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Nouns with identical singular and plural

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  • Ong Yong Peng
    Dear friends, please help me with the following question. In English, we have nouns with identical singular and plural. For example, grass, cloth, milk, rice,
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 5, 2007
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      Dear friends,

      please help me with the following question.

      In English, we have nouns with identical singular and plural. For example,

      grass, cloth, milk, rice, honey.

      As I recall what I learnt many years ago in school, these are known as
      non-countable nouns.

      We see similar grammatical treatment in Pali. For example, odana
      (rice) is always in the singular. However, there seems to be
      exceptions, for example, I have seen 'ti.naani', the plural for ti.na
      (grass), and 'sakkharaayo', the plural for sakkharaa (gravel).

      How did the ancient Pali/Sanskrit grammatists treat such words? Thank you.


      metta,
      Yong Peng.
    • Nina van Gorkom
      Dear Yong Peng, to me it is more logical to think of stems of grass and gravelbits in the plural. As Ven. Pandita taught us, it is helpful not to think in
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 5, 2007
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        Dear Yong Peng,
        to me it is more logical to think of stems of grass and gravelbits in
        the plural. As Ven. Pandita taught us, it is helpful not to think in
        English or compare the languages.
        Nina.
        Op 5-feb-2007, om 12:34 heeft Ong Yong Peng het volgende geschreven:

        > I have seen 'ti.naani', the plural for ti.na
        > (grass), and 'sakkharaayo', the plural for sakkharaa (gravel).



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ong Yong Peng
        Dear Nina, thanks for your reply. Would you kindly elaborate your first sentence? Thank you. metta, Yong Peng. ... to me it is more logical to think of stems
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 6, 2007
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          Dear Nina,

          thanks for your reply. Would you kindly elaborate your first sentence?
          Thank you.

          metta,
          Yong Peng.

          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom wrote:

          to me it is more logical to think of stems of grass and gravelbits in
          the plural.

          > I have seen 'ti.naani', the plural for ti.na (grass),
          > and 'sakkharaayo', the plural for sakkharaa (gravel).
        • Nina van Gorkom
          Dear Yong Peng, I cannot add much more. In English one can say grass or grasses when thinking of the many different grass stems. To me it is not strange that
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 6, 2007
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            Dear Yong Peng,
            I cannot add much more. In English one can say grass or grasses when
            thinking of the many different grass stems. To me it is not strange
            that the Pali has a plural form. The same about gravel.
            The plural in Pali (in English there is not: gravels) makes me think
            of all the little bits of stone that constitute gravel. It all
            depends how one looks at it.
            Nina.
            Op 6-feb-2007, om 11:51 heeft Ong Yong Peng het volgende geschreven:

            > Would you kindly elaborate your first sentence?
            > Thank you.
            >
            > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom wrote:
            >
            > to me it is more logical to think of stems of grass and gravelbits in
            > the plural.
            >
            > > I have seen 'ti.naani', the plural for ti.na (grass),
            > > and 'sakkharaayo', the plural for sakkharaa (gravel).



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ong Yong Peng
            Dear Nina, thanks again. You are right that different languages each has its own way of treating grammatical number. If there is a particular pattern/rule
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 7, 2007
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              Dear Nina,

              thanks again. You are right that different languages each has its own
              way of treating grammatical number. If there is a particular
              pattern/rule applied by Pali grammarians, it would be good to know. If
              not, we just have to learn them by heart.

              I have a feeling that Pali _may not_ have a clearly defined concept of
              countable noun. If it is true, I assume that in Pali, most nouns occur
              in both singular and plural, with the exceptions of a few, e.g. odana
              (rice), which are always treated in singular. These may in turn be the
              predecessors of non-countable nouns in later languages. What do you think?

              I would love to hear the opinions of other members on the list.


              metta,
              Yong Peng.

              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom wrote:

              In English one can say grass or grasses when thinking of the many
              different grass stems. To me it is not strange that the Pali has a
              plural form. The same about gravel. The plural in Pali (in English
              there is not: gravels) makes me think of all the little bits of stone
              that constitute gravel. It all depends how one looks at it.

              > Would you kindly elaborate your first sentence?

              >> to me it is more logical to think of stems of grass and
              >> gravelbits in the plural.

              >>> I have seen 'ti.naani', the plural for ti.na (grass),
              >>> and 'sakkharaayo', the plural for sakkharaa (gravel).
            • Ong Yong Peng
              Dear Nina, as I go through an exercise, I found two examples to support my assumption: pu~n~naani, paapaani. metta, Yong Peng. ... I have a feeling that Pali
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 7, 2007
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                Dear Nina,

                as I go through an exercise, I found two examples to support my
                assumption: pu~n~naani, paapaani.

                metta,
                Yong Peng.


