Pali Beginner

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Padipa
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Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:37 pm

I've been with Buddhism for some time, but recently started self-teaching Pali. While it's difficult, for many different reasons, it's a most rewarding adventure. I've come here to share & learn, to grow in understanding. I would like to start by seeking help to a problem which I need to overcome: here it is. I'm using the book by James Gair & W.S. Karunatillake. But, for a dictionary, I'm using the work of Buddhadatta Mahathera. The problem is with the different choices of romanization by these 2 sources. Specifically, the letters "n" & "m," with their various manifestations. I do not have a keypad which allows me to differentiate the different symbols used to distinguish between the various sounds represented by these letters--I hope this does not prevent me from getting help. What I am hoping to learn here, is how to know which romanization of the many used for "n" & "m" is which when jumping between the 2 aforemetioned book sources? This problem becomes acute when, in order to do the exercises in Gair/Karunatillake, I seek help from Mahathera's dictionary--the 2 sources are obviously "on different pages" as the metaphor goes.

Is there a rule to know which m/n symbol is equivalent to which other m/n symbol? Please, ask me to clarify any ambiguities I"ve created in seeking help here. Best!

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Sam Vara
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Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:42 pm

Hi Padipa,

without seeing some printed examples, it's difficult to get a sense of the problem. But why not look at some other Pali dictionaries to see if there is one which uses the same forms as your book by Gair and Karunatillake?

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/

http://lirs.ru/lib/dict/Pali-English_Di ... -25,v1.pdf

http://dictionary.tamilcube.com/pali-dictionary.aspx

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/toolbox/dico.html

And there is a good one on Sutta Central:

https://suttacentral.net/

(The little magnifying glass icon top right...)

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pitakele
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 11:27 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by pitakele » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:22 pm

Padipa wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:37 pm
What I am hoping to learn here, is how to know which romanization of the many used for "n" & "m" is which when jumping between the 2 aforemetioned book sources? This problem becomes acute when, in order to do the exercises in Gair/Karunatillake, I seek help from Mahathera's dictionary--the 2 sources are obviously "on different pages" as the metaphor goes.
I don't have time just now to differentiate the various uses of 'm', 'n', 'ṃ' etc. but sometimes these are interchanged for euphonic purposes. The printed version of Concise Pali English Dictionary can be confusing as it uses a diacritical combining 'n' and the tail of 'g/j' for the niggahīta (nasal consonant) 'ṃ'. This is not the case in the digital versions here viewtopic.php?f=23&t=70

To type diacritics on a computer, a straightforward method (utilizing auto hotkeys) is Ven. Ānandajoti's Unicode Input-Programme - instructions & download https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/ ... /index.htm

On Android, you can use AnySoftKeyboard together with the Pali & Sanskrit Pack
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... ftkeyboard

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... epack.pali
now here = nowhere

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Volovsky
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Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Volovsky » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:49 am

ṃ = ṁ = ŋ (called niggahīta)
ṅ = ɲ (belongs to gutterals, pronounced like ng)
ṇ is another letter, different from the two above, belongs to linguals (pronounced by bringing the up-turned tip of the tongue in contact with the back of the palate)

Is that what you want?

PS: In some editions the way some words are written might be different, and ṃ may substitute ṅ (e.g. saṅgha vs. saṃgha). But this is not due to a different romanization style, but because some editors might write words differently (it is similar to "characterize" vs "characterise").

Padipa
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:05 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:42 pm
Hi Padipa,

without seeing some printed examples, it's difficult to get a sense of the problem. But why not look at some other Pali dictionaries to see if there is one which uses the same forms as your book by Gair and Karunatillake?

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/

http://lirs.ru/lib/dict/Pali-English_Di ... -25,v1.pdf

http://dictionary.tamilcube.com/pali-dictionary.aspx

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/toolbox/dico.html

And there is a good one on Sutta Central:

https://suttacentral.net/

(The little magnifying glass icon top right...)
Thank you, for your kindness and generosity--I truly appreciate it. Unfortunately, I do not have Internet access @ home: I do have it @ work and when I visit the public library, the latter of which makes my time in this forum possible. So, although the onlibe dictionaries are a great resource in general, for my particular situation much of their utility is lost.

I originally ordered the Rhys Davids dictionary, waited weeks for it, then received it in such a ruined state that I had to return it--2 more weeks to get the Mahathera book which, though lacking the etymological strength of the first dictionary, is still very good for most of what I do. The problem is, as stated above, that it uses these 2 letters for different purposes which, for a beginner, can be confounding @ times.

