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Pluralisation in Pali? - Dhamma Wheel

Pluralisation in Pali?

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

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Mawkish1983
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Pluralisation in Pali?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:28 am

I think it's interesting how languages evolve, English is a fine example of a modern language that happily absorbs words from other languages. In the last year my English has began absorbing some Pali... but a few things confuse me.

I've absorbed the word 'Bhikkhu' for 'Monk', but would to be correct to say 'Bhikkhus' for 'Monks' or should the pluralisation be Pali too? How do you pluralise 'Bhikkhu' in Pali?

I've absorbed the word 'Bhikkhuni' for 'Nun', but would to be correct to say 'Bhikkhunis' for 'Nuns' or should the pluralisation be Pali too? How do you pluralise 'Bhikkhuni' in Pali?

I've absorbed the word 'Upasaka' for 'Male lay-devotee', but would to be correct to say 'Upasakas' for 'Male lay-devotees' or should the pluralisation be Pali too? How do you pluralise 'Upasaka' in Pali?

I've absorbed the word 'Upasika' for 'Female lay-devotee', but would to be correct to say 'Upasikas' for 'Female lay-devotees' or should the pluralisation be Pali too? How do you pluralise 'Upasika' in Pali?

Also, when is it correct to use the word 'Theravada' and when is it correct to use the word 'Theravadin'? Are 'Dhammic' and 'Kammic' English contructions of the Pali words 'Dhamma' and 'Kamma' or Pali constructions?

Thanks a lot Pali experts :)

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:46 am

Once these words have been adopted into English, then their pluralisation and possessive case should adopt that used in English. We are speaking English, not Pali.

So Bhikkhu becomes Bhikkhus or Bhikkhu's.

Karma and Dharma are the Sanskrit spellings, whilst kamma and Dhamma are the Pali spellings or, more correctly, the Pāḷi spellings. Karmic and Dharmic are derived spellings, which are not Pali.

Theravāda means the doctrine or teaching of the elders. Theravadin is a derived spelling meaning someone who accepts the doctrine of the elders. It is not a Pali word, but English.

As an aid to pronunciation it helps to use the right diacritics: so Upāsaka (male lay supporter) Upāsikā (female lay supporter), nibbāna, bhikkhuṇī, Tathāgata, etc. The dots don't make a lot of difference to cloth-eared Englishmen, but the long vowels with macron ā, ī, and ū should be easy enough to distinguish, and words with the Spanish n tilde, e.g. paññā, ñāṇa, or Venerable Ñāṇaponika should be spelt with the tilde rather than as ny — otherwise, they may be mispronounced as Myanmar often is on the news. It is not My-an-mar, but Myan-mar.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

Mawkish1983
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:16 am


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:45 am

Bhante is the right form to address a bhikkhu directly.

“Thank you, bhikkhu,” is like saying “Thank you, monk,” instead of “Thank you, reverend.”

“Bhikkhu Pesala wrote ...” rather than “Bhante Pesala wrote ...”





• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Ben
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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:51 am

Thank you Venerable!
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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retrofuturist
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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:41 am

Thank you, bhante.

(or...)

Thank you Bhikkhu Pesala.

:anjali:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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fig tree
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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

Postby fig tree » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:49 am



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