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22feb20103Dharamshala: Tibetan Language Inheritance society observed the UNESCO International Mother Language Day in Yongling School Hall, Mcleod Ganj yesterday. A panel discussion was also organized on the topic of the preservation of the Tibetan language.

Tibetan Prime Minister Pro Samdhong Rinpoche gave a talk on the approaches of preserving Tibetan language, while Karma Monlam, Joint Secretary of the Joint Education Department, spoke of the translation of new vocabulary into Tibetan, and Master Sonam Gyaltsen of the Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies described the structure of Tibetan grammar. Over 100 people attended the discussion and were invited to raise questions regarding these topics.

Pro Samdhong Rinpoche stressed the importance of a single written language, without diminishing the variety of dialects among different regions of Tibet, "it is alright to speak with your own dialect, but it is very important to have a common written script to keep the language integrated." He commented on the strong connection between Tibetan language and Buddhism, arguing that, "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism are only able to be fully studied in the Tibetan language. This is also true of Tibetan Medical and astrological teaching, which have a great potential to serve humanity."

Concluding his speech, the Prime Minister said, "The only way to preserve Tibetan language is to learn it. If we Tibetans encourage our children to learn the Tibetan language, then it will be preserved." He also joked about the Tibetan language internationalizing, saying "the Tibetan language will not disintegrate, as it has already become an international language, but if it is not preserved, we Tibetans may have to learn it back from blonde-haired, blue-eyed foreigners, but this would be a shame on us."

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