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China endeavors to preserve Tibetan language

CCTV.com

08-08-2014 00:19 BJT

Tibetan language is one of the oldest languages in China. There are many historical texts written in Tibetan, second only to Chinese. And in recent years, the Tibet Autonomous Region has taken various measures to preserve its language.

This is a master class teaching Tibetan calligraphy, and many have flocked to the class on opening day. Among the students, ages range from 5 years old to people in their fifties.

"If we don't teach it to more people, it would probably disappear. My goal is to stop that from happening. It's really important to me," said Tibetan calligrapher Zhaxidunzhu.

"It's my responsibility to preserve and pass down our mother tongue. I'm going to teach Tibetan language in a primary school. So I want to increase my knowledge of the language and perfect my writing here," said a teacher.

The Tibetan language boasts a history of over 1,300 years. It has been an important tool for the ethnic group to record their civilization and communicate. There are over 1 million pages of historical texts preserved till this day, most of which are in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The government has initiated a project to sort and preserve the texts.

At the same time, the Region is increasing the digitalization of the language. After 5 years of hard work, a corpus containing 100 million letters of the language has been built at Tibet University.

"Based on the collection of this Tibetan language corpus, we developed software through which you can look up words and phrases. And more information can be added into the software. It is very helpful for language teaching and research," said Tibetan University assoc. professor Gao Jianguo.

And at schools, the government encourages bilingual education in Tibet and other ethnic regions. In the Autonomous Region, there are over 23 thousand teachers fluent both in Tibetan and Chinese. And the ancient tibetan language is gaining new life through the efforts of these people.

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