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Pali is an ancient Indian language of uncertain origin. It is related to several other old Indian languages including Sanskrit which is perhaps the oldest Indian language. Strictly speaking the language of Indus valley civilization is older but very little writing in that language survives except for a large number of seals which remain undeciphered. The Pali language has become the vehicle for the preservation of ancient Buddhist literature. The oldest collection of Buddhist discourses, known as the Pali Canon has, and the term indicates, been preserved in the Pali language. The following article on Pali is from the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. P li (ISO 639-1: pi; ISO 639-2: pli) is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. It is most famous as the language in which the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism (also known as the P li Canon or in P li the Tipitaka) were written down in Sri Lanka in the 1st century BCE. P li has been written in a variety of scripts, from Brahmi, Devanagari and other Indic scripts through to a romanised (western) form devised by T. W. Rhys Davids of thePali Text Society.
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1 Language origins and development 2 Lexicon 3 Example of P li with English translation 4 Pali Alphabets (Unicode) 5 Pali text in ASCII 6 Setting up a font for Pali transliteration in Windows 7 References 8 See also 9 External links
Like the majority of prose and poetic traditions of classical India. As such. Magadhi is an Eastern Indian language whereas P li most closely resembles Western Indian inscriptions. being found with both long " " and short "a". However. Oskar von Hinuber has speculated that P li may have originated as a form of lingua franca or trade language used at the time of the Ashokan Empire. By the time of the spread of Buddhism to Sri Lanka (by missionaries sent by King Ashoka. After the Pali Canon was transmitted to Sri Lanka. according to Buddhist sources). but ultimately survived. it is not now (and never was) an informal.Language origins and development The word P li itself signifies "line" or "(canonical) text". 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. in the sense of a mother tongue. there is persistent confusion as to the inter-relation of Pali to the vernacular of ancient Magadhi. Many Theravada sources refer to the P li language as 'Magadhan' or the 'language of Magadhi'. 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 . P li is thought to have entered into a period of decline around the 5th Century (as Sanskrit rose in prominance). P li was considered by early Buddhists to be linguistically similar to old Magadhi or even a direct continuation of that language. the name of the language has caused some debate among scholars of all ages. wherein the "P li" (in the sense of the line of original text quoted) was distinguished from the commentary or the vernacular following after it on the Manuscript page. further removed from daily speech than Shakespear's English was removed from the vernacular of his contemporary England. there is no single. In mainland India. it continued to be preserved entirely in P li. P li is a literary language of the Prakrit language family. In Sri Lanka. To this day. and also with either a retroflex or non-retroflex "l" sound. Despite excellent scholarship on this problem. the spelling of the name also varies. P li was a significant enough literary language that it had already been used to record the complete Tipitaka. standard spelling of the term. spoken language. Prakrits are artifical languages. but ultimately it was supplanted by Sanskrit as a literary and religious language following the formulation of Classical Sanskrit by the scholar Panini. all four spellings can be found in textbooks. and this name for the language seems to have its origins in commentarial traditions.
