What do you call Twitter in Tibetan?

It has been some months since I joined the Twitter bandwagon and began the more personally satisfying task of twitting in Tibetan. Take a look at www.twitter.com/bhuchungtsering. In the process I have learnt a great deal. In the absence of a pan-Tibetan news source that can act like a 24-hour TV news channel, the small world of Twitter in Tibetan has become a major source for diverse news. Whether it is about His Holiness the Dalai Lama having returned to Dharamsala from one of his visits, the weather in the Dhoeguling Tibetan settlement in South India, the release of a new book in Tibetan, or a fire in a hotel in Bhutan, I am able to get instantaneous news by merely logging on to Twitter and following the postings there.

It is not just news that I get. I am also able to engage in comparatively deeper discussions with others on mundane as well as philosophical issues. We even go to the basics by discussing how “Twitter” should be called in Tibetan. Given that there is not one single accepted style for converting foreign terms in Tibetan, one school of thought (or set of Tweets) contends that we should get to the closest pronunciation as possible in Tibetan without considering any other factors. Another set contends that if we can get a similar pronunciation but also be able to use terms that would have some meaning in Tibetan, this is the way to go. Some of us have decided to follow the latter route while others stick to the former. Whatever it is, I feel it is a small contribution to Tibetan linguistic debate.

I don’t know whether the Twitter authorities are compiling the number of languages in which people use their forum but I think the increasing number of Tibetans who are twitting in Tibetan show that when it comes to adapting to new situation, given opportunity, the Tibetan people do not lag behind.

Do you have a point of view? Why not tweet in Tibetan?


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