Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Saddaniiti Chapter 1 (8)

Expand Messages
  • gdbedell
    Friends, ... I agree with Mahinda that we are not making much progress, and it not just that the going is slow, but also that the result (so far, at least) is
    Message 1 of 30 , Aug 23, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Friends,

      Mahinda deserves our gratitude for his forthright assessment last week of the state of the Saddaniiti project:

      > I am sorry to say that I don't think we are making much progress in this
 venture. It is
      > not possible to translate (i.e., understand) this kind of text unless one (gradually) gets
      > used to the peculiar idiom found in Indian
 grammatical and exegetical works. Saddaniti > is just too difficult for anyone
 who is not familiar with this idiom. Even the
      > Baalaavataara, which is meant
 for the 'baala' (children, i.e., beginners) is not all that
      > easy to
 translate. I think however, things might have been less intricate had we
 first
      > gone through that text and become familiar with the idiom. Or, doing
 a systematic
      > study of any commentary could have helped, since the exegetical
 vocabulary is
      > somewhat akin to the grammatical. The vocabulary and style of
 Pali grammatical texts
      > are heavily influenced by the corresponding texts
 written for Sanskrit grammar.



      > Contributing to the present discussion of the Saddaniiti is, at least for
 me, a tiring and > unproductive effort. Please forgive me for saying this. I
 would be glad if the experience > of others who are more patient than me is
 different.


      I agree with Mahinda that we are not making much progress, and it not just that the going is slow, but also that the result (so far, at least) is not an accurate and readable translation that might be of use to others. I also feel that `contributing to the present discussion of the Saddaniiti is ... a tiring and unproductive effort.' In my case that feeling is not based so much on the material that others have posted, as on my own efforts to continue the translation of pariccheda 2 that I started in January. I think this must be the `third thread' which Yong Peng said `did not start'. That does not seem a very fair statement, since the amount of text I covered (37 lines in Smith's edition) in my one post is roughly the same as what he has covered in all eight of his (40 lines). It is true that there wasn't much discussion of my translation, but I would like to think that is because little was called for. If anyone wishes to know why I have not continued posting, the answer is simple: my Pali is not adequate. I do not fully understand the following definitions of vibhatti or the discussion of noun and verb forms which lack them. It is impossible for me (not to mention pointless) to translate a text which I do not understand. The throw-enough-mud-against-the-wall-and-some-of-it-is-bound-to-stick method does not strike me as very effective in translation.

      We find the Saddaniiti difficult not because it is `advanced Pali' but because (i) it was written at least a thousand years after the Tipitaka in another country and another culture and (ii) it belongs to a highly specialized and technical genre: grammar. The majority of Pali reference works (dictionaries and grammars) were compiled to be used in reading the Tipitaka, and did not put much (if any) effort into medieval technical prose. Mahinda is right that we need to beome familiar with this variety of the language. He is also right about the role of Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar in understanding Aggava.msa. This point is quite separate from any help a knowledge of Sanskrit might provide in learning Pali. The Pali grammars were written by people who were familiar with Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar, and who were trying to show that Pali could be analyzed in the same way. Their work cannot be understood out of that context. So I am disappointed that Mahinda's remarks have not been taken very seriously.

      George
    • ypong001
      Dear George and friends, thank you for your feedback. ... Allow me to say that what we doing is unconventional. For a typical translation be published, it
      Message 2 of 30 , Aug 23, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear George and friends,

        thank you for your feedback.

        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, gdbedell wrote:

        > I agree with Mahinda that we are not making much progress, and it not just that the going is slow, but also that the result (so far, at least) is not an accurate and readable translation that might be of use to others.

        Allow me to say that what we doing is unconventional. For a typical translation be published, it would be going through several rounds of drafts, proof-readings, and revisions, before it sees daylight. Here, we are only making the first draft, and purely for the purpose of group discussion and self-discovery.

        > I think this must be the `third thread' which Yong Peng said 'did not start'.

        You are correct. It was my mistake to have missed it. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Pali/message/13095

        > The throw-enough-mud-against-the-wall-and-some-of-it-is-bound-to-stick method does not strike me as very effective in translation.

        Rome was not built in a day.

