Pluralisation in Pali?

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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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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.
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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

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

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:As an aid to pronunciation it helps to use the right diacritics ... 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

Thank you Bhikkhu (is the correct respectful title for a lay devotee addressing a monk 'Bhanthe'? I'd rather check before using it :) ),

This cloth-eared Enlishmen takes pride in correct pronunciation :), so I will do my best to make sure diacritics are used. Most of the time, however, I use dhamma wheel on my phone, so I can't type the special characters :(

Anyway, thank you for clearing all that up for me :)
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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 ...”

Keyboard Shortcuts for Typing Pali

PagePlus Windows Keyboard for Typing Many Diacritics

Some Pali Words
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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

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

Thank you Venerable!
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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:

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Re: Pluralisation in Pali?

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

I'm in no sense an expert here. I was just curious enough to look this one up.

Mawkish1983 wrote:How do you pluralise 'Bhikkhu' in Pali?

It'd be impractical for English to import the plurals from Pāli since Pāli has a number of cases and it depends on the case. I assume you realize that cases don't match exactly the way prepositions are used in English (with, by, from, etc.); this just gives you an idea of what each case is for:

Nominative ("Bhikkhus"): bhikkhū, bhikkhavo
Vocative ("O Bhikkhus"): bhikkhū, bhikkhavo, bhikkhave
Accusative ("bhikkhus"): bhikkhū, bhikkhavo
Instrumental ("by bhikkhus", "with bhikkhus"): bhikkhūbhi, bhikkhūhi
Ablative ("from bhikkhus"): bhikkhūbhi, bhikkhūhi
Dative("to bhikkhus", "for bhikkhus"): bhikkhūnaṃ
Genitive("of bhikkhus"): bhikkhūnaṃ
Locative ("in bhikkhus", "upon bhikkhus"): bhikkhūsu

Mawkish1983 wrote:How do you pluralise 'Bhikkhuni' in Pali?

Nominative ("Bhikkhunis"): bhikkhunī, bhikkhuniyo
Vocative ("O Bhikkhunis"): bhikkhunī, bhikkhuniyo
Accusative ("bhikkhunis"): bhikkhuniyo
Instrumental ("by bhikkhunis", "with bhikkhunis"): bhikkhunībhi, bhikkhunīhi
Ablative ("from bhikkhunis"): bhikkhunībhi, bhikkhunīhi
Dative("to bhikkhunis", "for bhikkhunis"): bhikkhunīnaṃ
Genitive ("of bhikkhunis"): bhikkhunīnaṃ
Locative ("in bhikkhunis" "upon bhikkhunis"): bhikkhunīsu

Correct me if I got it wrong. That's sure a lot of cases. More than two or three already seems like a lot! It seems there's also an "auxiliary" case that has the same case endings as instrumental. It looks as though the -bhi forms are relatively rare? Is that right?

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