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Re: [Pali] Re: hi! I'm new here. some basic questions..

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  • rett
    Hi Jacques and group, ... It s just one possible way to focus a study to make it more manageable. The commentarial narrative prose has the following features
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 1, 2006
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      Hi Jacques and group,

      >
      >I would like to know why you advise starting looking
      >in the commentarial litterature rather than in the
      >canonic one ? Is it for statistical reason - because
      >commentaries would be more bulky ? Or for some other
      >reason ?

      It's just one possible way to focus a study to make it more manageable. The commentarial narrative prose has the following features that appeal to me:

      It's extensive.

      Has folklore from all walks of life, including many descriptions of secular life.

      The language is relatively standardized.

      The style is explicitly that of a written, literary language.

      My impression so far, though I can't back it up with proof, is that the canonical prose has somewhat less wide-reaching story material, has a greater variety of odd and problematic forms and has more of an oral recitation style (cadenced prose, repetitions, and different ways of handling paragraphs, topicalization, transitions, the pronominal marking of retention or change of grammatical agent, anaphora etc). This doesn't mean I don't think it's worth studying. On the contrary, the canonical Pali prose is the most beautiful and profound literature I've ever read. It's just that there might be some value in doing separate studies of different strata, and the commentarial prose strikes me as a bit easier to start out with.

      I'm also a believer in learning ancient languages in the same sequence that a child learns to read. Stories > simple non-fiction > advanced technical writing and literature. The commentarial prose has a lot to offer in the way of simpler stories, and because of its standardization it's a realistic goal to get to where you can read Jaataka prose and Dhp-a like a bedside novel: extensively, quickly and with little or no reference to the dictionary.

      best regards,

      /Rett
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