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is no single, standard spelling of the term; all four spellings can be found in textbooks. R.C. Pāḷi Childers translates the word as "series" and states that the language "bears the epithet in Pronunciation [paːli] consequence of the perfection of its gramCambodia, Bangladesh, India, Laos, Spoken in matical structure."[1] Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pali is a literary language of the Prakrit Thailand, Vietnam language family. When the canonical texts No native speakers, used as a literary Language were written down in Sri Lanka in the first and liturgical language only extinction century BCE, Pali stood close to a living lanIndo-European Language guage; this is not the case for the commentIndo-Iranian family aries.[2] Despite excellent scholarship on this Indo-Aryan problem, there is persistent confusion as to Pali the relation of Pāḷi to the vernacular spoken Brahmi script, Brāhmī-based scripts the ancient kingdom of Magadha (which Writing in and Latin alphabet (refer to article) system most scholars agree to have been located around modern-day Bihār, though some have Language codes recently claimed that it may have gotten that pi ISO 639-1 name after the Ashokan era and that ancient Magadha may have possibly been in the pli ISO 639-2 northwest of ancient India, in pli ISO 639-3 Baluchistan[3][4][5]). Pali as a Middle Indo-Aryan language is This page contains Indic text. Without different from Sanskrit not so much with rerendering support you may see irregular gard to the time of its origin as to its dialectal vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. base, since a number of its morphological More... and lexical features betray the fact that it is not a direct continuation of Ṛgvedic Vedic Pali (ISO 15919/ALA-LC: Pāḷi) is a Middle Sanskrit; rather it descends from a dialect (or Indo-Aryan language or prakrit of India. It is a number of dialects) which was (/were), desbest known as the language of many of the pite many similarities, different from Ṛgvedearliest extant Buddhist scriptures, as collecic.[6] ted in the Pāḷi Canon or Tipitaka, and as the Pali was considered by early Buddhists to liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism. be linguistically similar to Old Magadhi or even a direct continuation of that language. Many Theravada sources refer to the Pali language as “Magadhan” or the “language of The word Pali itself signifies "line" or "(caMagadha.” This seems to be problematic, as nonical) text", and this name for the language the later form of Magadhi of Asoka’s inscripseems to have its origins in commentarial trations (3rd century BC) is an Eastern Indian ditions, wherein the "Pāḷi" (in the sense of language whereas Pali most closely rethe line of original text quoted) was distinsembles Western Indian inscriptions. Ancient guished from the commentary or the verMagadha may, however, have been in the nacular following after it on the manuscript West of ancient India after all.[7] There are page. As such, the name of the language has many remarkable analogies between Pali and caused some debate among scholars of all Ardhamagadhi (Half Magadhi), an old form of ages; the spelling of the name also varies, beMagadhi preserved in ancient Jain texts. Arding found with both long "ā" [ɑː] and short hamagadhi differs from the eastern Prakrit of "a" [a], and also with either a retroflex [ɭ] or Ashokan inscriptions on similar points as non-retroflex [l] "l" sound. To this day, there Pali. For example, Ardhamagadhi too does

Origin and development


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not change r into l, and in the noun inflexion it shows the ending -o instead of the eastern Prakritic -e at least in many metrical places. This similarity is not accidental, since Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism preached in the same area (Magadha) as Buddha Gotama. T.W. Rhys Davids in his book Buddhist India, and Wilhelm Geiger in his book Pali Literature and Language suggested that Pali may have originated as a form of lingua franca or common language of culture among people who used differing dialects in North India, used at the time of the Buddha and employed by him. Another scholar states that at that time it was "a refined and elegant vernacular of all Aryan-speaking people."[8] Modern scholarship has not arrived at a consensus on the issue; there are a variety of conflicting theories with supporters and detractors (taking as given that Magadha was an eastern district).[9] After the death of the Buddha, Pali may have evolved among Buddhists out of the language of the Buddha as a new artificial language.[10] Bhikkhu Bodhi, summarizing the current state of scholarship, states that the language is "closely related to the language (or, more likely, the various regional dialects) that the Buddha himself spoke." He goes on to write: Scholars regard this language as a hybrid showing features of several Prakrit dialects used around the third century BCE, subjected to a partial process of Sanskritization. While the language is not identical with any the Buddha himself would have spoken, it belongs to the same broad linguistic family as those he might have used and originates from the same conceptual matrix. This language thus reflects the thoughtworld that the Buddha inherited from the wider Indian culture into which he was born, so that its words capture the subtle nuances of that thought-world.[11] Whatever the relationship of the Buddha’s speech to Pali, the Canon was eventually transcribed and preserved entirely in it, while the commentarial tradition that accompanied it (according to the information provided by Buddhaghosa) was translated into Sinhalese and preserved in local languages

