Karma Ngodup

Instructional Professor
Foster Hall 204
Office Hours: By Appointment.
M.A., Panjab University, 1985; M.A., Panjab University, 1990; M.A., University of Northern Iowa, 1996
Research Interests: Tibetan language and literature, History and Art, Tibetan Buddhism and textual studies.


Karma’s interests are in the wide variety of the Tibetan dialects of the modern spoken language with special focus upon the central Tibetan dialect (what is sometimes called “Standard Tibetan”) and the classical literary language with at least five main scripts to read any Tibetan manuscripts at least since the 7th century.

Karma taught the Tibetan language for six years at the University of California, Berkeley where he started the program from scratch in 2004. Prior to teaching at Berkeley, he taught the Tibetan language privately while serving as a Tibetan Research Consultant for the Electronic and Cultural Atlas Initiatives (ECAI) at Berkeley. He worked on the Tibetan gazetteer project about the religious history of Ganden called the Yellow Beryl [ba'i dur ya ser po]. He joined the University of Chicago in October 2010.

Karma works with graduate and undergraduate students interested in wide research area of Tibetan language, culture, Art and Tibetan Buddhist studies. He is also happy to help and guide BA theses on any aspect of studies about Tibet and to work with Masters students.


  • TBTN: 30100/40100/47901: Third Year/Fourth Year/Advanced Readings in Tibetan
  • TBTN: 20100/20200/20300: Second Year Tibetan
  • TBTN: 10100/10200/10300: First Year Tibetan
  • SALC: 29002/39002: Tibet: Culture, Art and History




  • Syntax & Semantics I Squib Topic: The case of Tibetan Relative Clauses: Internally-headed relative clauses (IHRCs) and externally-headed relative clause (EHRC), a paper by Chao-Yue Lai. 2010.
  • Tibetan Language Course book by Gareth Sparham at Michigan and Jonathan Samuels at Oxford. The course would be published in the Routledge Colloquial series. 2009.
  • The linguistic problem pertaining to the associative case in modern standard Tibetan with special reference to "dang" challenging binary oppositions of its English translation to "with and against" for Prof. Gerhard Richter, UC Davis. 2008.
  • Dr. Margaret Gouin, a former research student of Paul Williams at Bristol University, entitled Rituals of Death: Tibetan Buddhist Funerary Practices published under Routledge Religious. 2008.



  • "Tibetan language and Technology": Sambhota Tibetan program (Writing and Wylie conversion); TibetDoc Tibetan program (Writing, formatting, Wylie conversion); Monlam 14 programs for Tibetan multiple fonts; Microsoft Himalaya; Apple Tibetan Unicode


  • Panel discussion on "Tricky points in teaching language" at the University of California, Berkeley
  • "The issue of Tibetan Unicode system in the Microsoft Windows Vista"


  • "New Approach to teaching Tibetan Language" at the Tibetan Language Conference at Michigan"


  • "Tibetan language and the use of technology at Berkeley Language Center"
Subject Area: Tibetan