How should I begin to learn Classical Tibetan using Nettle?

You should first learn the Tibetan alphabet and script. To begin with our Introduction to Classical Tibetan course, you should also obtain a copy of Joe Wilson's text, Translating Buddhism from Tibetan. If you get a free account on Quizlet and navigate to our class vocabulary sets, this will help you learn vocabulary throughout this course. You can then begin working through the nine units Introduction to Classical Tibetan. If you have an account on Nettle, be sure to log in every time you're working on one of our lessons so that you can track your progress.

How can I learn the alphabet?

The first course in this program, Introduction to Classical Tibetan, presupposes familiarity with the Tibetan alphabet and script. We have not developed new instructional units teaching the alphabet because there are a number of good resources already available online - check our Resources page for suggestions.

What word categories are used by Nettle?

For its grammar exercises, Nettle Tibetan uses a simplified version of the part-of-speech tagset devised by the Tibetan in Digital Communication project. We use the following word categories, using different text colors for each category as follows:

  • adj (adjective)
  • adv (adverb)
  • n (noun)
  • pro (pronoun)
  • post (postposition)
  • v (verb)

If I already know some Tibetan, will this course be useful for me?

If you can speak some Tibetan, you may not be familiar with grammatical rules of Classical Tibetan, in which case going through our Introduction to Classical Tibetan could be quite helpful. If this introduction seems too basic, our Lifestory Literature in Classical Tibetan course is aimed at an intermediate or advanced reader. It is developed around a study of the Life of Milarepa, which is quite a hard text, so you are sure to learn something here!

Which web browser should I use?

We've tested Nettle on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, and found that most functions work best on Chrome. There is a known bug causing the sequencing exercises to behave strangely in Safari on the Mac. Also, some problems have been reported by Firefox users on Linux.

Can I run Nettle on my mobile phone?

Nettle works best on a computer, but we've tried to make it work on major mobile operating systems as well. We suggest rotating your phone into landscape mode when viewing the Nettle website on your phone; that will give you more space to work with. The Lectures and Quizlet exercises are easier to work with if you use the external links provided; in fact, if you have the Quizlet app installed, the external link on the Nettle website will just open up your app. Again, remember to log in to Nettle on your phone in order to track your progress on tasks.

Why isn't my progress being saved?

Check to make sure that there is a "My Progress" link at the top of the page. If there isn't, that means you aren't logged in and so your progress won't be tracked.

How can I track my progress when doing the Quizlet exercises?

You cannot log in to Quizlet from inside Nettle. However, if you log in to Quizlet from another tab in the same browser, then when you use Quizlet within Nettle, you'll have full access to your Quizlet user profile.

If I'm not a University of Toronto student, can I use Nettle Tibetan?

This course is offered entirely online and made freely available to the public, with all lectures and practice exercises presented on Nettle, so you can complete the course without contacting the University of Toronto at all. Students officially enrolled in the University of Toronto online course are required to complete assignments and tests, which are graded, and they may interact online with the course instructor.

Can I use Nettle Tibetan in my own courses?

If you teach Tibetan, you can use the Nettle courses available here, or you can modify these courses to create your own. Our Help page provides more information about adapting Nettle courses for your own use.

Who can I contact when I find errors or if I have questions?

These courses are still under development, so you will find errors! Please let us know - you can contact Frances Garrett, frances.garrett@utoronto.ca.

Could I create a Nettle course for another language?

Yes you could. The Nettle learning framework would work just as well for any other language, as long as you prepare your source materials properly. If you're interested in doing this, contact Frances Garrett, frances.garrett@utoronto.ca.

Can I learn dialects of spoken Tibetan using Nettle?

Right now this platform focuses only on reading skills for Classical Tibetan. We do offer a few links to resources for the study of Amdo dialect at our Amdo Dialect site, at https://nettletibetan.github.io/amdodialect/. We also hope to provide a similar set of general resources for the study of Kham Dialect. Please contact us if you are interested in contributing!