Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
THL Simplified Phonetic Transcription of Standard Tibetan
by David Germano and Nicolas Tournadre
December 12, 2003
Section 6 of 13

Exceptional Pronunciations

These items are not covered by rules; rather, they are documented in a formal list of exceptions. Please contact us with words that should be covered here but are not. ( Contact THL )

1. In some cases the the superscript l and the prefix m produce a nasal “n” or labial “m,” respectively, at the end of the preceding syllable.

  • — + l or > n or m
  • — + m > m


  • dga’ ldan > Ganden
  • bras ljongs > Drenjong
  • me mda’ > menda
  • a mdo > Amdo
  • rta mgrin > Tamdrin

2. In a few cases the production of a labialization by the prefix m and nasalization by the superscript l results in the elision of the preceding suffix. Examples:

  • chab mdo > Chamdo
  • dpal ldan > Penden

3. In certain words that contain an r subscript affixed to a p, ph or b root letter, the r disappears in normal pronunciation. Examples:

  • bri ru > Biru
  • sbra nag zhol > Banakzhöl

4. In certain words with an r superscript in the second syllable, this superscript is pronounced. Examples:

  • rdo rje > Dorjé
  • o rgyan > Orgyen
  • lha rje > lharjé

See the List of Exceptions in the last section of this document for a list of words not pronounced according to the rules described above.

THL Simplified Phonetic Transcription of Standard Tibetan, by David Germano