetan orthography is basically identical to the phonology of Old Tibetan, but the grammar varies greatly depending on period and geographic origin of the author. Such variation is an underresearched topic.

In 816CE, during the reign of King Tride Songtsen, literary Tibetan underwent a thorough reform aimed at standardizing the language and vocabulary of the translations being made from Indian texts, and this resulted in what we now call Classical Tibetan.


Old Tibetan refers to the period of Tibetan reflected in documents from the adoption of writing by the Tibetan Empire in the mid-7th century to works of the early 11th century.

In 816CE, during the reign of King Tride Songtsen, literary Tibetan underwent a thorough reform aimed at standardizing the language and vocabulary of the translations being made from Indian texts, and this resulted in what we now call Classical Tibetan.

Old Tibetan is characterised by many features that are lost in Classical Tibetan, including my- rather than m- before the vowels -i- and -e-, the cluster sts- which simplifies to s- in Classical Tibetan, and a reverse form of the "i" vowel (gi-gu).

Standard Tibetan is the most widely spoken form of the Tibetic languages. It is based on the speech of Lhasa, an Ü-Tsang (Central Tibetan) dialect. For this reason, Standard Tibetan is often called Lhasa Tibetan. Tibetan is an official language of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The written language is based on Classical Tibetan and is highly conservative.

Like many languages, Standard Tibetan has a variety of language registers:

    Phal-skad ("demotic language"): the vernacular speech.
    Zhe-sa ("polite respectful speech"): the formal spoken style, particularly prominent in Lhasa.
    Chos-skad ("religious language"): the literary style in which the scriptures and other classical works are written.

    Central Tibetan language
    Khams Tibetan language
    Amdo Tibetan language

Source

Wikipedia:Classical Tibetan