Pali Grammar

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Ceisiwr
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Pali Grammar

Post by Ceisiwr »

Greetings everyone,

Can anyone recommend a really good website, book or video course to help me gain a better understanding of pali grammar and its intricacies?

Many thanks
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Sam Vara
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Sam Vara »

The standard book is A K Warder's Introduction to Pali. It helps if you are aware of parts of speech, etc, otherwise it can look a bit daunting and you spend time Googling what terms like "past participle" mean.

Johansson's Pali Buddhist Texts is also helpful. It gets you reading actual chunks of suttas, and leaves the tables etc. to the end or as you need them.

Oxford Uni have on-line courses, both live and recorded, both costing quite a lot.

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SDC
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by SDC »

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:06 pm
The standard book is A K Warder's Introduction to Pali. It helps if you are aware of parts of speech, etc, otherwise it can look a bit daunting and you spend time Googling what terms like "past participle" mean.
The publisher put "Intro" in the title purely for marketing purposes lol

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Ceisiwr »

Thanks both
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Sam Vara
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Sam Vara »

SDC wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:43 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:06 pm
The standard book is A K Warder's Introduction to Pali. It helps if you are aware of parts of speech, etc, otherwise it can look a bit daunting and you spend time Googling what terms like "past participle" mean.
The publisher put "Intro" in the title purely for marketing purposes lol
:rofl:

Yes, the marketing department also suggested "Pali Made Easy" and "Fluent in a Week"....

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SDC
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by SDC »

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:57 pm
SDC wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:43 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:06 pm
The standard book is A K Warder's Introduction to Pali. It helps if you are aware of parts of speech, etc, otherwise it can look a bit daunting and you spend time Googling what terms like "past participle" mean.
The publisher put "Intro" in the title purely for marketing purposes lol
:rofl:

Yes, the marketing department also suggested "Pali Made Easy" and "Fluent in a Week"....
"Hi I'm AK Warder, and I'm about to 'introduce' you to every detail of the Pali language and make you a borderline linguistics expert. Have fun!"

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DooDoot
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:10 pm
Can anyone recommend a really good website, book or video course to help me gain a better understanding of pali grammar and its intricacies?
Grammar is difficult for me, including English grammar. I found this internet book the easiest to follow.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Ceisiwr »

DooDoot wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:03 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:10 pm
Can anyone recommend a really good website, book or video course to help me gain a better understanding of pali grammar and its intricacies?
Grammar is difficult for me, including English grammar. I found this internet book the easiest to follow.
Thanks
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Volo
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Volo »

Duroiselle is quite useful as a reference book for Pali grammar.

If you want to study from zero, I recommend to go in a following sequence:

1. DeSilva Pali primer: very basic, but good to start with if you know close to nothing. "Translate into pali" drills can be skipped.

2. Gair and Karunatillake "A New Course in Reading Pali", but use it only with the audio lecturers by bhikkhu Bodhi, otherwise is too dry, imo. You can also try to start with this book. After learning it, you will be quite familiar with Pali grammar.

3. Warder. Although indeed it's not easy for beginners, still necessary to read of you want to feel confident with the Pali texts. It doesn't simply list different grammatical structures (as Duroiselle), but gives a lot of useful information on what form is more common, what are the different shades in meaning when using this or that form, etc.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Ceisiwr »

Volo wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 2:26 am
Duroiselle is quite useful as a reference book for Pali grammar.

If you want to study from zero, I recommend to go in a following sequence:

1. DeSilva Pali primer: very basic, but good to start with if you know close to nothing. "Translate into pali" drills can be skipped.

2. Gair and Karunatillake "A New Course in Reading Pali", but use it only with the audio lecturers by bhikkhu Bodhi, otherwise is too dry, imo. You can also try to start with this book. After learning it, you will be quite familiar with Pali grammar.

3. Warder. Although indeed it's not easy for beginners, still necessary to read of you want to feel confident with the Pali texts. It doesn't simply list different grammatical structures (as Duroiselle), but gives a lot of useful information on what form is more common, what are the different shades in meaning when using this or that form, etc.
Thank you :)
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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DooDoot
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 2:07 am
Thanks
Your'e welcome. Basic method is as follows:

1. Find the Pali word you wish to examine in the relevant sutta, example: "saṅkhārā" in SN 12.2

2. Look up "saṅkhārā" in the dictionary for its gender, which is "masculine".
Concise Pali English Dictionary
saṅkhāra
masculine
essential condition; a thing conditioned, mental coefficients
3. Then go to the table on page 18 (attached at bottom of this post), where it is shown the case options for the basic word "saṅkhāra" ending in ā (with the stroke over the a) highlighted in red circles in the attachment below.

4. The table shows the word "saṅkhāra" ending in ā can either be nominative-plural, instrumental-singular, ablative-singular or vocative-singular-or-plural.

5. Of course, you must first learn the meanings of the various cases, such as nominative or instrumental. This was for some reason very difficult for me but finally the penny dropped.

6. Since the word "saṅkhārā" in SN 12.2 is the subject of a question: "And what are saṅkhārā: Katame ca, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā?? the only possible case here is nominative. Therefore, saṅkhārā here is plural.

6a. For example, if the word "saṅkhārā" was in the instrumental case, the word would be used in a sentence or context where a sankhara is used as an instrument, such as: "A vacisankhara (verbal formation) was used to insult the monk".

7. What this signifies is saṅkhārā in SN 12.2 cannot mean "conditioning" or "naming" or "imputing" and those similar meanings some folks appear to have been purporting because the word saṅkhārā is plural.

