Sorting Out Tibetan Alphabetical Order

Tibetan Alphabetical Order in Computers

Many of us take for granted that with the click of a single button we can bring order to an unruly list by sorting it in alphabetical order, numerical order, chronological order, or various other sequences. On a spreadsheet, for instance, a long column of names in Romance languages can be instantly alphabetized. Such an operation is not currently possible for Tibetan language content in applications such as Excel or Google Docs. Those of you who know Tibetan can try this at home: take a spreadsheet containing words in Tibetan and select the alphabetical order display option. The results won't be pretty. This limitation to Tibetan computing will soon change thanks to an effort by BDRC to encode Tibetan alphabetical sorting rules; and to have these rules approved by the international standards community. This will encourage widespread adoption by Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others. We'd like to share with you here the research, innovations, and networking behind this breakthrough.

Dr. Tashi Samphel, Director of Songtsen Library in Dehradun, India

The sorting in most software is driven by language-specific algorithms (called collation rules) that are standardized in the Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR). As of October 2021, CLDR didn't have any rules for Tibetan. To remedy this situation, BDRC is pleased to announce that we have successfully added Tibetan Collation Rules to the CLDR. This step will bring Tibetan closer to being fully supported on websites and smartphones, and will improve the digital experience of Tibetans worldwide.

The CLDR hosts international standards that are shared among all Operating Systems, apps, websites, etc. They released the new Tibetan Collation Rules (Tibetan alphabetical ordering, in other words) on October 27th 2021, enabling these rules to become part of the general software environment in the following months and years.

Many websites and apps display lists of Tibetan words (names, titles, dictionary entries, etc.) and need to sort them in a way that users can navigate easily. Unlike with English, which simply sorts character by character, Tibetan alphabetical ordering is complicated by prefixes, superscripts, suffixes, Sanskrit features, etc. In order for software to fully support the Tibetan language, rules representing the widely-used Tibetan alphabetical order found in modern dictionaries needed to be converted into computer code and added to the CLDR, the repository of international standards.

This achievement is the result of many years of documentation, testing and patient effort, as well as key support from a network of dedicated language hackers. Without the help of these supporters, whom we thank in acknowledgements, this achievement would not have been possible.

This effort is part of BDRC's practice of contributing back to the Buddhist communities in Asia who produced the precious texts we bring online. Stay tuned for more such contributions to international standards, such as support for Tibetan calendars and resources for Khmer, Burmese, and other languages important to Buddhism.

The rest of this post will dive into the historical origins of the rules we have implemented, as well as a few technical details.

Tibetan Alphabetical Order in History

The order of Tibetan consonants and vowels seems to have been established from the very early days of the written language, perhaps because the Tibetan alphabet was derived from an Indic alphabet and in the process of adapting it to Tibetan purposes the original order of letters was more or less preserved. The 7th century orthographic grammar Sumcupa attributed to Thonmi Sambhota contains a presentation of consonants and vowels that is still adhered to today, well over 1000 years after its composition. But Tibetan orthography is quite complex, and a complete alphabetical ordering system must take into account interactions between the prefixes, superscript letters, main letters, etc. For instance sorting བཀ, རྐ and བརྐ requires layers of arbitrary conventions on top of the simple order of consonants. This is what we're going to explore here. We will solely focus on the general aspects of the alphabetical order (dealing with the order of prefix, superscript and main letter) and not on the many details (wasur, long vowels, retroflex letters, loan words, etc.) that would make this study more tedious than it is.

The next paragraphs describe our findings in terms of the use of alphabetical order in Tibetan texts, primarily in lexicons (using [Walter2006] and personal research), but may not represent the full picture. If you feel some pieces of the puzzle are missing, please send us an email at [email protected]!

Early lexicons (8-15th c.)

In the first centuries of Tibetan literature, lexicons were ordered semantically. An early example is the classic 9th century Mahāvyutpatti [MVPT], created for the purpose of standardizing Tibetan translations from Sanskrit. Its contents are arranged in lists of synonyms, ordered by sanctity. The MVPT begins with the epithets of the Buddha – representing utmost purity – and concludes with a list of eighty human diseases.

The semantic ordering (e.g. synonymic and thematic) found in early Tibetan lexicons followed the dominant conventions of traditional Indian lexicography [Vogel1979]. The Sanskrit lexicon Amarakośa was translated twice into Tibetan and was highly influential with Tibetan specialists of the literary arts [Chandra1965]. Indeed, the Amarakośa and its Indian commentary inspired – according to [Chandra1965] – a genre of synonymic lexicons in Tibet such as the popular Ngönjö Nagyen [Jigdrak] in the 16th c.

