Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries
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Dhammanando
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Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:40 pm

I haven't done it myself, but it looks very well-prepared and pupil-friendly.

http://www.pamc.org.sg/index.php?option ... 68&lang=en

http://www.pamc.org.sg/index.php?option ... 85&lang=en
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:25 am

Thanks, that looks very useful. The explanation of pronunciation in the first lecture is very interesting and detailed, though it appears that the Sri Lankan style of pronunciation makes some differentiations (e.g on page 41) that I don't hear in Thai contexts.

:anjali:
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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by SarathW » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:34 am

Thank you Bhante.
Seems very interesting.
It is timely, I am thinking of learning some Pali.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:46 am

mikenz66 wrote:though it appears that the Sri Lankan style of pronunciation makes some differentiations (e.g on page 41) that I don't hear in Thai contexts.
Yes, that isn't surprising.

As their native tongue belongs to the same language family as Pali, the Sri Lankans’ way of pronouncing Pali is mostly in line with the phonetic descriptions given in the ancient Pali grammars, with only two or three mispronunciations. The Thais on the other hand, will typically pronounce 15 of the Pali consonants right and the other 18 wrong:

k … ✔
kh … ✔
g … ✘ (Thais mispronounce as kh)
gh … ✘ ( " kh)
ṅ … ✔

c … ✘ ( " j)
ch … ✔
j … ✘ ( " ch)
jh … ✘ ( " ch)
ñ … ✘ ( " y)

ṭ … ✘ ( " t)
ṭh … ✘ ( " th)
ḍ … ✘ ( " th)
ḍh … ✘ ( " th)
ṇ … ✘ ( " n)

t … ✔
th … ✔
d … ✘ ( " th)
dh … ✘ ( " th)
n … ✔

p … ✔
ph … ✔
b … ✘ ( " ph)
bh … ✘ ( " ph)
m … ✔

y … ✔
r … ✔
l … ✔
v … ✘ ( " w)
s … ✔
h … ✔
ḷ … ✘ ( " l)
ṃ … ✘ ( " ṅ)
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by SarathW » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:14 am

Interesting!
I did not know that Pali alphabet is as same as the Sinhalease alphabet!
:D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:54 am

Thanks Bhante,

I notice the monks at my wat do pronounce some of those consonants more correctly when they are being careful (notably ñ) and some more wrong when not being careful (notably r, which becomes l, which is a common problem with Thais pronouncing Thai. However, their proper "r" has an extra trill to it, that is probably not proper Pali...).

I was particularly thinking of vowels (sara). For one thing, I hadn't realised that sara in Thai was a Pali loan word. :reading:

This was useful:
Page 41: Pronunciation of “a”
• At Beginning Syllable of word : mouth open
• In the Middle or End Syllable : mouth close
namo open na-mo
tassa open|close tas-ser
bhagavato open|close|close bha-ger-ver-to
I can now understand why Sri Lankans pronounce the two "a"s in tassa differently, whereas Thais would usually pronounce them as the same short "ah".

The vowel-length information on page 18 was also useful:
Pronouncing "e" and "o"
Short before double or multiple consonants:
khettaṃ (paddy field) koṭṭeti (to chop)
ettha (here) oṭṭho (camel)
[I would have said "When a syllable ends in a consonant, which you can tell by there being more than one consonant."]

Long before single consonant or at end of word:
evam (thus) osadha (medicine)
dhamme (in the dhamma) buddho (the enlightenment)
That's useful to know when figuring out the rhythm when chanting.

Of course, when chanting the key is chanting together, so, unless one is the leader, it is necessary to adjust to the local dialect, otherwise it comes out really badly...