for several generations. R.C. Childers, who held to the theory that Pali was Old Magadhi, wrote: "Had Gautama never preached, it is unlikely that Magadhese would have been distinguished from the many other vernaculars of Hindustan, except perhaps by an inherent grace and strength which make it a sort of Tuscan among the Prakrits."[12] However Pali was ultimately supplanted in India by Sanskrit as a literary and religious language following the formulation of Classical Sanskrit by the scholar Panini. In Sri Lanka, Pali is thought to have entered into a period of decline ending around the 4th or 5th Century (as Sanskrit rose in prominence), but ultimately survived. The work of Buddhaghosa was largely responsible for its reemergence as an important scholarly language in Buddhist thought. The Visuddhimagga and the other commentaries that Buddhaghosa compiled codified and condensed the Sinhalese commentarial tradition that had been preserved and expanded in Sri Lanka since the 3rd Century BCE. Today Pali is studied mainly to gain access to Buddhist scriptures, and is frequently chanted in a ritual context. The secular literature of Pali historical chronicles, medical texts, and inscriptions, is also of great historical importance. The great centers of Pali learning remain in the Theravada nations of South-East Asia: Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Since the 19th century, various societies for the revival of Pali studies in India have promoted awareness of the language and its literature, perhaps most notably the Maha Bodhi Society founded by Anagarika Dhammapala. In Europe, the Pali Text Society has been a major force in promoting the study of Pali by Western scholars since its founding in 1881. Based in the United Kingdom, the society publishes romanized Pali editions, along with many English translations of these sources. In 1869, the first Pali Dictionary was published using the research of Robert Caesar Childers, one of the founding members of the Pali Text Society. It was the first Pali translated text in English and was published in 1872. Childers’s Dictionary later received the Volney Prize in 1876. The Pali Text Society was in part founded to compensate for the very low level of funds allocated to Indology in late 19th century England; incongruously, the English were not nearly so robust in Sanskrit and Prakrit


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language studies as Germany, Russia and even Denmark—a situation that many would say continues to this day. Without the inspiration of colonial holdings such as the former British occupation of Sri Lanka and Burma, institutions such as the Danish Royal Library have built up major collections of Pali manuscripts, and major traditions of Pali studies.

spoken by the gods, in which each word had an inherent significance, this view of language was not shared in the early Buddhist tradition, in which words were only conventional and mutable signs.[13] Neither the Buddha nor his early followers shared the brahmans’ reverence for the Vedic language or its sacred texts. This view of language naturally extended to Pali, and may have contributed to its usage (as an approximation or standardization of local Middle Indic dialects) in place of Sanskrit. However, by the time of the compilation of the Pali commentaries (4th or 5th century), Pali was regarded as the natural language, the root language of all beings.[14] Comparable to Ancient Egyptian, Latin or Hebrew in the mystic traditions of the West, Pali recitations were often thought to have a supernatural power (which could be attributed to their meaning, the character of the reciter, or the qualities of the language itself), and in the early strata of Buddhist literature we can already see Pali dhāraṇīs used as charms, e.g. against the bite of snakes. Many people in Theravada cultures still believe that taking a vow in Pali has a special significance, and, as one example of the supernatural power assigned to chanting in the language, the recitation of the vows of Aṅgulimāla are believed to alleviate the pain of childbirth in Sri Lanka. In Thailand, the chanting of a portion of the Abhidhammapiṭaka is believed to be beneficial to the recently departed, and this ceremony routinely occupies as much as seven working days. Interestingly, there is nothing in the latter text that relates to this subject, and the origins of the custom are unclear.

Virtually every word in Pāḷi has cognates in the other Prakritic "Middle Indo-Aryan languages", e.g., the Jain Prakrits. The relationship to earlier Sanskrit (e.g., Vedic language) is less direct and more complicated. Historically, influence between Pali and Sanskrit has been felt in both directions. The Pali language’s resemblance to Sanskrit is often exaggerated by comparing it to later Sanskrit compositions – which were written centuries after Sanskrit ceased to be a living language, and are influenced by developments in Middle Indic, including the direct borrowing of a portion of the Middle Indic lexicon; whereas, a good deal of later Pali technical terminology has been borrowed from the vocabulary of equivalent disciplines in Sanskrit, either directly or with certain phonological adaptations. Post-canonical Pali also possesses a few loan-words from local languages where Pali was used (e.g. Sri Lankans adding Sinhalese words to Pali). These usages differentiate the Pali found in the Suttapiṭaka from later compositions such as the Pali commentaries on the canon and folklore (e.g., the stories of the Jātaka commentaries), and comparative study (and dating) of texts on the basis of such loan-words is now a specialized field unto itself. Pali was not exclusively used to convey the teachings of the Buddha, as can be deduced from the existence of a number of secular texts, such as books of medical science/ instruction, in Pali. However, scholarly interest in the language has been focused upon religious and philosophical literature, because of the unique window it opens on one phase in the development of Buddhism.

