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Does anyone know the standard abbreviation for Pāli?कुक्कुरोवाच 21:34, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

There ain't one Shantavira 10:34, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC) is only intended to provide a small selection of Pali texts (see their home page) in English. I would have added a link to the complete canon at which has almost all the canon in Pali and English (and Burmese) but they seem to be down at the moment (not uncommon). Shantavira 10:34, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Tipitaka link now added Shantavira 10:23, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)


How would one write Pali in IPA? I know Pali is pronounced as if it was spelled Palee, but as an English reader, I can understand how a lot may say Palai. --Dara 23:26, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I'd like to see the Pali in the article put into Devanagari (or some other commonly used script). I'd do it myself, but I'm not sure whether Pali spelling conventions are the same as for Sanskrit... --Marnen Laibow-Koser (talk) 19:23, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Changing the Pali terms in the article to be in Devanagari would not be reflective of either current or historical usage. To my knowledge, the only time Pali has been written in Devanagari is during attempts by followers of Dr. Amdedkar to encourage the use of Pali among Indian converts to Buddhism. For an English-language article, using the correct Romanizations (explained in the Pali Alphabet (Unicode) section) is both the most accesible and equally accurate. Devanagari would mostly be of use to Sanskritists, I believe; Sinhala, Thai, or Burmese would be more helpful to students of Pali, and the Romanization probably has the widest accesibility. --Clay Collier 22:13, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
I would agree with the usefulness of Sinhala, Thai, and Burmese along with Devanagari. Below are the Pali terms from the article in Thai script.
Pali - บาลี (or ภาษาบาลี lit. "Pali language")
Suttapiṭaka - สุตตปิฎก
Jātaka - ชาดก
dharanis - I don't think this is Pali, at least it's not in any of my dictionarys?
anything else? Obhaso 19:47, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
This is absolutely correct, and I say this as a student of Sanksrit who is currently enjoying OSX's excellent unicode support and built-in Devangari keyboard (nothing comparable, I believe, would help me enter proper romanization). -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽
OK. I was not aware of the full script situation with Pali. I was assuming that it was parallel to Sanskrit (where, although other scripts are used, the default script is Devanagari). What's the convention among students of Pali? Is there one? --Marnen Laibow-Koser (talk) (desk) 21:49, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
Reasonable question with no reasonable answer. Sri Lankan monks are astonished that I can read and write Pali in classical, literary Sinhalese script --and, yes, I can also type it on my computer. "Why don't you just use English?", they ask, meaning Romanized phonetics --and often going on to state that they assume the European standard is in some sense "superior" to the indigenous orthography (i.e., more authoritative or academic). The Thai script is in a difficult situation, as it is vernacular, and Khom/Lanna are instead associated with the religion itself --yet are regional rather than national in their connotations. I suppose that the orthography is least "fraught" in Cambodia and Burma --oh yeah, I do read and write Pali in all of those scripts, too. So, my personal answer is: I make use of all of the scripts, and therefore have access to a wider variety of printed materials and manuscripts. I encourage other students to do the same. However, Romanization is the more common crutch. ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:10, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

This is English Wikipedia, & should therefore follow the standard practice in English-language sources of writing Pali in Latin script. Hindi WP should write it in nagari, Thai WP in Thai &c. Peter jackson (talk) 15:10, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Why does this article get worse and worse?[edit]

I'm sorry to see that after my attempts to revise the information on the history of the language some months ago, it has been re-written to reflect the usual errors and lies.

This is a sad demonstration that the "democratic method" is not applicable to the process of writing an encyclopedia.

Seemingly nobody is interested in checking authoritative sources, or resolving conflicting accounts (that arise on the wiki) by reference to real scholarship; they just mimic what their "Intro to Hindi" teacher told them, or what their "Intro to Sanskrit" book vaguely suggested about Buddhist sources.

Instead of looking at a revision and thinking "Hey, this isn't quite what my 'Intro to Hindi' book suggests ... maybe I'd better look into it" it seems that the majority of the ill-informed just respond by reducing the text to their own level of ignorance. "Hey, this isn't what I already know --it must be wrong!"

I don't know if anyone participates in this "Wiki" with an open mind that someone else might know more than they do; it really doesn't seem to be the case at all.

I notice that the article on Prakrit ( has not been reduced to quite such stupidity as the article on Pali --probably because fewer people have edited it (...or read it) since I re-wrote it myself.


It would be much easier to keep track of which edits you were talking about if you had a user account instead of just an IP, or if you could at least mention specifically which revisions you are talking about. There are several origin theories for Pali; it's far from a settled issue. Any claim that Pali was *never* a language spoken as something other than a literary language seems very difficult to prove conclusively- we don't know exactly what the differences between spoken and written language were in ancient times because we have no record of spoken language. I'll readily agree that I've seen references that indicate that Pali was an artificially constructed language never used as a vernacular- but I've also seen references that indicate that Pali developed out of a lingua franca used after the death of the Buddha. Drawing a line between the precursor language as used in daily life (which is known only through reconstruction) and the literary language seems a fairly thorny task. We can make hypotheses on the basis of differences between modern written vs. spoken usage, and patterns of language use in South Asia, but that is not the same as having direct proof. References would be extremely helpful here for establishing what the positions are, and who is proposing them. Do you have a reference for the claim that Pali was never a spoken language? Similar references for the Prakrit article would be helpful as well. I'll dig around and see what I can find. --Clay Collier 07:58, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Pāli and Pali[edit]

I sort of understand why this page was moved from Pali to Pāli, but I don't understand why Pali became a disambiguation page. I propose to move the dab page to Pali (disambiguation) and make Pali a redirect. - Nat Krause(Talk!) 23:24, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Support: I have redundantly brought this up below as well...—Lenoxus 03:10, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Against. Having a better understanding of the complexities involved, I have changed my mind. — Lenoxus 18:45, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Link removed[edit]

You can view seven alphabetic systems traditionally used to render Pāli in these documents

I removed this link because, on examination, it turned out that it was somewhat inaccurate (problematic glyphs in the Romanized Pāli and the wrong Devanāgarī aksharas for o and s) and, from a practical point of view, not very helpful - no one not already familiar with the alphabets can easily determine which letter corresponds to which sound. RandomCritic 02:04, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Those errors appear to have been fixed at some prior point in revising that PDF. Maybe you could just provide a link to the glut of such charts at in general? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:00, 1 February 2007 (UTC).
The Devanagari does seem to have been fixed. I still do not understand some of the symbols used in Romanized Pali. The use of a j-n ligature ( ɲ ) to represent the velar nasal seems very strange, since this is an IPA symbol for a palatal nasal.
The conventional sign usually used is n with overdot: . I have seen the n-j ligature (ŋ ) used to represent anusvara, which has a certain amount of justification since in some of the traditional pronunciations of Pali, anusvara is pronounced as a velar nasal (which is what ŋ stands for in IPA). But the usual convention is .
I also wonder why some of the other alphabets commonly used to write Pali, e.g. Thai, are not provided?RandomCritic 03:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I visited here by chance. There is something that bothered me since a long time regarding romanized Pali. It is an adaptation of romanized Sanskrit. In the 1800s they did not have adequate letters to represent Indic sounds. It is the same problem that English faced twice in its history. That story might help to understand the problem better. At the time when Latin replaced Runic in England, Latin did not have anything to represent the dental t and d as well as a as in hat. So they added Thorn (þ), Edth (ð) and Ash (æ) to the new English alphabet (I can't find from where ð and æ came. May be they improvised them).
This was all good as long as books were hand written. Then William Caxton came with the press. Caxton in his hurry to print indulgences and books for the rich and famous neglected to fix the problem of Latin not having types for the above three letters. Spelling and writing diverged ever since in English. Today we call þe ye as in "Know ye by these presents..."
Getting back to Pali, in the 1800s they only had hand operated or straddle presses and pages were hand composed with lead type and then hand bound. When it came to making accent letters for the alphabet, they had to take into consideration how Pali and Sanskrit were to be printed. Those days they used brass (strips) rules to print lines. The printers cut these rules into the width of the individual letters and placed them above the types to make macrons. And they only had to make them pointed to make dot accents. (Acute and grave accents would not have been easy to improvise this way). Recall that Indic languages have two pairs of t and d. One set corresponds with English t and d in Sri Lanka where Davids was romanizing Pali. (In India they are retroflex sounds). The other set, that occurs 10 times or more are the dentals corresponding to English digraph th, but as stops. So, to make things easier for the printers they decided to use the regular letters to represent the more numerous dentals and placed macron on t and d that represent the regular English sounds. The result: Accented or not, everyone reads both t and d just the same way!
Use of the m for anusvara (a ring or dot in Indic) makes one think that it is a close lip sound like m. It is not. It is exactly the same sound as the digraph ng as in dung, sing etc.
Both Pali and Sanskrit could be typed if the Old English letters are used and a few other commonly available European letters are added to the alphabet. (Use US-International keyboard). I used the following alphabet to completely transliterate Pali and Sanskrit found in the discourses found at which seems to have the best version of Tripitaka. A Word macro converted the pages perfectly from the hack font used at the web site. It was proven to be flawless by displaying it in original Sinhala script using a smartfont.
Practical romanized Pali:(read the edit page to see it better formatted)

a aa i ii u uu
e o
k kh g gh ñ (velars)
c ch j jh ç (palatals)
t th d dh µ (alveolars)
þ þh ð ðh n (dentals)
p ph b bh m (bilabials)
y r l v (approximants)
s h
ø (dark el -– sound of ‘le’ in bicycle)
á aá í ií ú uú
é ó
(sá = sung, kí = king, bií = being, dégu = dengue, dó = dong)

-- 03:39, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

There are a number of errors in the lengthy comment above. I'll just mention the important one. What is said about the pronunciation of anusvara is not correct. Pronunciation of Pali varies between (& within) countries. This is only 1 version. Peter jackson 09:59, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

A note to Peter Jackson: the only website I know of that deals with (and attempts to detail) regional variations in the phonetic values of Pali glyphs is my own:
I've since received some interesting feedback from Burmese specialists, and, of course, more could be done --but this provides a good starting point for students grappling with these issues. I hope you'll pass the link along. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:15, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I believe the above comment (from R.C.)is not correct, viz., both ŋ and ɲ are graphic combinations of "n" and "g" (the "hook below" is regularly interpreted as the bottom half of the letter "g") --and these are variously used to indicate "-ng"/"-gn" sounds of some kind. It should be kept in mind that IPA code comprises all sounds made by European languages, but certainly not all sounds to be found in Asia (have you looked at the range of Laotian vowel sounds lately?). The French would generally interpret -gn- as what an English speaker might write out as "-ny-" or a Spaniard would write as an "n" with a tilde above. Pali texts in Roman transliteration have struggled to distinguish the anuswara (niggahita) from the sound at the end of the first line of the alphabet. With any of the systems used in textbooks, dictionaries, etc., one may simply say "take it or leave it" --this is mere transliteration after all. The dream that the IPA could encompass the whole world with a single system of "one-to-one phonetic correspondence" ends at the Ural mountains.

Although well intentioned as a review of early crises faced by typesetters, this discussion now seems to present the misleading suggestion that þ or ð can (or should) be used in transliterating Pali. As for the question of who transliterated what (first) and when, compare the [ trailblazing work by Rasmus Rask].

I don't see the relevance of all this. Wikipedia should add a link to these transliterations if and only if they are in fairly common use. The Handbook of the IPA clearly demonstrates phonetic transcriptions for quite a range of languages, including Hindi and Sindhi, but it's not designed to be a transliteration or even a viable alphabet for a language. In reality, the IPA uses diacritics for French and Irish.--Prosfilaes (talk) 15:31, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Paragraphs removed[edit]

I have removed the following paragraphs for lack of relevance to the article:

This is demonstrably true (e.g.) in the instance of Ashvaghosa, a Pāli-educated Buddhist monk, who became the first author of the Sanskrit kavya genre of poetry, highly influential on Sanskrit poetics thereafter. Likewise, in Sanskrit philosophy, post-Buddhist schools such as Shankara's Vedanta have been directly influenced both by Buddhist Philosophy and argumentation, with concomitant effects in the use of the language itself.
Within the context of religious writings, similar-sounding words to those found in Sanskrit can have significantly different meanings than those of Pāli. The active re-definition and re-invention of the religious meanings assigned to certain key terms (such as dharma/dhamma) was an active aspect of philosophic debate for many centuries, and the Buddhist, Jains, and various schools of Hinduism all had competitive notions of the value and significance of these terms.
The philosophy of early Mahayana Buddhism found in Sanskrit and the Buddhism recorded in Pāli are, in many respects, mutually opposed; however, historical sources indicate that these were not the only schools, nor the only languages, that participated in the debates within the Buddhist fold. There is no extant Buddhist literature of the Prakrit language Paisaci, but this and other languages were associated with particular philosophical approaches to Buddhist doctrine (and particular sectarian affiliations) in recorded history.

These paragraphs fail to distinguish between a language and the philosophical ideas conveyed in that language. While it may well be argued that the word buddháḥ means one thing in Hindu literature, buddhaḥ means another thing in Mahāyāna Buddhist literature, and buddho means yet a third thing in Theravāda literature (and may mean several different things within each of those literary and philosophical traditions), the differences in meaning are only accidentally linked to the differences in the dialect or language employed. A Mahāyāna writer might polemicize against the Theravāda concept of nibbānaṃ (this is a hypothetical instance); but, writing in Sanskrit (Classical or Hybrid), he will call the concept nirvāṇam regardless of which concept is under discussion. The choice of phonetic shape for the term is determined by linguistic context (i.e., what language the author is writing in), not by the definition of the word. The value of a technical term will vary according to the point of view of the author using the term; it is poor scholarship to attempt to embed a philosophical definition, which will necessarily vary between schools and authors, into the fabric of the language.

The article should be about the Pāli language, a matter of primarily linguistic concern and only secondarily -- and not intrinsically -- of philosophical concern. There is already an article on Theravāda Buddhism; general characterizations of this nature belong in that article, not in an article on Pāli.

I don't know of any direct evidence that Aśvaghoṣa was "Pāli-educated". RandomCritic 18:12, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Alveolar plosives[edit]

Are the sounds given as alveolar plosives in the consonant table actually alveolar? I would have thought them to be dental, which is the case in just about every other Indo-Aryan language. --Grammatical error 20:58, 29 June 2006 (UTC)


There is at least one error in the table under the ASCII heading: two different characters (Unicode 61626 & 61686) are given the same HTML code. Peter jackson 10:22, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Fixed. RandomCritic 12:52, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

An issue and a question[edit]

First: It appears that the talkpage for Pali (disambiguation) redirects here. This is confusing in ways that don't seem useful to me. Second, I'm wondering if the word "Pali", without the mark over the A, is a term (derogative or otherwise) for Palestinian — what I've read here would suggest so, but that blog is obviously not the most solid source. —Lenoxus 03:09, 28 January 2007 (UTC) Issue moved to Talk:Pali. Lenoxus 18:44, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Add section on orthography?[edit]

Given that there's a section on phonology, how about a brief section on orthography?

It could be quite short, with links out to the various websites that provide charts on this information, e.g., etc. etc. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:11, 1 February 2007 (UTC).

Pali Wikipedia[edit]

This article includes a link to Pali Wikipedia. On following the link I find a main page in devanagari script, with no immediately obvious way to convert the display to other scripts. Why are Indians being allowed to take over Pali? Only a pretty small percentage of Pali users use nagari. If Serbo-Croat Wikipedia were confined to one script it would start a war. Peter jackson 12:04, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I think the Pali wikipedia was previously in romanized script- but there wasn't really any content to speak of. There seems to be a widely held belief among Buddhists in India that Pali is 'supposed' to be written in devanagari- witness the numerous attempts to introduce devanagari text into this article. It's an accessibility issue that should be brought up at the Pali WP- fortunately, I think a war is pretty much out of the question. --Clay Collier 23:10, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that the practice of using Devanagari as the script is entirely due to "Indians being allowed to take over Pali", which is a rather divisive statement. In Western academic literature, the texts are generally printed either in IAST as the romanization standard or in Devanagari, which became the most common Indic script used by European Indologists who popularized the practice in the last century. Buddhipriya 04:33, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
This is not correct. In Western academic literature, Pali is always printed in latin script. Peter jackson 10:01, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Both the use of Devanagari and Romanization are contentious in-as-much-as anybody can be bothered to contend the issue. However, until recently, typesetting classical Burmese, classical Sinhalese, etc., was simply too time-consuming and technically unreliable to be a viable alternative. Those days are fast coming to a close. Obversely, no single Theravada country has enough scholarly "clout" to assert its national script as "standard". Political instability has scholarship of any kind in Cambodia, Burma, Sri Lanka, etc., for the past century, with conditions in Thailand not much better; so the relative "stability" offered by India and its national script has been an alternative --even if not a good one-- in part because the use of Devanagari neither slights Sri Lanka nor Thailand, etc. ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:42, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I suppose the question here is this. Somebody has started a Pali Wikipedia in nagari. Suppose someone else wants to start one in Latin, Sinhalese, Burmese or Thai script. Would they be allowed to? If not, would the authorities make Pali WP adopt a script conversion system so that anyone could click on their preferred script, rather like clicking on a preferred language from If the answers to both questions are no, then the authorities would be unfairly imposing the script of a small minority on everyone else. Peter jackson (talk) 12:08, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean by "has been an alternative". Are you claiming that Sinhalese, Thais &/or Burmese have been printing Pali in nagari? Peter jackson (talk) 12:10, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Nagari has been an alternative for those who actually read Pali, i.e. there is actually a reliable edition of the canon (in print and available) in Devanagari, along with dictionaries, grammars, and other supporting material. During the early days (or "heroic period") of the Maha-Bodhi society, they printed and typeset many works in Devanagari (for explicitly stated political reasons, with nationalistic aspirations) --and these editions were distributed throughout the Theravada world (where they can still be found, and used). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:05, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Of course ther's a nagari edition of the Canon in print (transcribed from the Burmese, tho' with a lot of misprints I'm told), & of course it's an alternative as are Latin, Burmese, Sinhalese, Thai &, at least in theory, Khmer. So what? I can't see the point of this. It remains the csae that nagari is not the script for Pali, & WP should not treat it as such, & the standard English-language usage is Latin script, so that should be followed by English WP. Is there any dispute about that? Peter jackson (talk) 12:17, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for the discussion about Pali wikipedia. First of all, the opening statement is incorrect. Pali wikipedia has not been taken over by an Indian. I am the person who introduced Devnagari script in Pali wikipedia and I am no where close to being an Indian. Pali wikipedia was initially started in Latin. However, there were no significant attempts to improve it. Other Pali projects such as wiktionary have been closed due to lack of contribution. I know very less Pali. The only way in which I know Pali is written in Devnagari script. Those are my only sources. So, in order to preserve the pali wikipedia and contribute with the little knowledge of Pali that I had, I chose to contribute in Devnagari script. I dont know why other users look down upon Devnagari script but it is one of the many scripts in which Pali is written. Users who would like to contribute in other scripts are welcome in Pali wikipedia to contribute in their respective scripts. I had once written in Bugzilla to arrange system like in Chinese or Kazakh wikipedia where multiple scripts are enabled but nothing happened as none of the people were interested in contributing in other scripts in Pali. I even wrote to some pali forums and users in Thai wikipedia but no one showed up there. Ironically, even this debate is being held in English wikipedia in some Indo-phobe manner and not in Pali wikipedia. I think its more attitude and less action that is the real culprit here. People dont contribute and cant tolerate other people contributing as well. Thanks--Eukesh (talk) 12:34, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Pali grammar[edit]

Any thought to adding a section on Pali grammar — similar to that on other language pages such as Latin#Grammar (which is just a summary of larger articles) or even Greek_language#Characteristics?

If I may add, it appears that this article has terrifically detailed information helpful to those who know Sanskrit; but for those who know only or primarily English, there's little information (e.g. on conjugation, declension, syntax). Is this purposeful for some reason? (For instance, as a parallel, I know the Buddhist meditation article has no instructions for actually meditating but this is because it attempts to systematize other WP articles that provide such information.)

Basically just curious. Thanks to all those whose hard efforts have created that excellent information that this article already contains. Mettāya, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 05:36, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

No, it's just that nobody's gotten around to doing it yet. I contributed some of the information on phonology, but never got back to doing anything on morphology or syntax -- partly because, although I do study Indic historical linguistics including Pali, I don't specialize in Pali. RandomCritic 07:06, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
RC, Thanks for the quick and helpful response. Very nice work on the phonology section too! Kudos!
BTW, I see I left out the most obvious article/section with which to compare this: Sanskrit#Grammar, not to mention Sanskrit_grammar.
FWIW, I guess partly what sparked my interest is that I've started working with Gair & Karunatillake's "A New Course in Reading Pali" (based on an on-line Bhikkhu Bodhi recommendation and after I somehow lost interest in the classic Warder) and found myself having difficulty parsing some of their Pali examples (in particular, AN, for which there's no answer key that I know of at this time -- though I finally found Thanissaro and Nanamoli translations for similar texts [e.g., SN 45.8]). And I think the problem is that I have little appreciation for the various nounal cases (nom., acc., gen., etc.). I think I'm beginning to make headway but it's only because I've been reading about noun cases in my wife's Wheelock's Latin text (Latin seeming to have all but the instrumental and locative cases). It then dawned on me that there might be a WP Pali article putting such in context ... but, alas :-)
Thanks again for all your help here and elsewhere, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:08, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

ṃ (phonology)[edit]

Any phonological analysis regarding ṃ ? Thanks yet again! Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 19:12, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

RandomCritic - thanks so much! Your exposition is always interesting and helpful! - Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 22:05, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Pali script[edit]

The Ashok pillar in Lumbini, Nepal was written in Brahmi script in Pali. It is one of the oldest remaining literature in Pali. None of the other scripts have been used before this. Besides, the script was used when the language was thriving. So, I think that it should be considered as the native script.--Eukesh 21:06, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

The obvious problem is that while the Asokan inscriptions are in Prakrit dialects that are more or less similar to Pali, none of them are exactly Pali. RandomCritic 03:38, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll take off any mention of a "native" script until we can get some good references.To my understanding Pali was never even written down until it moved to Sri Lanka? So the concept of a native script really isn't relevant. Echalon (talk) 18:49, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
"Native" is not an applicable concept. However, "first script" is less contentious. We have Pali inscriptions in Sri Lanka older than Ashoka (but of the same period & dynasty, viz., not much older) using an even cruder, but otherwise similar, script. Thus, do not assume that because the writing took place in Sri Lanka, the orthography was so different than in contemporaneous mainland India. The notion that no writing-down of Pali whatsoever took place prior to the systematic "canonization" (viz., re-organization) of the texts is historically absurd --albeit a common religious conceit, as the modern religion valorizes memorization. K.R. Norman has argued that the first (viz., earliest) orthography used was of greater importance than scholars have heretofore supposed, and that this is demonstrable from changes made to certain poems when the orthography was "modernized", and geminate clusters spelled out in full; the putative "first" script here alluded to would be broadly similar to Ashoka's, and, e.g., not write out geminate "stacks" in full. ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:34, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
The statement above that "We have Pali inscriptions in Sri Lanka older than Ashoka" is almost certainly false. All the authorities I've come across say that Asoka's inscriptions are the oldest written sources for any Indian language, & Pali didn't exist at that time anyway. It evolved over centuries. Peter jackson (talk) 17:39, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I have added reliable source on my statement-Lumbini Development Trust and their mention of Pali being written in Brahmi.--Eukesh (talk) 12:19, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Specifying the romanization system used?[edit]

Could someone specify which romanization system is being used in this article? Is it IAST? I think this should really be specified somewhere within the article. Echalon (talk) 16:12, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Emic vs. Etic vs. real scholarship[edit]

Some careful thinking should be done as to whether the opinions of Sanskrit texts (viz., Hindu or, in some cases, Mahayana) are to be counted as "Emic" or "Etic" in relation to the Pali canon.

It is quite evident that whoever wrote that section (as it is currently) is not working with the primary texts.

I do not mean to say that it is of zero value ... but it is both confusing and confused.

Sanskrit sources say various things about Pali, e.g., that (in the context of classical Indian theatre) it is only appropriate for the parts spoken by whores (cf., M. Deshpande's _Sanskrit & Prakrit: Sociolinguistic Issues_) --but is this "Emic" or "Etic"?

As for what Pali sources themsleves say about the Pali language, that is quite another matter.

The current section needs to be re-thought --if not discarded and re-written.

The (often commented upon) notion that Pali is "the original language of all beings" does not mean that it is the language of "reality" in the vague sense suggested by the current article. The specific claim made in one commentary that were a child to be abandoned in the woods without human parents (e.g., raised by wolves) he/she would naturally grow up to speak Pali, is currently badly (mis-)represented with the statement that Pali "is the language of... wolf-children". It would be impossible for a reader without prior knowledge of the specific anecdote to remotely understand what is meant by this section of the article, as it is now worded.

Thus, the text is now "confused and confusing", as I say.

The notion that Pali nouns correspond to "actual entities" (viz., "reality") relates to schools of philosophy first found in commentaries and sub-commentaries to the Abhidhamma --and these textual sources are chronologically and geographically far removed from the Buddha's own milieu. The changing notion of the language over time could thus be commented upon, perhaps drawing on Dr. Aloysus Pieris' studies of the Abhidhamma commentaries. (I must leave this to someone with access to a better library than I).

In Pali texts, the gods speak Pali; in Sanskrit texts, the gods speak Sanskrit, and so on. This does not necessarily entail the tacit claim that the gods speak Pali all the time. It is well worth noting precisely who makes such claims precisely when (viz., which period of the development of the language and tradition gives rise to which lingual conceits). In modern Thailand, I have been informed that studying Pali will allow me to converse with birds; however, I am not aware of any special (religious) significance of birds, nor any claim about conversing with birds, in the classical Pali texts themselves. Nor, for that matter, has a bird yet spoken to me in Pali.

Of course, I prefer the description of the language on my own website: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:29, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Pali is the language of Theravada Buddhism, & essentially nothing else. It's therefore proper to give briefly the traditional Theavada views about the language. For the moment I've simply said "by the time of the Pali commentaries", but bear in mind that most of the material in them is much older. Unfortunately, we can't usually tell which parts.

I'm sure there are conversations involving birds in the canonical Jataka. Peter jackson (talk) 12:03, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd forgotten that there's also 1 in the Vinaya: PTS ii 161f (BD V 226f). Peter jackson (talk) 12:04, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


Is it correct to talk of dharanis in the early texts? According to Prebish & Keown, Introducing Buddhism, page 89, they are later. Peter jackson (talk) 15:04, 27 January 2008 (UTC)


I've deleted the nagari here, for reasons already discused in detail above. Alternatively, it would be perfectly reasonable in this context to include all the main scripts, but I leave that to those with the technical expertise. Peter jackson (talk) 11:53, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


Article gives only 1 pronunciation, but in fact it varies. Could someone with knowlege of phonetics deal with this? Peter jackson (talk) 12:04, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

No word-initial consonant clusters in Pali?[edit]

Are there any word-initial consonant clusters in Pali? -- (talk) 11:07, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Almost all Pali initial consonant clusters were simplified to single consonants. A very few remain, possibly by being introduced from Sanskrit or from other dialects, following Pali's early sound changes. They are:
  • kr in kriyā (beside normal kiriyā)
  • kv in kva "where"
  • tv in tvaṃ "you"
  • dv fairly frequently, mostly in compounds and derivatives of dvi "two" and dvāra "door"
  • ny in nyāsa "something left as security for a loan"
  • pl in plava "something which floats" and plavaṅgama "monkey"
  • by in several words, always as a variant of vy (e.g. byaggha and vyaggha, "tiger")
  • br in brahma "Brahma" (and its derivatives), and derivatives of the verbal roots brū "speak" and bruh "increase", including brahanta "immense"
  • vy in a large number of words
  • sn in sneha "stickiness", beside the usual sineha
  • sv in several words
RandomCritic (talk) 20:38, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Kriyā is postcanonical, as pointed out by Aggavamsa. Peter jackson (talk) 17:40, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Word-medial consonant clusters in Pali[edit]

Are there any word-medial consonant clusters other than geminates, homorganic nasal + consonant and sonorant + h in Pali? -- (talk) 10:31, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

There are some resulting from combination of the sorts of things in the previous section, eg anuvyañjana/-byañjana. Peter jackson (talk) 16:46, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Also standard absolutive ending -tvā. Peter jackson (talk) 09:06, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Nasals and Stops[edit]

Nasals should have their own categorie; they're definetly not a subset of stops. I would argue for the same to be true for affricate consonants. I would just change it, but sadly I have to admit that I have no idea how to properly build a table here.. sorry. (talk) 02:13, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

This article is awful because it is managed by people unaware of Buddhist history[edit]

Magadha - Magadha - where was Magadha? Is there any epigraphic proof of Bihar being Magadha before the third century B.C. ? There is no such evidence. Ancient Magan was Magadha.

Did Gotama Buddha ever preach in Bihar or UP? He did not. Pali should have been a Nepalese dialect had Gotama been born at Lumbini as the thug Fuhrer[1] wrote. This article is just as bad as Fuhrer's theory.

There is no recognition of the affinity of Pali with Avestan, or of the fact that the names of Gotama and Tissa are there in the Persepolis_Fortification_Archive. Early Buddhist literature and art have irrefutable stamp of Eastern Iran which was India.[2] Even Ajanta-like paintings have now been discovered at Gour in Iran.

Mejda 10th March 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 10:24, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't think Ashoka would have made such a big mistake when he designated Lumbini as the birthplace. And also, in the Buddhist texts themselves, there are many, many references to the cities of northeast India. Mitsube (talk) 04:23, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
There is absolutely no evidence to even remotely suggest that the historical Buddha was born, lived, or taught in any region other than north central India (including parts of Nepal). Mejda's "theory" is sheer crackpottery, and has no acceptance at all in any academic quarter.
Pali is, of course, related to Avestan -- just as are Sanskrit (more closely!) and all the other Indic languages of India. But the separation between the Indic and Iranic branches is prehistoric and long pre-dates the development of Pali. Pali arose in India and is a purely Indic idiom; Avestan is likewise purely Iranic. RandomCritic (talk) 14:45, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 17:19, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

“The separation between the Indic and Iranic branches is prehistoric and long pre-dates the development of Pali.” Ah this is revelatory! “Pali arose in India and is a purely Indic idiom”; “Avestan is likewise purely Iranic”. This is blissful. It leads to other syllogisms such as 1) Gotama was purely Indic, 2) Gomata was purely Iranic and 3) Zoroaster was purely Iranic. But RandomCritic, Alexander celebrated his victory over the Indians(impure?) at Kohnouj which is a Purely Iranic city and is near Patali. For your information RandomCritic this Patali goes back to the 4th millennium and a new Bronze-age civilization at Jiroft and Kohnouj has been discovered recently. Also RandomCritic Sir Charles Eliot who knew a little about Indian history warns against pure stuff :

Our geographical and political phraseology about India and Persia obscures the fact that in many periods the frontier between the two countries was uncertain or not drawn as now.

Your first sentence “There is absolutely no evidence to even remotely suggest that the historical Buddha was born, lived, or taught in any region other than north central India (including parts of Nepal).”, sounds, alas, like political propaganda. Well E. Conze did not quite think so. Have you, dear RandomCritic, heard of the Persepolis Fortification Tablets? If you have, are you aware that the name Tissa appears in the tablets? Does it 'remotely' suggest something to you? Dear friend, you seem to have lost your way after being fed large doses of Fuhrerisms. This reminds me of a sentence in R. Thapar’s book on Ashoka and the decline of the Mauryas – “The identification of Pataliputra is beyond any doubt”. She may or may not have been awarded the $1mn Kluge prize for gems like this but it contrasts with the view of the learned archaeologist A. Ghosh, that there is no archaeological basis for Pataliputra. And your view that Pal’s theory has “no acceptance at all in any academic quarter” is also only partly true. Yes it is strongly detested by the ‘Dalits’ and ‘Brahmans’ but the late N. G. L. Hammond, editor of the Cambridge Ancient History, Oxford Classical Dictionary and the discoverer of Vergina, who was really not Thapar class, supported Pal. And here is this Upenn review[3] which also acclaims Pal’s work. Another review[4] by an Oxford University scholar also seems to praise his approach. Bizarre isnt it RandomCritic? For your information RandomCritic, recently about ten thousand, yes ten thousand Buddhist ancient fragments have been discovered at Bamiyan which has been compared with the discovery of the Dead sea scrolls. Dear RandomCritic does this tell you anything? Why Bamiyan and not why not Nepal? RandomCritic why is it that nothing in the art, archaeology, history or literature of early Nepal has the faintest hint of Buddhism? Scholars like R. Thapar are just sitting on a pile of stinking rubbish created by Fuhrer and Jones. This article on Pali also stinks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 16:05, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

There was Buddhism in Afghanistan and Persia, but that's not where it started. And please be WP:CIVIL. Thanks, Mitsube (talk) 18:36, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

I had found your statement “The separation between the Indic and Iranic branches is prehistoric and long pre-dates the development of Pali.”, revelatory but now I am having second thoughts. Al-beruni, who is considered to be the greatest scholar of his day, wrote that Zoroaster drove the Buddhists out of Iran. This seems to mean that the Indians and the Iranians had not separated completely by the sixth century B.C.. Gotama (or his Fuhrerian incarnation)is born in Nepal and (wow!) Zoroaster who was more than 2000 miles away turns against him. Surprisingly this is also indicated by Alexander's victory over the Indians at Kohnouj. He also gave the strange information that Gotama's name was Buddho-Dana. Now Dana-names are found in the Persepolis_Fortification_Archive. Hsuan Tsang also reported that Langka-lo in Persia had more than 100 monasteries and more than 6000 brethren. Dear RandomCritic if only you care to look into it you would also find many Shramanas (Sharamana) in the archive. The archive according to you is purely Iranic but take ten Pali proper names, it is likely that you will find at least two in the Persepolis_Fortification_Archive. This is of great importance in any study of Pali and just because R. Thapar does not write about it, RandomCritic you should not shut your eyes to it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 02:51, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

