|Region||Tibet Autonomous Region, U-Tsang|
|(1.2 million cited 1990 census) |
Official language in
|Regulated by||Committee for the Standardisation of the Tibetan Language [note 1]|
Lhasa Tibetan [a] ( Tibetan: ལྷ་སའི་སྐད་, Wylie: Lha-sa'i skad, THL: Lhaséké, ZYPY: Lasägä), or Standard Tibetan, is the Tibetan dialect spoken by educated people of Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.  It is an official language of the Tibet Autonomous Region. 
In the traditional "three-branched" classification of the Tibetic languages, the Lhasa dialect belongs to the Central Tibetan branch (the other two being Khams Tibetan and Amdo Tibetan).  In terms of mutual intelligibility, speakers of Khams Tibetan are able to communicate at a basic level with Lhasa Tibetan, while Amdo speakers cannot.  Both Lhasa Tibetan and Khams Tibetan evolved to become tonal and do not preserve the word-initial consonant clusters, which makes them very far from Classical Tibetan, especially when compared to the more conservative Amdo Tibetan.  
Like many languages, Lhasa Tibetan has a variety of language registers:
Tibetan has been described as having six cases: absolutive, agentive, genitive, ablative, associative and oblique. These are generally marked by particles, which are attached to entire noun phrases, rather than individual nouns. These suffixes may vary in form based on the final sound of the root.
The Standard Tibetan language distinguishes three levels of demonstrative: proximal འདི <'di> "this", medial དེ <de> "that", and distal ཕ་གི <pha-gi> "that over there (yonder)". These can also take case suffixes.
Verbs in Tibetan always come at the end of the clause. Verbs do not show agreement in person, number or gender in Tibetan. There is also no voice distinction between active and passive; Tibetan verbs are neutral with regard to voice. 
Tibetan verbs can be divided into classses based on volition and valency. The volition of the verb has a major effect on its morphology and syntax. Volitional verbs have imperative forms, whilst non-volitional verbs do not: compare ལྟོས་ཤིག <ltos shig> "Look!" with the non-existent *མཐོང་ཤིག <mthong shig> "*See!". Additionally, only volitional verbs can take the egophoric copula ཡིན <yin>. 
Verbs in Tibetan can be split into monovalent and divalent verbs; some may also act as both, such as ཆག <chag> "break". This interacts with the volition of the verb to condition which nouns take the ergative case and which must take the absolutive, remaining unmarked.  Nonetheless, distinction in transitivity is orthogonal to volition; both the volitional and non-volitional classes contain transitive as well as intransitive verbs.
The aspect of the verb affects which verbal suffixes and which final auxiliary copulae are attached. Morphologically, verbs in the unaccomplished aspect are marked by the suffix གི <gi> or its other forms, identical to the genitive case for nouns, whereas accomplished aspect verbs do not use this suffix. Each can be broken down into two subcategories: under the unaccomplished aspect, future and progressive/general; under the accomplished aspect, perfect and aorist or simple perfective. 
Evidentiality is a well-known feature of Tibetan verb morphology, gaining much scholarly attention,  and contributing substantially to the understanding of evidentiality across languages.  The evidentials in Standard Tibetan interact with aspect in a system marked by final copulae, with the following resultant modalities being a feature of Standard Tibetan, as classified by Nicolas Tournadre: 
Unlike many other languages of East Asia and especially Chinese, another Sino-Tibetan language, there are no numeral auxiliaries or measure words used in counting in Tibetan although words expressive of a collective or integral are often used after the tens, sometimes after a smaller number. 
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2023)
Tibetan is written with an Indic script, with a historically conservative orthography that reflects Old Tibetan phonology and helps unify the Tibetan-language area. It is also helpful in reconstructing Proto Sino-Tibetan and Old Chinese.
Wylie transliteration is the most common system of romanization used by Western scholars in rendering written Tibetan using the Latin alphabet (such as employed on much of this page), while linguists tend to use other special transliteration systems of their own. As for transcriptions meant to approximate the pronunciation, Tibetan pinyin is the official romanization system employed by the government of the People's Republic of China, while English language materials use the THL transcription  system. Certain names may also retain irregular transcriptions, such as Chomolungma for Mount Everest.