This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Emic views of Pali
Although Sanskrit was said, in brahmanical tradition, to be the unchanging language

With regard to its phonology, R.C. Childers compared Pali to Italian: "Like Italian, Pali is at once flowing and sonorous: it is a characteristic of both languages that nearly every word ends in a vowel, and that all harsh conjunctions are softened down by assimilation, elision, or crasis, while on the other hand both lend themselves easily to the expression of sublime and vigorous thought."[15]


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Height High Mid Low Place of articulation Manner of articulation Stops Voiceless Velars Palatals Retroflex Dentals Alveolars Bilabials Labiodentals Glottals p [p] ph [pʰ] b [b] bh [bʱ] m [m] v [ʋ] k [k] c [tʃ] ṭ [ʈ] t [t̪] kh [kʰ] ch[tʃʰ] ṭh [ʈʰ] th [t̪ʰ] Voiced g [ɡ] j [dʒ] ḍ [ɖ] d [d̪] gh [ɡʱ] jh [dʒʱ] ḍh [ɖʱ] dh [d̪ʱ] ṅ [ŋ] ñ [ɲ] ṇ [ɳ] n [n̪] y [j] r[ɻ] Approximants Non-laterals Backness Front i [i] ī [iː] e [e], [eː] a [ɐ] ā [aː] Central Back u [u] ū [uː] o [o], [oː]



Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Nasal Unaspirated Aspirated Unas

ḷ [ɭ] l [l]

Long and short vowels are only contrastive in open syllables; in closed syllables, all vowels are always short. Short and long e and o are in complementary distribution: the short variants occur only in closed syllables, the long variants occur only in open syllables. Short and long e and o are therefore not distinct phonemes. A sound called anusvāra (Skt.; Pali: nigghahita), represented by the letter ṁ (ISO 15919) or ṃ (ALA-LC) in romanization, and by a raised dot in most traditional alphabets, originally marked the fact that the preceding vowel was nasalized. That is, aṁ, iṁ and uṁ represented [ã], [ĩ] and [ũ]. In many traditional pronunciations, however, the anusvāra is pronounced more strongly, like the velar nasal [ŋ], so that these sounds are pronounced instead [ãŋ], [ĩŋ] and [ũŋ]. However pronounced, ṁ never follows a long vowel; ā, ī and ū are converted to the corresponding short vowels when ṁ is added to a stem ending in a long vowel, e.g. kathā + ṁ becomes kathaṁ, not *kathāṁ, devī + ṁ becomes deviṁ, not *devīṁ.

The table below lists the consonants of Pali. In bold is the letter in traditional romanisation, in brackets is its pronunciation in the IPA. The sounds listed above, except for ṅ, ḷ and ḷh are distinct phonemes in Pali. ṅ only occurs before velar stops. ḷ and ḷh are allophones of ḍ and ḍh when they occur singly between vowels.

Pali is a highly inflected language, in which almost every word contains, besides the root conveying the basic meaning, one or more affixes (usually suffixes) which modify the meaning in some way. Nouns are inflected for gender, number, and case; verbal inflections convey information about person, number, tense and mood.

Nominal inflection
Pali nouns inflect for three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) and two numbers (singular, and plural). The nouns also, in principle, display eight cases: nominative or paccatta case, vocative, accusative or upayoga case, instrumental or


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Masculine (loka- "world") Singular Nominative Vocative Accusative Ablative Dative Genitive Locative loko loka lokaṁ lokā (lokamhā, lokasmā; lokato) lokassa (lokāya) lokassa loke (lokasmiṁ) lokesu loke lokehi yānena yānā (yānamhā, yānasmā; yānato) lokānaṁ yānassa (yānāya) yānassa yāne (yānasmiṁ) Plural lokā Neuter (yāna- "carriage") Singular yānaṁ


Plural yānāni

Instrumental lokena


yānānaṁ yānesu

Feminine (kathā- "story") Singular Nominative Vocative Accusative Instrumental Ablative Dative Genitive Locative kathāya, kathāyaṁ kathāsu kathānaṁ kathā kathe kathaṁ kathāya kathāhi Plural kathāyo

karaṇa case, dative or sampadāna case, ablative, genitive or sāmin case, and locative or bhumma case; however, in many instances, two or more of these cases are identical in form; this is especially true of the genitive and dative cases.

Example of Pali with English translation
Element for element gloss Mano-pubbaṅ-gam=ā dhamm=ā, manoseṭṭh=ā mano-may=ā;, Manas=ā ce paduṭṭh=ena, bhāsa=ti vā karo=ti vā, if either or, Ta=to naṁ dukkhaṁ anv-e=ti, cakkaṁ ’va vahat=o pad=aṁ. That=from him suffering, wheel as carrying(beast)

a-stems, whose uninflected stem ends in short a (/ə/), are either masculine or neuter. The masculine and neuter forms differ only in the nominative, vocative, and accusative cases.

Nouns ending in ā (/aː/) are almost always feminine.

i-stems and u-stems
i-stems and u-stems are either masculine or neuter. The masculine and neuter forms differ only in the nominative and accusative cases. The vocative has the same form as the nominative.