It may be easy to dismiss Al-beruni's information about Gotama's name Buddho-Dana as absurd but please note that his father and all his uncles also had Dana-names. You must be familiar with the 'M' to 'B' interplay in linguistics. PF2069 mentions a city Mandumatis which I think is Bandhumati of the Pali texts which was the abode of Vipassi Buddha. It is not easy to physically locate Mandumatis and as city-names get replicated, the abode of Vipassi could on paper be another city in Afghanistan. Only I have no doubt it was not in Nepal or Eastern UP. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 07:49, 16 March 2010 (UTC)


The Pataliputta of the Buddhist suttas was a city located (a) on the border between Magadha and the Vajjian confederacy (i.e., on the river Ganga) and (b) a walkable distance from Nalanda and Rajagaha. Rajagaha is modern Rajgir, about 50 miles southeast of Patna. The geography of the Buddhist texts is credible and consistent, and does not require revisionist editing. The idea that the tiny desert town of Kahnuj could be Asoka's metropolis is absurd. The Greek geographers who charted Pali(m)bothra unambiguously located it in India, on the southern bank of the Ganges -- not anywhere close to Kahnuj. Claims based on superficial similarity of names are not terribly impressive. But I may note that the name Gomata is a _different_ name from Gotama, and that Zarathushtra did not live at the time of the Buddha, but centuries earlier. Abu Rayhan Biruni lived in the 11th century CE and is not a reliable source for information about Buddhism, for which we have better primary texts as sources. RandomCritic (talk) 14:09, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

I would suggest that instead of thinking in terms of ‘purely Indian’ and ‘purely Iranian’ you recite Sir Charles Eliot’s statement which I quoted, as a mantra five times a day. Your statement “Rajagaha is modern Rajgir, about 50 miles southeast of Patna.”, is certainly false though it is paraded as truth by writers such as R. Thapar of SOAS, London, and Dilip Chakrabarti of Cambridge University. There is nothing that has been found here by archaeology. Sir Mortimer Wheeler wrote in clear terms that the urbanization of Bihar area dates from the period of Bindusara or even later. So a Buddhist Council at Rajagaha near Patna six months after the death of Gotama is absurd. S. K. Saraswati writes about Rajagaha; `The Buddhist remains, except for stray and isolated images, are scanty'.. Even the identification of the Sattapani cave, the site of the first Council, is not beyond doubt' . You can find alternative suggestions for Rajagaha in Raychaudhuri’s book. Megasthenes’ Palibothra was on the Ganges yet Strabo wrote flatly that the Greeks `have seldom made a voyage as far as the Ganges' which agrees with the lack of Greek artifacts at Patna. Sir W. W. Tarn also wrote that the Ganges was unknown to the Greco-Macedonians under Alexander. Strabo recognized the contradictions and declared that “generally speaking, the men who have hitherto written on the affairs of India were a set of liars”. I would like that to add some women also in the ‘set of liars’. Strabo was not aware that many Iranian cities had Indian-names and that terms like ‘India’, ‘Magadha’, ‘Ganges’ etc. denoted different geographical entities in different periods. India of the 4th century BC reached up to southeast Iran. B. N. Mukherji, who edited Raychaudhuri’s book, notes that Xenophon’s India did not include the East. The same can be seen to be true of Megasthenes’ Indica which was written a few years later. Please note that Megasthenes does not refer to the eastern cities. Please do not be carried away by references to Ganges like the ‘Dalits’ and ‘Brahmans’. Before Bhagiratha brought the Ganga to ‘India’ it must have been a river in Iran-Afghanistan. You can find the name Geng in Pal’s website. Furthermore, Curtius writes that the Ganges flows into the Arabian Sea. You wrote “The geography of the Buddhist texts is credible and consistent, and does not require revisionist editing.” This is a blanket statement to which I have nothing to add. Your statement “The idea that the tiny desert town of Kahnuj could be Asoka's metropolis is absurd.”, again echoes ‘Dalit’ and ‘Brahman’ sentiments but is not logical. Splendid ruins have been unearthed at Jiroft which have startled scholars worldwide. You have written “The Greek geographers who charted Pali(m)bothra unambiguously located it in India, on the southern bank of the Ganges -- not anywhere close to Kahnuj.”. Dear RandomCritic, whenever you encounter the term “India” you should recite Eliot’s mantra as a charm. You have written “But I may note that the name Gomata is a _different_ name from Gotama, and that Zarathushtra did not live at the time of the Buddha, but centuries earlier.” Dear RandomCritic have you ever wondered about the etymology of the name Magadha? It makes no sense in Sanskrit or Dravidian. Pal gives a Sumerian etymology “Mah-Gud” which he says was accepted by Sukumar Sen, one of the greatest linguists of India who wrote one of the earliest books on Old Persian. Dear RandomCritic have your ever looked into the name Gotama? This also has a Sumerian etymology Gut-Ama (one whose mother is a Cow). The Sanskrit equivalent of Gotama is Gomata. Yes you are correct in stating that Al-beruni is a late author who should be used with caution but please exercise the same caution in case of the reports of the Chinese travellers. Martin Carver, editor of the journal Antiquity, unashamedly supports Dilip Chakrabarty’s view that the Chinese reports support Jones’ ‘discovery’ of Patna. Even though not a single artifact of the Nandas or the Mauryas have been found at Patna, M. Witzel of Harvard University supports Jones’ great ‘discovery’. Dilip Chakrabarti writes about the profusion of 2nd century B.C. inscriptions from Mathura but prefers to keep mum on the lack of any from Patna. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 00:37, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

Al-beruni was a far greater scholar than Xuan Tsang and his statement about Zoroaster driving out the Buddhists from Iran can be independently supported from the history of Gomata who hangs like a ghost in Persian history. He is branded as a 'Maga' which may have something do with Magadha or the Maga priests mentioned in the Indian texts. His abode was Shakyavati which echoes Gotama's title Shakya. Are you aware that Shaman was a name of Gotama and later also of the Buddhists? The name Shaman appears in the Persepolis Tablets. Haman of the Book of Esther can be Gotama. Queen Vashti of the same book may be an echo of Kapilavastu. Pal's view about Kabil or Babil is available from the Wiki article on Babylon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 02:26, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

