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have been recently published in his “Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet." 1
The qualifications of the workmen are undoubted; it remains therefore to see to what extent and in what respects the present dictionary is an advance on its predecessors.
The Tibetans themselves have possessed dictionaries of their own language from very early times, from soon after the date of its first reduction to writing.
These lexicons, or lists of words, so far as any of them have been attainable, have been previously utilised by Jäschke in his Dictionary,% but they are not “dictionaries” in the accepted use of the term, as containing a complete list of the recognised words of the language, but rather lists of certain words, chiefly of Sanskrit importation, found in the early religious works, and which from the very fact of their not being generally known require explanation. Such lists are therefore of little value as regards the current language.
The earliest European Dictionary of Tibetan was compiled by the Capuchin Friars who were settled in Lhasa in the early half of the eighteenth century, two of whom, Francisco Orazio della Penna and Cassian di Macerata, sent home materials they had collected which were compiled by the Augustine Friar, Giorgi da Rimini, and published under the title of " Alphabetum Tibetanum" at Rome in 1762. The Tibetan characters for this work were drawn by Della Penna and were engraved. This also is an incomplete list of words, and many of which subsequent knowledge has shewn to be of doubtful accuracy. The next Dictionary of Tibetan was published at Serampur in 1826 at the expense of the East India Company, and Tibetan types were employed. This was edited by the Rev. John Marshman, from the notes of an unknown Italian Missionary whose manuscript came into the hands of Father Schroeter, a Missionary in Bengal, who merely transcribed the Italian into English. These manuscripts consisted of all the sentences that the unknown Italian Missionary could get transcribed by a native teacher, to which he had added extracts from the Pailma tangyig, a series of popular legends about the Tibetan saint Padma Sambhava. The proofs had to be left unrevised as there was no Tibetan scholar to revise them. Though richer in words than later dictionaries, the work cannot therefore be accepted as
1 Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet, by Sarat Chandra Das, C.I.E. Edited by the Hon'ble Mr. Rockhill, London. John Murray, 1902.
&"A Tibetan English Dictionary, with special reference to the prevailing dialects.” Prepared and pnblished at the charge of the Secretary of State for India in Council. London, 1881.
an authority on any doubtful point.”] The next Dictionary, and the first one which answers to the modern description of a dictionary, was that of Alexander Csoma de Körös, a Hungarian Missionary,8 who also published a grammar of the language at the same time. This was also published at the expense of the Indian Government. This Dictionary of Csoma de Körös is the basis on which Jäschke founded his subsequent dictionaries, and on which therefore all subsequent dictionaries may be said to have been built.
Csoma de Körös, however, adopted an alphabetical arrangement of the letters, which differed from that employed by the Tibetans themselves, and from the scientific construction of the language, and which has consequently been abandoned by Schmidt and Jäschke and subsequent writers who bave followed the natural order of the letters, namely, that adopted by the Tibetans themselves. The manner in which Csoma de Körös departed from the natural order was by arranging words commencing with a prefix or superscribed letter, according to the alphabetical order of the prefix or superscribed letter. For those not acquainted with Tibetan it is necessary to explain that there are in Tibetan five prefixes (47° 59*82) ga, da, ba, ma, a, which, though written, and in spelling treated as a separate syllable, are never pronounced, except where the word, which they commence, forms the second portion of a compound word, of which the first portion ends in a vowel, when they are sounded, by a process corresponding to the liaison in French, with the exception that it is the first letter of the following word that is sounded instead of the last letter of the preceding one, in the French liaison. As an example: :”
བཅུ་ Bchu 6 nounced chu when occurring as a single word. When the two words form a compound together it its prouounced not chu-shi “ fourteen " or shi-chu " forty,” but chubshi and shibchu. Similarly, there are three superscribed letters - 52 Ft r, l, and s, which, in Central Tibetar,
are also silent except in the case of rand Q4 l, where the word they
commence forms the second factor in a compound word, when they aro sounded; 5 with its own sound of 1 and 2 1, with the sound of n.
Thus, in case of the two words taken for an example above, Csoma
1 Prof. Terrien de Lacouperie, in the Eucyclopedia Brittanica.
% Essay towards a dictionary, Tibetan and English. Alexander Csoma de Körös, Calcutta, Baptist Missiou Press, 1834.
de Körös classifies each as beginning with ab, but the Tibetans, re
garding the prefixes and the superscribed letters as merely adjuncts, treat these words as beginning with a sh and j* ch respectively, which is the arrangement now universally followed.
Although Csoma de Körös had lived for years as a monk in a Tibetan Monastery in order to fit himself for his work, and must have acquired an intimate knowledge of the spoken language, his dictionary is confined to the literary language only, and founded on the Kangyur-and other classical books, the language of which, as will be presently noticed, bears little resemblance to the language of the present day. The reason was that he was writing for philologists, and scholars of Buddbist writings, but it is a great pity that his undoubted knowledge of the Western Dialect, at any rate, of the modern language, has thus been lost.