Extract from [XifanYiyu], preserved and digitized at Wasuda University.

In a very different context, a very early Tibetan-Chinese lexicon [XifanYiyu] was compiled in the 15-16th c. by the Chinese administration for their diplomats (see Huayiyiyu on Wikipedia for more context). It happens to also use semantic ordering, although Chinese dictionaries at the time could be ordered in different ways. See [Shiqi1982] for more about the rich history of Chinese lexicography. Two earlier (but less relevant) Tibetan-Chinese lexicons were circulating in Dunhuang (see [Apple2017]), one following no discernable order and the other following the order of appearance of words in a particular text.

The genre of numerical categories (chos kyi rnam grangs) presents enumerations (ex: the two truths, the three worlds, etc.). While modern versions present these enumerations ordered by size [Tsering1994], early instances of the genre are also ordered semantically. For instance Kawa Paltsek (8th c.) starts by listing the five aggregates in his work [Paltsek]. Note that Nagarjuna's Dharmasaṅgraha is organized in a similar fashion, but wasn't translated into Tibetan until 1990 [DSG].

Orthographic lexicons (15-17th c.)

Another category of texts that are relevant for research into the history of alphabetical orders in Tibet is dag yig, a label that covers different genres of lexicons or didactic verses on orthography. Around the fifteenth century many dag yig texts began to utilize alphabetical ordering to arrange their contents. There are several such dag yigs from the 15-17th centuries that are still extant and available on BDRC. Not surprisingly, they evince a variety of alphabetical orders with no obvious popular standard. Due to the orthographic complexity of Tibetan, more than one systematic alphabetical order is possible, and a variety of these have been devised by authors of dag yig texts.

The alphabeticalized dag yigs researched for this paper are versified and intended to be memorized in full, not used as reference dictionaries; for this reason they don't need to adhere to a very strict order and can be difficult to follow for unfamiliar readers. Three famous early examples (15th/16th century):

  • [Thukjesenge] uses the order ཀ དཀའ བཀའ རྐ བརྐ ལྐ སྐ བསྐ, etc.
  • [Palkhang] uses what will become the prevailing modern order (referred to as such in the rest of the article) ཀ དཀའ བཀའ རྐ ལྐ སྐ བརྐ བསྐ (the order is oddly not recognized in [Goldstein1991])
  • [Zhalu] : has ཀ ཁ ག … བཅའ བཏའ … བསའ བསྒ བསྔ བརྐ

Extract from a manuscript version of [Thukjesenge], W1KG10731.

In a recent example of the genre, Tseten Shabdrung – one of the most authoritative grammarians of the 20th c. – uses the order ཀ རྐ ལྐ སྐ དཀ བཀ བརྐ བསྐ in his Dayig Thönmi Gongyen [Shabdrung].

A note must be made on the famous 15/16th c. lexicon of archaic terms Lishi Gurkhang (The Clove Pavillon, [Rinchentashi]) in which we were not able to find an order. This is also the case for earlier instances of dag yigs such as [LodenSherab].

Early Bilingual Dictionaries (18th c.)

The 18th century saw the compilation and publication of several bilingual lexicons that were nearly unprecedented for using a thoroughly alphabetical order. In most (if not all) cases, these were meant to be used as reference dictionaries and not learned by heart. The advent of this genre can be ascribed to three factors:

  • a renewed interest in Sanskrit from Tibetan and Bhutanese scholars (Situ Panchen being a prominent figure of the movement), and a desire to produce Sanskrit renderings of Tibetan proper names, text titles, etc. (see [Ruegg1998])
  • a change in the way the Qing dynasty considered non-Chinese languages, leading to the compilation of the Pentaglot Dictionary; and the translation of many Tibetan texts into Mongolian and Manchu, etc. (see [Maurer2018])
  • Christian missionary work in Tibet (see [Bray2008])

The lexicons of this era again use a variety of alphabetical orders, for instance:

  • [Dokhar], a popular Tibetan-Sanskrit lexicon, uses the order ཀ དཀའ བཀའ རྐ བརྐ ལྐ སྐ བསྐ
  • [Namgyal], another Tibetan-Sanskrit lexicon from Bhutan uses what became the prevailing modern order
  • the first Tibetan-Mongolian lexicon from 1718 [Gyamtso1718A] has an order that is not very consistent and is difficult to follow, but goes something like ཀ དཀའ བཀའ རྐ བརྐ ལྐ སྐ བསྐ
  • the Tibetan-Italian dictionary of 1732 ([Penna1732]) sorts syllables by their characters in order of appearance, regardless of their roles as either prefix, superscript or main letter (ie, བཀའ is in the section བ, not ཀ)

A noteworthy exception is the 1742 lexicon devised by Rölpe Dorje to translate the Tengyur into Mongolian [Rolpedorje1742], which uses a semantic order.