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Masculine (isi- "seer") Singular Nominative Vocative Accusative Instrumental Ablative Dative Genitive Locative isiṁ isinā isinā, isito isino isissa, isino isismiṁ isisu, isīsu isinaṁ, isīnaṁ isihi, isīhi akkhinā akkhinā, akkhito akkhino akkhissa, akkhino akkhismiṁ akkhisu, akkhīsu akkhihi, akkhīhi isi Plural isayo, isī Neuter (akkhi- "fire") Singular akkhi, akkhiṁ Plural akkhī, akkhīni


akkhinaṁ, akkhīnaṁ

Masculine (bhikkhu- "monk") Singular Nominative Vocative Accusative Ablative Dative Genitive Locative bhikkhuno bhikkhussa, bhikkhuno bhikkhusmiṁ bhikkhūnaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ, bhikkhunnaṁ bhikkhūsu bhikkhuṁ bhikkhūhi Instrumental bhikkhunā bhikkhu Plural bhikkhavo, bhikkhū

Neuter (cakkhu- "eye") Singular cakkhu, cakkhuṁ Plural cakkhūni

cakkhunā cakkhuno cakkhussa, cakkhuno cakkhusmiṁ

cakkhūhi cakkhūnaṁ cakkhūnaṁ, cakkhunnaṁ cakkhūsu

The three compounds in the first line literally mean: manopubbaṅgama "whose precursor is mind", "having mind as a fore-goer or leader" manoseṭṭha "whose foremost member is mind", "having mind as chief" manomaya "consisting of mind" or "made by mind" The literal meaning is therefore: "The dharmas have mind as their leader, mind as their chief, are made of/by mind. If [someone] either speaks or acts with a corrupted mind, from that [cause] suffering goes after him, as the wheel [of a cart follows] the foot of a draught animal." A slightly freer translation by Acharya Buddharakkhita Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him

like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

Pali and Ardha-Magadhi
The most archaic of the Middle Indo-Aryan languages are the inscriptional Aśokan Prakrit on the one hand and Pāli and Ardhamāgadhī on the other, both literary languages. The Indo-Aryan languages are commonly assigned to three major groups - Old, Middle and New Indo-Aryan -, a linguistic and not strictly chronological classification as the MIA languages ar not younger than (’Classical’) Sanskrit. And a number of their morphophonological and lexical features betray the fact that they are not direct continuations of Ṛgvedic Sanskrit, the main base of ’Classical’ Sanskrit; rather they descend from dialects which, despite many similarities, were different from Ṛgvedic and in some regards even more archaic. MIA languages, though individually distinct, share features of phonology and morphology which characterize them as parallel


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descendants of Old Indo-Aryan. Various sound changes are typical of the MIA phonology: (1) The vocalic liquids ’ṛ’ and ’ḷ’ are replaced by ’a’, ’i’ or ’u’; (2) the diptongs ’ai’ and ’au’ are monophthongized to ’e’ and ’o’; (3) long vowels before two or more consonants are shortened; (4) the three sibilants of OIA are reduced to one, either ’ś’ or ’s’; (5) the often complex consonant clusters of OIA are reduced to more readily pronounceable forms, either by assimilation or by splitting; (6) single intervocalic stops are progressively weakened; (7) dentals are palatalized by a following ’-y-’; (8) all final consonants except ’-ṃ’ are dropped unless they are retained in ’sandhi’ junctions. The most conspicuous features of the morphological system of these languages are: loss of the dual; thematicization of consonantal stems; merger of the f. ’i-/u-’ and ’ī-/ū-’ in one ’ī-/ū-’ inflexion, elimination of the dative, whose functions are taken over by the genitive, simultaneous use of different caseendings in one paradigm; employment of ’mahyaṃ’ and ’tubhyaṃ’ as genitives and ’me’ and ’te’ as instrumentals; gradual disappearance of the middle voice; coexistence of historical and new verbal forms based on the present stem; and use of active endings for the passive. In the vocabulary, the MIA languages are mostly dependent on Old IndoAryan, with addition of a few so-called ’deśī’ words of (often) uncertain origin.

word is a part of the old Prakrit lexicon, or a transformed borrowing from Sanskrit. The existence of a Sanskrit word regularly corresponding to a Pali word is not always secure evidence of the Pali etymology, since, in some cases, artificial Sanskrit words were created by back-formation from Prakrit words. The following phonological processes are not intended as an exhaustive description of the historical changes which produced Pali from its Old Indic ancestor, but rather are a summary of the most common phonological equations between Sanskrit and Pali, with no claim to completeness.

