About THL > Help > THL Tibetan Historical Dictionary Resources > THL Tibetan Historical Dictionary Help
The present document describes how to operate The THL Tibetan Dictionaries, and is intended for end-users. For instructions on making and editing entries to the Dictionaries, please see the Editorial Manual.
The THL Tibetan Dictionaries contains two separate navigational menus:
- I. Main Top Navigation Menu, which provides the main options for navigating, searching, and browsing the Dictionaries
- II. Right Hand Side Menu, which provides descriptive information about the Dictionaries, as well as access for editors
The following eight tabs are on the global top navigational banner:
These link to the principal sections and functions of the Dictionaries, and should be relied upon for basic navigation.
The home page provides a starting point for viewing descriptive information about The THL Tibetan Dictionaries, seeing what terms have been recently added or modified, and seeing the Tibetan “word of the day.” For convenience, users can also begin basic searches from this page, but “Search” also has its own dedicated screen (see below).
To search for a particular term, enter it into the “Search” field, using either the THL Wylie Transliteration scheme, or a Unicode Tibetan font. (To type Unicode Tibetan fonts, use a program such as Tise or Keyman). The “Search” page also allows you to search via THL Simplified Phonetics; this will benefit users who are not familiar with Tibetan language, but who nonetheless would like to search for terms that they have found transliterated in articles, in other THL resources, and so forth.
Once you have typed in your term, you can then specify one of four search-types:
- Exact match: searches the Dictionaries and brings back only exact matches.
- Starts with: brings back terms that match the beginning of the search-term, regardless of whether they have additional syllables at the end. For instance, doing a “Starts with” search on the term 'gro will return words like 'gro ba and 'gro ba drug, but not kun tu 'gro ba.
- Contains: bring back matches containing the specified term, regardless of whether there are additional syllables before or after it. This is the default search method. For instance, doing a “Contains” search on rim will return words like rim pa, go rim med pa, and bskyed rim.
- Full text search: brings back the specified content from anywhere in the dictionary, whether it is found in a head-term, a definition, a literary quotation, or any other field.
At present, the Dictionaries only offer these basic search functions, but more advanced options will be added in the future.
After you click “Search,” you are taken to a “Search Results” screen that displays all the terms that match your specifications. Clicking “Show” next to these will bring up the full entry for that term.
1. To avoid duplicating data, abbreviated terms are defined under their unabbreviated form. For example, the entry for rdzogs chen will provide a link to rdzogs pa chen po where more information will be found.
2. Verbs are listed in their full form, including the concluding particles pa or ba. A verb is followed by pa UNLESS it is open, with no suffix (ex: blta, bsti), or ends in ra, la, or nga (ex: gtar, gtul, gtang), in which cases it is followed by ba. (Note that when a verb ends with a nga and has the second suffix sa (ex: ltungs), it is followed by pa.)
3. The main entry for a verb will be given under its present tense form.
4. When entering your search term using Tibetan script, you do not need to follow the term with a shad; the dictionary ignores a final shad, as well as a final tsheg, in performing its search. A similar principle applies when searching using THL Wylie Transliteration: the search is performed irrespective of a terminal (i) space, (ii) /, (iii) space /; even when performing an "exact match" search, any final punctuation that you type will not affect the search query.
When viewing a full entry for a given term, the first thing to take note of is that it will likely be divided into two sections: the top section which is original work done by THL editors making full use of the Dictionaries capabilities, and the bottom section entitled “Other Dictionaries” which is information imported from other Tibetan dictionaries.
Entries for the THL dictionary proper begins with the term itself, its transliteration and transcription, and its grammatical function. The definitions and sub-definitions follow; these may all have data attached to them, which is accessed by clicking the + sign.
Definitions and sub-definitions may also have elements that are related to them, and which appear beneath them, with bold headings in the left margin. These elements are:
- Related terms, which provide links to synonyms, antonyms, honorific forms, and so forth
- Pronunciations, which can be specified according to various dialects or regional usages
- Translations, which render the definition into another language
- Etymologies of the term
- Variant spellings of the term
- Literary quotations derived from Tibetan or English language sources
- Oral quotations recorded from Tibetan natural speech
- Translation equivalents, which provide basic translations for the term
- Model sentences composed by an editor or derived from language-instruction materials
- Metadata, which allows data to be organized by “project” and “language”
- Sources, which function as bibliographical references specifying the source of any particular piece of data
The top of the entry also provides controls that will turn off and on information about Contributors and Sources. “Contributors” shows the editors who have contributed to any given part of a term. “Sources” shows the sources (textual or other) that editors have drawn upon for a given part of a term.
The “Other Dictionaries” section at the bottom of each entry provides definitions and translation equivalents from other Tibetan dictionaries. Each entry first provides the name of the source dictionary, and then provides the dictionary’s entry for that term. These dictionaries have very different characters and structures, but should be relatively straightforward. Please note that these other dictionaries typically put together all meanings they have for a given spelling, while the THL dictionary proper may split these meanings into several different entries. In such a case the same entries for “Other Dictionaries” will be repeated for each entry in the THL dictionary that shares the same spelling.
On this screen, users can browse entries in Tibetan alphabetical order. Clicking on any of the thirty Tibetan consonants (gsal byed) at the top of the screen will take you to the corresponding section of the Dictionaries. To allow users to browse quickly, the main list that is displayed does not show a sequence of every single term associated with the letter you clicked, but only shows every 100th term. Clicking the + sign next to any term will then display the 100 terms that follow it. Clicking “Show” next to a term will replace the browsing screen with the full entry for that term.
This allows you to view data in the Dictionaries via the Tibetan Translation Tool. If you type or paste a passage of Tibetan (using THL Wylie Transliteration) into the tool’s “Input Text” box, the tool will break down the passage into its component phrases and words, and then display corresponding dictionary definitions.
Note that the Translation Tool is simply a "view" of the dicitonary data, and does not possess any input mechanism or data different from the main Dictionaries. The tool displays data from any dictionary that is checked on the list at the top of the screen; at present it does not display new entries created by THL editors, although this feature will be added in the future.
The Dictionaries are governed by a number of lists of controlled vocabulary. These include simple, flat lists such as of languages, or projects, but also includes complex hierarchies such as the grammar tree, or tree of dialects. This section presents those lists for easy reference.
This details the various projects in The THL Tibetan Dictionaries. These projects typically have a thematic focus, and may involve one or more editors. This section also details the various dictionaries presented in the “Other Dictionaries” section. Each of these details the scope and intent of the project, as well as its participants.
This provides an annotated and classified bibliography of various print and digital resources, including scholarly articles and books, Tibetan dictionaries, and so forth.
This is the current page, which provides end-users with instructions for using the Dictionaries.
The links grouped here lead to information about the Dictionaries and THL, and also provide access for dictionary editors.
- Tibetan Dictionary Home is the same as the ”Home” tab on the main banner.
- Project Overview and Historical Dictionary Intro provide information about the aim and content of THL’s dictionary project. These links are also available on the ”Home” page.
- Editorial Manual provides access to a manual for editors contributing to The THL Tibetan Dictionaries, or anyone curious as to our editorial processes and standards.
- Status updates users on the current status of THL’s dictionary project.
- Edit provides access to editing facilities. If you would like to become an editor, please write to to request an editorial account to work online.
- New allows editors to create new dictionary entries; the link requires a login, and is only available to users with Editor’s permissions.
Provided for unrestricted use by the Tibetan and Himalayan Library