New Tibetan dictionary terms reflect region's progress

Updated: 2016-01-28 12:06


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LHASA - Political buzzwords being added to a new Mandarin-Tibetan dictionary reflect positive progress in Tibetan society, according to the official linguists advising the publishers.

On Wednesday, the Tibetan Language Advisory Committee (TLAC) in the rapidly developing Chinese region released a list of nearly 900 new words and phrases.

Translated into English, the list includes "precision in poverty relief" as well as more esoteric entries. "Maker" refers to tech entrepreneurs, a new breed across China, while "Internet plus" is the campaign to strengthen Internet infrastructure and get traditional industries working online. "Three stricts and three earnests" is a political phrase urging officials to be disciplined in six aspects of their work and life.

"With the fast development of society, many words have been coined to meet people's need to talk about novel things," said Yeshe Sangpom, an official with TLAC.

"The new words are an indicator of Tibet's modernization in politics, the economy, culture and education," said Yeshe Sangpom. "They show the vitality of the Tibetan language."

Featuring 8,000 new entries added since the last edition in 1985, the dictionary is being published in 30 volumes by Minzhu Press in consultation with the TLAC. Three volumes have already been released of a work that will be three times as thick as the 1985 version.

Degyi Yangzom, a dissertation student at Tibet University is relieved. "I used these buzzwords in my paper, but I didn't know how to translate them properly," she said. "Now we have a standard translation, I feel safer using them."

Tibetan is one of the most ancient languages in China, dating back to the seventh century. It is used by about 8 million people in Tibet and the neighboring countries of India, Nepal and Bhutan.

According to renowned Tibetan translator Wangchug, the top three buzzwords in the years around Tibet's emancipation in 1959 were "slave," "landlord" and "class enemies."

How times have changed. It's easy to see why the Internet, technology and official discipline are being much discussed by Tibetans.

About 2.17 million households in Tibet have access to the Internet, and nearly 85 percent of Tibetan transactions via payment platform Alipay came via mobile devices last year.

Tibet has also been very involved in China's campaign against corruption, with the former Party chief of the Qinghai-Tibet railway company under investigation for graft.