Vowels and diphthongs
• Sanskrit and au always monophthongize to Pali e and o, respectively Examples: maitrī → mettā, auṣadha → osadha • Sanskrit and ava likewise often reduce to Pali e and o Examples: dhārayati → dhāreti, avatāra → otāra, bhavati → hoti • Sanskrit becomes Pali e (i.e. avi → ai → e) Example: sthavira → thera • Sanskrit appears in Pali as a, i or u, often agreeing with the vowel in the following syllable. ṛ also sometimes becomes u after labial consonants. Examples: kṛta → kata, tṛṣṇa → taṇha, smṛti → sati, ṛṣi → isi, dṛṣṭi → diṭṭhi, ṛddhi → iddhi, ṛju → uju, spṛṣṭa → phuṭṭha, vṛddha → vuddha • Sanskrit long vowels are shortened before a sequence of two following consonants. Examples: kṣānti → khanti, rājya → rajja, īśvara → issara, tīrṇa → tiṇṇa, pūrva → pubba

Pali and Sanskrit
Although Pali cannot be considered a direct descendant of either Classical Sanskrit or of the older Vedic dialect, the languages are obviously very closely related and the common characteristics of Pali and Sanskrit were always easily recognized by those in India who were familiar with both. Indeed, a very large proportion of Pali and Sanskrit word-stems are identical in form, differing only in details of inflection. The connections were sufficiently wellknown that technical terms from Sanskrit were easily converted into Pali by a set of conventional phonological transformations. These transformations mimicked a subset of the phonological developments that had occurred in Proto-Pali. Because of the prevalence of these transformations, it is not always possible to tell whether a given Pali

Sound changes
• The Sanskrit sibilants , ṣ, and s merge together as Pali s Examples: śaraṇa → saraṇa, doṣa → dosa • The Sanskrit stops and ḍh become ḷ and ḷh between vowels (as in Vedic)


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Example: cakravāḍa → cakkavāḷa, virūḍha → virūḷha niḥpakva (=niṣpakva) → nippakka, niḥśoka → nissoka, niḥsattva → nissatta


General rules • Many assimilations of one consonant to a neighboring consonant occurred in the development of Pali, producing a large number of geminate (double) consonants. Since aspiration of a geminate consonant is only phonetically detectable on the last consonant of a cluster, geminate kh, gh, ch, jh, ṭh, ḍh, th, dh, ph and bh appear as kkh, ggh, cch, jjh, ṭṭh, ḍḍh, tth, ddh, pph and bbh, not as khkh, ghgh etc. • When assimilation would produce a geminate consonant (or a sequence of unaspirated stop+aspirated stop) at the beginning of a word, the initial geminate is simplified to a single consonant. Examples: prāṇa → pāṇa (not ppāṇa), sthavira → thera (not tthera), dhyāna → jhāna (not jjhāna), jñāti → ñāti (not ññāti) • When assimilation would produce a sequence of three consonants in the middle of a word, geminates are simplified until there are only two consonants in sequence. Examples: uttrāsa → uttāsa (not utttāsa), mantra → manta (not mantta), indra → inda (not indda), vandhya → vañjha (not vañjjha) • The sequence resulting from assimilation changes to bb Example: sarva → savva → sabba, pravrajati → pavvajati → pabbajati, divya → divva → dibba Total assimilation Total assimilation, where one sound becomes identical to a neighboring sound, is of two types: progressive, where the assimilated sound becomes identical to the following sound; and regressive, where it becomes identical to the preceding sound.
Progressive assimilations

• In a sequence of two dissimilar Sanskrit stops, the first stop assimilates to the second stop Examples: vimukti → vimutti, dugdha → duddha, utpāda → uppāda, pudgala → puggala, udghoṣa → ugghosa, adbhuta → abbhuta, śabda → sadda • In a sequence of two dissimilar nasals, the first nasal assimilates to the second nasal Example: unmatta → ummatta, pradyumna → pajjunna • assimilates to a following ñ (i.e., jñ becomes ññ) Examples: prajñā → paññā, jñāti → ñāti • The Sanskrit liquid consonants and l assimilate to a following stop, nasal, sibilant, or v Examples: mārga → magga, karma → kamma, varṣa → vassa, kalpa → kappa, sarva → savva → sabba • assimilates to a following l Examples: durlabha → dullabha, nirlopa → nillopa • sometimes assimilates to a following v, producing vv → bb Examples: udvigna → uvvigga → ubbigga, dvādaśa → bārasa (beside dvādasa) • and d may assimilate to a following s or y when a morpheme boundary intervenes Examples: ut+sava → ussava, ud+yāna → uyyāna
Regressive assimilations

• Internal visarga assimilates to a following voiceless stop or sibilant Examples: duḥkṛta → dukkata, duḥkha → dukkha, duḥprajña → duppañña, niḥkrodha (=niṣkrodha) → nikkodha,

• Nasals sometimes assimilate to a preceding stop (in other cases epenthesis occurs; see below) Examples: agni → aggi, ātman → atta, prāpnoti → pappoti, śaknoti → sakkoti • assimilates to an initial sibilant Examples: smarati → sarati, smṛti → sati


