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An Elementary Paa.li Course

Ven. Naarada Thera

To my venerable teacher Pelene Siri Vajira~naana Mahaa Naayaka Thera

Preface to Second Edition

The word Paa.li means "the Text", though it has now come to be the name of a language.

Maagadhi was the original name for Paa.li. It was the language current in the land of Magadha during the time of the Buddha (6th century B.C.).

Suddha Maagadhii, the pure form of the provincial dialect, was what the Buddha used as His medium of instruction.

The elements of Paa.li can be mastered in a few months, Paa.li opens one's ears to the Dhamma and the music of the Buddha's speech. It is also a lingua franca in Buddhist countries, and therefore worth acquiring.

This slender volume is intended to serve as an elementary guide for beginners. With its aid one may be able to get an introduction to the Paa.li language within a short period.

I have to express my deep indebtedness to my Venerable Teacher, Pelene Siri Vajira~naana Mahaa Naayaka Therapaada, who introduced me to this sacred language. Words cannot indicate how much I owe to his unfailing care and sympathy.

My thanks are due to the Venerable Nyaanatiloka Thera, for his valued assistance.

Naarada
October, 1952.

Abbreviations

adj. - Adjective
ind., indec. - Indeclinables
ind. p.p. - Indeclinable Past Participles
f. - Feminine
m. - Masculine
n. - Neuter
p.p. - Past Participles
pre. - Prefix
pres. - Present tense
pres. p. - Present Participles
pro. - Pronoun

Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction
Alphabet
Pronunciation of Letters
Lesson I A. Declension of nouns ending in a - Nominative and Accusative cases
B. Conjugation of verbs - Present Tense, Active Voice, 3rd Person
Lesson II A. Declension of nouns ending in a - Instrumental and Dative cases
B. Conjugation of verbs - Present Tense, Active Voice, 2nd person
Lesson III A. Declension of nouns ending in a - Ablative and Genitive cases
B. Conjugation of verbs - Present Tense, Active Voice, 1st person
Lesson IV A. Declension of nouns ending in a - Locative and Vocative cases
B. Conjugation of verbs - Present Tense, Active Voice (Summary)
Lesson V A. Full declension of nouns ending in a
B. The cases in Paa.li
Lesson VI A. Nouns ending in aa
B. Infinitive
Lesson VII A. Aorist (Ajjatanii) Active Voice
B. Possessive Pronouns
Lesson VIII A. Nouns ending in i
B. Indeclinable Past Participles
Lesson IX A. Feminine nouns ending in i
B. Future Tense (Bhavissanti) - Active Voice
Lesson X A. Declension of nouns ending in ii
B. The formation of Feminines
Lesson XI A. Declension of nouns ending in u and uu
B. Verbs: Imperative and Benedictive Mood (Pa~ncamii)
Lesson XII A. Personal Pronouns
B. Verbs: Conditional Mood (Sattamii)
Lesson XIII A. Relative Pronouns
B. The Interrogative Pronoun
Lesson XIV A. Participles
Lesson XV A. Demonstrative Pronouns
B. Adjectives
Lesson XVI A. Numerals
B. Ordinals
Lesson XVII A. Some irregular nouns ending in a
B. Conjugations
Lesson XVIII A. Declension of satthu and pitu
B. Causal forms (Kaarita)
Lesson XIX A. Declension of go
B. Perfect Tense (Hiiyattanii)
Lesson XX A. Compounds (Samaasa)
Lesson XXI A. Indeclinables (Avyaya)
Lesson XXII A. Taddhita - Nominal Derivatives
Lesson XXIII A. Kitaka - Verbal Derivatives
Lesson XXIV A. Rules of Sandhi (Combinations)
Lesson XXV A. Uses of the Cases
B. The Genitive and Locative Absolutes
Lesson XXVI A. Passive Voice
B. Conjugation of huu (to be) and asa (to be)
Selections for Translation
Notes on Selections for Translation
Vocabulary Pali-English
Vocabulary English-Pali
Guide to Excercises


Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammāsambuddhassa.
Buddha sāsana.m cira.m ti.t.thatu.