 Lexicon P li shares common etymologies for virtually every word in the language with the other Prakritic "Middle Indo-European Languages". Laos.. and inscriptions. Based in the United Kingdom. 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. perhaps lasting the longest in Orissa. the P li language's resemblance to Sanskrit is often exaggerated by comparing it to more recent Sanskrit poetry --i. the Jain Prakrits. P li scholarship in Northern India generally ended with the rise of theSena dynasty. with an uncertain process of decline in peninsular India.commentarial tradition that had been preserved and expanded in Sri Lanka since the 3rd Century. along with many English translations of these sources. i. The great centers of Pali learning remain in the Theravada nations of South-East Asia: Myanmar.g.g. the society publishes romanised P li editions. Sri Lanka. the latter being influenced by P li and centuries of other Middle-Indo-European language development. The secular literature of P li historical chronicals.e. and Cambodia. incongruously. influence between P li and Sanskrit has been felt in both directions. Thailand. Since the 19th century. Today P li is studied mainly to gain access to Buddhist scriptures. This is demonstrably true (e. Vedic language) is less direct and more complicated.. Without the inspiration of colonial holdings such as the former British occupation of Sri Lanka and Burma.) in the instance of Ashvaghosa. a P li-educated Buddhist monk. Russia and even Denmark --a situation that many would say continues to this day. and major traditions of P li studies. is also of great historical importance.. perhaps most notably the Maha Bodhi Societyfounded by Anagarika Dhammapala.e. medical texts. who became the first author of the Sanskrit kavya genre of poetry.g.. the English were not nearly so robust in Sanskrit and Prakrit language studies as Germany. In Europe. Historically. and is frequently chanted in a ritual context. eventually ending (along with Buddhist practice itself) with the fall of the last resistance to the expanding Muslim empires on the subcontinent. The relationship to earlier Sanskrit (e. institutions such as the Danish Royal Library have built up major collections of P li manuscripts. the Pali Text Society has been a major force in promoting the study of P li by Western scholars since its founding in 1881. highly . various societies for the revival of P li studies in India have promoted awareness of the language and its literature. e.
mutually opposed. in many respects. that participated in the debates within the Buddhist fold. and various schools of Hinduism all had competitive notions of the value and significance of these terms. as one example of the supernatural power assigned to chanting in . and various claims as to the supernatural origins or supernatural efficacy were assigned to these languages by their proponents. Sri Lankans adding Sinhalese words to P li). The philosophy of early Mahayana Buddhism found in Sanskrit and the Buddhism recorded in P li are. and comparative study (and dating) of texts on the basis of such loan-words is now a specialized trade unto itself. Sanskrit. and a few loan-words from local languages where P li was used (e. postBuddhist schools such as Shankara's Vedanta have been directly influenced both by Buddhist Philosophy and argumentation. Needless to say. While Sanskrit words were thought to inhere as a part of the thing they described. were all represented as the language spoken by the gods in the popular literature of the respective religions. there is a still further gulf between the philosophy of early Buddhism and contemporaneous Brahmanical thought of the Middle Indic period. western scholarly interest in the language has been (for obvious reasons) focused upon religious and philosophical literature. such as books of medical science/instruction. including beliefs about the respective sacred languages themselves. and the Jain Prakrits. Unto this day. with concomitant effects in the use of the language itself. The fact that P li was not exclusively used to convey the teachings of the Buddha is demonstrable from the existence of a number of secular texts. however. However. Jains. Post-Canonical P li demonstrates some direct adoptions of technical vocabulary from Sanskrit. and the Buddhist.g. P li. Within the context of religious writings. P li words were thought to have only conventional significance. similar-sounding words to those found in Sanskrit can have significantly different meanings than those of P li.influential on Sanskrit poetics thereafter. but this and other languages were associated with particular philosophical approaches to Buddhist doctrine (and particular sectarian affiliations) in recorded history. in Sanskrit philosophy. nor the only languages. it is believed in many Theravada cultures that taking a vow in P li has a special significance. The active redefinition 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. These usages differentiate the P li found in the Suttapitaka from later compositions such as the commentaries and folklore Jataka. and. historical sources indicate that these were not the only schools. There is no extant Buddhist literature of the Prakrit language Paisaci. Likewise.
