developed by an experienced teacher and designed for small groups of (no more than five) dharma and Sowa Rigpa students

SRI is pleased to offer ongoing Tibetan language courses to our students and sangha.  Courses meet once weekly in 12-week trimesters. SRI trimesters begin every September,  January, and April/May.

COURSE OF STUDY: we offer a full two years of consecutive study. New students can always begin in September, but our basic course 1.1 is also frequently offered in other trimesters as well. At minimum, the absolute beginner level 1.1 is always offered in September,  1.2 in January, and 1.3 in April. Beginning the fall of 2023, we will also concurrently offer the 3-trimester second year courses, with levels  2.1, 2.2 and 2.3

If there is sufficient interest, we can offer any/all levels in any trimester.

COURSE MATERIALS: Classes are designed for live online attendance. Each 12-week course, students receive 12 hours of live online interactive small group instruction, using a powerpoint presentation.  Additional materials and interactivity are uploaded to the course platform. Beginning with level 1.2, students should be prepared to purchase their own textbook, available in eBook form for US$12 (link to purchase in course platform): 

བོད་སྐད་སྙིང་པོ། The Heart of Tibetan Language: སྲོལ་རྒྱུན་བརྡ་སྤྲོད་ཕྱོགས་བསྡུས་དང་དེང་རབས་སློབ་གཉེར་ཐབས་ལམ་ཟུང་འབྲེལ། A Synthesis of Indigenous Grammar and Contemporary Learning Methodology


COURSE REQUIREMENTS: The course is designed for live online attendance, and contemporary scientific research tells us that, as with any language learning, students should expect to spend a bare minimum of 15-20 minutes each day outside of class reviewing their materials in order to progress without confusion, and also follow the pace of the course. If you give us advance notice of an unavaoidable absence, the course can be recorded (if classmates consent) so that you can review the recording before the next class.

The cycle of classes builds progressively over two years, and students with some experience already can read the learning objectives stated for each level in order to determine the class level that best suits their current degree of proficiency.  

Classes are limited to five students per section. If during the enrollment period the sections on offer fill up, new sections may be added based on demand; if you don't see the level you need, inquire with [email protected]

Year 1: three trimesters of 12 weeks each


Trimester 1 (September start)  

1.1 On completion of this level, students shall be able to:

 - Recognize and write the Tibetan alphabet
- Use Tibetan dictionaries to widen their vocabulary
- Give an outline of the history of the alphabet
- Read and understand simple sentences in Tibetan


Trimester 2  (January start)

1.2 On completion of this level, students shall be able to:                                   

- Use the Wylie Romanization system to read and write Tibetan
- Express themselves clearly at the basic level
- Engage in conversations about various topics covered in the lessons
- Use simple grammatical structures
- Read and understand utterances and short passages


Trimester 3 (April start)

1.3 On completion of this level, students shall be able to:                             

- Express themselves clearly at the basic level
- Engage in conversations about various topics covered in the lessons
- Use and understand core grammatical concepts
-Read and understand utterances, short passages and some classical texts


Year 2: three trimesters of 12 weeks each


Trimester 1 (September start)


2.1 On completion of this level,, students shall be able to:                         

- Understand familiar topics in Tibetan spoken at a normal pace
- Converse with native speakers of Tibetan on familiar topics
- Read and write short texts on familiar topics.


Trimester 2 (January start)


2.2 On completion of this level, students shall be able to:

- Translate a wide range of texts at the intermediate level, such as classical texts and fictitious stories
- Apply appropriate English vocabularies and structures when performing translations
- Solve translation problems using dictionaries, grammar books and online resources.


Trimester 3 (April start)

2.3  On completion of the course, students shall be able to:

-analyse, interpret and debate a selection of classical works·

-discuss and problematise the Tibetan-speaking world and various aspects of it

-analyse and problematise historical, cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of these countries/regions

- demonstrate the ability to independently complete a short essay that meets basic requirements, and reflect on the writing process.

About the teacher

Swiss-born Adelaide Foster has lived, studied, worked, and became ordained living with Tibetans in India for 13 years, studying Buddhist philosophy in Tibetan in a traditional setting. She has subsequently returned to Europe and has studied linguistics and cognitive science; she is also fluent in French and English. In addition to teaching, she has also translated, including teachings given by the Dalai Lama.                                      

After you complete basic  TIbetan studies with Adelaide,  in the years to come we will also offer you other opportunities to converse and study with native Tibetan speakers from a variety of regions and walks of life, both dharma and Sowa Rigpa practitioners.