        Translation is never an easy task. I know that some may prefer we work on something which has already been translated, as we do now for AN (not its commentary, or something not yet available in English). I thought people would appreciate that Saddaniiti is of a different genre, and a different mindset can be acquired in this project, that we be less conscious of making mistakes.

        > We find the Saddaniiti difficult not because it is `advanced Pali' but because (i) it was written at least a thousand years after the Tipitaka in another country and another culture and (ii) it belongs to a highly specialized and technical genre: grammar. The majority of Pali reference works (dictionaries and grammars) were compiled to be used in reading the Tipitaka, and did not put much (if any) effort into medieval technical prose. Mahinda is right that we need to beome familiar with this variety of the language. He is also right about the role of Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar in understanding Aggava.msa. This point is quite separate from any help a knowledge of Sanskrit might provide in learning Pali. The Pali grammars were written by people who were familiar with Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar, and who were trying to show that Pali could be analyzed in the same way. Their work cannot be understood out of that context. So I am disappointed that Mahinda's remarks have not been taken very seriously.

        I have been highlighting that Saddaniti is a classical grammar, and had also pointed out a grammar is a different genre, a technical text for language study. I have also provided a brief background of Saddaniti and its author Aggavamsa, including the time and place the text was written. In addition, I consider Saddaniti an advance text, as I similarly consider Kaccayana and Moggallana.

        I had offered to stop Saddaniti and let Mahinda run us through Balavatara. I thought that is a constructive move. Otherwise, we will have to progress with Saddaniti. I do not see how we can become familiar with classical grammars without getting our hands dirty. But, that doesn't mean we can just throw mud against the wall.

        As for classical Sanskrit, I am all with Mahinda's remarks. The two languages are closely related, and we can comfortably discuss similarities and differences. Still, we have to rely on members who have that knowledge for assistance. Our group focus is on Pali, and we are not abandoning that just yet.

        I hope this would generate some ideas how we can improve our group discussions, particularly on Saddaniti.


        metta,
        Yong Peng.
      • Jim Anderson
        Dear Yong Peng and others, ... discussions, particularly on Saddaniti. My suggestion would be, that when one comes up against a passage that is too difficult
        Message 3 of 30 , Aug 23, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Yong Peng and others,

          > I hope this would generate some ideas how we can improve our group
          discussions, particularly on Saddaniti.

          My suggestion would be, that when one comes up against a passage that
          is too difficult to translate, to leave it untransalted and to explain
          what one does make of it and point out the difficulty. If one doesn't
          understand it, it is certainly going to show in a translation.
          Pretending to understand it is counter-productive. We have to be
          honest about it and not be afraid to admit our lack of knowledge.

          I would also suggest that in addition to work on the 1st pariccheda
          that a start be made soon on the 25th pariccheda, the aakhyaatakappa.
          The concise sutta style is very different from the verbose style of
          the 1st pariccheda. I wouldn't mind making a start on this kappa by
          posting 1 sutta a week. At that rate it would take 5 years to go
          through all 249 suttas unless others chip in to speed things up.

          Learning Pali takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. There is no
          easy way. One reason why the project is moving so slow is the low
          interest (globally) in traditional Pali grammar and the fact that so
          very few are willing or able to put in the time and effort needed to
          learn it.

          Best wishes,
          Jim
        • ypong001
          Dear Jim and friends, thank you, Jim. I hope our group s little work has not upset some bigger ego out there. I hope to address some of the concerns which were
          Message 4 of 30 , Aug 24, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Jim and friends,

            thank you, Jim. I hope our group's little work has not upset some bigger ego out there.

            I hope to address some of the concerns which were raised over the last few posts.

            I like to say that "pretending to understand" is different from "trying to understand". I do not claim to be an expert in classical Pali grammar. And, this is not the first occasion I spend time typing something like this, but I shall make it the last. If people do not like how we conduct our discussions, it does not bother me anymore.

            As George noted, it took me 8 posts to cover 40 lines, when it took him just one post to cover 37 lines. If I had left them untranslated, I could have covered 40 lines in one post, and we would be completing the first chapter in no time. However, this is not a commercial project with some dateline. The moving is slow not because of any of the reasons anyone has listed so far. I am the only one making the postings for chapter 1, and I am still trying to get use to the style, so I set the pace.

