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Tibetisches Wörterbuch


First Academic Work of Reference Worldwide

The Wörterbuch der tibetischen Schriftsprache (Dictionary of Literary Tibetan) is the first academic work of reference that provides textual references for the vocabulary’s evolution. Each entry includes short paragraphs from Romanised original sources with German translations. To this end, the dictionary evaluates a text corpus with works from the beginnings of Tibetan literature to modern times, hence from the 8th to the 19th century.

In addition to Buddhist sources translated from Indian languages to Tibetan, also those of the Bon religion are taken into account. The Wörterbuch der tibetischen Schrift­spra­che not only includes religious scriptures alone, but also secular texts, poems, charters, and documents as well as works of local traditional sciences (see The Dictionary). 

Beginnings in the 1950s

Already in 1954—before the Dalai Lama had to leave Tibet—two members of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften BAdW) set up the Committee for Central Asian Studies and initiated the project Wörterbuch der tibetischen Schriftsprache. From the very beginning, the project’s objective was to research the Tibetan language. With regard to the development in the years to come, please see under History.

Since then, five volumes of the dictionary have been published, including altogether 46 fascicles and five volumes of the Studia Tibetica.

Online available

As of late, parts of the completed dictionary articles can be accessed in a database by all users via Open Access (see Dictionary Digital).


Starting in 1980 and until the end of 2030, the project is being funded within the Framework of the Academies’ Programme by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities