Māgadhabhāsā (Pāḷi) – A Compendious Grammar on the Language of Pāḷi Buddhism

by A. Bhikkhu

The primary aims, methods and rationales of this Māgadhabhāsā (Pāḷi) grammar are as follows:

  1. Lubricating access to the information contained in numerous modern Pāḷi grammars written in English by collating the dispersed material contained within them. People who wish to learn about grammatical rules and principles – either on a broader spectrum or at all – are compelled to track them down in the thicket of the widely scattered grammar inventories as separately given by the various available grammars. These works, mostly fine and outstanding works of scholarship in their own right, each individually often contain valuable data and perspectives not found in the other ones, and these are attempted to be distilled and presented with this Pāḷi grammar.
  2. Facilitating identification of and providing explicit reference to most of the grammatical rules contained in the Kaccāyanabyākaraṇaṃ (Kaccāyana), the oldest extant Pāḷi grammar, as well as to selected ones from other traditional grammars.

Most copiously consulted grammars in English medium were:

  • Ānandamaitreya, B. (2012). Pali made easy.
  • Buddhadatta, A. P. (1997). The new Pali course (Vols. I–II).
  • Collins, S. (2006). A Pali grammar for students.
  • Dhammajoti (2018). Reading Buddhist Pāḷi texts.
  • Duroiselle, C. (1997). Practical grammar of the Pali language.
  • Frankfurter, O. (1883). Handbook of Pali.
  • Gair, J. W., & Karunatillake, W. (1998). A new course in reading Pāli.
  • Kaccāyana Pāli Vyākaraṇaṃ (Vol. 2; 2016) (Thitzana, Trans.)
  • Ñāṇadhaja (2011). Light on the pronunciation of Pāḷi.
  • Oberlies, T. (2019). Pāli grammar. The language of the canonical texts of Theravāda Buddhism – Phonology and morphology (Vol. I).
  • Perniola, V. (1997). Pali grammar.
  • Warder, A.K. (1967). Pali metre.
  • Warder, A. K. (2001). Introduction to Pali.
  • Yindee, P. P. (2018). A contrastive study of Pali and English.

Traditional grammars which were utilized (except for Kaccāyana, mainly, but not exclusively, used for the chapter on Pāḷi pronunciation):

  • Kaccāyanabyākaraṇaṃ (1999). Vipassana Research Institute.
  • Moggallānavyākaraṇaṃ (1999). Vipassana Research Institute.
  • Padarūpasiddhi (1999). Vipassana Research Institute.
  • Saddanītippakaraṇaṃ I (1999). Vipassana Research Institute.
  • Saddanītippakaraṇaṃ II (1999). Vipassana Research Institute.
  • Vidyabhusana, S & Punnananda (Eds.) (1935). Bālāvatāra – An elementary Pali grammar abridged for the undergraduate course.


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