            Each post, I give my best attempt to provide a good rendering. The last post was even a rework of the previous, as I would also do for some of the sutta translations, when I believe that I did not get most of the text right the first time. I am abhorred if that is being misconstrued as "pretending to understand".

            After this episode, I have decided to take a break for as long as a year, which I hope to catch up on other stuff. So, I will stop further postings of the 1st pariccheda for the next twelve months.

            Jim, I am grateful for your assistance so far, and I am glad that you offer to start the 25th pariccheda, which isn't available on CSCD, meaning that you would have to type out the text.

            I do not have the text, but I like to make an appeal to everyone to consider helping Jim with the typing.

            Thank you.

            metta,
            Yong Peng.


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

            My suggestion would be, that when one comes up against a passage that is too difficult to translate, to leave it untransalted and to explain what one does make of it and point out the difficulty. If one doesn't understand it, it is certainly going to show in a translation. Pretending to understand it is counter-productive. We have to be honest about it and not be afraid to admit our lack of knowledge.

            I would also suggest that in addition to work on the 1st pariccheda that a start be made soon on the 25th pariccheda, the aakhyaatakappa. The concise sutta style is very different from the verbose style of the 1st pariccheda. I wouldn't mind making a start on this kappa by posting 1 sutta a week. At that rate it would take 5 years to go through all 249 suttas unless others chip in to speed things up.

            Learning Pali takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. There is no easy way. One reason why the project is moving so slow is the low interest (globally) in traditional Pali grammar and the fact that so very few are willing or able to put in the time and effort needed to learn it.
          • Jim Anderson
            Dear Yong Peng, ... last post was even a rework of the previous, as I would also do for some of the sutta translations, when I believe that I did not get most
            Message 5 of 30 , Aug 24, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Dear Yong Peng,

              > Each post, I give my best attempt to provide a good rendering. The
              last post was even a rework of the previous, as I would also do for
              some of the sutta translations, when I believe that I did not get most
              of the text right the first time. I am abhorred if that is being
              misconstrued as "pretending to understand".
              >
              > After this episode, I have decided to take a break for as long as a
              year, which I hope to catch up on other stuff. So, I will stop further
              postings of the 1st pariccheda for the next twelve months.

              I'm sorry to hear this and I apologize for my remarks which were never
              meant to offend you or anyone else. I do not entirely share the
              criticism that Mahinda and George have raised concerning the progress
              of your work on the 1st pariccheda and, in fact, I was agreeing with
              you in your responses to the criticism. I think progress is being made
              in gaining a better understanding of traditional Pali grammar. I know
              you're trying your best and you're to be commended for launching the
              Saddaniiti project. I wholehearedly agree that we need to keep it
              going in sptie of the obstacles and setbacks.

              > Jim, I am grateful for your assistance so far, and I am glad that
              you offer to start the 25th pariccheda, which isn't available on CSCD,
              meaning that you would have to type out the text.
              >
              > I do not have the text, but I like to make an appeal to everyone to
              consider helping Jim with the typing.

              I think I can do most of the typing. I already have the suttas typed
              out and only need to proofread ihem and type in the commentary. In
              addition to Smith's edition, I also have the Thai script BBF edition
              to work with. There are 241 suttas, not the 249 I mentioned earlier.
              The entire kappa takes up 33 pages in Smith's edition which is about
              the same no. of pages as the 1st and 2nd pariccheda combined. The
              kappa starts off with the definitons of parassapada, attanopada,
              purisa, pa.thama, majjhima, and uttama then takes up the uses of the
              tenses which should be interesting. I still have a lot more to learn
              about Pali grammar and will be dealing with troublesome terms. Well,
              let's see how far we can go with the 25th paricched without getting
              derailed!

              Best wishes,
              Jim
            • Nina van Gorkom
              Dear Jim and Yong Peng, ... N: I heartily agree with this. I am very grateful to you Jim, that you are willing to help us with the 25th pariccheda. Yong Peng,
              Message 6 of 30 , Aug 24, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear Jim and Yong Peng,
                Op 24-aug-2009, om 17:53 heeft Jim Anderson het volgende geschreven:

                > I think progress is being made
                > in gaining a better understanding of traditional Pali grammar. I know
                > you're trying your best and you're to be commended for launching the
                > Saddaniiti project. I wholehearedly agree that we need to keep it
                > going in sptie of the obstacles and setbacks.
                ------
                N: I heartily agree with this. I am very grateful to you Jim, that
                you are willing to help us with the 25th pariccheda.
                Yong Peng, I am sorry about your break, but it is understandable. All
                the work you do must be a heavy burden taking many, many hours. I
                admire all the work you do and have done.

