Tibetans fear losing their tongue under Chinese onslaught
July 13 (Washington Post): Tibetan is an official language in Tibet and parts of China where Tibetans have traditionally been the main ethnic group, in what the government calls “autonomous” regions and areas.
Yet Beijing has for decades promoted “Putonghua,” or standard Mandarin Chinese, as a way of unifying a diverse country.
For Tibetans, the route to jobs and a better income often requires mastering Chinese, leaving many worried they will lose their own ancient tongue and its unique writing system. Teachers say there are no text books in Tibetan for subjects like history, mathematics or science, and exams have to be written in Chinese — apart from Tibetan language tests.
In Lhasa, some educated Tibetans say they will fight the rising tide of Mandarin — by refusing to speak it.
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