:anjali:
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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:51 am

mikenz66 wrote:I notice the monks at my wat do pronounce some of those consonants more correctly when they are being careful (notably ñ)
If they were from Chiang Mai or its neighbouring provinces and followed the Lanna pronunciation of Pali, they’d get the ñ exactly right every time, but if they’re from anywhere else they’ll only get it right when it appears as a double consonant, as in Koṇḍañña or Ciñcā. If it’s an initial consonant they’ll always make it into a y. In fact unless they’ve been to study in India or Sri Lanka most of them won’t even realise that it’s not supposed to be a y.
mikenz66 wrote:However, their proper "r" has an extra trill to it, that is probably not proper Pali...).
Actually the phonetic descriptions in the ancient grammars aren’t nearly precise enough for us to know whether this rhotic consonant is meant to be a trill (/r/; /R/), a tap (/ɾ/, /ɽ/) or an approximant (/ɹ/; /ɻ/), so any of them might conceivably be right. However, since out of these six possibilities the two kinds of trill (i.e. the alveolar and the uvular) are by far the commonest rhotic sounds in the world’s languages, the odds are that the Pali r will be one or the other.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:01 am

Dhammanando wrote:As their native tongue belongs to the same language family as Pali, the Sri Lankans’ way of pronouncing Pali is mostly in line with the phonetic descriptions given in the ancient Pali grammars, with only two or three mispronunciations. The Thais on the other hand, will typically pronounce 15 of the Pali consonants right and the other 18 wrong.
A member has sent me a message asking how the Pali pronunciation of English-speaking Buddhists compares with that of the Sri Lankans and Thais. The short answer is that the pronunciation of most of us is nearly, but not quite, as bad as that of the Thais.

A longer answer would be that a native English-speaker who has had some elementary instruction in Pali pronunciation (e.g., enough for her to know that the "th" in Theravada is not pronounced like the "th" in think and that the Pali "c" is not like the "c" in cabin), but who does not usually make a conscious effort to get her pronunciation exactly right, will typically realise 18 consonants correctly and 15 wrongly. This is the usual pattern:

k … ✘ (needless aspirate inserted: e.g. Kassapa realised as Khassapa)
kh … ✔
g … ✔
gh … ✘ (aspiration neglected: e.g. Ghosa => Gosa)
ṅ … ✔

c … ✔
ch … ✘ (aspiration neglected: e.g. Channa => Canna)
j … ✔
jh … ✘ (aspiration neglected: e.g. jhāna => jāna)
ñ … ✔

ṭ … ✘ (retroflex realised as dental or alveolar; needless aspirate inserted: e.g. ṭāma => thāma)
ṭh … ✘ (retroflex realised as dental or alveolar: e.g. ṭhāna => thāna)
ḍ … ✘ (retroflex realised as dental or alveolar: e.g. ḍiṇḍima => dindima)
ḍh … ✘ (retroflex realised as dental or alveolar; aspiration neglected: e.g. aḍḍho => addo)
ṇ … ✘ (retroflex realised as dental or alveolar: e.g. aṇṇava => annava)

t … ✘ (needless aspirate inserted: e.g. Gotama => Gothama)
th … ✔
d … ✔
dh … ✘ (aspiration neglected: e.g. Dhamma = Damma)
n … ✔

p … ✘ (needless aspirate inserted: e.g. parisā => pharisā)
ph … ✔
b … ✔
bh … ✘ (aspiration neglected: e.g. bhojana => bojana)
m … ✔

y … ✔
r … ✔
l … ✔
v … ✔
s … ✔
h … ✔
ḷ … ✘ (retroflex approximant realised as dental or postalveolar: e.g. daḷhi => dalhi)
ṃ … ✘ (nasalis simplex realised as velar nasal: e.g. imam => imaṅ)

Then there are two further mistakes commonly made by English-speaking Buddhists that would be impossible for a Thai to make.

1. Wrong syllabification of aspirated consonants. For example, when the Forest Sangha monks in Britain are giving the refuges and precepts one often hears them mispronouncing buddhaṃ as bud-haṃ or saṅghaṃ as saṅg-haṃ. The correct syllabification is bud-dhaṃ and saṅ-ghaṃ.

