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A Practical Grammar of the Pāli Language
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
For free distribution, as a gift of Dhamma.

A Practical Grammar of the Paali Language


Here is a collection of dictionary definitions of some of the terms that can be found in this book.

Ablative: Of, relating to, or being a grammatical case indicating separation, direction away from, sometimes manner or agency, and the object of certain verbs. It is found in Latin and other Indo-European languages.

Ablative absolute: In Latin grammar, an adverbial phrase syntactically independent from the rest of the sentence and containing a noun plus a participle, an adjective, or a noun, both in the ablative case.

Accusative: Of, relating to, or being the case of a noun, pronoun, adjective, or participle that is the direct object of a verb or the object of certain prepositions.

Active: Indicating that the subject of the sentence is performing or causing the action expressed by the verb. Used of a verb form or voice.

Adjective: Any of a class of words used to modify a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase, such as white in a white house.

Aorist: A form of a verb in some languages, such as Classical Greek or Sanskrit, that in the indicative mood expresses past action.

Conjugate: To inflect (a verb) in its forms for distinctions such as number, person, voice, mood, and tense.

Dative: Of, relating to, or being the grammatical case that in some Indo-European languages, such as Latin and Russian, as well as in some non-Indo-European languages, marks the recipient of action and is used with prepositions or other function words corresponding in meaning to English to and for.

Declension: Linguistics. a. In certain languages, the inflection of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives in categories such as case, number, and gender.

Genitive: Of, relating to, or designating a case that expresses possession, measurement, or source.

Gerund: A verbal noun analogous to the Latin gerund, such as the English form ending in -ing when used as a noun, as in singing in We admired the choir's singing.

Grammar: The system of inflections, syntax, and word formation of a language.

Inflection: a. An alternation of the form of a word by adding affixes, as in English dogs from dog, or by changing the form of a base, as in English spoke from speak, that indicates grammatical features such as number, person, mood, or tense. b. The paradigm of a word. c. A pattern of forming paradigms, such as noun inflection or verb inflection.

Interrogative: Of, relating to, or being an element or construction used to ask a question: an interrogative adverb; an interrogative particle.

Locative: Of, relating to, or being a grammatical case in certain inflected languages that indicates place in or on which or time at which, as in Latin domì, 'at home'.

Nominative: Of, relating to, or belonging to a case of the subject of a finite verb (as I in I wrote the letter) and of words identified with the subject of a copula, such as a predicate nominative (as children in These are his children).

Optative: Of, relating to, or being a mood of verbs in some languages, such as Greek, used to express a wish. Designating a statement using a verb in the subjunctive mood to indicate a wish or desire, as in Had I the means, I would do it.

Present Participle: A participle expressing present action, formed in English by the infinitive plus -ing and used to express present action in relation to the time indicated by the finite verb in its clause, to form progressive tenses with the auxiliary be, and to function as a verbal adjective.

Passive: Of, relating to, or being a verb form or voice used to indicate that the grammatical subject is the object of the action or the effect of the verb. For example, in the sentence They were impressed by his manner, were impressed is in the passive voice.

Participle: A form of a verb that in some languages, such as English, can function independently as an adjective, as the past participle baked in We had some baked beans, and is used with an auxiliary verb to indicate tense, aspect, or voice, as the past participle baked in the passive sentence The beans were baked too long.

Past Participle: A verb form indicating past or completed action or time that is used as a verbal adjective in phrases such as baked beans and finished work and with auxiliaries to form the passive voice or perfect and pluperfect tenses in constructions such as She had baked the beans and The work was finished. Also called perfect participle.

Prefix: An affix, such as dis- in disbelieve, put before a word to produce a derivative word or an inflected form.

Pronominal: Of, relating to, or functioning as a pronoun. Resembling a pronoun, as by specifying a person, place, or thing, while functioning primarily as another part of speech. His in his choice is a pronominal adjective.

Radical: Arising from or going to a root or source; basic: a radical flaw in a plan; chose the radical solution of starting all over again.

Reflective: Designating or expressing a grammatical relation in which a verb's subject and an object in the sentence refer to the same person or thing, serving to indicate that the action of the verb is directed back to the subject. E.g. "Gary hurt himself", "Jane threw a party for herself".

Sanskrit: An ancient Indic language that is the language of Hinduism and the Vedas and is the classical literary language of India.

Substantive: a. Expressing or designating existence; for example, the verb to be. b. Designating a noun or noun equivalent.

Suffix: An affix added to the end of a word or stem, serving to form a new word or functioning as an inflectional ending, such as -ness in gentleness, -ing in walking, or -s in sits.

Vocative: Relating to or being a grammatical case used in Latin and certain other languages to indicate the person or thing being addressed.

Verbal Adjective: An adjective that is derived from a verb and that in some constructions, participial phrases for example, preserves the verb's syntactic features, such as transitivity and the capability of taking nominal or verbal complements.