The next Tibetan Dictionary was published at St. Petersburg by Professor J.J. Schmidt in 1841. This was practically an adaptation of Csoma de Körös by translating it from English into German, though with the addition of a number of Mongoliaŋ words derived from three Mongolian Dictionaries; but in other respects it cannot be considered as much of an advance on Csoma's Dictionary except that, as already noticed, the words were arranged in their natural order. Professor Schmidt had also published a Tibetan Grammar in 1839. In 1858, Prof. Ph. Foucaux, who had already translated several Tibetan works, the Tibetan characters of which were litliographed, published a Tibetan Grammar in Paris. In 1881, the Rev. H. A. Jäschke's Dictionary appeared, which up to the present time has been the standard work on the Tibetan language. This work was a revised edition of a TibetanGerman Dictionary which appeared in a lithographed form between the years 1871 and 1876, and which embodied the materials which he and his colleagues in the Moravian Mission at Kyelang in British Lahoul had been engaged in collecting since 1857.
As it is, therefore, by comparison with Jäschke's Dictionary that the advance made by the Dictionary now under review must be chiefly judged, it is necessary to consider in what respect Jäschke's Dictionary was an advance on all its predecessors. In the first place it is much fuller and more copious; authorities and examples are quoted in support of the literary words; the alphabetical arrangement of the words, as already noted, is in scientific order; and most important of all, it incorporates the colloquial and business language of the present day, and also differentiates between the words and idioms in use in Central Tibet and those peculiar to, or prevalent in the Western Dialects, with which the Moravian Mission was chiefly concerned. To quote from the preface, his studies were with the object of making a translation of the Bible into Tibetan, and for this purpose to ascertain " the exact range of words in their ordinary and common usage
1 Tibetisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch. St. Petersburg, 1841. % Grammatik des Tibetischen Sprache. 8 Grammaire Thibetaine.
"' for which
he traced them through their consecutive historical applications till he “reached their last signification in their modern equivalents, as these are embodied in the provincial dialects of our own time;" and he further exemplified the usages of such words with copious illustrations and examples.
Though, as has been already said, Jäschke represents the sum total of our knowledge of the Tibetan language up to the compilation of the present Dictionary, and was the ground-work on which the compiler and revisers of the present Dictionary framed their work, there was being written at the same time another Dictionary, from an entirely independent source, which the author and revisers had not seen, and were not acquainted with. This was the Dictionary in Tibetan, Latin, and French of Father Desgodins published at Hongkong in 1899.
This Dictionary was commenced in 1852 by M. Renou, the founder of the French Tibetan Mission, on the Chinese Frontier. When Csoma de Körös' Dictionary appeared, M. Fage, one of the Mission, united in oue manuscript the words of Csoma's Dictionary, and also added the results of their own independent investigations. At the same time he altered the alphabetical arrangement of the words to that followed by the Tibetans which, as has been already alluded to, was subsequently but quite independently done by Jäschke in his Dictionary. In 1883 Father Desgodins left the Chinese Frontier of Tibet and founded the Catholic Mission at Pedong, on the borders of Sikhim, in the Kalimpong Sub-Division of Darjeeling. He then obtained a copy of Jäschke's Dictionary which had been recently published, and noted all that he found new in Jäschke on to M. Fage's Dictionary, as noted up to date by the Mission. The additional matter derived from this source is marked in the dictionary by a letter (J.), and it is interesting to note how few words or phrases bear this mark, which shews the similarity of the results obtained by two entirely independent sets of scholars working the one at the extreme Eastern and the other at the extreme Western frontiers of Tibet.
1 Dictionaire Thibetain-Latin-Français, par les Missionaires Catholiques da Thibet-Honkong-Imprimerie de la Société des Missions Etrangères. · 1899.
Although this Dictionary was published at Hongkong in 1899, copies did not reach this country till some time later. Towards the end of 1901, I had the opportunity of comparing this Dictionary of M. Desgodins with the proofs of certain portions of the Dictionary now under review, and found that it contained a certain ber of words that did not occur in the present Dictionary. I therefore suggested both to Rai Sarat Chandra Das, and to the Rev. Mr. Heyde, that it would be useful if a comparison of the two dictionaries were made, and any words found in Desgodins' Dictionary that do not occur in the present one were added as an appendix at the end, for reference; as, even if not accepted as correct, they would serve as a basis for further research and enquiry.
The compiler and reviser, however, both thought that this was not desirable. It certainly appears to be a pity that this could not have been done. Had these words been published as an appendix, stating the source from which they were taken, the compiler and revisers would have incurred no responsibility for their correctness, and those using the Dictionary would have had the opportunity of checking them by the test of usage. It is probable that so far as they are not known on this side of Tibet, they are words in use in the dialects of the Eastern provinces where, as already noted, the earlier materials for M. Fage's dictionaries were collected, and where Father Desgodins himself laboured for more than thirty years.
The consideration of this question leads to two other questions of importance, namely: (1) what authority is requisite for the acceptance of words in colloquial use; and (2) to what extent are the variations of dialect to be recognised in a Standard Tibetan Dictionary.
As regards the first of these questions it must be borne in mind that the modern and colloquial language of Tibet differs so entirely, except in the case of comparatively few words and expressions, from the classical literary language, as to constitute almost two distinct languages; and also that there is practically no Tibetan literature in the current colloquial of the day.
The authority for the meaning or usage of current words cannot therefore be based, as in other languages, on their acceptance in the writings of the country, and must be accepted on personal authority until they can be checked by other observers.
It is, in fact, the chief defect of the present Dictionary that it does not distinguish between words that are purely literary, those which while literary are at the same time also in current use, and those which are purely current and colloquial.
It is true that the author “has marked such words as he considers