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Translation exercise: phrases from Jäschke

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Sunday, September 22, 2002, 14:40
As previously mentioned, I've been reading H.A. Jäschke's "Tibetan
Grammar" (1883). In the appendix are "A collection of phrases from
daily life, in the modern dialects, romanized".  Some of them are
rather strange, and I present them here both as an insight into how
the author may have envisioned his 19th century readers spending their
time in Tibet, and as a translation exercise for those whose conlangs
are more complete than mine.

(I won't include the Tibetan translations, unless anyone really wants
them - too difficult to transcribe his orthography.)

Where do you come from?

Who are you?

Whose (man, servant) are you?

What is your name?

Where is your house?

Why do you come? (What do you want?)

Why are you here?

I sit here to watch.

What is the name of this village?

Have you any errand (business)?

Not any;  I have come to no purpose.

Then go home to eat (drink) your soup.

Yes: please give me some medecine.

I am ill (I have got, am befallen with, an illness).

I feel pain.


In the stomach.

I have headache.

We should have taken a walk, but it is too hot.

Take this!

Take this with (you)!

Bring this!

How shall I do this?

You must not do it in this way.

I want some more milk.

Clean this!

Wash it with sand!

Give me some water, please!

Are (your) hands clean?

Filter the milk through the filtering cloth!

Put the little stove there!

Put the pot (_degc`i_) down on the ground!

Put the pot near the fire!

Take it off!

As soon as the sun sets, light a fire!

Go to fetch the china!

Come to take away - -.

If you wash with cold water, the china does not become clean; wash it
well with some hot (water)!

Unless all the work is done, don't go! (or) you must not go.

Shall I make the table ready?

Yes; lay (spread) the cloth!

Is there much water in the teapot, or little?

(But) a little.

Fill the teapot with water, and bring it!

The kettle leaks.

It must be soldered (fastened with pewter).

Take it to the blacksmith's.

The tumbler (glass-cup) has got a crack.

Unless I tell you, do not bring wood!

When master commands, I shall bring.

What did you say, sir (did the gentleman say)?

Don't cast it away!  Do not let it slip!

Take care!  Cautiously!

You must not press!

Put by the remainder the remainder of the rice!

There is no remainder, nothing is left.

Do not let the milk run over!

Not cutting the liver, bring it as a whole!

Peel the potatoes, and cut them in pieces!

Don't tarry much!

Come soon!

1.  Do not forget!  2.  (I) did not forget.

Can you remember it (bear it in mind)?

You must bear it in mind, (make it certain).

Go in!  Come in!

Go (or come) in, sir!

Sit down!

Please sit down, sir!

If you've found this entertaining, you may also enjoy Mark
Rosenfelder's _They Thought You'd Say This: Unlikely phrases from real
phrasebooks_, here:


Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>