Finally, a mesmerizing text recently scanned at the National Library of Mongolia can be seen as a highlight of this era of lexicography and translation. Spanning 43 folia, the Ocean of Syllables [Gyamtso1718B] consists largely of long and enchanting lists of every possible combination of Tibetan letters laid out in an idiosyncratic alphabetical order. The author writes that he encountered a veritable sea of syllables in a dream populated by many gods who were praising the complete set of the building blocks of Tibetan language. Indeed, at first glance, the never-ending strings of syllables in this text look like sacred mantras.

Extract from the Dag yig mkhas paʼi ʼbyung gnas, W4CZ74378 [Rolpedorje1742]

Convergence towards a Common Alphabetical Order

(19-20th c.)


In the 19th century, the use of alphabetical orders in lexicons and dictionaries became increasingly systematic, and their orders started converging towards ཀ དཀའ བཀའ རྐ ལྐ སྐ བརྐ བསྐ.

Some examples for Tibetan-Mongolian lexicons are [Tendar1830], sorted ཀ དཀའ བཀའ རྐ བརྐ ལྐ སྐ བསྐ and [Seldron] (tpq 1742), sorted according to the prevailing modern order.

The early Tibetan-English dictionaries [Csoma1834] and [Schroeter1826] follow an alphabetical order that prioritizes the first appearing consonant in a syllable. Therefore the word བཀའ, whose root letter is ཀ་, the first letter in the Tibetan alphabet, is placed in the བ་ sections of these two dictionaries because its prefix is བ་. In the case of Csoma it is possible to hypothesize an influence of the modern Ladakhi pronunciation of his collaborators ([Maurer2018], see [Terjek1976] and [Viehbeck2016] about his collaborators). But the most simple explanation remains an imitation of his predecessors and of the Western alphabetical order (sorting by characters from left to right).

[Schmidt1841] was the first Western dictionary to use what became the prevailing modern order. It was based on previous Western dictionaries and two Tibetan-Mongolian lexicons, [Gyamtso1718A] and [Kyab1737]. It appears that the order used in Schmidt's dictionary is a modification of those used in his Tibetan-Mongolian sources ([Gyamtso1718A] sorts by root letter for instance). The order in Schmidt has had a lasting legacy as it was subsequently used in [Jaschke1881], followed by the very influential Tibetan-English dictionary by Chandra Das [Das1902] (and seemingly all later TIbetan-English dictionaries, such as [Goldstein1984]).

Between Tibet and China, several Tibetan-Chinese lexicons were compiled in the 1930s (see [Tuttle2007] and [Tuttle2009] for the context), all using the prevailing modern order. One of primary importance is [Yisun1937], which was later taken as the model for [Yisun1985] and thus of the collation rules we created. It's unclear why Yisun used this order, but, given the impact it had, we can rejoice that he did not use a different one as it would have created a situation with two competing alphabetical orders. Two other Tibetan-Chinese lexicons from this time period are [Zanghan1939] and an oral lexicon of 1932 [Sardrik]. The latter of the two seems undocumented in previous scholarship in English. It surprisingly cites [Das1902] as one of its main sources, showing that it was circulating widely at the time, and was likely the inspiration for the alphabetical order in that instance.

In Tibet an important step was the publication of the TIbetan-Tibetan dictionary by Geshe Chödrak [Chodrak1949], a Buryat who became a monk in Lhasa. Its most striking feature is its format: a bound book with a two column layout, likely the first of its kind created in Tibet. These features and the (modern) alphabetical order he used are likely inspired by Gegen Dorje Tharchin's dictionary [Tharchin] – that Geshe Chödrak collaborated on –, itself inspired by [Das1902] (see [Viehbeck2016]).

