I am one of the several language enthusiasts out there, my native language is Hungarian. In 2014 I want to learn as much pāli as possible, then we will see if I will continue it or not. I don't really know anyone else to ask from, so registered here in hope of getting some answers about issues I encountered very early in my studies. You see, I started the journey with De Silva's Pali Primer, but found a few things that are bothering me either about the language, or the book itself.
1) The author starts to use a form of english genitive through pronouns in his examples from like his fourth lesson. Let me give you an example from the book:
Puttā mātulehi pañhe pucchanti. Based on my understandings so far, this sentence breaks down to "son (pl.) - from uncles - questions - they ask". So it should mean something like "sons ask questions from uncles".
The confusing part is the following: The author keeps giving translations like "their uncles", "the sons" in several cases and occasions throughout the book, that makes me confused about the language itself. How do definite articles work in pāli? Can the given example really express that we are talking about the sons' uncles?
2) In Lesson 7, the author introduces the Sattamī (Locative) case, which I can't really understand perfectly through his examples. This case should be used to express the location of something, and so he writes so in the very first examples, as kassaka + e / mhi / smiŋ = kassake, kassakamhi, kassakasmiŋ (in / on / at the farmer).
When he starts giving example sentences, then I found myself completely confused with this case. It's used in sentences I wouldn't expect it to be used.
Sappo narasmiŋ patati. or Putto mātulamhi pasīdati.. I'd expect accusative in both sentences, because he stated in the earlier lessons, that that's the case used for goals of a motion, or to express the object of a sentence. (pleased with)
Most of the exercise examples are okay to me, because they are about lions standing ON things, or clothes worn ON people, people eating rice IN houses, etc. What's the correct way to distinguish between accusative and locative when you are talking about the goals of a motion?
3) Asking from people having more experience with it, is this book for reference only? I got it because the publisher and websites said it's a great introduction to the language, and perfect for people not feeling prepared for "The Warder" yet. Should I actually switch to that book, even if I do not know sanksrit?
Thank you everyone reading this, and even more thanks for any response.