                --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Ong Yong Peng wrote:

                I have a feeling that Pali _may not_ have a clearly defined concept of
                countable noun. If it is true, I assume that in Pali, most nouns occur
                in both singular and plural, with the exceptions of a few, e.g. odana
                (rice), which are always treated in singular.
              • Jim Anderson
                Dear Yong Peng, I don t know enough about the old Pali grammarians treatment of grammatical number to be of much help. But it is certainly a subject worthy of
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 7, 2007
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                  Dear Yong Peng,

                  I don't know enough about the old Pali grammarians' treatment of
                  grammatical number to be of much help. But it is certainly a subject
                  worthy of interest and study. Grammatical number is treated in
                  suttas 663-671 of the Suttamaalaa (Smith's ed. pp. 735-7) which is
                  the third part of the Saddaniiti. These suttas are explained in the
                  accompanying glosses and examples are given. To give you some idea of
                  the scope and sophistication of treatment, I have included the 9
                  suttas (without the glosses) below. I haven't been able to find
                  anything similar in the Kaccaayanabyaakara.na but perhaps one can
                  find something in its many commentaries.

                  663 sa.mkhaa-li"ngatthaavikara.nattham uppatti vibhattiina.m.
                  664 ekamhi ekavacana.m.
                  665 ekamhi viya bahumhi pi.
                  666 bahumhi bahuvacana.m.
                  667 bahumhi viya ekamhi pi.
                  668 samudaaya-jaati-nissay'-ekattalakkha.nesv ekavacana.m.
                  669 bahumhi samudaaye bahuvacana.m.
                  670 kvaci jaati-atta-garusu ca.
                  671 apariccheda-maatikaanusandhinaya-pucchaanusandhinaya-
                  pucchaasabhaaga-puthucittasamaayoga-puthuaaramma.na-
                  tannivaasa-ta.mputt'-ekaabhidhaana-tannissitaapekkh'-
                  aaramma.nakiccabhedesu ca.

                  I think "samudaaya" is a reference to collective nouns, and "jaati"
                  seems to relate to class or genus. Suttas 669-671 deal with
                  exceptions to the general rule -- a plural where one would expect a
                  singular.

                  I hope this helps a bit.

                  Best wishes,
                  Jim

                  > I have a feeling that Pali _may not_ have a clearly defined concept
                  of
                  > countable noun. If it is true, I assume that in Pali, most nouns
                  occur
                  > in both singular and plural, with the exceptions of a few, e.g.
                  odana
                  > (rice), which are always treated in singular. These may in turn be
                  the
                  > predecessors of non-countable nouns in later languages. What do you
                  think?
                  >
                  > I would love to hear the opinions of other members on the list.
                  >
                  >
                  > metta,
                  > Yong Peng.
                  >
                • Ong Yong Peng
                  Dear Jim, thanks for the information. I am keen to learn more about collective nouns in Pali, I have not come across many of them yet. Hopefully, we would have
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 10, 2007
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                    Dear Jim,

                    thanks for the information. I am keen to learn more about collective
                    nouns in Pali, I have not come across many of them yet. Hopefully, we
                    would have the chance to go through the Saddaniiti together some time
                    in the future.

                    metta,
                    Yong Peng.


                    --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Jim Anderson wrote:

                    I don't know enough about the old Pali grammarians' treatment of
                    grammatical number to be of much help. But it is certainly a subject
                    worthy of interest and study. Grammatical number is treated in suttas
                    663-671 of the Suttamaalaa (Smith's ed. pp. 735-7) which is the third
                    part of the Saddaniiti. These suttas are explained in the accompanying
                    glosses and examples are given.

                    I think "samudaaya" is a reference to collective nouns, and "jaati"
                    seems to relate to class or genus. Suttas 669-671 deal with exceptions
                    to the general rule -- a plural where one would expect a singular.
                  • Jim Anderson
                    Dear Yong Peng, There are also some good explanations of the uses of the singular (ekavacana) and plural (bahuvacana) in the 2nd pariccheda of the Saddaniiti
                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 10, 2007
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                      Dear Yong Peng,

                      There are also some good explanations of the uses of the singular
                      (ekavacana) and plural (bahuvacana) in the 2nd pariccheda of the
                      Saddaniiti (Part I: Padamaalaa) with an interesting technical list of
                      five kinds of singulars and fifteen kinds of plurals. The collective
                      noun in the singular comes under "samudaayaapekkhekavacana.m". Some
                      examples of this kind are found in the following passage:

                      ``saa senaa mahatii aasi, bahujjano pasannosi, sabbo ta.m jano
                      ojinaayatu, itthigumbassa pavaraa, buddhassaaha.m vatthayuga.m
                      adaasi.m, dvaya.m vo bhikkhave desessaami, pema.m mahanta.m
                      ratanattayassa, kare pasaada~nca naro avassa.m, bhikkhusa"ngho,
                      balakaayo, devanikaayo, ariyaga.no''-iccevamaadayo, ``dvika.m
                      tika''miccaadayo ca samudaayavasena bavhatthaana.m ekavacanapayogaa.
                      (from CSCD ver. 3)

                      I think "odaana.m" (rice) would come under "jaatyaapekkhekavacana.m"
                      which includes "sassa.m" (corn, crop) in its examples.

                      Best wishes,
                      Jim

                      << Dear Jim,

                      thanks for the information. I am keen to learn more about collective
                      nouns in Pali, I have not come across many of them yet. Hopefully, we
                      would have the chance to go through the Saddaniiti together some time
                      in the future.

                      metta,
                      Yong Peng. >>
                    • Ong Yong Peng
                      Dear Jim, thanks for the information. I am unfamiliar with Pali grammar now. I plan to get to it in the future, but first I would like to go through Warder s
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 10, 2007
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                        Dear Jim,

                        thanks for the information. I am unfamiliar with Pali grammar now. I
                        plan to get to it in the future, but first I would like to go through
                        Warder's Introduction in Pali before considering the Pali.

                        metta,
                        Yong Peng.


                        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Jim Anderson wrote:

                        There are also some good explanations of the uses of the singular
                        (ekavacana) and plural (bahuvacana) in the 2nd pariccheda of the
                        Saddaniiti (Part I: Padamaalaa) with an interesting technical list of
                        five kinds of singulars and fifteen kinds of plurals. The collective
                        noun in the singular comes under "samudaayaapekkhekavacana.m".
                      • Ole Holten Pind
                        Dear Jim, This is an interesting passage. The idea that certain terms denote a samudaaya of things, like vana forest or saali denoting a collection of trees
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 11, 2007
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                          Dear Jim,

                          This is an interesting passage. The idea that certain terms denote a
                          samudaaya of things, like vana 'forest' or saali denoting a collection of
                          trees or rice grains, can be traced to the Sanskrit grammarians and
                          philosophy of Sanskrit grammar. Aggavamsa mentions the akkharacintaka in the
                          passage to which you refer. This generally means the Sanskrit grammarians.
                          See, for instance, Bhartrhari's Vaakyapadiiya II 155-56.

                          Best wishes,
                          Ole Pind



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Jim Anderson
                          Dear Ole, In keeping with Aggava.msa s scheme, wouldn t vana or saali be classified as jaatyaapekkhekavacana.m rather than as
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 11, 2007
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                            Dear Ole,

                            In keeping with Aggava.msa's scheme, wouldn't "vana" or "saali" be
                            classified as "jaatyaapekkhekavacana.m" rather than
                            as "samudaayaapekkhekavacana.m" ? I take "jaati" in the sense of
                            class or genus but admittedly I'm unclear about this term which I
                            have seen grouped with gu.na, dabba, and kriyaa. I believe four of
                            the five kinds of singulars mentioned in the Saddaniiti refer to
                            collections of two or more things. Thanks for your Vaakyapadiya
                            reference which I did see but the Sanskrit text is much too difficult
                            for me to comprehend with what little I know. I'm certainy interested
                            in what the Sanskrit grammarians and philosophers have to say about
                            such things and I did have a look at Paa.n I 2.58 & 1.4.21-2 and the
                            comments of the Kaa"sikaav.rtti, Haridatta, and Jinendrabuddhi.
                            There's lots to study up on!

                            Best wishes,
                            Jim

                            << Dear Jim,

                            This is an interesting passage. The idea that certain terms denote a
                            samudaaya of things, like vana 'forest' or saali denoting a
                            collection of trees or rice grains, can be traced to the Sanskrit
                            grammarians and philosophy of Sanskrit grammar. Aggavamsa mentions
                            the akkharacintaka in the passage to which you refer. This generally
                            means the Sanskrit grammarians. See, for instance, Bhartrhari's
                            Vaakyapadiiya II 155-56.

                            Best wishes,
                            Ole Pind >>
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