A Chinese gloss was added to the dictionary in 1957 [Chodrak1957]; [Shabdrung] was translated in that same year as well [Shabdrung1957], see [Tuttle2007] for the histories of these publications. The prevailing modern order was then also used in the still authoritative Dayig Sardrik in 1979 [Dorje1979], and in the Great Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary ([Yisun1985]).

[Yisun1985] is the only lexicon taken as the reference in scholarly literature about alphabetical order in China ([Tashi2018], [Jiang2004], [Jiang2006]). Since its system is the same as the one used in Tibetan-English dictionaries since Schmidt, and is the same used for Dzongkha (see [Geylek]), we are using it as the model for the collation rules we have created.

Epilogue: Alphabetical Order in World History


We can see from our modest research that alphabetical order hasn't always been the primary way to order lexicons. Alphabetical order gained prominence in the 18th century and became standardized and widely adopted in the 20th century.

It appears that this is in fact a perfect illustration of the history of alphabetical order in a more general context.

Extract from Geshe Chödrak's dictionary (W1KG21089), note the definition of ཀ་ཐོ། (alphabetical list)

Indeed, even though the alphabetical order appears to us now as a fundamental one, this hasn't been the case until fairly recently. In the Western context, this is well illustrated in A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order [Flanders2020]. The evolution of the use of alphabetical order it describes (from obscurity to a recent systematic use) is one we can directly witness in the history of Tibetan lexicography.

First monolingual English dictionary, Robert Cawdrey's A Table Alphabeticall of Hard Usual English Words (1604) Source: Wikipedia, reference from [Flanders2020]

Finally we wish to acknowledge the contributions of all the Tibetan scholars who worked on the lexicons we consulted (Tibetan to English, Mongolian and Chinese) and whose essential work is anonymous for the most part. The history of alphabetical order would undoubtedly have been different without them! (See [Viehebeck2016] for more thoughts on the matter.)

Computer Implementation

The Tibetan alphabetical order requires an analysis of the syllables in order to find its various components, which makes it tricky to implement. The rules emulate a detection of the parts of the syllable and uses a multi-weight algorithm to sort in the following order of precedence:

  1. main consonant
  2. superscript
  3. prefix
  4. subscript
  5. vowel
  6. suffix

Here are some examples:

  • comparing མགྲིན and མག: in the first one, the main consonant is ག; in the second one, the main consonant is མ; they differ on the first weight, so we have མགྲིན < མག due to the order of the main consonant
  • comparing བསྒ and མགོ: main consonants are the same (ག), so we compare the superscripts. The first one has ས, the second has no superscript, so according the order of superscripts (no superscript < superscript ས) we have མགོ < བསྒ
  • comparing འགྲ and འགྱི: main consonants are the same (ག), superscripts are the same (no superscript), prefixes are the same (འ), so we compare the fourth weight (subscripts). The first has subscript ར, the second has subscript ཡ, so according to the order of subscript, we have འགྱི < འགྲ

Among the many details that were implemented and tested in the process, some are interesting from a computational or linguistic perspective, for instance:

  • we had to carefully sort the syllables that can have multiple analysis, ex: དགས, མངས, etc. (see [Roux2018])
  • we sorted the anusvara with མ, although according to the context it should be with ན, ང or ཉ (this would not have been possible with the way CLDR rules can be designed)
  • loan words (ex: ཀརྨ, པདྨ, etc.) are sorted in the same order as in [Yisun1985] : ཀར < ཀརྨ < ཀལ

These new rules will be part of the next version of CLDR data, coming out by the end of 2021. Over the following months, they will be implemented into the global software ecosystem.


We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this very long international effort:

  • John Bray, for his help on Tibetan-Italian dictionaries
  • Robert Chilton (ACIP), for his support
  • Peter Edberg (Apple/CLDR Committee), for his support
  • Mike Fabian (Red Hat), for his help on technical aspects and integration in Glibc
  • Chris Fynn, for his contributions to digital Tibetan
  • Lauran Hartley (Columbia University, BDRC board member) for her review
  • Peter Lofting (Apple), for advice and support 
  • Åke Persson (Mimer), for his support and help with the details of the rules
  • Ngawang Trinley and Drupchen (BDRC, Esukhia)
  • Dorji Wangchuk (University of Hamburg), for advice

We would also like to express gratitude towards our founder: at the end of [Ruegg1998], Ruegg notes that E. Gene Smith pointed him to two important Tibetan-Sanskrit lexicons which Ruegg couldn't access. These are now available on BDRC ([Namgyal] and [Tenzinwangpo]) and allows us to gain more insights on this topic. This is a testament to the immense benefits of Gene's vision and activity.

