|Discourse of Duobujie, Professor of Tibet University|
In old Tibet, it was the privilege of a few nobles and priests to learn Tibetan language, a large number serfs and slaves, who numbered more than 95% of the total population of Tibet, had no rights to learn Tibetan language at all. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the state pays much attention to the learning and spread of Tibetan language. The Constitution and the Law on Regional Autonomy of Minority Ethnic Groups clearly stipulate to guarantee the right of minorities to use and develop the languages and scripts of their ethnic groups. At present, Tibetan language has been learned, used and developed widely in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Tibetan and Chinese languages are taught simultaneously at prime schools in rural areas and those in some cities and towns, and the major courses are taught in Tibetan language. In middle schools, Tibetan and Chinese languages are simultaneously used in school teaching; and Tibetan middle schools in the inland offer Tibetan language courses persistently. In examinations for the enrollment into universities and middle vocational schools, Tibetan language is listed as an exam subject, with its scores included into the total ones. All the resolutions and statutes passed by the Tibetan People’s Conferences of Representatives at levels and the formal documents and public notices issued by the Tibetan governments at levels make use of both Tibetan and Chinese languages. At present, 14 kinds of magazines and 10 kinds of newspapers, all in Tibetan language, are issued in Tibet.
In the following, I will take Tibet University as an example to introduce the protection and development of Tibetan language in Tibet.
As a base to train senior talents of Tibetan language, Tibet University has laid much emphasis on the building of its Tibetan language subject and strengthened the training of talents of Tibetan language and the research of Tibetanology since its founding in 1985. And it has made outstanding achievements in faculty development, talent training, course arrangement, textbook compilation and scientific research.
1. Faculty Development in the Subject of Tibetan Language
Since the founding of Tibet University in 1985, the subject of Tibetan language has developed a faculty consisting of aged, mid-aged and young teachers, with a reasonable structure in the sense of knowledge, posts, degrees and disciplines. Now it has one national famous teacher and two experts honored with special governmental allowances. In 2007, the faculty at the subject of Tibetan language was approved to be a teaching team at a national level by the Ministry of Education, ranking among the 100 national level faculties in the country.
2. The Training of Professional Talents in Tibetan Language
Now the subject of Tibetan language of Tibet University has more than 1,500 undergraduates respectively for bachelor degrees and vocational junior college certificates, and 214 postgraduates. This subject has trained more than 10,000 students respectively with research and teaching talents at different levels, including undergraduates, postgraduates and students from foreign countries, and most of them have become elites in different fields in Tibet. According to a survey of graduates, the students trained for a pedagogical purpose in the subject of Tibetan language of the Tibet University amount more than 90% of Tibetan language teachers in the whole region, and they have become the hardcore for the basic teaching of Tibetan language in Tibet.
Tibet University has also accepted students sent by European and American universities for long.
3. The Curriculum of the Subject of Tibetan Language Has Been Systematized.
After the efforts over 20 years, the subject of Tibetan language of Tibet University has set up 53 subject-related courses in sequence, including the Modern Tibetan Language, the Basic Writing Skills in Tibetan Language, the Traditional Tibetan Poetics, the Tibetan Literature Introduction, the History of Tibetan Literature, the Tibetan Literature of the Ancient Times, the Modern Tibetan Literature, the Tibetan Folk Literature, the Outline of Tibetan Buddhism, the Tibetan Logic, and the Translation between Tibetan and Chinese Languages. Through these courses, it has presented systematic learning to students. In 2006, the two courses Traditional Tibetan Poetics and Tibetan Literature Introduction were appraised to be quintessence courses in Tibet. Compared with other colleges of nationalities in China, the subject of Tibetan language of Tibet University has formed a relatively complete curriculum system.
4. The Subject of Tibetan Language Has Gained Great Achievements in Its Work on Textbooks
So far, the Tibetan Language Department of Tibetan University has compiled, written and published in sequence 50 subject-related textbooks in according to modern compiling and writing styles, including the Tibetan Literature Introduction, the Traditional Tibetan Poetics, the Pedagogies for the Tibetan Textbooks in Middle School, the History of Tibetan Folk Culture, the Outline of Tibetan Religion Research, the Tibetan and Chinese Linguistics, the ABCs to Tibetan Language, the ABCs to Sanskrit, the Grammar of Tibetan Language, the Speaking Tibetan Language, and the Tibetan Language for College Students. At the same time, it has also compiled and written the Common Tibetan Language in volumes for Tibetan University and the textbooks for foreign students in the university. In addition, there are more than 10 books to be published, including the Translation between Tibetan and Chinese Languages, the Lexicology of Tibetan Language, the Analysis and Appreciation of Masterpieces of Tibetan Literature, the Practice of Tibetan-Chinese Translation, the Practice of Chinese-Tibetan Translation, the Basic Textbook of Logic, and the Outline of Buddhism.
5. The Development and Application of Tibetan Language Information Technology Are Boosted with the Subject of Tibetan Language as a Base
In the face of today’s rapid IT development, Tibet University depend on the subject of Tibetan language, speeding up its information construction of Tibetan language by energetically developing and spreading software in Tibetan language. The work on information-based Tibetan language has been greatly supported all the times by related national departments and agencies; Tibet University has received in sequence nearly 12 million RMB project funds. It has compiled and written the Multimedia Electronic Dictionary for the Online Translation of Chinese and Tibetan Languages, the Standardization of Information-based Tibetan Language, the Research and Actualization of Recognizing Technology for Tibetan Scripts, the International and National Standards for the Coding Character Set of Tibetan Language, the Multi-platform Tibetan Language Inputting, the Research of Coding Methods for the Computer Keyboard and Input of Tibetan Language, and the Coding Character Set of Tibetan Language for Information Exchanges. With all the above-mentioned efforts, the Tibetan scripts have become the first kind of minority scripts with an international standard in China. In addition, the “Tibetan Language Electronic Handset/Airless Communicating System” co-developed by the University has filled up the blank of handset information electronic facilities in Tibetan language. It is the first time of information transmission in Tibetan language on an airless communication system, a new breakthrough of information technology in Tibetan language.
6. The Tibetan Language Are Opened to the Outside World
For years, Tibet University has received experts and scholars in Tibetan language from over 20 countries and regions, including Europe, America, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In doing so, it has performed a series of efficient academic exchanges and cooperation, boosting mutual understanding and friendship between each other. Since the 1980s, Tibet University has sent experts and scholars for many times to join the international academic exchanges of Tibetan language and other Tibetanological meetings, and performed diversified academic exchange activities. These efforts have played an active role in improving the research of Tibetan language.