2. The failure to pronounce both consonants in a double-consonant cluster. In English, for example, "mummy and "daddy" are pronounced /'mʌmi/ and /'dadi/, but if they were Pali words the double-m and double-d would need to be given their full value and with a clear hiatus between them. Most English-speaking Buddhists neglect to do this.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:33 am

Thanks Bhante, for the explanation.

The inability to figure out the syllables is one of the biggest challenges to English speakers when confronted by a number of languages, including, but certainly not limited to, Pali (as in your examples), Thai (e.g. Ayutthaya, which doesn't end with "tire") , and Māori (e.g. Timaru, which doesn't contain the syllable "tim").

I gather than in Pali a consonant is the start of a new syllable, unless it is followed by another syllable, in which case it is at the end of the current syllable.

[I guess it is no accident that Māori uses a similar transliteration to Pali, since the transliteration was done by English speakers in the 19th C, so readers of this thread shouldn't have any problem pronouncing words like Tāne or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C4%81ne. Hint: Māori has no syllables that end in consonants.]

:anjali:
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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:15 am

mikenz66 wrote:The inability to figure out the syllables is one of the biggest challenges to English speakers when confronted by a number of languages, including, but certainly not limited to, Pali (as in your examples), Thai (e.g. Ayutthaya, which doesn't end with "tire") , and Māori (e.g. Timaru, which doesn't contain the syllable "tim").
Yes. In the case of Pali my own (partial) solution to the syllabification problem is a new romanization system which I call Sundararomāna (“Elegant Roman”). Its main advantages are its elimination of the need to use two letters to represent a single Pali aspirated consonant; its elimination of all the unsightly underdots and overdots of the PTS system; and its reduction of the nasalis simplex consonant from the wide-bodied typographical nuisance it is today (i.e. ṃ or ṁ) into the unassuming little ring that it is in virtually every Asian Pali script:

aṃ = ɑ̊
iṃ = i̊
uṃ = ů

A couple of examples for comparison...

  • Sundararomāna:

    “Pubbɑ̄pɑrɑɲɲū ɑtƭɑɲɲū, niruttipɑdɑkovido,
    Suɡɡɑhītɑɲcɑ ɡɑɳhɑ̄ti, ɑtƭɑɲcopɑpɑrikƙɑti.”
    (Ānɑndɑ, Ƭerɑɡɑ̄ƭɑ̄ 1031)

    Knowing what comes first and last, knowing the meaning,
    well-skilled in understanding words and their interpretation,
    he seizes it in a good grasp and examines the meaning.



    PTS system:

    “Pubbāparaññū atthaññū, niruttipadakovido,
    Suggahītañca gaṇhāti, atthañcopaparikkhati.”
    (Ānanda, Theragāthā 1031)


    Sundararomāna:

    Ƙɑɡɡɑvisɑ̄ɳɑ Suttɑ

    Sɑbbesu ɓūtesu niɗɑ̄yɑ dɑɳɖɑ̊, ɑviheȶɑyɑ̊ ɑɲɲɑtɑrɑmpi tesɑ̊,
    Nɑ puttɑmicƈeyyɑ kuto sɑhɑ̄yɑ̊, eko cɑre ƙɑɡɡɑvisɑ̄ɳɑkɑppo.

    Sɑ̊sɑɡɡɑjɑ̄tɑssɑ ɓɑvɑnti snehɑ̄, snehɑnvɑyɑ̊ dukƙɑmidɑ̊ pɑhoti,
    Ādīnɑvɑ̊ snehɑjɑ̊ pekƙɑmɑ̄no, eko cɑre ƙɑɡɡɑvisɑ̄ɳɑkɑppo.

    Mitte suhɑjje ɑnukɑmpɑmɑ̄no, hɑ̄peti ɑtƭɑ̊ pɑʈibɑdɗɑcitto,
    Etɑ̊ ɓɑyɑ̊ sɑnƭɑve pekƙɑmɑ̄no, eko cɑre ƙɑɡɡɑvisɑ̄ɳɑkɑppo.

