Tibetan Language Oath

བོད་སྐད་ཡིག་གི་དམ་བཅའ།Tibetan Language Oath

At Esukhia, we’ve explored and experimented with countless innovative and research-based methods for optimizing the process of second language acquisition.

One of the core aspects of our programs is serving franchisees, clients, and learners who are fully committed to the immersion learning environment. The Tibetan Language Oath ensures our ability to create this unique language environment for learners—in turn, ensuring they make real progress in acquiring language skills. No matter what a learner’s level is when they start, speaking, listening, reading, and writing in a Tibetan-only environment will definitely produce results.

That’s why our language immersion environment is upheld and supported by the explicit and formal promise, of teachers and students alike, to use no language other than Tibetan whenever they are in a Tibetan language-learning environment.

The student version of this agreement reads:


I hereby pledge to use no other language but Tibetan whenever I’m studying in an Esukhia class. I understand that my failure to comply with this oath may result in my expulsion from the program, and the forfeiture of any student fees paid.

What is the Tibetan Language Oath?

At Esukhia and Esukhia-affiliated programs, teachers, students, and all other staff converse strictly in Tibetan. Therefore, we ask that all students adhere to the Tibetan Language Oath: a formal commitment to only speak, listen, read, and write in Tibetan—and no other language—anytime you are in an Esukhia class.
Please keep in mind that the Oath does NOT mean only refraining from English; it applies to ALL languages other than Tibetan.

Why are students required to take the Oath?

A significant amount of research has demonstrated the importance of creating an immersion-like environment for second language acquisition. This environment provides the essential combination of exposure to native speech and the opportunity for producing language (read more about the importance of language production, and its link to comprehension, here). Studies show that through this kind of learning, students build interpretive and productive skills while their brains form “native-like neural responses”—unique aspects of language proficiency that are not shown to come from traditional classroom settings.

Taking this Oath helps students focus their energies on the acquisition of language skills, as well as internalize the patterns of Tibetan communication and its unique cultural perspectives. The Oath plays a major role in creating such an immersion environment, which acts as both a symbol of commitment to learning, while also supporting learners’ language acquisition.
Feel free to read this article, “The Immersion Learning Environment” for more details.

Are beginning students (who have never studied the language) required to take the Language Oath?

Yes. We are in a continual process of modifying and grading our teaching material to facilitate language acquisition within the target language. We firmly believe it is not only possible to start from scratch in Tibetan, but an essential part of creating a solid foundation for learning to speak like a native. Starting a new language is difficult no matter what: whenever there are questions or concerns, please feel welcome to come and chat with Esukhia staff. We are here to support you!

Here are a few key phrases that should help beginning learners get through their first few lessons:

Could you repeat again?

/yang-kyer sung ro nang/


Please speak slowly.

/ka-lay sung ro nang/


How do you read this?

/di gan-des log go reh/


What does “----” mean?

/ “----” lap na /


I didn’t understand the

pronunciation clearly.

/dha-dang selpo hago ma-song/


I don’t understand.

/ha-go ma song/


I need to go to the toilet.

(hold up little finger)

/sang-chu la dro-go yö/


I only speak Tibetan

/pö-kay cheek-bu gyab-gi yö/


Please, wait a second.

/tis goo ah/


Is it the same?

/cheek-pa reh pay/


It is the same.

/cheek-pa reh/


It’s not the same.

/cheek-pa ma reh/


We strongly recommend learners to not focus on memorizing the alphabet for 7 hours straight, or trying to write down and memorize vocabulary. Instead, they can focus on learning practical language related to what they see and experience moment to moment. Listen and repeat. Important words will come again and again, and, after some time, start to stick.

When is the Language Oath waived?

Almost never. The only exception is if there is an emergency unrelated to the lesson. Any issues or problems should be addressed to the course administrators. Questions and concerns about the policy should be brought to the attention of staff (not the teacher).

Learners must adhere to the spirit of the Oath, and to make a sincere effort to speak Tibetan exclusively whenever in an Esukhia class. The thing to understand is that using other languages not only disrupts essential aspects of the learners’ language acquisition; it also disrupts other students if they are in a group class, while putting teachers—whose contract with Esukhia also includes a language oath—in an extremely awkward position. Learners who use non-Tibetan languages during class time are detracting from their co-learners’ learning, while also putting their teachers’ jobs at risk.

Disruptions that are in direct violation of the Oath—such as speaking to the teacher in any language other than Tibetan or looking up words in a translation dictionary during class —must be avoided at all times.

What should I do if a student is violating the Oath?

Please remind them of their commitment to the Oath. This need not be a harsh or unfriendly confrontation; in most cases a simple reminder will suffice. If it continues to be a problem, it should be reported to the course administrators. Esukhia has an official warning policy to deal with repeated violations:

  • A warning is issued to the student.
  • A second warning is issued to the Program Coordinator.
  • Third strike and the student will face probation/expulsion.

What happens if a student is continually breaking the Oath?

There are a huge number of other programs and individuals available to teach Tibetan through the English medium in India and the West. The immersion learning environment is what makes the Esukhia model unique. If a franchisee, client, or learner does not agree with this methodology, we encourage them to pursue one of the many other study opportunities available.

In the case of a franchisee, client, or affiliated program, it is your responsibility to communicate the seriousness of this program’s expectations with your students. Students who do not take this full-immersion environment seriously are not allowed to disrupt it for the other students who are dedicated learners, nor are they allowed to put the professional development of their teachers at risk, who are also dedicated to applying modern teaching methods (like TPR) in lieu of using other languages in the classroom. We therefore reserve the right to expel (without refund) serious repeat offenders.

What can I do if a course guide keeps reverting to another language to explain something?

Teachers are required to support the student in this commitment as much as possible. Our quality control and feedback system are built to address this issue; however, if you encounter this problem, please address it with the Esukhia administration asap.