Twelve people attended this course of spoken Tibetan organized for the first time by the Shang Shung Foundation School for Tibetan Language and Translation and held in the Merigar West library reading room. The course, born out of the need to integrate the study of classical Tibetan, which Fabian Sanders has proposed in his seminars, with spoken language, was made possible thanks to the proposal made by Luna Lattarulo to Lobsang Zatul and Margherita Pansa’s organizational commitment.
The group was very mixed consisting of Tibetologists, advanced students and others little more than beginners, but all driven by the desire to acquire or refine, according to their level of knowledge, their ability to express themselves in such a ductile, varied, sometimes unpredictable but always fascinating language.
Lobsang Zatul, with his innate kindness, patience and ability derived from many years of experience teaching Tibetans and their children living in Switzerland, put everyone at ease. He proposed various conversation phrases then explained at length their meaning, grammatical nuances and precise pronunciation. Everyone had the opportunity to try and practice and Lobsang left a lot of room for questions to clarify doubts, correct pronunciation and, if needed, explain again what had already been learned.
Lobsang had prepared several pages of conversations useful in various circumstances, however, during the course there was not enough time to study and examine them all, another reason to continue on this journey begun with so much enthusiasm and participation. In fact, we asked Lobsang if he would be able to hold other similar courses at least three times a year in order to ensure continuity in teaching spoken Tibetan, useful to anyone who wants to go to Tibet, or deepen the meaning of Khaita Joyful Dances, or simply contribute to keeping alive this language that, as Lobsang pointed out, sometimes even Tibetans themselves can no longer write.
At the end of the course the wish to create a chat group in Tibetan to practice and experiment spontaneously arose … a great idea to continue to practice with the regular help of Lobsang. An end of course picnic at Susan and Tobia’s beautiful farm was a really happy ending for a really special course!