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Dictionary of Literary Tibetan

Links to the project

The dictionary of the Tibetan written language has been published at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 2005. Its particular scientific significance is that it illustrates the development of the Tibetan vocabulary from a historical perspective.

Dictionary of Literary Tibetan

Host Academy
Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Location and federal state
Munich, Bavaria

Historical and Foreign Language Dictionaries

Project number

In this reference dictionary, original texts are systematically cited for the first time and translated into German. Representative texts from the 8th to the 19th century are evaluated for this purpose, i. e. the entire period following the introduction of Scripture in Tibet. The evaluated text corpus contains mainly ancient Tibetan inscriptions, historical documents, local historical works and biographies, fiction, religious works of Buddhism and Bon-po, scholarly treatises, as well as local lexicons.

The work is spread over several volumes and will be published in consecutive instalments. So far, 39 fascicles have been published. The idea for this dictionary goes back to the Munich-based Indologist and Tibetologist Helmut Hoffmann, who had the first excerpts of Tibetan texts produced in 1954. Since 1970, the project has been funded by the Academy Programme. The dictionary of Tibetan written language is an indispensable reference work for all those concerned with the language and culture of Tibet, as well as an important resource for neighbouring disciplines such as Indology, Sinology, Mongolian Studies, and Buddhist Studies.

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