References (in Alphabetical Order!)


[Apple2017] Apple, James B. and Apple, Shinobu A. A Re-evaluation of Pelliot tibŽtain 1257: An Early Tibetan-Chinese Glossary from Dunhuang. In Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines, no. 42, 2017, pp. 68-180. Retrieved from You can read the two lexicons on the Gallica platform of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: and 

[Bray2008] Bray, John. Missionaries, officials and the making of the 1826 Dictionary of the Bhotanta, or Boutan Language. In Zentralasiatische Studien 37, pp. 33-75. 2008.

[Chandra1965] Chandra, Lokesh. The Amarakoṣa in Tibet. International Academy Of India Culture, 1965. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG21721]

[Chilton2003] Chilton, Robert. Sorting Unicode Tibetan using a Multi-Weight Collation Algorithm. In  Proceedings of Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan  Studies,  Oxford  University, 2003.

[Chodrak1949] Chos kyi grags pa. brDa dag ming tshig gsal ba. Damchoe Sangpo, 1980. Reproduced from a 1949 print from Lhasa. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG21089]

[Csoma1834] Csoma, Sándor Kőrösi. Essay Towards a Dictionary, Tibetan and English. Calcutta, 1834. Internet Archive,

[Das1902] Das, Sarat Chandra. A Tibetan-English Dictionary with Sanskrit Synonyms. Calcutta, 1902. Internet Archive,

[Dokhar] mDo mkhar zhabs drung tshe ring dbang rgyal. Bod rgya shan sbyar ngo mtshar nor buʼi do shal. D.g. Khochhen Trulku, 1975. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), . [BDRC bdr:MW7737]

[Dorje1979] Padma rdo rje. Dag yig gsar bsgrigs. 1979 par zhi gsum pa 2003 par thengs bzhi pa, mTsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2003. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW8LS30619]

[DSG] Nāgārjuna. Dharmasamgraham / Chos yang dag par bsdus pa. Translated by rGyal mtshan rnam grol, Central Institute Of Higher Tibetan Studies, 1990. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW4CZ299878]

[Flanders2020] Flanders, Judith. A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order. Basic Books, 2020. See also this review in the Guardian.

[Geylek] Geylek, Pema. Collation in Dzongkha. Retrieved from

[Goldstein1991] Goldstein, Melvyn C. Tibetan Lexicography. In Hausmann, J et al. (editors). Wörterbücher: Ein  internationales  Handbuch  zur  Lexikographie,  Vol.  III.  Berlin/New York. Retrieved from

[Goldstein1984] Goldstein, Melvyn C. English-Tibetan Dictionary of Modern Tibetan. University of California Press, 1984. ISBN 9780520051577. 

[Gyamtso1718A] 'Bro ba rab 'byams pa Kun dga' rgya mtsho (b. 1655). Dag yig chung ngu gdul bya'i snying mun sel byed nyi ma stong gi 'od zer ; Nyis 'od section of the Ming gi rgya mtsho / Nere yin dalai. In Chandra, Lokesh, editor. Four Tibetan-Mongolian Lexicons, volume 1. Śata Piṭaka Series Indo-Asian Literatures Volume 289-1, img. 1-214. Sharada Rani, 1982. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW00KG09211]. See [Yakhontova2005] about the Ming gi rgya mtsho.

[Gyamtso1718B] 'Bro ba rab 'byams pa kun dga' rgya mtsho (b. 1655). Ming gi rgya mthso'i rgyab gnon dag yig chen po skas kyi rgya mtsho 'am skad rigs gsal byed nyi ma chen po ; Ming mtsho section of the Ming gi rgya mtsho / Nere yin dalai. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), (img. 1-86, 1st edition) and (img 1-104, 2nd edition). See [Yakhontova2005] about the Ming gi rgya mtsho.

[Gyamtso1718C] 'Bro ba rab 'byams pa kun dga' rgya mtsho (b. 1655). Ming gi rgya mthso'i rgyab gnon dag yig chen po skas kyi rgya mtsho 'am skad rigs gsal byed nyi ma chen po ; Dag yig section of the Ming gi rgya mtsho / Nere yin dalai. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Hs. or. 285 (LM. 145). Made available to the author by the University of Bonn. We would like to thank all the persons who helped us get access to this otherwise unavailable text (Bruno Lainé, Lewis Doney and Eva Kamilla Mojzes. The first pages we consulted seem irrelevant for this study.

