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the ~naa words

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  • John Kelly
    Dear Pali friends, I m wondering if anyone could should some light for me on how the subtle distinctions of meaning between words like ~naana, pa~n~naa,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2006
      Dear Pali friends,

      I'm wondering if anyone could should some light for me on how the subtle distinctions of meaning between words like ~naana, pa~n~naa, sa~n~naa, vi~n~naana, etc. have arisen from the addition of various prefixes to the basic root.

      It is my understanding that all these ~naa words (j~na in Sanskrit) come from a single Vedic root j~na which in turn comes from Indo-Europena *gno - hence Greek gnosis, Latin cognoscere, cognitio and English know, i-gnorance and many, many other possible examples - all with the same root idea of "knowing".
      In Pali, this j~naa root gives the verb jaanaati "to know", and noun ~naana "knowledge"; with prefix pa- we get verb pajaanaati "to come to know, understand, distinguish" and noun pa~n~naa "wisdom, understanding"; with prefix sa.m- we get verb sa~njaanaati "to recognize, perceive" and noun sa~n~naa "perception"; and with prefix vi- we have the verb vijaanaati "to have discriminative knowledge, become aware of" and noun vi~n~naana "awareness, consciousness", and so on.

      What I'm really looking for here is some understanding of the meaning/role of these various prefixes and how they augment/change the root meaning of ~naa.

      With metta,
      John


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