The Tibetan course for beginners organized by the SSI Austria and given by Prof. Fabian Sanders mornings and afternoons for a week at Merigar West was intense and highly interesting! There were 17 participants physically present at the course as well as another 10 participants online from different nationalities with a strong majority of German speaking people and one boy of 15 fresh from classical Latin and Greek studies!
The course was challenging as we he had to dig out all our old (for me especially!) school notions of grammar, syntax and logical analysis. From sounds to very different phrase constructions and word sequences to translations (offered in English, Italian and German) of often astonishing meanings our mind had to hop, skip and jump from one semantic field to another one, from a graphic sign to an unheard sound.
The phrases used by Sanders as examples of grammatical uses were all taken from the Sutras and Dzogchen Tantras such as the Kunjed Gyalpo.
– in a Tibetan transitive sentence the main importance is given to the object because it changes its state whereas the subject of the action remains the same,
– in the description of an object there is a preference for qualities or entities that the object does not possess,
which told us a lot about the point of view of which the language is an expression!
The exercises we did with Giorgio Dallorto writing the Tibetan uchen letters after the morning sessions were a welcome rest after all the strenuous ‘galloping’ and control of our ‘wondering’ minds (to use a metaphor in the mood of the many we heard in this intensive week!).