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Introduction to Pali

A.K. Warder (Author)
Synopsis The purpose of this book is to introduce the student, by the most direct path, to the language of the Pali Canon. Existing primers and readers for the study of Pali teach the later language of the Commentaries and other medieval writings, and indeed of the present day-for this very copious and flexible language is still in use. Our grammatical analysis is based on the admirable science of the medieval monks. Their terminology is given, to aid reference, but may of course be ignored by the beginner. The intention here is to cover Pali grammar and syntax in a comprehensive manner. This grammar differs from earlier grammars in being a description of the Canonical language as a relatively homogeneous and consistent form of speech, ignoring later usages (Which would confuse the description and sometimes confound the interpretation). It is also “descriptive” in being an analysis of Canonical usage as far as possible without historical” squinting” at other language. The sentences and passages for reading are taken, with only the un-avoidable minimum of editing in the first exercises, from prose texts in the Digha Nikaya of the Canon. Prose sentences provide the student with straight forward examples of the language, unconstrained by metrical considerations. The texts from which extracts are given expound the philosophy of Buddhism fairly systematically, but in narrative and dialogue style against a historical background of the Buddha’s wanderings and meetings with a variety of characters. The arrangement of the book is based on the experience that extensive reading is the easiest way to learn a language. The vocabulary and grammar are made familiar and meanings are made explicit by sufficient numbers of encounters. The study of early Buddhism will always be the objective of the majority of those who take up Pali, though in addition to the interest of the language itself we must stress the importance of the texts for the study of the history of Indian literature, especially secular literature (literature as literature, “fine” literature, Pali kaveyyam: Sankrit Kavya-the latter embracing the prose novel and the drama as well as poetry).
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About the author

A.K. Warder

DR. Warder is Professor Emeritus Sanskrit in the University of Toronto. He is the author of 15 books and more than 30 articles on Indology, mostly literature and philosophy, and co-author or editor of 7 more. He has spent several years in India exploring manuscript libraries in every state in connection with, his work on Kavya.

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Bibliographic information

Title Introduction to Pali
Author A.K. Warder
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition Revised ed.
Language: English
isbn 8180901203
length xx+528p., Tables; References; Index; 23cm.