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Pāḷi .pdf



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Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammāsambuddhassa

INDEX
INTRODUCTION
 The language
 Palm-leaf manuscripts
LESSON I
 Declension of Nouns Ending in -a; nominative and accusative cases
 Conjugation of Verbs - Present Tense Active Voice 3rd person
LESSON II
 Declension of Nouns Ending in -a; instrumental and dative cases
 Conjugation of Verbs - Present Tense Active Voice 2nd person
LESSON III
 Declension of Nouns Ending in -a; ablative and genitive cases
 Conjugation of Verbs - Present Tense Active Voice 1st person
LESSON IV
 Declension of Nouns Ending in -a; locative and vocative cases
 Conjugation of Verbs - Present Tense Active Voice (full)
LESSON V
 Full Declension of Nouns Ending in -a; Masculine & Neuter
LESSON VI
 Declension of Nouns Ending in -ā
 Infinitive
LESSON VII
 Aorist (general past tense) - Active Voice
 Special forms āha and āhu
 Personal Pronouns - Genitive (Possessive) Form
LESSON VIII
 Declension of Nouns Ending in -i; Masculine & Neuter
 The Gerund with Past Participle
LESSON IX
 Feminine Nouns Ending in -i
 Future Tense
 Conditional Tense
LESSON X
 Nouns Ending in -ī
 The Formation of Feminines
LESSON XI
 Nouns Ending in -u and -ū
 Imperative/Benedictive Tense
LESSON XII
 Personal Pronouns - 1st and 2nd Person
 Optative Tense
LESSON XIII
 Relative Pronouns & 3rd Person Personal Pronouns
 The Interrogative Pronoun
LESSON XIV
 Participles

1.

20.

25.

30.

35.

40.
44.

48.

54.

58.

62.

66.

72.

76.

81.

LESSON XV
 Demonstrative Pronouns
 Adjectives
LESSON XVI
 Cardinal Numerals
 Ordinal Numerals
 Counting with sataṃ
LESSON XVII
 The consonantal noun declension, nouns ending in -n
 Attan as a reflexive
 The seven conjugation classes of verbs
LESSON XVIII
 The consonantal noun declension - nouns ending in -r
 Causal Forms
LESSON XIX
 The consonantal noun declension - nouns ending in -s
 Declension of nouns with diphthongic stem
 Imperfect Tense
 Perfect Tense
LESSON XX
 Compound Words
 The Word ubho
LESSON XXI
 Indeclinables
LESSON XXII
 Nominal Derivatives
LESSON XXIII
 Verbal Derivatives
LESSON XXIV
 Rules of Sandhi (Combination)
LESSON XXV
 Uses of the Cases
 The Genitive and Locative Absolutes
LESSON XXVI
 Passive Voice
 Middle Voice
 The verb “to be”
Selections for Translation
Answer keys
Pāḷi verb lists
Noun declination tables (including all possible endings for each case)
Relations between Pāḷi and Sanskrit
Vocabulary Pāḷi - English
Vocabulary English - Pāḷi
Pāḷi grammatical terms
Scripts used for writing Pāḷi
- Abugida Scripts
- Brahmic Scripts

86.

94.

99.

103.

107.

111.

116.
122.
127.
132.
137.

148.

151.
164.
300.
304.
306.
312.
319.
326.
329.
331.
332.

- Brāhmī
- Devanāgarī
- Sinhalese
- Thai
- Burmese
- Khmer
- Tham
- Lao
- Ariyaka
Comparative Table of the Scripts
Bibliography
Materials for further study - Useful websites

333.
339.
356.
372.
386.
400.
417.
417.
419.
422.
424.
426.