Your idea that Zoroaster was far older than Gotama may not be correct. Although M. Boyce, a leading authority on Zoroastrianism, places Zoroaster around 1700-1500 B.C., E. Herzfeld, T. C. Young Jr. and J. Duchesne-Guillemin put his date in the 6th century B.C. Incidentally this coincides with the rise of Buddhism and as both the religions were similar heresies against old Vedic type creeds, there is the possibility of a link. This was suspected by Sir Charles Eliot but was soon forgotten. There were many Buddhas before Gotama which implies that Buddhism was also as ancient as Zoroastrianism. In fact they can be seen to be sister religions which belonged to the same milieu but which later separated. At Merv and other sites Zoroastrian and Buddhist artifacts are found side by side. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 03:49, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

The fact that Buddhism and Zoroastrianism were sister reliigions is of utmost importance in any discourse on Pali. This shows why the similarities between Pali and Avestan need to be considered with much greater care. Your statement that "the separation between the Indic and Iranic branches is prehistoric and long pre-dates the development of Pali" is very far from the truth and stems from the ignorance of the fact that early Magadha was not Bihar. Sadly, M. Witzel of Harvard who spent years in Nepal, does not have the insight to see through the terrible misdeeds of Fuhrer which all but ruined world history. Most of his ideas on Para-Munda are conjectural and have no epigraphic support. Only writers such as R Thapar and Dilip Chakrabarti can write about the Sishunagas, who were the kings of Magadha before the Mauryas, without bothering for a moment for archaeological proof. This is a golden tradition cherished by the 'Dalits' and 'Brahmans'. The Sishunagas can be seen to be the great Susinaks of Magan which was Magadha. The Wiki article on Magadha belongs to 'Dalit-Brahman' category and is full of fairy tales. The scholarship on Pali must be integrated with the vast body of authentic evidence available from the thousands of Bamiyan fragments. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 03:12, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear RandomCritic,

Vedic scholars like Hillebrandt and Brunnhofer realised that in regard to the ancient era, the expression ‘Indo-Iranian’ is often preferable to terms such as ‘purely Indian’ or ‘purely Iranian’. The existence of an unbroken Buddhist community of Indians and Iranians of a much later period is clear from the paintings of Ajanta where a Persian king in depicted. Madeline Hallade writes,

Symbolic and decorative motifs adopted directly from the Iranian world, or transmitted through its agency, enriched the repertory of Indian art from its first inception; indeed its versatility is early attested by the Buddhist monuments of the 2nd century B.C. (balustrades at Sanchi and Bharhut).

Instead of interpreting it from a narrow nationalistic 'Dalit-Brahman' standpoint it is important to note that the ‘Iranian world’ of Hallade was in fact ‘India’. The world of Buddhism transcended the borders of India and Iran. This is also proved by the depiction of a Jataka story on a Sasanian silver plate ( G. Azarpay, Bulletin of the Asia Institute, vol. IX). Like the Jatakas, Pali-Avestan is also a common cultural heritage of both the Indian and Iranians. In my view to study the origin of Pali it is important to exclude Nepal and Bihar and turn instead to Ujjain, north-India, Bactria and also Fars where Shaman/Gomata was active. Pāli seems to be closely related to the Old Indo-Aryan Vedic and Sanskrit dialects but is apparently not directly descended from either of these. Both Sukumar Sen and Franklin Edgerton wrote that Pali was perhaps originally spoken in Ujjain. Edgerton pointed to the very extensive agreement in vocabulary between Pali and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit which he describes as a curious language. Thousands of words in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit are unknown in Sanskrit. G. Gnoli misses that Gomata was Gotama but places Zoroaster near Punjab and the Indian border (present-day). Pal writes that Devadatta of the Indian texts was Zoroaster which again links Avestan with Pali. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 01:26, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Deletionist Perversions[edit]

Why was the following clip from the book "South Asian folklore: an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India", by P. J. Claus, S. Diamond, M. A. Mills ;

The folk actors of Herat called themselves Magad and their private ethno-professional dialect (a patois of Persian with additional specialized vocabulary) Magadi.

deleted? The book is written by learned scholars and is published by Routledge. The editor has as much right to true knowledge as the readers and should not behave as a brigand. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 10:40, 7 June 2010 (UTC) Would it also be wrong or immoral to read Dr. Hafizullah Baghban's pioneering work on Afghan folk art "The context and concept of Humor in Magadi Theatre" which has been published by Indiana University? Note the word Magadi which has nothing to do with Bihar.

It was deleted because, regardless of the quality of the information, it has nothing to do with the Pali language. It is completely irrelevant. If you want to start an article on "the folk actors of Herat", be our guest. RandomCritic (talk) 09:40, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the invitation. But I do not understand why you are so scared to use the term Magadi. The article should be on "Magadi Folk Actors of Herat". And dear Sir, was there not a reference to a dialect named Magadi? Yes, a dialect named Magadi. Pali, no Baghban does not mention Pali. I now recall what you wrote about the links between Avestan and Pali. Ezra refers to Sether who I think was Gotama Buddha. He read from a book of Law which was illegible to both Hebrew and Aramaic speakers (Nehemiah Ch.VIII) which indicates that the language was either Avestan or Pali which is similar. And for the archaeologist who has not been brainwashed by phony Fuhrerized history of Nepali Buddhism, folk artists of Afghanistan have a special place as this was the true hinterland of Buddhism.

Dear RandomCritic,

I must say that I admire your child-like simplicity but you are, in fact, feeding your readers with chaff. Magadi near Bangalore is said to have been a town founded by the Chola kings around 11-12 AD. The name Magadi Kempe Gowda, founder of Bangalore, is said to be linked to Mahagani which may in fact be an echo of Magan in Sindh-Baluchistan-Karman. The ancient Dravidian language Brahvi was spoken in Seistan-Baluchistan.



Transliteration methods[edit]

I am trying to determine if there are any manual of style guidelines on Wikipedia that deal with best practices for transliteration of Pali. I am familiar with the transliteration methods for Sanskrit, and have very limited exposure to Pali. For Sanskrit articles there is debate about how much transliteration to put in articles. Is there a Pali guideline for English Wikipedia articles? Buddhipriya (talk) 00:48, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't believe so. it is somewhat ad hoc. I try to imitate the amount that I see scholars use. Mitsube (talk) 05:01, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. Would you say that the majority of articles related to Pali use formal transliteration methods, or can you give samples of pages that show variation in how transliteration is done? I am looking into the issue of how use of diacritical marks varies on Wikipedia. See: User:Buddhipriya/LanguageTransliterationStyleGuides. Since Pali uses essentially the same methods as Sanskrit it is of particular interest to me. Buddhipriya (talk) 05:10, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
It is essentially always the one used here. The m with the dot over it is pronounced as a pure nasal in modern pronunciation. Mitsube (talk) 05:42, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your help. Buddhipriya (talk) 05:49, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your interest! Mitsube (talk) 17:19, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Myanmar (Burmese) Pali[edit]

I think there could be a section on Mynmar or Burmese Pali. I am not Myanmar/Burmese, but my first pali teacher was. New students to pali might be interested to know that although the script is the same, the pronunciation is quite different. I would also like to see a chart which shows the differences. It should be noted that it is not just certain letters that change like 's,' 'c,' and 'j,' but letter combinations that change how things are pronounced too. This is especially true with double consonants and also 'y,' and 'h' combinations.