But there is even more help by the good people here, so I'll move to wee what other good stuff the forum w=has unearthed for me. BEST!

Padipa
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:09 pm

pitakele wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:22 pm
Padipa wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:37 pm
What I am hoping to learn here, is how to know which romanization of the many used for "n" & "m" is which when jumping between the 2 aforemetioned book sources? This problem becomes acute when, in order to do the exercises in Gair/Karunatillake, I seek help from Mahathera's dictionary--the 2 sources are obviously "on different pages" as the metaphor goes.
I don't have time just now to differentiate the various uses of 'm', 'n', 'ṃ' etc. but sometimes these are interchanged for euphonic purposes. The printed version of Concise Pali English Dictionary can be confusing as it uses a diacritical combining 'n' and the tail of 'g/j' for the niggahīta (nasal consonant) 'ṃ'. This is not the case in the digital versions here viewtopic.php?f=23&t=70

To type diacritics on a computer, a straightforward method (utilizing auto hotkeys) is Ven. Ānandajoti's Unicode Input-Programme - instructions & download https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/ ... /index.htm

On Android, you can use AnySoftKeyboard together with the Pali & Sanskrit Pack
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... ftkeyboard

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... epack.pali
So, forgive me if my assumption here is wrong, I can download the software and use it to convert my keyboard in a Pali-compatible way? That will be great if that is what this is--I'll have to read more on it as time allows. Thanks, so much, for all the effort--much appreciated indeed! BEST!

Padipa
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:40 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:49 am
ṃ = ṁ = ŋ (called niggahīta)
ṅ = ɲ (belongs to gutterals, pronounced like ng)
ṇ is another letter, different from the two above, belongs to linguals (pronounced by bringing the up-turned tip of the tongue in contact with the back of the palate)

Is that what you want?

PS: In some editions the way some words are written might be different, and ṃ may substitute ṅ (e.g. saṅgha vs. saṃgha). But this is not due to a different romanization style, but because some editors might write words differently (it is similar to "characterize" vs "characterise").
It appears more complicated to me than this--let me absorb more and respond when I can word things more clearly--THANK YOU for your support--much appreciated. BEST!

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pitakele
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 11:27 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by pitakele » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:40 am

Padipa wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:09 pm
So, forgive me if my assumption here is wrong, I can download the software and use it to convert my keyboard in a Pali-compatible way? That will be great if that is what this is--I'll have to read more on it as time allows.
Yes, it is a small software - Pali diacriticals are created using Alt + other keys, e.g. Alt + a -> ā, Alt + A -> Ā etc. If needed, here is an alternate download link
https://www.mediafire.com/download/1gfo72f4xy8a1yt
Padipa wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:05 pm

I originally ordered the Rhys Davids dictionary, waited weeks for it, then received it in such a ruined state that I had to return it--2 more weeks to get the Mahathera book which, though lacking the etymological strength of the first dictionary, is still very good for most of what I do.
You can download a pdf version of the Rhys Davids dictionary (PTS) from this link in my previous post viewtopic.php?f=23&t=70
now here = nowhere

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Volovsky
Posts: 215
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Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Volovsky » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:39 am

Padipa wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:05 pm
I originally ordered the Rhys Davids dictionary, waited weeks for it, then received it in such a ruined state that I had to return it--2 more weeks to get the Mahathera book which, though lacking the etymological strength of the first dictionary, is still very good for most of what I do.
Just download off-line Pali dictionary from Android market - one is "Pali dictionary" - a small one by Buddhadatta, where you don't have to bother yourself with diacritics. Another is "Android tipitaka" - contains all Tipitaka+ Commentaries+ dictionaries (PED included). It is also available for other platforms, but I use only Android, and don't know details of the other ones.

Padipa
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:28 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:49 am
ṃ = ṁ = ŋ (called niggahīta)
ṅ = ɲ (belongs to gutterals, pronounced like ng)
ṇ is another letter, different from the two above, belongs to linguals (pronounced by bringing the up-turned tip of the tongue in contact with the back of the palate)

Is that what you want?

PS: In some editions the way some words are written might be different, and ṃ may substitute ṅ (e.g. saṅgha vs. saṃgha). But this is not due to a different romanization style, but because some editors might write words differently (it is similar to "characterize" vs "characterise").
Okay, yes, it looks like, so far anyway, your explanation is what I am looking for. I've not had time to cross reference (hence, validate) each letter you mention but things look good to this point. I am very grateful for the time you have given to help me. BEST!