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• Nasals assimilate to a preceding stop+sibilant cluster, which then develops in the same way as such clusters without following nasals (see below) Examples: tīkṣṇa → tikṣa → tikkha, lakṣmī → lakṣī →lakkhī • The Sanskrit liquid consonants and l assimilate to a preceding stop, nasal, sibilant, or v Examples: prāṇa → pāṇa, grāma → gāma, śrāvaka → sāvaka, agra → agga, indra → inda, pravrajati → pavvajati → pabbajati, aśru → assu • assimilates to preceding non-dental/ retroflex stops or nasals Examples: cyavati → cavati, jyotiṣ → joti, rājya → rajja, matsya → macchya → maccha, lapsyate → lacchyate → lacchati, abhyāgata → abbhāgata, ākhyāti → akkhāti, saṁkhyā → saṅkhā (but also saṅkhyā), ramya → ramma • assimilates to preceding non-initial v, producing vv → bb Example: divya → divva → dibba, veditavya → veditavva → veditabba, bhāvya → bhavva → bhabba • and v assimilate to any preceding sibilant, producing ss Examples: paśyati → passati, śyena → sena, aśva → assa, īśvara → issara, kariṣyati → karissati, tasya → tassa, svāmin → sāmī • sometimes assimilates to a preceding stop Examples: pakva → pakka, catvāri → cattāri, sattva → satta, dhvaja → dhaja Partial and mutual assimilation • Sanskrit sibilants before a stop assimilate to that stop, and if that stop is not already aspirated, it becomes aspirated; e.g. śc, st, ṣṭ and sp become cch, tth, ṭṭh and pph Examples: paścāt → pacchā, asti → atthi, stava → thava, śreṣṭha → seṭṭha, aṣṭa → aṭṭha, sparśa → phassa • In sibilant-stop-liquid sequences, the liquid is assimilated to the preceding consonant, and the cluster behaves like

sibilant-stop sequences; e.g. and ṣṭr become tth and ṭṭh Examples: śāstra → śasta → sattha, rāṣṭra → raṣṭa → raṭṭha • and p become c before s, and the sibilant assimilates to the preceding sound as an aspirate (i.e., the sequences ts and ps become cch) Examples: vatsa → vaccha, apsaras → accharā • A sibilant assimilates to a preceding as an aspirate (i.e., the sequence kṣ becomes kkh) Examples: bhikṣu → bhikkhu, kṣānti → khanti • Any dental or retroflex stop or nasal followed by converts to the corresponding palatal sound, and the y assimilates to this new consonant, i.e. ty, thy, dy, dhy, ny become cc, cch, jj, jjh, ññ; likewise ṇy becomes ññ. Nasals preceding a stop that becomes palatal share this change. Examples: tyajati → cyajati → cajati, satya → sacya → sacca, mithyā → michyā → micchā, vidyā → vijyā → vijjā, madhya → majhya → majjha, anya → añya → añña, puṇya → puñya → puñña, vandhya → vañjhya → vañjjha → vañjha • The sequence becomes mb, via the epenthesis of a stop between the nasal and liquid, followed by assimilation of the liquid to the stop and subsequent simplification of the resulting geminate. Examples: āmra → ambra → amba, tāmra → tamba

An epenthetic vowel is sometimes inserted between certain consonant-sequences. As with ṛ, the vowel may be a, i, or u, depending on the influence of a neighboring consonant or of the vowel in the following syllable. i is often found near i, y, or palatal consonants; u is found near u, v, or labial consonants. • Sequences of stop + nasal are sometimes separated by or u Example: ratna → ratana, padma → paduma (u influenced by labial m) • The sequence may become sin initially


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Examples: snāna → sināna, sneha → sineha • may be inserted between a consonant and l Examples: kleśa → kilesa, glāna → gilāna, mlāyati → milāyati, ślāghati → silāghati • An epenthetic vowel may be inserted between an initial sibilant and Example: śrī → sirī • The sequence generally becomes riy (i influenced by following y), but is still treated as a two-consonant sequence for the purposes of vowel-shortening Example: ārya → arya → ariya, sūrya → surya → suriya, vīrya → virya → viriya • or i is inserted between r and h Example: arhati → arahati, garhā → garahā, barhiṣ → barihisa • There is sporadic epenthesis between other consonant sequences Examples: caitya → cetiya (not cecca), vajra → vajira (not vajja)

Examples: bhavati → hoti, -ebhiṣ → -ehi, laghu → lahu • Dental and retroflex sounds sporadically change into one another Examples: jñāna → ñāṇa (not ñāna), dahati → ḍahati (beside Pali dahati) nīḍa → nīla (not nīḷa), sthāna → ṭhāna (not thāna), duḥkṛta → dukkaṭa (beside Pali dukkata)

There are several notable exceptions to the rules above; many of them are common Prakrit words rather than borrowings from Sanskrit. • → ayya (beside ariya) • → garu (adj.) (beside guru (n.)) • → purisa (not purusa) • → rukṣa → rukkha (not vakkha)

