V or W?

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V or W?

Postby Justin » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:33 pm

In listening to Dhamma talks and chanting on the websites of various Theravadin monasteries, I have noticed that some group pronounce v's as w's in Pali (i.e., Bhagavato, brahmavihara). (I'm reminded of the Vesak vs. Wesak semantics, but I know that Vesak is Sinhalese). Could anyone help shed some light on why different groups pronounce v's differently, and what the pronounciation rules for v are in Pali?

Much metta,
Justin :anjali:
Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,
and a mind of boundless love.

Itivuttuka 16
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Re: V or W?

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:53 pm

The classical Pali grammars classify the consonant as dento-labial (i.e. requiring the upper front teeth to be in contact with the lower lip). So, v is more likely the correct pronunciation, since w is a bilabial consonant. But in practice SE Asian Buddhists will pronounce it as a w because their native tongues (Thai, Lao, Khmer etc.) don't have a v sound.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: V or W?

Postby Justin » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:10 pm

Many thanks! :namaste:
Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,
and a mind of boundless love.

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