Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Revolution Will Be Tweeted In Tibetan

The Tibetan language is making an unexpected comeback, growing in size, stature, usage, relevance and spread in recent years. I wrote an article in the Huffington Post about this encouraging phenomenon. Check it out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tenzin-dorjee/tibetan-language-social-media_b_1155451.html

Here is an excerpt:

One of the rare advantages of being born a refugee is that you become bilingual by default. As a Tibetan educated in India and the United States, I'm often asked to interpret for Tibetan speakers at meetings, rallies and press conferences. Yesterday, I facilitated a brainstorming session between Nathan Freitas, Tibet Action Institute's Technology Director and a pioneer in digital activism, and Kusho Monlam, a Tibetan monk and pioneer in the computerization of Tibetan language.

As the discussion turned to the technical methods and challenges of creating Tibetan keyboards on Android phones, my usefulness as an interpreter quickly diminished. Nathan doesn't speak Tibetan, and Kusho Monlam doesn't speak English. But somehow, in the universal yet mysterious language of computer programming, they understood each other perfectly. I tried to follow their conversation, not unlike a child listening to grownups talk about subprime mortgages and toxic assets...

It is said that language is a cornerstone of nationhood. The Tibetan people's collective ability to communicate ideas, share stories, conduct business, and express opinions in a unique language all our own is one of the strongest arguments for Tibetan sovereignty. After attending the conference and seeing how the Tibetan language has grown in stature, size, usage, and relevance in the last five years, I was overwhelmed with hope for the future.


Read the full post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tenzin-dorjee/tibetan-language-social-media_b_1155451.html

P.S. Here is a pamphlet SFT published last year: TEN WAYS TO PROMOTE TIBETAN: http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org/2010/11/ten-ways-to-promote-tibetan-language/.

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