Update: 2016-09-11 01:24 AM -0400


Pali Grammar


by Narada Thera (Lanka)

Edited, with additions from other sources, by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL  Computing and Language Center, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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Inflexion (Declension) of Nouns ending in "a"
  Masculine substantives
Inflexion (Conjugation) of Verbs


UKT notes :


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Unnecessary Grammatical terms

- UKT 160911

It has been pointed out that a language can be taught without unnecessary grammatical terms. What I mean is not grammar but the terms we are forced to memorize. Then comes two languages - Bur-Myan and English-Latin - and we have to learn two sets of terms. My work on English Grammar in Plain Language - EGPE-indx.htm


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Inflexion (Declension) of Nouns ending in "a"

UKT 160910: It is claimed that Magadhi the language of Magadha Mahajanapada is so simple that even the animals can understand it. If that is so, why is Pali - invented in Lanka from Magadhi and Lanka speech - has such a complex grammar? Is it due to Lanka speech, belonging Aus-Asi (Austro-Asiatic) language group?

In Bur-Myan, there is no inflexion. Declension of Nouns is therefore a hindrance to learning Pali and English.

de·cline - ³. Grammar To inflect (a noun, a pronoun, or an adjective) for number and case. - AHTD

It has been pointed out by A. W. Lonsdale in his Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899 , Part 1, Orthoepy 'pronunciation', and Orthography 'spelling', Chapter 01, Preface and original TOC :
- BG1899-indx.htm > BG1899-1-indx.htm > ch00.htm (link chk 160910)
" • With regard to the grammatical treatises by native writers, it is no exaggeration to say that there is not one which can be properly called a Burmese grammar. These writers, not content with merely borrowing the grammatical nomenclature of the Pali language, also attempted to assimilate the grammatical principles of the uninflected Burmese to those of the inflected Pali; so that they produced, not Burmese grammars, but modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress. ... "

* In Pali nouns are declined according to terminated endings - the nuclear vowel of the syllable, CV:

a ā ; i  ī ; u ū ; o

There are no nouns ending in "e" /e/ {é}. All nouns ending in "a" are either masculine or in the neuter gender.

** There are three genders in Pali. As a rule males and those things possessing male characteristics in the masculine gender, e.g. «nara» 'man'; «suriya» 'sun'; «gāma» 'village'. Females and those things possessing female characteristics are in the feminine gender, e.g. «itti» 'woman; «gangā» 'river'; Neutral nouns and most inanimate things are in the neuter gender, e.g. «phala» 'fruit'; «citta» 'mind'. It is not so easy to distinguish the gender in Pali as in English.


nara + o --> naro
nara + ā  --> narā

When two vowels come together either the preceding or the following vowel is dropped. In this case the preceding vowel is dropped.

UKT160909: I realized that I will have to build up my Pali vocabulary before I attempt to study Pali grammar.


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Masculine Substantives:

«buddha» 'enlightened one'
«dāraka» 'child'
«dhamma» 'doctrine, truth, law'
«gāma» 'village'
«ghaṭa» 'pot, jar'
«janaka» 'father'
«nara» 'man' 
«odana» 'rice, cooked rice'
«putta» 'son'
«suriya» 'sun'
«sūda» 'cook'
«yācaka» 'begger'

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Inflexion (Conjugation) of Verbs

con·ju·gate - v. con·ju·gat·ed con·ju·gat·ing con·ju·gates v. tr. ¹. Grammar To inflect (a verb) in its forms for distinctions such as number, person, voice, mood, and tense. ². To join together. - AHTD


* The verbs are often used alone without the corresponding pronouns since the pronoun is implied by the termination.


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UKT notes


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End of TIL file