Introduction
The Middle Indo Aryan dialect originally derived from the Sanskrit language which is found in the Pāḷi Canon of
the Theravāda Buddhists and is usually called “Pāḷi” is nowhere so called in the Theravāda Canon. The word
“Pāḷi” is found in the Sinhalese chronicles and the commentaries upon the canon which were written many
centuries after by the monk Buddhaghosa (5th century AD), but there it has the meaning “canon” and is used
in the sense of a canonical text or phrase as opposed to the commentary (atthakathā) upon it. Even up to the
6th or 7th century AD, the term Pāḷi does not appear as a name for any kind of language. Even if we look into
the Cūlavaṃsa forming a later supplement to the Mahavaṃsa (the Great Chronicle of Ceylon) we find that the
term Pāḷi is used in it clearly in the sense of original Buddhist texts, the texts of the canon as taken apart from
the commentaries, so the earliest issue of the term Pāḷi can be thus traced back to the commentaries of
Buddhaghosa and not in any earlier Buddhist writings. It is again in the commentaries that the term Pāḷi was
regarded as a synonym for Buddhavacana (word of the Buddha) and Tipiṭaka, among others. The transition
from Pāḷi meaning “canonical text” to Pāḷi as a proper name for the language took place by a natural process.
It would seem that the word “Pāḷi” being considered as the name for the language is based upon a
misunderstanding of the compound “Pāḷibhāsā” (language of the canon), where the word Pāḷi was thought to
stand for the name of a particular language, as a result of which the word was applied to the language of both
the canon and the commentaries, following the misleading assumption that the word “Pāḷibhāsā” had the
meaning of “language of Pāḷi”. There is evidence that this misunderstanding took place several centuries ago.
Benjamin Clough (1791-1853) was the first westerner to officially adopt the word “Pāḷi” when he published his
compendium of grammar in 1824. Burnouf and Lassen also used the name “Pāḷi” in their essay on Pāḷi
grammar which was published in 1826, but in the survey of Pāḷi studies up to that year included in that work
Burnouf pointed out that the first person to mention Pāḷi was Simon de la Loubière who visited Siam in 1687,
and published a description of the kingdom of Siam in 1691, which was translated into English in 1693. It is
clear from this account that in Thailand in the late 17th century the name “Pāḷi” was already being used for the
language of the Theravāda texts. La Loubière noted that in contrast to Thai, which was a monosyllabic
language, “Balie” (or “Baly”) was inflected just like the languages of Europe. He also drew attention to the fact
that the names for the days of the week were similar in Pāḷi and Sanskrit, and reported that he had been told
that there were similarities between Pāḷi and the languages spoken near Coromandel (the southeastern coast
region of the Indian Subcontinent, between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal of the Indian Ocean). The
Sasanavaṃsa, written in Burma in 1861, uses the word Pāḷi in a context where it seems to be the name of a
language. Since the Sasanavaṃsa is based upon an earlier Burmese text, the usage of the name “Pāḷi” in
Burma is probably earlier than would appear. It seems unlikely that the usage arose independently in all three
countries, but in the present state of our knowledge it does not seem possible to determine where the
misunderstanding first occurred.
A widespread assumption states that the language spoken by the Buddha was actually Māgadhī. What we
know of Māgadhī as described by the grammarians in later times, however, enables us to say that Pāḷi is not
Māgadhī, and although we have no direct evidence about the characteristics of Māgadhī in the centuries
before Aśoka, we can deduce with some certainty that Pāḷi does not agree with that either. It would seem
likely that, because the texts tell about the Buddha frequently preaching in the kingdom of Magadha (although
none of the scenes of the great events in his life was situated within the boundaries of Magadha as we know it
in historical times), the tradition arose that all his sermons were preached in the dialect of that region of North
India. It is also possible that the prestige attaching to Magadha, and by implication to Māgadhī, during the
time of the Mauryan kings, and also the way in which the Māgadhī of the original Aśokan edicts was
everywhere in India “translated” into the local dialect or language, led to the adoption by the Buddhists, at
about the time of the council which the Theravāda tradition reports was held during the reign of Aśoka, of the
1


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