I remember someone telling me that they almost changed to International Pali during the 6th Buddhist Council, but there were some claims that Nepal had similar pronunciations. I am not sure if this is really the case in Nepal though.

A topic like this might be useful for Myanmar people too.

By the way, Myanmar people find "Burmese" or "Burma" offensive labels because it relates to a single race and not to a unified country despite the current conditions. (A Myanmar Venerable told me this.)

I can try to help, but it will take many months to write such an article however small.

BK — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:15, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Is Pali a different language from Sanskrit?[edit]

I'm deeply confused by the article as to whether its yes or no! أبو خالد إبن المهندس (talk) 16:34, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Earliest examples of Pali[edit]

I came here looking for the earliest known writings in Pali, but found no such reference. Could someone please supply the dates and examples of the earliest known examples???? Thanks. N0w8st8s (talk) 15:32, 13 October 2013 (UTC)n0w8st8s

Please restore some recently removed links[edit]

Grammars by De Silva, Duroiselle and Narada Thera are useful and enhance the article signifficantly - these links need some sorting to remove duplicates but certainliy are worth being here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:04, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Pali language materials[edit]

Rajmaan (talk) 22:33, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Pali language is the canon of Theravada[edit]

Pali (also Pāḷi) Pali is an English word. Pāḷi is a headword (Pāli (Pāḷi) (f.)) in the Pali-English Dictionary of the Pali Text Society [PED]. Its predecessor Childers gives Pāli (f.). This need to be refined most probably Pali: definition; Origin: Commentarial literature. However, I am not convinced that Pāḷi(f.) means a language. I think it is worth investigating.

Pali is a Middle Indo-Aryan language that is in the Prakrit language group[citation needed] and was indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. This is not necessary because the matter is highly controversial.

Pali is a dead language that is widely studied because it is the language of many of the earliest extant Buddhist scriptures as collected in the Pāḷi Canon, or Tipitaka, and it is the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism.

This implies Pali is dead; Pali is widely studied. Drop dead. Pali was defined as a language earlier. There is no need to use religious language to define Pali. I think it is necessary for Wikipedia to use neutral language.

NB Pali is the Language of the Tipitaka is an assumption. It is difficult for me understand a word of Patthana or Yamaka or to class them along with Sutta and Vinaya texts. Assuming Pali is the language of the Tipitaka, here are some suggestions.

Define Tipitaka as the set of texts published by the PTS or its equivalent in language or any media. Define Pali as the language in which Tipitaka is written. Dgdcw (talk) 00:33, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Pali Language[edit]

I propose the following definition for Pāli language. "Pāli is the Language 'Buddho Bhagavā' spoke.

The reason for this proposal is that all the controversy regarding the origin of Pali and its classification can be separately treated. Another reason is Abhidhamma Pitaka can be removed from the present definition. There is general agreement that Abhidhamma Pitaka is later than Buddho Bhagavā. Buddho Bhagavā is the Indian Bhagavā whose words are recorded in Pali Sutta and Vinaya Pitaka.

Bhagavā can be rendered into English as Lord Buddha without any loss of meaning. I shall use the term Lord Buddha from now onwards.

The most important reasons for the proposal is: Lord Buddha's words were understood by people ranging from Kings to beggars. Today, academics classify his teaching as a religion and a philosophy [mere specualation].

It is neither a religion nor a philosphy. It is the Dhamma Pointed out by the Lord and the Vinaya promulgated by the Lord.

I would be grateful grateful if Hindu's who read this proposal also comment. I don't see faith in 'namah sivāya' 'namo bhagavate vāsudevāya' or 'Brahmosmi'.Dgdcw (talk) 06:55, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Pali Definition[edit]

"Modern Sinhala is considered to be the direct descendant of this language through centuries of cultural evolution."

I don't think, the above statement is factually correct.

My mother tongue is Sinhala. I know a little bit of about the history of Sinhala. We have no knowledge of tha language that was spoken before Vijaya. He came from India (actually expelled from India). Tradition says that it was around the time of the Parinirvana of the Lord Buddha. He married a Sri Lankan woman called Kuveni. I am sure he married her without saying: Please marry me. In other words, there was a language in Sri Lanka before the arrival of Vijaya. Later Vijaya chased away Kuveni and her two children and married an Indian woman. I think from around Madras. (These are things we were taught in school). I think before the arrival of Ven. Mahinda, there was an exchange of diplomats. And most important. How did Ven. Mahinda communicate with his audience in Sri Lanka? In Pali, the language created by Rhys Davids.

Ven. Mahinda spoke the language of the people of Sri Lanka. I don't think he first taught them Pali and its grammar (it is impossible for me to understand).

There is evidence that there were worshippers of Mother goddess (Kali); Nigańțhas (Abhayagiri)Dgdcw (talk) 12:26, 28 December 2014 (UTC) Modern Sinhala is primarily a mix of Sanskrit, Pali (lesser degree), Tamil, Portugese, Dutch, English and even a litte bit of French.

But my concern is really the full article. There were many grammars of the language of the Tipitaka; Moggallana, Kaccayana ....Balavatara. This last is still the standard Pali grammar in Pirivenas. More importantly, the the commentaries were like "glossaries".

All that is not even mentioned in this article. It is fair because the article is headed Pali. If you dig into the grammars mentioned above, you may come across the meaning of Pāli.

The language of the Tipitaka was never a vernacular and it NEVER died. One final question. Where did Buddhist monks like Ven. A.P. Buddhadatta, Most Ven. Ananda Maitreya or Ven. Hikkaduwe Sumangala learn Pali?

There are two ways to handle this problem: Rename the article something like Pali and explain that it is the English interpretation of the "Sanskrita Tripitaka". Write another article on : Sri Lankan interpretation of the Language of Lord Buddha. [Not the Buddha]Dgdcw (talk) 12:26, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Pali: Dead language.[edit]

There is an extensive literature in Pali that is "living". How can it be called dead? I propose that relevant defintion be modified.

The facts: There are words in Pali literature that are attributed to "Buddho Bhagava". Those words should be considered as the origin of the language. Of course, like any other languge, it changed over the course of 2500 years. We now have an extensive literature. For example see Hinuber.Dgdcw (talk) 12:17, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Please follow the link (also given in the lede) to the WP article on dead languages. A dead language, by definition, is a language that no longer has any native speakers. Pali fits this definition (i.e. there are currently no people on Earth whose first language is Pali). For comparison, Latin also has an extensive literature and is still widely studied, yet is considered a dead language.--William Thweatt TalkContribs 17:26, 23 January 2015 (UTC)