Tibetan (orthographic) syllable structure is (C1C2)C3(C4)V(C5C6)  Not all combinations are licit.
|licit letters||ག ད བ མ འ||ར ལ ས||any consonant||ཡ ར ཝ ལ||any vowel||ག མ ང ད ལ ས ན བ ར འ||ས|
The following summarizes the sound system of the dialect of Tibetan spoken in Lhasa, the most influential variety of the spoken language.
Tournadre and Sangda Dorje describe eight vowels in the standard language:
Three additional vowels are sometimes described as significantly distinct: [ʌ] or [ə], which is normally an allophone of /a/; [ɔ], which is normally an allophone of /o/; and [ɛ̈] (an unrounded, centralised, mid front vowel), which is normally an allophone of /e/. These sounds normally occur in closed syllables; because Tibetan does not allow geminated consonants, there are cases in which one syllable ends with the same sound as the one following it. The result is that the first is pronounced as an open syllable but retains the vowel typical of a closed syllable. For instance, zhabs (foot) is pronounced [ɕʌp] and pad (borrowing from Sanskrit padma, lotus) is pronounced [pɛʔ], but the compound word, zhabs pad is pronounced [ɕʌpɛʔ]. This process can result in minimal pairs involving sounds that are otherwise allophones.
Sources vary on whether the [ɛ̈] phone (resulting from /e/ in a closed syllable) and the [ɛ] phone (resulting from /a/ through the i-mutation) are distinct or basically identical.
Phonemic vowel length exists in Lhasa Tibetan but in a restricted set of circumstances. Assimilation of Classical Tibetan's suffixes, normally 'i (འི་), at the end of a word produces a long vowel in Lhasa Tibetan; the feature is sometimes omitted in phonetic transcriptions. In normal spoken pronunciation, a lengthening of the vowel is also frequently substituted for the sounds [r] and [l] when they occur at the end of a syllable.
The vowels /i/, /y/, /e/, /ø/, and /ɛ/ each have nasalized forms: /ĩ/, /ỹ/, /ẽ/, /ø̃/, and /ɛ̃/, respectively, which historically results from /in/, /en/, etc. In some unusual cases, the vowels /a/, /u/, and /o/ may also be nasalised.
The Lhasa dialect is usually described as having two tones: high and low. However, in monosyllabic words, each tone can occur with two distinct contours. The high tone can be pronounced with either a flat or a falling contour, and the low tone can be pronounced with either a flat or rising-falling contour, the latter being a tone that rises to a medium level before falling again. It is normally safe to distinguish only between the two tones because there are very few minimal pairs that differ only because of contour. The difference occurs only in certain words ending in the sounds [m] or [ŋ]; for instance, the word kham ( Tibetan: ཁམ་, "piece") is pronounced [kʰám] with a high flat tone, whereas the word Khams ( Tibetan: ཁམས་, "the Kham region") is pronounced [kʰâm] with a high falling tone.
In polysyllabic words, tone is not important except in the first syllable. This means that from the point of view of phonological typology, Tibetan could more accurately be described as a pitch-accent language than a true tone language, in the latter of which all syllables in a word can carry their own tone.
ʈ ~ ʈʂ
|Approximant||w ~ ɥ||ɹ̥||ɹ||j|
The Lhasa Tibetan verbal system distinguishes four tenses and three evidential moods. 
|V་པ་ཡིན / V་བྱུང་
V-pa-yin / byung
Lhasa Tibetan has a base-10 counting system.  The basic units of the counting system of Lhasa Tibetan is given in the table below in both the Tibetan script and a romanisation for those unfamiliar with Written Tibetan.
