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1. The Pali alphabet consists of 41 letters, eight vowels and thirty-three consonants.
a, aa, i, ii, u, uu, e, o
k, kh, g, gh, `n
c, ch, j, jh, ~n
.t, .th, .d, .dh, .n
t, th, d, dh, n
p, ph, b, bh, m
y, r, l, v, s, h, .l, .m
2. Of the vowels a, i, u are short; the rest are long.
Although e and o are included in long vowels they are often`sounded short before a double consonant, e.g. mettaa, se.t.thii, okkamati, yotta.m.
 Wide Book II for further treatment of letters.
a is pronounced like a in what or u in hut
aa is pronounced like a in father
i is pronounced like i in mint
ii is pronounced like ee in see
u is pronounced like u in put
uu is pronounced like oo in pool
e is pronounced like a in cage
o is pronounced like o in no
k is pronounced like k in kind
kh is pronounced like kh in blackheath
g is pronounced like g in game
gh is pronounced like gh in big house
`n is pronounced like ng in singer
c is pronounced like ch in chance
ch is pronounced like ch h in witch-hazel
jh is pronounced like dge h in sledge-hammer
~n is pronounced like gn in signore
.t is pronounced like t in cat
.th is pronounced like th in ant-hill
.d is pronounced like d in bad
.dh is pronounced like dh in red-hot
.n is pronounced like kn in know
t is pronounced like th in thumb
th is pronounced like th in pot-herb
d is pronounced like th in then
dh is pronounced like dh in adherent
ph is pronounced like ph in uphill
bh is pronounced like bh in abhorrence
y is pronounced like y in yes
s is pronounced like s in sight
.m is pronounced like ng in sing
j, n, p, b, m, r, l, v and h are pronounced just as they are pronounced in English.
4. In English, there are 8 parts of speech. They are all found in Pali, but the Pali grammarians do not classify them in the same way. Their general classification is:
Pronouns and adjectives are included in the first group. Adjectives are treated as nouns because they are declined like nouns.
Conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs and all other indeclinables are included in the fourth group.
5. There are in Pali as in English three genders and two numbers.
6. Nouns which denote males are masculine; those which denote females are feminine; but nouns which denote inanimate things and qualities are not always neuter, e.g. rukkha (tree), canda (moon) are masculine. Nadii (river), lataa (vine), pa~n~naa (wisdom) are feminine. Dhana (wealth), citta (mind) are neuter.
Two words denoting the same thing may be, sometimes, in different genders; paasaa.na and silaa are both synonyms for a stone, but the former is masculine, and the latter is feminine. Likewise one word, without changing its form, may possess two or more genders; e.g. geha (house) is masculine and neuter, kucchi (belly) is masculine and feminine.
Therefore, it should be remembered that gender in Pali is a grammatical distinction existing in words, it is called grammatical gender.
7. There are eight cases, namely:
The Ablative in English is here divided into Tatiyaa, Kara.na and Pa~ncamii. But, as Tatiyaa and Kara.na always have similar forms both of them are shown under "Instrumental". Where only the "Ablative" is given the reader must understand that all (3) forms of the Ablative are included.
8. Nouns in Pali are differently declined according to their gender and termination.
Nara is a masculine stem, ending in -a.
It is to be declined as follows:-
|Nominative||naro = man||naraa = men|
|Accusative||nara.m = man||nare = men|
|Instrumental||narena = by, with or through man||narebhi, narehi = by, with or through men|
|Dative||naraaya, narassa = to or for man||naraana.m = to or for men|
|Ablative||naraa, naramhaa, narasmaa = from man||narebhi, narehi = from men|
|Genitive||narassa = of man||naraana.m = of men|
|Locative||nare, naramhi, narasmi.m = on or in man||naresu = on or in men|
|Vocative||nara, naraa = O man||naraa = O men|
Some of the stems similarly declined are:-
9. Inflections or case-endings of the above declension are:
|Ablative||aa; mhaa; smaa||ebhi; ehi|
|Locative||e; mhi; smi.m||esu|
The last vowel of the stem should be elided before an inflection which begins with a vowel.
Remark. In translating these into Pali, the articles should be left out. There are no parallel equivalents to them in Pali. But it should be noted that the pronominal adjective "ta" (that) may be used for the definite article, and "eka" (one) for the indefinite. Both of them take the gender, number, and case of the nouns they qualify. (See §§46 and 48).
10. There are three tenses, two voices, two numbers, and three persons in the conjugation of Pali verbs.
The first person in English is third in Pali.
Numbers are similar to those of nouns.
11. There is no attempt to conjugate the Continuous, Perfect, and Perfect Continuous tenses in Pali; therefore only the indefinite forms are given here.
12. Indicative, Present Active Voice
|Third||(So) pacati = he cooks||(Te) pacanti = they cook|
|Second||(Tva.m) pacasi = thou cookest||(Tumhe) pacatha = you cook|
|First||(Aha.m) pacaami = I cook||(Maya.m) pacaama = we cook|
13. The base bhava (to be) from the root bhuu is similarly conjugated.
|Third||(So) bhavati = he is||(Te) bhavanti = they are|
|Second||(Tva.m) bhavasi = thou art||(Tumhe) bhavatha = you are|
|First||(Aha.m) bhavaami = I am||(Maya.m) bhavaama = we are|
The following are conjugated similarly:-