[Horlemann2022] Horlemann, Bianca. The Muslim military commander of Xining, Ma Qi (1869-1931), and his network of contacts to Tibetan elites. Forthcoming.

[Huang2012] Huang, Heming and Da, Feipeng. Collation of Transliterating Tibetan Characters. In Natural Language Processing and Chinese Computing: First CCF Conference, NLPCC 2012, Beijing, China, October 31-November 5, 2012. Proceedings, 2012, Springer Berlin Heidelberg,

[Jaschke1881] Jäschke, H. A., A Tibetan-English Dictionary. 1881. Internet Archive

[Jiang2004] Jiang, Di, and Kang, Cai-Jun. The Sorting Mathematical Model and Algorithm of Written Tibetan Language. In Chinese Journal of Computers, volume 4, 2004.

[Jiang2006] Jiang, Di. The Current Status of Sorting Order of Tibetan Dictionaries andStandardization. In Proceedings of the 20th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, 2006.

[Jigdrak] Ngag dbang 'jigs med grags pa. mNgon brjod kyi bstan bcos mkhas pa'i rna rgyan. Printed in Lhasa, probably in the 16th c. BDRC has numerous scans such as

[Kugevicius2004] Kugevičius A. A Catalogue of Tibetan Texts Kept at M. K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art (Kaunas, Lithuania). Acta Orientalia Vilnensia, Vol. 5, Dec. 2004, pp. 242–280, doi:10.15388/AOV.2004.18248. Retrieved from . Relevant references page 276-277.

[Kyab1737] mGon po skyabs (?), et al. Bod kyi brda yig rtogs par sla ba / Töbed üge kilbar surqu bičig. [Walter2006] gives 1737 as the publication date. Described in [Kugevicius2004] as having two parts, one of which is not in alphabetical order; referred to in the colophon of [Seldron], also used in Kowalewski's 1844 Dictionnaire Français-Russe-Mongol.

[LoBue2001] Lo Bue, Erberto. A Note on Dictionaries Compiled by Italian Missionaries in Tibet. In Tibet Journal volume 26(2), 2001.

[LodenSherab] rNgog blo ldan shes rab (1059-1109). "Dag yig nyer mkho bsdus pa." In bKaʼ gdams gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs thengs dang po, Par gzhi dang po, vol. 1, Si khron dpe skrun tshogs pa si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2006, pp. 97–114. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1PD89051_1D065D]. This is primarily a lexicon to distinguish homophones.

[Maurer2018] Maurer, Petra. Lexicography of the Tibetan Language with Special Reference to the "Wörterbuch der tibetischen Schriftsprache". In Rocznik Orientalistyczny/Yearbook of Oriental Studies, vol. T. LXXI (2), 2018. doi:10.24425/ro.2019.127209 . Retrieved from 

[MVPT] "Mahāvyutpatti / Bye brag tu rtogs par byed pa." In bsTan ʼgyur (pe cing ), vol. 211, [Pe cing pho brang], 1724, pp. 412–623. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), . [BDRC bdr:MW1KG13126_5832]

[MVPT_zh] 漢藏合璧分解名義大集 / sGra bye brag rtogs byed chen mo'i rgya gar gyi skad dor nas bod yig dang rgya nag gi yi ge gnyis gsar bskrun pa. 青海藏文研究社 [Qinghai Tibetan Studies Association], 1932. This is a Tibetan & Chinese (no Sanskrit) Mahāvyutpatti. We are very grateful to Laurant Hartley at Columbia University for providing us excerpts from this work.

[Namgyal] ʼBrug rje mkhan po 14 bstan ʼdzin rnam rgyal (1733-1781). Rang blo gsal baʼi me long las mngon brjod kyi bstan bcos bsam ʼphel nor bu. Kunzang Topgey, 1976. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW21494]

[Palkhang] dPal Khang lo tsA ba ngag dbang chos kyi rgya mtsho. Dag yig ngag sgron. Printed at sKu ʼbum byams pa gling. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW4CZ74387], easier to follow with a gloss, for instance on

[Paltsek] sKa ba dpal brtsegs. "Chos kyi rnam grangs kyi brjed byang gi rtsa ba bzhugs" bsTan ʼgyur (sDe dge), edited by Zhu chen tshul khrims rin chen, vol. 206 (bstan bcos sna tshogs, jo), Delhi karmapae choedhey gyalwae sungrab partun khang, 1982–1985, pp. 579–90, ff. 289a-294b. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW23703_4363]

[Penna1732] Father Francesco Orazio Della Penna Count Luzio Olivieri from Pennabilli (1680-1745). [Tibetan-Italian dictionary]. 1732. Tibetan-Italian dictionary of 386 pages. Made while he was at Sera Monastery, based on an analysis of the Padma Thang yig. Only one copy survives in a private collection, described in [LoBue2001].