|གཅིག་||chig||1||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩ་གཅིག་||nyishu tsa chi||21||བཞི་བརྒྱ་||zhi gya||400|
|གཉིས་||nyi||2||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩགཉིས་||nyishu tsa nyi||22||ལྔ་བརྒྱ་||nyi gya||500|
|གསུམ་||sum||3||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩགསུམ་||nyishu tsa sum||23||དྲུག་བརྒྱ་||drug gya||600|
|བཞི་||zhi||4||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩབཞི་||nyishu tsa zhi||24||བདུན་བརྒྱ་||dün gya||700|
|ལྔ་||nga||5||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩ་ལྔ་||nyishu tsa nga||25||བརྒྱད་བརྒྱ་||gye' gya||800|
|དྲུག་||drug||6||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩདྲུག་||nyishu tsa drug||26||དགུ་བརྒྱ་||ku gya||900|
|བདུན་||dün||7||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩབདུན་||nyishu tsa dün||27||ཆིག་སྟོང་||chig tong||1000|
|བརྒྱད་||gye'||8||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩབརྒྱད་||nyishu tsa gye'||28||ཁྲི||khri||10,000|
|དགུ་||gu||9||ཉི་ཤུ་རྩདགུ་||nyishu tsa gu||29|
|བཅུ་||chu||10||སུམ་ཅུ||sum cu||30||སུམ་ཅུ་སོ་གཅིག||sum chu so chig||31|
|བཅུ་གཅིག་||chugchig||11||བཞི་བཅུ||ship cu||40||བཞི་ཅུ་ཞེ་གཅིག||ship chu she chig||41|
|བཅུ་གཉིས་||chunyi||12||ལྔ་བཅུ||ngap cu||50||ལྔ་བཅུ་ང་གཅིག||ngap chu nga chig||51|
|བཅུ་གསུམ་||choksum||13||དྲུག་ཅུ||trug cu||60||དྲུག་ཅུ་རེ་གཅིག||trug chu re chig||61|
|བཅུ་བཞི་||chushi||14||བདུན་ཅུ||dün cu||70||བདུན་ཅུ་དོན་གཅིག||dün chu dhon chig||71|
|བཅོ་ལྔ་||chonga||15||བརྒྱད་ཅུ||gye' cu||80||བརྒྱད་ཅུ་གྱ་གཅིག||gye' chu gya chig||81|
|བཅུ་དྲུག་||chudrug||16||དགུ་བཅུ||gup cu||90||དགུ་བཅུ་གོ་གཅིག||gup chu go chig||91|
|བཅུ་བདུན་||chubdün||17||བརྒྱ་||gya||100||བརྒྱ་དང་གཅིག||gya tang chig||101|
|བཅོ་བརྒྱད་||chobgye'||18||རྒྱ་དང་ལྔ་བཅུ་||kya tang ngap cu||150|
|དུང་ཕྱུར||tung chur||100,000,000 |
In the 18th and 19th centuries several Western linguists arrived in Tibet:
In much of Tibet, primary education is conducted either primarily or entirely in the Tibetan language, and bilingual education is rarely introduced before students reach middle school. However, Chinese is the language of instruction of most Tibetan secondary schools. In April 2020, classroom instruction was switched from Tibetan to Mandarin Chinese in Ngaba, Sichuan.  Students who continue on to tertiary education have the option of studying humanistic disciplines in Tibetan at a number of minority colleges in China.  This contrasts with Tibetan schools in Dharamsala, India, where the Ministry of Human Resource Development curriculum requires academic subjects to be taught in English from middle school.  Literacy and enrollment rates continue to be the main concern of the Chinese government. Much of the adult population in Tibet remains illiterate, and despite compulsory education policies, many parents in rural areas are unable to send their children to school.[ citation needed]
In February 2008, Norman Baker, a UK MP, released a statement to mark International Mother Language Day claiming, "The Chinese government are following a deliberate policy of extinguishing all that is Tibetan, including their own language in their own country" and he asserted a right for Tibetans to express themselves "in their mother tongue".  However, Tibetologist Elliot Sperling has noted that "within certain limits the PRC does make efforts to accommodate Tibetan cultural expression" and "the cultural activity taking place all over the Tibetan plateau cannot be ignored." 
Some scholars also question such claims because most Tibetans continue to reside in rural areas where Chinese is rarely spoken, as opposed to Lhasa and other Tibetan cities where Chinese can often be heard. In the Texas Journal of International Law, Barry Sautman stated that "none of the many recent studies of endangered languages deems Tibetan to be imperiled, and language maintenance among Tibetans contrasts with language loss even in the remote areas of Western states renowned for liberal policies... claims that primary schools in Tibet teach Mandarin are in error. Tibetan was the main language of instruction in 98% of TAR primary schools in 1996; today, Mandarin is introduced in early grades only in urban schools.... Because less than four out of ten TAR Tibetans reach secondary school, primary school matters most for their cultural formation." 
An incomplete list of machine translation software or applications that can translate Tibetan language from/to a variety of other languages.