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An Elementary Paa.li Course

Lesson I

A. Declension of Nouns Ending in a

nara1 (m.2) man
  SINGULAR PLURAL
Nominative naro3
a man, or the man
naraa
men, or the men
Accusative nara.m
a man, or the man
nare
men, or the men
     
Terminations
  SINGULAR PLURAL
Nominative o aa
Accusative .m e

1. In Paa.li nouns are declined according to the terminated endings a, aa, i, ii, u, uu, and o. There are no nouns ending in e. All nouns ending in a are either in the masculine or in the neuter gender.

2. There are three genders in Paa.li. As a rule males and those things possessing male characteristics are in the masculine gender, e.g., nara, man; suriya, sun; gaama, village. Females and those things possessing female characteristics are in the feminine gender, e.g., itthi, woman; ga`ngaa, river. Neutral nouns and most inanimate things are in the neuter gender, e.g., phala, fruit; citta, mind. It is not so easy to distinguish the gender in Paa.li as in English.

3. nara + o = naro. nara + aa = naraa. When two vowels come together either the preceding or the following vowel is dropped. In this case the preceding vowel is dropped.

Masculine Substantives:
Buddha The Enlightened One
daaraka child
Dhamma Doctrine, Truth, Law
gaama village
gha.ta pot, jar
janaka father
odana rice, cooked rice
putta son
suuda cook
yaacaka beggar

B. Conjugation of Verbs

Present Tense - Active Voice

Third Person Terminations
SINGULAR ti  
PLURAL anti  
     
paca (v.) to cook
SINGULAR So pacati4. He cooks; He is cooking.
  Saa pacati. She cooks; She is cooking.
PLURAL Te pacanti. They cook; They are cooking.

4. The verbs are often used alone without the corresponding pronouns since the pronoun is implied by the termination.

Verbs:
dhaavati5 (dhaava) runs
dhovati (dhova) washes
vadati (vada) speaks, declares
vandati (vanda) salutes
rakkhati (rakkha) protects

5. As there are seven conjugations in Paa.li which differ according to the conjugational signs, the present tense third person singulars of verbs are given. The roots are given in brackets.

Illustrations6:
1. Suudo pacati.
  the cook is cooking
2. Suudaa pacanti.
  the cooks are cooking
3. Suudo odana.m pacati.
  the cook rice is cooking
4. Suudaa gha.te dhovanti.
  the cooks pots are washing

6. In Paa.li sentences, in plain language, the subject is placed first, the verb last, and the object before the verb.


Exercise 1-A

Translate into English.

1. Buddho vadati.
2. Dhammo rakkhati.
3. Saa dhovati.
4. Yaacako dhaavati.
5. Suudaa pacanti.
6. Janakaa vadanti.
7. Te vandanti.
8. Naraa rakkhanti.
9. Puttaa dhaavanti.
10. Daarako vandati.
11. Buddho dhamma.m rakkhati.
12. Daarakaa Buddha.m vandanti.
13. Suudo gha.te dhovati.
14. Naraa gaama.m rakkhanti.
15. Saa odana.m pacati.
16. Buddhaa dhamma.m vadanti.
17. Puttaa janake vandanti.
18. Yaacakaa gha.te dhovanti.
19. Te gaame rakkhanti.
20. Janako Buddha.m vandati.

Exercise 1-B

Translate into Paa.li.

1. He protects.
2. The man salutes.
3. The child is washing.
4. The son speaks.
5. The beggar is cooking.
6. They are running.
7. The children are speaking.
8. The fathers are protecting.
9. The sons are saluting.
10. The cooks are washing.
11. The men are saluting the Buddha.
12. Fathers protect men.
13. The cook is washing rice.
14. The truth protects men.
15. She is saluting the father.
16. The Enlightened One is declaring the Doctrine.
17. The boys are washing the pots.
18. The men are protecting the villages.
19. The beggars are cooking rice.
20. The cook is washing the pot.


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