Pali writing
Pali alphabet with diacritics
During the reign of King Ashoka, he erected a pillar in Lumbini (now in Nepal) with his edict in Pali in Brahmi script [16]. Historically, the first written record of the Pali canon is believed to have been composed in Sri Lanka, based on a prior oral tradition. As per the Mahavamsa (the chronicle of Sri Lanka), due to a major famine in the country Buddhist monks wrote down the Pali canon during the time of King Vattagamini in 100 BC. The transmission of written Pali has retained a universal system of alphabetic values, but has expressed those values in a stunning variety of actual scripts. In Sri Lanka, Pali texts were recorded in Sinhala script. Other local scripts, most prominently Khmer, Burmese, and in modern times Thai (since 1893), Devanāgarī and Mongolian have been used to record Pali. Since the 19th Century, Pali has also been written in the Roman script. An alternate scheme devised by Frans Velthuis allows for typing without diacritics using plain ASCII methods, but is arguably less readable than the standard Rhys Davids system, which uses diacritical marks. The Pali alphabetical order is as follows: • ḷh, although a single sound, is written with ligature of ḷ and h.

Other changes
• Any Sanskrit sibilant before a nasal becomes a sequence of nasal followed by , i.e. ṣṇ, sn and sm become ṇh, nh, and mh Examples: tṛṣṇa → taṇha, uṣṇīṣa → uṇhīsa, asmi → amhi • The sequence becomes ñh, due to assimilation of the n to the preceding palatal sibilant Example: praśna → praśña → pañha • The sequences and hv undergo metathesis Examples: jihvā → jivhā, gṛhya → gayha, guhya → guyha • undergoes metathesis with a following nasal Example: gṛhṇāti → gaṇhāti • is geminated between e and a vowel Examples: śreyas → seyya, Maitreya → Metteyya • Voiced aspirates such as and gh on rare occasions become h


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

• IndUni-CMono is Courier-lookalike but monospaced; • An English Buddhist monk titled Bhikkhu Pesala provides some Pali fonts he has designed himself, and some Pali keyboards for Windows XP. • The font section of Alanwood’s Unicode Resources have links to several general purpose fonts that can be used for Pali typing if they cover the character ranges above.

Pali transliteration on computers
There are several fonts to use for Pali transliteration. However, older ASCII fonts such as Leedsbit PaliTranslit, Times_Norman, Times_CSX+, Skt Times, Vri RomanPali CN/ CB etc., are not recommendable since they are not compatible with one another and technically out of date. On the contrary, fonts based on the Unicode standard are recommended because Unicode seems to be the future for all fonts and also because they are easily portable to one another. However, not all Unicode fonts contain the necessary characters. To properly display all the diacritic marks used for romanized Pali (or for that matter, Sanskrit), a Unicode font must contain the following character ranges: • Basic Latin: U+0000 – U+007F • Latin-1 Supplement: U+0080 – U+00FF • Latin Extended-A: U+0100 – U+017F • Latin Extended-B: U+0180 – U+024F • Latin Extended Additional: U+1E00 – U+1EFF Some Unicode fonts freely available for typesetting Romanized Pali are as follows: • The Pali Text Society recommends VU-Times and Gandhari Unicode for Windows and Linux Computers. • The Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library recommends Times Ext Roman, and provides links to several of other Unicode diacritic fonts usable for typing Pali together with ratings and installation instructions. • SIL: International provides Charis SIL, Doulos SIL, Gentium, Gentium Basic, Gentium Book Basic fonts. Of them, Charis SIL, Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic have all 4 styles (regular, italic, bold, bold-italic); so can provide publication quality typesetting. • John Smith provides IndUni Opentype fonts, based upon URW++ fonts. Of them: • IndUni-C is Courier-lookalike; • IndUni-H is Helvetica-lookalike; • IndUni-N is New Century Schoolbook-lookalike; • IndUni-P is Palatino-lookalike; • IndUni-T is Times-lookalike;

Pali text in ASCII
The Velthuis scheme was originally developed in 1991 by Frans Velthuis for use with his "devnag" Devanāgarī font, designed for the TeX typesetting system. This system of representing Pali diacritical marks has been used in some websites and discussion lists. However, as the Web itself and email software slowly evolve towards the Unicode encoding standard, this system has become almost not necessary and obsolete. The following table compares various conventional renderings and shortcut key assignments:

[1] Hazra, Kanai Lal. Pali Language and Literature; a systematic survey and historical study. D.K. Printworld Lrd., New Delhi, 1994, page 19. [2] Students’ Brittanica India, [1]. [3] See Ranajit Pal, "Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander", New Delhi - 2002, or [2] [4] Review of Pal’s book by Monique Cardell, Université Aix-Marseille: [3] [5] Review of Pal’s book by Jan-Mathieu Carbon, Corpus Christi College, Oxford [4] [6] Oberlies, Thomas Pali: A Grammar of the Language of the Theravāda Tipiṭaka, Walter de Gruyter, 2001. [7] See Ranajit Pal, "Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander", New Delhi - 2002, or [5] [8] Hazra, Kanai Lal. Pali Language and Literature; a systematic survey and historical study. D.K. Printworld Lrd., New Delhi, 1994, page 11. [9] Hazra, Kanai Lal. Pali Language and Literature; a systematic survey and historical study. D.K. Printworld Lrd., New Delhi, 1994, pages 1-44.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
character ASCII rendering ā ī ū ṁ ṇ ñ ṭ ḍ ṅ ḷ aa ii uu .m .n ~n .t .d "n .l character name a macron i macron u macron m dot-under n dot-under n tilde t dot-under d dot-under n dot-over l dot-under 61686 61590 61642 61622 61626 61634 Alt+N Alt+Ctrl+N Alt+T Alt+D Ctrl+N Alt+L Unicode number 61580 61620 61672 key combination Alt+A Alt+I Alt+U HTML code ā ī ū