    Vɑ̊so visɑ̄lovɑ yɑƭɑ̄ visɑtto, puttesu dɑ̄resu cɑ yɑ̄ ɑpekƙɑ̄,
    Vɑ̊sɑkkɑłīrovɑ sɑjjɑmɑ̄no, eko cɑre ƙɑɡɡɑvisɑ̄ɳɑkɑppo.

    Miɡo ɑrɑɲɲɑmhi yɑƭɑ̄ ɑbɑdɗo, yenicƈɑkɑ̊ ɡɑcƈɑti ɡocɑrɑ̄yɑ,
    Viɲɲū nɑro seritɑ̊ pekƙɑmɑ̄no, eko cɑre ƙɑɡɡɑvisɑ̄ɳɑkɑppo.


    PTS system:

    Khaggavisāṇa Sutta

    Sabbesu bhūtesu nidhāya daṇḍaṃ, aviheṭhayaṃ aññatarampi tesaṃ,
    Na puttamiccheyya kuto sahāyaṃ, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo.

    Saṃsaggajātassa bhavanti snehā, snehanvayaṃ dukkhamidaṃ pahoti,
    Ādīnavaṃ snehajaṃ pekkhamāno, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo.

    Mitte suhajje anukampamāno, hāpeti atthaṃ paṭibaddhacitto,
    Etaṃ bhayaṃ santhave pekkhamāno, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo.

    Vaṃso visālova yathā visatto, puttesu dāresu ca yā apekkhā,
    Vaṃsakkaḷīrova sajjamāno, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo.

    Migo araññamhi yathā abaddho, yenicchakaṃ gacchati gocarāya,
    Viññū naro seritaṃ pekkhamāno, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Coyote » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:19 am

Thanks Bhante.

I will use the first video to correct my pronunciation of aspirated and retroflex consonants, among others.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by SarathW » Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:53 am

I have started my first lesson.
What exactly the meaning of the following statements about Pali?

============
it is the very first language in the world.
• The language spoken by human beings in the beginning of a world cycle

• It is the language for communication in the Brahma realm.
• For a new born who has not heard or learned any languages before, the first words spoken are in Pāli.
• (Most importantly) Pāli is the language spoken by all the Sammāsambuddhas.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:05 am

Thanks for this bhante :)
“Jhãyatha, mã pamãdattha, mã pacchã vippaìisãrino ahuvattha!”

“Meditate, don’t be negligent, lest you may later regret it!”

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:49 am

SarathW wrote:I have started my first lesson.
What exactly the meaning of the following statements about Pali?

============
it is the very first language in the world.
• The language spoken by human beings in the beginning of a world cycle

• It is the language for communication in the Brahma realm.

• For a new born who has not heard or learned any languages before, the first words spoken are in Pāli.

• (Most importantly) Pāli is the language spoken by all the Sammāsambuddhas.
They mean exactly what they say: All the world's languages come from Pali. When Abhassara devas degenerate into humans, Pali is what they speak. If you're reborn in the Brahmā world, Pali is what you'll speak with the other Brahmā deities. If your mum had left you in the forest when you were a baby and you'd been raised by wolves, you'd have grown up speaking Pali. And having Pali as their mother tongue is one of the regularities found in all Sammāsambuddhas who appear in the world.

In saying all this, Ven. Sugatavaṃsa is repeating the claims made about the Pali language by the commentators, e.g., Buddhaghosa in his commentary to the Vibhaṅga, Dhammapāla in his commentary to the Udāna, Mahānāma in his commentary to the Paṭisambhidāmagga, etc.

In modern Theravada pariyatti such claim aren't made as often as they were before the invention of scientific historical philology, but one will still hear them from Asian monks whose Pali education has been according to some very traditional monastic curriculum and who haven't had any exposure to modern linguistics.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Ven. Sugatavamsa's Introductory Pali course

Post by SarathW » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:42 am

Now the way I understand Pali does not mean language like English.
Pali refer to Buddhas teaching. (Language was Magadhi)
Do you think those claims are based on that basis?
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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