How to learn Pali

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How to learn Pali

Postby Dmytro » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:24 am

Hello Pali friends,

A clever and natural approach is described at the webpage:
http://lifehacker.com/5903288/i-learned ... -heres-how

First, I would recommend to listen to Pali and learn the pronunciation:

http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/A ... -index.htm
http://www.audtip.org/
http://www.dhamma.ru/sadhu/directory?catid=25

To learn the core vocabulary,
http://www.amazon.com/Frequency-Diction ... im_sbs_b_7
http://dhamma.ru/paali/MN2000word_list.odt

you can use the flash cards, preferably with pictures corresponding to the words, and audio:

http://www.memrise.com/topic/pali/wordlists/
http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/pali/
http://ankisrs.net/
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aba-flas ... 35464?mt=8
http://quizlet.com/pariyatti
http://www.memorylifter.com

The type of flash cards to use would depend on your learning style, which can be determined at:
http://www.bgfl.org/custom/resources_ft ... e_lang.cfm
http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm
http://www.learning-styles-online.com/inventory/
http://www.howtolearn.com/learning-styles-quiz
http://www.berghuis.co.nz/abiator/lsi/lsiframe.html

As for declension, the table of endings:

http://dhamma.ru/paali/tables/palisufi.htm
http://dhamma.ru/paali/tables/Pali%20endings.xls

would be more than enough for the beginning.

To learn the structure of sentences, it's very useful to diagram them:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=14281

For compounds, there's a reference:
http://dhamma.ru/paali/Pali_compounds.htm

I would recommend to move as soon as possible to finding the Pali definitions of the words instead of using the bilingual dictionary:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2790
Such Pali glosses can also be used for flash cards.

Next, you can listen to the Pali suttas, having the text in view, and a good translation, looking up as much words as you find interesting.
You can read more about such approach at: http://english.franklang.ru/index.php?o ... &Itemid=11

A course by Gair and Karunatillake is very well structured, from easy to complex, and there's an audio available:
http://bodhimonastery.org/a-course-in-t ... guage.html
and flash cards:
http://quizlet.com/Larry_Rosenfeld
http://www.coursehero.com/flashcards/st ... sid=397768

There's also an audio for a textbook by Kurt Schmidt:
http://pali.nibbanam.com/

Find those things that would be interesting and enjoyable for you, and explore them.

You can find support here and at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Pali/

Best wishes,

Dmytro
Last edited by Dmytro on Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:56 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby appicchato » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:14 am

Very helpful Dmytro...thank you... :thumbsup:
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby David2 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:47 pm

Thanks for sharing this. :-)

My steps in learning Pali were the following:

1st: Working through De Silva's Pali Primer (difficulty: easy)
2nd: Working through "A New Course in reading Pali" and listening to Bhikkhu Bodhi's lessons
http://bodhimonastery.org/a-course-in-t ... guage.html (difficulty: medium)
3rd: Working through "Introduction to Pāli" by A. K. Warder (a bit more comprehensive than the previous book)

After those steps (or even after the first 2), one is ready to begin translating the Pali canon with the help of one or two translations, and a dictionary.

As dictionary, I use
http://dictionary.buddhistdoor.com/en/
and my print version of the Pali-English dictionary by Rhys Davids.

For learning vocabulary I use Anki 2.
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby theY » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:11 pm

Nice!

Very useful.

Thank you.

P.S. David2: I love David's dict so much.
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby Dmytro » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:26 am

The 4 Revolutionary Language Learning Principles

http://youtu.be/09_gYlsZD7I
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby Sambojjhanga » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:51 pm

Wow, this is great, thank you very much. I have recently wished to learn Pali, so I'm glad I found this post before investing any resources.

Oh, forgot to ask, how would any of you who have learned it rate Pali in comparison to difficulty in learning other languages for English speakers? How does it compare to say, French, Russian and Chinese?

Metta,

:anjali:
Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby Mkoll » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:34 am

Sādhu, Sādhu, Sādhu!

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:56 am

Sambojjhanga wrote:Oh, forgot to ask, how would any of you who have learned it rate Pali in comparison to difficulty in learning other languages for English speakers? How does it compare to say, French, Russian and Chinese?

I would say that it is no harder than learning French or German — there is no need to learn a new alphabet, as there is for Russian or Chinese. However, there are not many who can talk in Pali so it's not as easy as learning a living language from native speakers.

Pāli has some similarities to Latin, so if you ever learn Latin conjugations and declensions in school, you would have a head start.

I have never really learnt Pāli properly, doing no more than working through the "New Pali Course" text books that would be used in Sri Lankan schools by teenagers when learning Pāli. However, it gave me enough knowledge to get started, so I can now follow the gist when reading the Pali texts or Commentaries.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
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Re: How to learn Pali

Postby pulga » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:40 pm

It's also worth pointing out that it is much easier to learn to read a language than to learn to speak it.

I suggest working your way through Warder's Introduction to Pali, then carefully read through the book a second time. Having accomplished that immerse yourself in the Pali texts themselves - I recommend the Majjhima Nikaya using Ven. Bodhi's revision of Ven. Nanamoli's translation as a guide. A keen interest in etymology also helps.

Parsing is laborious but very helpful in mastering the language as well.
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