[Rolpedorje1742] lCang skya rol paʼi rdo rje (1717-1786). Dag yig mkhas paʼi ʼbyung gnas. Printed at sKu ʼbum byams pa gling. Authored in 1742 according to [Maurer2018]. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW4CZ74378]

[Rinchentashi] Karma lo tsā ba rin chen bkra shis. "Dag yig li shiʼi gur khang." In Dag yig phyogs bsgrigs mu tig tshom bu, edited by ʼJam bu mkhaʼ ʼgro tshe ring, mTsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 407–34. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW25159_5C51EB]

[Roux2018] Roux, É., & Hildt, H. D.Algorithmic description of the decomposition and checking of a Classical Tibetan syllable. Himalayan Linguistics, 17(1), 2018. doi:10.5070/H917135529 . Retrieved from

[Ruegg1998] Ruegg, D. S. Sanskrit-Tibetan and Tibetan-Sanskrit dictionaries and some problems in Indo-Tibetan philosophical lexicography. In: B. Oguibénine (ed.), Lexicography in the Indian and Buddhist cultural fields (Studia Tibetica: Quellen und Studien zur tibetischen Lexicographie, Vol. 4, Munich, 1998), pp. 115-142. Retrieved from

[Sardrik] 新編藏漢小辭典 / gSar bsgrigs rgya bod ming gi rgya mtsho. 青海藏文研究社 [Qinghai Tibetan Studies Association], 1932. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), . [BDRC bdr:MW3CN2184]. A scan of a different copy is available on (volume 1) and (volume 2)The first page of the BDRC scans has "Presented to Ven. Chi by V. G. &  Ruth L. Plymire, Dec. 5, 1933, Huangyuan, Jinghai", see this article about Victor and Ruth Plymire. [Das1902] is cited as 達氏英藏字典 : "Da Shi Tibetan-English Dictionary" on image 15 of the BDRC scans.
A Baidu Baike article contains some information about the Qinghai Tibetan Studies Association, [Horlemann2022] and [Tuttle2007] also do give some context. The same group also published [MVPT_zh] the same year. Any more information is welcome!

[Schmidt1841] Schmidt, Isaak J. Tibetisch-deutsches Wörterbuch, nebst deutschem Wortregister. St Petersburg, Leipzig, 1941. Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum Digitale Bibliotek, .

[Schroeter1826] Schrœter, Frederic Christian Gotthelf. A Dictionary of the Bhotana or Boutan Language. Serampore, 1826. Internet Archive

[Seldron] brDa  yig ming don gsal ba'i sgron me. In Chandra, Lokesh, editor. Four Tibetan-Mongolian Lexicons, volume 1. Śata Piṭaka Series Indo-Asian Literatures Volume 289-1, img. 427. Sharada Rani, 1982. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW00KG09211]. References [Rolpedorje1742] and thus must be later than 1742.

[Shabdrung] Tshe tan zhabs drung 06 ʼjigs med rigs paʼi blo gros. "Dag yig thon miʼi dgongs rgyan." gSung ʼbum ʼjigs med rigs paʼi blo gros, vol. 8, Mthu Ba Dgon, 2007, pp. 429–97. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1PD94_50D93F]

[Shabdrung1957] Tshe tan zhabs drung 06 ʼjigs med rigs paʼi blo gros. Dag yig thon miʼi dgongs rgyan. Par thengs dang po, mTsho sngon mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, 1957. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG4599]

[Shiqi1982] Xue, Shiqi. "Chinese Lexicography Past and Present." Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, vol. 4, 1982, p. 151-169. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/dic.1982.0009.

