Tibetan Word Rehearser (Tibword)

Platform: MS-DOS
Current version: 1.2 and 1.3
Released on: March 1999
License: Freeware, no source

I made this program in conjuction with an introductory course in spoken Amdo Tibetan. What began as a small project for myself soon turned into a frantic run against the clock to get a distributable program done before the end of the few week course. Version 1.0 was ready three hours before the exam, and I ended up using that time profitably by reviewing the vocabulary with my new program.

Program features

Tibword is a simple program designed for quizzing Tibetan vocabulary that can be inputted into a database using Wylie transcription. The database allows you to create headlines, giving you the option of categorizing your vocabulary and then draw the quiz material from only the headlines you want. Quizzing consists of pairing the displayed word with its matching translation in a four possibility multiple-choice, and can be done from either Tibetan to English (or whatever language your translation fields are in) or English to Tibetan. You also have a choice of displaying the Tibetan in either Tibetan script, Wylie transcription or Amdo phonetics. The Amdo phonetics are automatically generated and are based on a manuscript version of Modern Oral Amdo Tibetan and can be understood as a rough pronunciation guide to farmer Tibetan as spoken around Xining, Qinghai province, China.

In addition, it is also possible to work on learning the Tibetan alphabet by progressing from the basic letters through stacks to different syllable combinations, allowing the beginner to learn the Tibetan script and Wylie transcription step-by-step.

All in all, this program is especially suitable for people who have old enough machines to not be able to run Windows or who just need a very simple program for going through vocabulary. Tibword also runs nicely on Linux at least using DOSBox (tested March 2011 on 64-bit Debian Squeeze) and it seems to work well on all versions of Windows including XP (not tested on NT). The program is extremely small (around 130K for either 1.2 or 1.3) and as such is extremely portable; back in the day, you could easily carry around several databases and the program on a standard 1.4MB diskette.

Although this program is no longer maintained or developed, I do have a policy of supporting all material made with any of my programs so they can be migrated to my later programs. In other words, if you find this program handy for your needs I will make sure the material won't get stuck in DOS forever. I might also be able to write custom converters if anyone has special conversion needs. If you have created useful wordlists that you would like to share with other students of Tibetan, feel free to send them to me. If they seem useful, I would be more than happy to make them available for download.

Get it here (172 KB)


Quiz with Amdo phonetics on

Partial view of database

Options for the quiz