based on a prior oral tradition. This is confusing to many westerners. Sinhalese. manosetth manomay . they are all mind-wrought. and the origins of the custom are unclear. there is nothing in the latter text that relates to this subject. Cambodian. and a standardized system of romanization was introduced in the 19th Century to permit Westerners to study Pali with greater ease. Tato nam dukkhamanveti. bh sati v karoti v . Mind is their chief. Interestingly. Translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita  Pali Alphabets (Unicode) Historically. but has expressed those values in a stunning variety of actual scripts. Mind precedes all mental states. P li texts were recorded in Sinhala script. Other local scripts (most prominentlyBurmese and Thai) have been used to record P li. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox. who tend to assume that one script is ineluctably tied to one set of phonemes. P li texts have also been reproduced in the Devnagari and Mongolian scripts to permit wider study. the recitation of the vows of Angulimala are believed to alleviate the pain of Childbirth in Sri Lanka. and other writing systems used to express the P li language. Manas ce padutthena. Early P li inscriptions made during the reign of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka were composed in the Ashokan Brahmi script. in Sri Lanka. the chanting of a portion of the Abhidhammapitaka is believed to be beneficial to the recently departed. In Thailand.the language. the first written record of the P li canon is believed to have been composed in Sri Lanka. and this ceremony routinely occupies as much as seven working days. The following grid of Romanized phonetic values should be compared to the corresponding alphabetic grids of the Burmese.  Example of P li with English translation Manopubbangam dhamm . cakkam'va vahato padam. y a i u eo . In modern times. The transmission of written P li has retained a universal system of alphabetic values.
In the Folders list box find and select the chosen folder.. The Add Fonts dialog box pops up.y y y y y y k kh g gh c ch j jh ñ h t th d dh n yrlvsh h  Pali text in ASCII The Velthuis scheme was originally developed in 1991 by Frans Velthuis for use with his "devnag" Devanagari font. In the case of Word. The TrueType font Normyn. then select "Normyn (TrueType)" in the "List of fonts" list box. This system of representing Pali diacritical marks has been used in some websites and discussion lists: y y Long vowels are doubled: aa. then click OK.h  Setting up a font for Pali transliteration in Windows This is one way to set it up.. go to a wordprocessor such as Microsoft Word to set up the shortcut keys for the characters with diacritical marks in the Normyn font.ttf is available for download on the web. uu .dh . so: o semi-vowels: .s o palatal sibilant: "s o palatal nasal: ~n o guttural nasal: "n o niggahita (pure nasal): .m o visarga: .n o retroflex sibilant: . ii.r . Click on File "Install New Font. After the font has been set up. then go to menu item . select the Normyn font in the font combo box.th . Other diacritics precede the letters marked by them. then go to Start Settings Control Panel and open the Fonts folder.t .".d .l o retroflex consonants: . Extract the files from the ZIP file to a chosen folder. designed for the TEX typesetting system.
published by the Pali Text Society. When done.R. Under the Symbols tab. ṇ. then click on the "Shortcut Key.. ḍ.  References See entries for "Pali" (written by scholar K. ū. (3rd ed. ī." command button: the Customize Keyboard dialog box pops up. ṭ. published .) ISBN 0080431674 The standard text for studying Pali in the English-speaking world remains A. select Normyn in the Font combo box: under it should be a grid of characters. The following is an example of a set of shortcut key assignments: character a macron n tilde i macron d dot-under n dot-over l dot-under t dot-under m dot-over u macron n dot-under Unicode number 61580 61590 61620 61622 61626 61634 61642 61655 61672 61686 key combination Alt+A Alt+Ctrl+N Alt+I Alt+D Ctrl+N Alt+L Alt+T Alt+M Alt+U Alt+N HTML code ā. (Sawyer ed. Pressing the desired shortcut key combination makes it show up in the "Press new shortcut key:" text box. For each desired character in the grid. Norman of the Pali Text Society) and "India--Buddhism" in The Concise Encyclopedia of Language and Religion. select it by clicking on it. ṁ.. ñ. Click the "Assign" command button. then click on "Close" and repeat this for each desired character.K.Insert Symbol. The Symbol dialog box pops up. ḷ. close the Symbol dialog box. ṇ. Warder's Introduction to Pali.
1991. Some students find Warder to be too complex for individuals with limited linguistic background. ISBN 817414014X) . 1994. Lily de Silva's Pali Primer is often recommended as a more gentle introduction to the language (1st ed. published by Vipassana Research Institute Publications. ISBN 0860131971).