July 08, 2014


It just occurs to me that according to the Wylie system, we cannot distinguish between (a) sho (as in bka’ shog) anda sho as in rdzogs sho ||. So sho and s.ho (as in gyu and g.yu)? A food for thought!


  1. Dear D,
    But I think you just fixed that small deficiency by putting that dot in there, didn't you? I know that's how I handle it, too.
    But as someone likes to remind me, now that Tibetan is in unicode there is really no good reason to torture anyone with Wylie ever again. Just type it all in Tibetan ཡི་གེ་ (or in phonetic representation when that's more appropriate) and forget about it. I hope that somebody at Virginia or somewhere has developed a foolproof way to make "standard" (I'm sure you won't like me to use that term) and easily pronounceable phoneticizations of Tibetan using a digital tool of some kind. That would not only be very cool, but would make life so much easier for the Tibet-connected world, for publishing and so on. Wylie has served its purpose in the past, but it's no longer relevant (that goes for all transliteration systems for representing Tibetan letters). Why don't we just agree to toss it in the ditch?
    Yours, D

  2. Dots are what seem to be in common use, but you can find hyphens and (as recommended by Balk at the Berlin library) apostrophes, both for s with subscript h and for g.y as in 'yak'.

    What would be a phoneticization of Tibetan? A phonetic transcription? There is one (based on earlier Tournadre) at THL (they even supply an online tool to 'phoneticize' input in Tibetan script or Wylie), there's Tibetan pinyin, both based on modern Central Tibetan pronunciation. Then there's this one by Gillaume Jacques, intended for diachronic work involving Old Tibetan.

  3. Thanks for the comments and insights!

  4. If you're talking about སྷོ, the way to input it in EWTS is "s+ho", it works on http://www.thlib.org/reference/transliteration/wyconverter.php and it seems pretty clear on http://www.thlib.org/reference/transliteration/#!essay=/thl/ewts/4/ (although I agree the examples they take are too specific)