ṁ &#7751 ñ ṭ ḍ ṅ ḷ

[10] Hazra, Kanai Lal. Pali Language and Literature; a systematic survey and historical study. D.K. Printworld Lrd., New Delhi, 1994, page 29. [11] Bhikkhu Bodhi, In the Buddha’s Words. Wisdom Publications, 2005, page 10. [12] Hazra, Kanai Lal. Pali Language and Literature; a systematic survey and historical study. D.K. Printworld Lrd., New Delhi, 1994, page 20. [13] David Kalupahana, Nagarjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way. SUNY Press, 1986, page 19. The author refers specifically to the thought of early Buddhism here. [14] Dispeller of Delusion, Pali Text Society, volume II, pages 127f [15] Robert Caesar Childers, A Dictionary of the Pali Language. Published by Trübner, 1875, pages xii-xiv. Republished by Asian Educational Services, 1993. [16] placestosee.htm • See entries for "Pali" (written by K. R. Norman of the Pali Text Society) and "India--Buddhism" in The Concise Encyclopedia of Language and Religion, (Sawyer ed.) ISBN 0080431674 • Warder, A.K. (1991). Introduction to Pali (third edition ed.). Pali Text Society. ISBN 0860131971. • de Silva, Lily (1994). Pali Primer (first edition ed.). Vipassana Research Institute Publications. ISBN 817414014X. • Müller, Edward (1884,1995). Simplified Grammar of the Pali Language. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 8120611039.

Further reading
• Gupta, K. M. (2006). Linguistic approach to meaning in Pali. New Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan. ISBN 8175741708 • Müller, E. (2003). The Pali language: a simplified grammar. Trubner’s collection of simplified grammars. London: Trubner. ISBN 1844530019 • Oberlies, T., & Pischel, R. (2001). Pāli: a grammar of the language of the Theravāda Tipiṭaka. Indian philology and South Asian studies, v. 3. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3110167638 • Hazra, K. L. (1994). Pāli language and literature: a systematic survey and historical study. Emerging perceptions in Buddhist studies, no. 4-5. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld. ISBN 812460004X • American National Standards Institute. (1979). American National Standard system for the romanization of Lao, Khmer, and Pali. New York: The Institute. • Russell Webb (ed.) An Analysis of the Pali Canon, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy; 1975, 1991 (see reference.asp) • Soothill, W. E., & Hodous, L. (1937). A dictionary of Chinese Buddhist terms: with Sanskrit and English equivalents and a Sanskrit-Pali index. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. • Collins, Steven (2006). A Pali Grammar for Students. Silkworm Press.

See also
• Pali literature • Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• ISO 15919 • ALA-LC Romanization

• A guide to learning the Pāli language • "Pali Primer" by Lily De Silva (requires installation of special fonts) • "Pali Primer" by Lily De Silva (UTF-8 encoded) • Free/Public-Domain Elementary Pāli Course--PDF format • Free/Public-Domain Pāli Course--html format • Free/Public-Domain Pāli Grammar (in PDF file) • Free/Public-Domain Pāli Buddhist Dictionary (in PDF file) • Comprehensive list of Pāli texts on Wikisource • Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, HTML version of the book by G.P. Malalasekera, 1937-8 • Pali Text Reader (software) • Jain Scriptures • Pali help at Wiki • "A Course in the Pali Language," audio lectures by Bhikkhu Bodhi based on Gair & Karunatilleke (1998). • [7] Pali Conjugation and Declension Tables for Students • [8]Comprehensive Reference Table of Pali Literature

External links
• Pali-English dictionary • Buddhist India by T.W. Rhys Davids, chapter IX, Language and Literature • Pali at Ethnologue • - A newly started project aimed at creating free online Pāli dictionaries and educational resources. • Pali Text Society • [6] Free searchable online database of Pali literature, including the whole Canon • Eizel Mazard’s excellent website on Pali resources, including • Resources for reading & writing Pāli in indigenous scripts: Burmese, Sri Lankan, & Cambodian • A textbook to teach yourself Pali (by Narada Thera) • A reference work on the grammar of the Pali language (by G Duroiselle) • Complete Pāli Canon in romanized Pali and Sinhala, mostly also in English translation • Pāli Canon selection

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