Padipa
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:29 pm

pitakele wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:40 am
Padipa wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:09 pm
So, forgive me if my assumption here is wrong, I can download the software and use it to convert my keyboard in a Pali-compatible way? That will be great if that is what this is--I'll have to read more on it as time allows.
Yes, it is a small software - Pali diacriticals are created using Alt + other keys, e.g. Alt + a -> ā, Alt + A -> Ā etc. If needed, here is an alternate download link
https://www.mediafire.com/download/1gfo72f4xy8a1yt
Padipa wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:05 pm

I originally ordered the Rhys Davids dictionary, waited weeks for it, then received it in such a ruined state that I had to return it--2 more weeks to get the Mahathera book which, though lacking the etymological strength of the first dictionary, is still very good for most of what I do.
You can download a pdf version of the Rhys Davids dictionary (PTS) from this link in my previous post viewtopic.php?f=23&t=70
Excellent--more wonderful help from this great forum--thank you--can't wait to start trying out some of these things! Best

Padipa
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:40 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:39 am
Padipa wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:05 pm
I originally ordered the Rhys Davids dictionary, waited weeks for it, then received it in such a ruined state that I had to return it--2 more weeks to get the Mahathera book which, though lacking the etymological strength of the first dictionary, is still very good for most of what I do.
Just download off-line Pali dictionary from Android market - one is "Pali dictionary" - a small one by Buddhadatta, where you don't have to bother yourself with diacritics. Another is "Android tipitaka" - contains all Tipitaka+ Commentaries+ dictionaries (PED included). It is also available for other platforms, but I use only Android, and don't know details of the other ones.
Again, excellent--thank you. I was hoping to minimize (simplify) the number of resources I use: wanted 1, go-to dictionary and 1, go-to grammar source. However, Pali as a language-to-be-learned has a very small following (compared with Spanish & French, for example) which makes sense. What you are all telling me about the various resources available is pretty much what I suspected, but I wanted to be sure. Perusing this forum a bit, before joining, made me wonder if, possibly, some of you had found/made ways to simplify the learning experience of Pali.

This thread has opened up new ideas for me, and re-invigorated my drive to consume & learn Pali. I absolutely love Theravada Buddhism & hope to write my own commentaries, in Pali, someday. Best!

Padipa
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Re: Pali Beginner

Post by Padipa » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:38 pm

Padipa wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:40 pm
Volovsky wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:49 am
ṃ = ṁ = ŋ (called niggahīta)
ṅ = ɲ (belongs to gutterals, pronounced like ng)
ṇ is another letter, different from the two above, belongs to linguals (pronounced by bringing the up-turned tip of the tongue in contact with the back of the palate)

Is that what you want?

PS: In some editions the way some words are written might be different, and ṃ may substitute ṅ (e.g. saṅgha vs. saṃgha). But this is not due to a different romanization style, but because some editors might write words differently (it is similar to "characterize" vs "characterise").
It appears more complicated to me than this--let me absorb more and respond when I can word things more clearly--THANK YOU for your support--much appreciated. BEST!
Okay, I've found a most learned description of the issues a beginner meets with when confronting Pali. This is taken directly from Justin Meiland's Pali Language course, one which he constructed to work with and complement Warder's lessons. A complete version of the work (pdf) can be downloaded here: https://ariyajoti.files.wordpress.com/ ... -one.pdf Note, copy and pasting the section below introduced formatting problems within this post. I've done the best I can, in the time I have, to edit the issues in a way that in no way deteriorates the integrity of the original work. However, if something isn't clear, which is due to this copy/paste, please let me know & I'll see if I can make amends.


1.4. Pali dictionaries and looking up words:

One of the most important reasons for memorising the Pali alphabet is to enable you to
look up words in Pali dictionaries. You have been asked to buy two dictionaries. The first
is the Pali-English Dictionary (PED) by Rhys Davids and Stede. This is your main
dictionary. Although it does not cover some words found in non-canonical Pali literature,
it is still the best dictionary available at present. The second dictionary is the Dictionary
of Pali (DOP) by Margaret Cone. This is an immense piece of scholarship, adding many
words not found in the PED and also offering detailed analyses, and often alternative
translations, of words already found in the PED. At the moment, however, only a third of
the dictionary has been completed (the letters a to kh). You should use this dictionary if
you want detailed explanations of words beginning with letters between a and kh.
It is generally obvious where words are to be found in the dictionary: one simply follows
the order of the alphabet. However, certain difficulties arise concerning the sound -ṃ (the niggahīta). There are three main issues to consider in this regard:

1) When found in the middle of a word, a niggahīta can optionally be substituted
by a nasal — i.e. by ṅ, ñ, ṇ, n, or m. Sometimes Pali editions write words with a
niggahīta and sometimes they substitute the niggahīta with a nasal.
The nasal that is chosen is determined by whether the consonant that follows the
niggahīta is guttural, palatal, cerebral, dental, or labial. (See the consanant groups
in §1.2.)

For example:
• saṃbuddha can be written as sambuddha. The reason why the labial nasal
‘m’ is chosen is because the ‘b’ of buddho is a labial consonant.
• saṃcetanā can be written as sañcetanā. The reason why the palatal nasal
‘ñ’ is chosen is because the ‘c’ of cetanā is a palatal consonant.
• saṃgha can be written as saṅgha. Here the guttural nasal ‘ṅ’ is chosen
because ‘gh’ is a guttural consonant.
Session 1 Warder: Introduction


N.B. These comments only concern niggahītas found in the middle of words and
not at the end of words.

2) If you come across a Pali word which has a niggahīta in the middle of it, you
have to transform that niggahīta into a nasal in order to find the word in the
dictionary (whether the PED or DOP). For example, if you want to look up the
word upasaṃkamati, you must first realise that ‘ṃ’ is here equivalent to the
guttural nasal ‘ṅ’ (because the letter that follows it is guttural). You will then be
able to find this word on page 147 of the PED. Please turn to that page now.
Note that the PED writes upasankamati rather than upasaṅkamati. This is an
inaccuracy. In fact this mistake of writing ‘n’ instead of ‘ṅ’ is found throughout
the PED. For example, if you turn to page 664, the PED lists the word sankhāra.
This should be written as saṅkhāra, because the guttural consonant ‘kh’ should
have a guttural nasal (ṅ) before it. Similarly, on page 667, the word sangha should
be written as saṅgha.

3) If a word has a niggahīta followed by a semi-vowel or by ‘s’ or ‘h’, a special
dictionary order applies. This order is best illustrated through examples. If you
turn to page 655 of the PED, you will see that the section on ‘s’ begins with
words such as sa. We would then expect that the next word would start with sak-.
However, the dictionary first lists all the words beginning with saṃ- that are
followed by a semi-vowel and by ‘s’ and ‘h’. Thus, we find saṃyata at the bottom
of page 655.4 There is then saṃrakkhati in the second column of page 656. There
are no words which have saṃ- followed by ‘l’ and so we move on to saṃvacana
in the same column. On page 658 we have saṃsagga. And finally we have
saṃhata on page 659. After this, the order goes back to the normal pattern with
saka on the second column of page 659.
Note that instead of ‘ṃ’ the PED uses the symbol of ‘n’ with a tail.

To summarise, the basic pattern followed by dictionaries is as shown below (some of the
forms are theoretical, but the point is to understand the order). Taking words beginning
with sa- as an example, the basic order is:

sa;
saṃ;
saṃy-; saṃr-; saṃl-; saṃv-; saṃs-; saṃ˙-;
sak-; sakh-; sag-; sagh-; saṅ- (including: saṅk-, saṅkh-, saṅg-, saṅgh-);
sac-; sach-; saj-; sajh-; sañ- (including: sañc-, sañch-, sañj-, sañjh-);
saṭ-; saṭh-; saḍ-; saḍh-; saṇ- (including: saṇṭ-, saṇṭ˙-, saṇḍ-, saṇḍ˙-);
sat-; sath-; sad-; sadh-; san- (including: sant-, santh-, sand-, sandh-);

4 Saṃy- can also be written as saññ-. Thus saṃyata can be written as saññata. The phonetic process
whereby the form saññ- comes about is as follows: the niggahīta becomes ‘ñ’ because the letter after it
(‘y’) is palatal; this leaves us with sañy-, which is a form that is not allowed in Pali; the ‘y’ therefore
assimilates with the ñ to also become ñ, resulting in saññ-.

Session 1 Warder: Introduction

sap-; saph-; sab-; sabh-; sam- (including: samp-, samph-, samb-, sambh-);
say-; sar-; sal-; sav-; sas-; sah-.
It then continues with sā, etc.

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