8. Now, if we argue: "It means conditionings" (plural), this argument would not be consistent with all of the other 11 words in each question of SN 12.2, which are all singular. For example, SN 12.2 does not ask: "What are ignorances? What are consciousnesses? What are contacts?" Sankhara is the only question word in SN 12.2 which is plural. It follows the student should ask the question: "Why is it plural?"

9. For the 3 life-time model of D.O. saṅkhārā appears to be plural because it represents the various good, bad & imperturbable formations generated & accumulated in past lives.

10. For the momentary model of D.O. saṅkhārā appears to be plural because it represents each of the three sankharo (kaya, vaci & citta) arising in the same mind moment.

11. In Abhidhamma, D.O. saṅkhāra is regarded as momentary good, bad & imperturbable formations; therefore Abhidhamma has changed the plural saṅkhārā of the suttas into the singular saṅkhāra for its own purposes (because a good & bad formation cannot arise in the same mind moment). This shows how Abhidhamma is dodgy. This also shows how grammatically strict the suttas are written.

12. Therefore, when analyzing "saṅkhārā" in SN 12.2, it is plural and this word being plural has interpretive ramifications.

13. Conversely, each sub-sankhara in SN 12.2, namely, kayasankharo, vacisankaro & cittasankharo end in the letter "o", which, per the table below, makes each word nominative-singular.

:reading: Click on the table below for a clearer image:
Attachments
Sankhara grammar table.png
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Ceisiwr »

DooDoot wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 8:28 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 2:07 am
Thanks
Your'e welcome. Basic method is as follows:

1. Find the Pali word you wish to examine in the relevant sutta, example: "saṅkhārā" in SN 12.2

2. Look up "saṅkhārā" in the dictionary for its gender, which is "masculine".
Concise Pali English Dictionary
saṅkhāra
masculine
essential condition; a thing conditioned, mental coefficients
3. Then go to the table on page 18 (attached at bottom of this post), where it is shown the case options for the basic word "saṅkhāra" ending in ā (with the stroke over the a) highlighted in red circles in the attachment below.

4. The table shows the word "saṅkhāra" ending in ā can either be nominative-plural, instrumental-singular, ablative-singular or vocative-singular-or-plural.

5. Of course, you must first learn the meanings of the various cases, such as nominative or instrumental. This was for some reason very difficult for me but finally the penny dropped.

6. Since the word "saṅkhārā" in SN 12.2 is the subject of a question: "And what are saṅkhārā: Katame ca, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā?? the only possible case here is nominative. Therefore, saṅkhārā here is plural.

6a. For example, if the word "saṅkhārā" was in the instrumental case, the word would be used in a sentence or context where a sankhara is used as an instrument, such as: "A vacisankhara (verbal formation) was used to insult the monk".

7. What this signifies is saṅkhārā in SN 12.2 cannot mean "conditioning" or "naming" or "imputing" and those similar meanings some folks appear to have been purporting because the word saṅkhārā is plural.

8. Now, if we argue: "It means conditionings" (plural), this argument would not be consistent with all of the other 11 words in each question of SN 12.2, which are all singular. For example, SN 12.2 does not ask: "What are ignorances? What are consciousnesses? What are contacts?" Sankhara is the only question word in SN 12.2 which is plural. It follows the student should ask the question: "Why is it plural?"

9. For the 3 life-time model of D.O. saṅkhārā appears to be plural because it represents the various good, bad & imperturbable formations generated & accumulated in past lives.

10. For the momentary model of D.O. saṅkhārā appears to be plural because it represents each of the three sankharo (kaya, vaci & citta) arising in the same mind moment.

11. In Abhidhamma, D.O. saṅkhāra is regarded as momentary good, bad & imperturbable formations; therefore Abhidhamma has changed the plural saṅkhārā of the suttas into the singular saṅkhāra for its own purposes (because a good & bad formation cannot arise in the same mind moment). This shows how Abhidhamma is dodgy. This also shows how grammatically strict the suttas are written.

12. Therefore, when analyzing "saṅkhārā" in SN 12.2, it is plural and this word being plural has interpretive ramifications.

13. Conversely, each sub-sankhara in SN 12.2, namely, kayasankharo, vacisankaro & cittasankharo end in the letter "o", which, per the table below, makes each word nominative-singular.

:reading: Click on the table below for a clearer image:
That’s very informative and helpful. Thanks :)

I’ve been trying to translate some texts on my own, but having limited knowledge of how Pali grammar works I wasn’t having much success. The above is helpful though.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Ceisiwr »

I've found this cheat sheet helpful.
Attachments
cheat sheet.png
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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DooDoot
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:12 pm
I’ve been trying to translate some texts on my own, but having limited knowledge of how Pali grammar works I wasn’t having much success. The above is helpful though.
As I posted, I am somewhat retarded when it comes to grammar but eventually the penny dropped with the various cases. Therefore, keep persevering because, once the penny drops about the various cases, its so much fun.

Note merely learning the basic cases & merely learning what verbs vs nouns/adjectives are opens up a new world of Dhamma. I love it! And i know maybe 2% of what Volo or Dhammanando know. :smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pali Grammar

Post by Ceisiwr »

DooDoot wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:00 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:12 pm
I’ve been trying to translate some texts on my own, but having limited knowledge of how Pali grammar works I wasn’t having much success. The above is helpful though.
As I posted, I am somewhat retarded when it comes to grammar but eventually the penny dropped with the various cases. Therefore, keep persevering because, once the penny drops about the various cases, its so much fun.

Note merely learning the basic cases & merely learning what verbs vs nouns/adjectives are opens up a new world of Dhamma. I love it! And i know maybe 2% of what Volo or Dhammanando know. :smile:
:thumbsup:
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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