[Sumcupa] Thon mi sambho ṭa. "Lung du ston paʼi rtsa ba sum cu pa zhes bya ba." bsTan ʼgyur (sde dge), edited by Zhu chen tshul khrims rin chen, vol. 204, Delhi karmapae choedhey gyalwae sungrab partun khang, 1982–1985, pp. 322–24. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW23703_4348]

[Tashi2018] Nyima Tashi. Research on Tibetan Spelling Formal Language and Automata with Application. Springer, 2018, ISBN 9789811306716

[Tendar1830] sMon lam rab 'byams pa ngag dbang bstan dar. brDa yig ming don gsal bar byed pa'i zla ba'i 'od snang. 1830. In Chandra, Lokesh, editor. Four Tibetan-Mongolian Lexicons, volume 1. Śata Piṭaka Series Indo-Asian Literatures Volume 289-1, img. 216-426. Sharada Rani, 1982. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW00KG09211]

[Tenzinwangpo] bsTan 'dzin dbang po [BDRC P8LS14977] (based on notes of). sKas gnyis brda sbyor gyi mngon brjod ngo mtshar me tog 'khri shing. In D. Tsondu Senge (pub.) ʼPhags bod skad gnyis brda ʼgrel dang mngon brjod khag bcas p. 113-371, 1985. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG10605]. It is ordered in the modern way.

[Terjek1976] J. Terjek, editor. Tibetan compendia written for Csoma de Koros by the lamas of Zans-dkar. Society Of Csoma De Koros And Hungarian Academy Of Sciences, Sata-Pitaka Series volume 23, 1976. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW00KG09382]

[Tharchin] Gegen Dorje Tarchin. [Tibetan-Tibetan dictionary]. Unpublished. Available in 5 parts on Internet Archives (contributed by Columbia University):

[Thukjesenge] Thugs rje sengge. Dag yig bdud rtsiʼi chu rgyun. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG10731]

[Tuttle2007] Tuttle, Gray. Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China. Columbia University Press, 2007.

[Tuttle2009] Tuttle, Gray. Translating Buddhism from Tibetan to Chinese in Early-Twentieth-Century China (1931-1951). In Kapstein, M. T. (editor). Buddhism Between Tibet and China. Wisdom Publications, 2009.

[Tsering1994] Phur bu tshe ring. Nang rig paʼi tshig mdzod. Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, 1994. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG5842]

[Viehbeck2016] Viehbeck, Markus. Coming to Terms with Tibet: Scholarly Networks and the Production of the First "Modern" Tibetan Dictionaries. In Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines, no. 37, 2016, pp. 469–489. Retrieved from 

[Vogel1979] Vogel, Claus. Indian Lexicography. In Gonda, J. (ed), A History of Indian Literature. Vol. v, part 2, fasc. 4, 1979, ISBN 9783447020107.

[Walter2006] Walter, Michael. A  Bibliography  of  Tibetan  Dictionaries. In Walravens, Harmut (editor). Bibliographies of Mongolian, Manchu-Tungus, and Tibetan Dictionaries. Orientalistik Bibliographien und Dokumentationen, Band 20. Harrasowitz Verlag, 2006, pp. 174-235.

[XifanYiyu] 西番譯語 [Collated and Collected Vocabularies of Xifan Yiyu], 15-16th c., see [Walter2006]. Waseda University Library: . A set of scans from a different print is made available by the Library of Congress: . More details about these prints is most welcome! A related (?) Ming dynasty print of TIbetan-Chinese translations (not lexicon) is made available by the China-America Digital Academic Library (CADAL) on Internet Archives : .

[Yakhontova2005] Yakhontova, Natalia. Deformation of Boards: a Typical Feature of Later Xylograph Prints. In Rocznik Orientalistyczny/Yearbook of Oriental Studies, vol. 2, 2015. Retrieved from 

[Yisun1937] Zhang, Yisun. 撤漢集谕辭彙 [Tibetan-Chinese Vocabulary, Gathered and Arranged]. 西座文化院印行 [Xichui wenhua yuan (Western Border Culture Institute)], Hong Kong, 1937. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG12425]

[Yisun1985] Zhang, Yisun. Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo / 藏漢大辭典. 1985. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW29329]. Tseten Shabdrung, cited in this article, was part of the editorial board of this dictionary.

[Zanghan1939] 藏漢譯名大辭彙 [The Great Tibetan-Chinese Vocabulary]. 西座文化院印行 [Xichui wenhua yuan (Western Border Culture Institute)], 1939. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG12422]

[Zhalu] Zhwa lu lo tsā ba chos skyong bzang po. Dag yig za ma tog. Tibet House, 1992. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW1KG23488]

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