                Nina.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • ypong001
                Dear Jim, Nina and friends, I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim
                Message 7 of 30 , Aug 27, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Dear Jim, Nina and friends,

                  I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with good secretarial skills can help to put the materials in PDF format for people to download and read offline.


                  metta,
                  Yong Peng.
                • Jim Anderson
                  Dear Yong Peng, ... wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with good
                  Message 8 of 30 , Aug 27, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Dear Yong Peng,

                    > I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just
                    wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be
                    providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with
                    good secretarial skills can help to put the materials in PDF format
                    for people to download and read offline.

                    As for typing in the text of the 25th pariccheda, I can look after
                    that and the proofreading. Help in this area will not speed things up.
                    I have not studied this pariccheda on verbs before in any
                    thoroughgoing fashion so this will be an opportunity for me to learn
                    and try to understand as well. Most of my work will no doubt involve
                    research on difficult points that usually entail extensive reading of
                    otheruntranslated grammatical commentaries. I'm planning to make my
                    first contribution this coming Monday. It will consist of the text and
                    translation of the one introductory verse followed by an etymological
                    definiton of the term "aakhyaata.m" (the finite verb) which I've
                    already done some reading up on. I have the 3 lines of text translated
                    in my mind. I will try to post an instalment each Monday with an
                    average of 1 sutta per week. Some of the postings will contain 2 or
                    more suttas if it can be done easily. In my readings so far it is
                    becoming clear that the aakhyaata.m is the most important word in a
                    sentence, grammatically speaking, as it carries vital information
                    about the sentence structure. It is for a good reason that it is
                    called the teller or the informer.

                    There will be periods when I'll be in another location with limited
                    access to my research materials especially from late December to early
                    April. I may also lose access to the Internet should my old laptop
                    suddenly die. Just to let you know that things may not always go as
                    smoothly as one would like.

                    Best wishes,
                    Jim
                  • ypong001
                    Dear Jim, it is good if you are alright with the typing. I was referring to compiling your postings, including your translations and probably follow-up
                    Message 9 of 30 , Aug 29, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Dear Jim,

                      it is good if you are alright with the typing. I was referring to compiling your postings, including your translations and probably follow-up discussions and ensuing conclusions.

                      I can understand if you have to take occasional breaks in-between the postings, which will last for a few years. Keeping it short, I look forward to the very first post on "aakhyaata.m".

                      metta,
                      Yong Peng.


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

                      > I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with good secretarial skills can help to put the materials in PDF format for people to download and read offline.

                      As for typing in the text of the 25th pariccheda, I can look after that and the proofreading. Help in this area will not speed things up. I have not studied this pariccheda on verbs before in any thoroughgoing fashion so this will be an opportunity for me to learn and try to understand as well. Most of my work will no doubt involve research on difficult points that usually entail extensive reading of otheruntranslated grammatical commentaries. I'm planning to make my first contribution this coming Monday. It will consist of the text and translation of the one introductory verse followed by an etymological definiton of the term "aakhyaata.m" (the finite verb) which I've already done some reading up on. I have the 3 lines of text translated in my mind. I will try to post an instalment each Monday with an average of 1 sutta per week. Some of the postings will contain 2 or more suttas if it can be done easily. In my readings so far it is becoming clear that the aakhyaata.m is the most important word in a sentence, grammatically speaking, as it carries vital information about the sentence structure. It is for a good reason that it is called the teller or the informer.

                      There will be periods when I'll be in another location with limited access to my research materials especially from late December to early April. I may also lose access to the Internet should my old laptop suddenly die. Just to let you know that things may not always go as smoothly as one would like.
                    • Jim Anderson
                      Dear Yong Peng, ... compiling your postings, including your translations and probably follow-up discussions and ensuing conclusions. Please feel free to do
                      Message 10 of 30 , Aug 30, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Dear Yong Peng,

                        > it is good if you are alright with the typing. I was referring to
                        compiling your postings, including your translations and probably
                        follow-up discussions and ensuing conclusions.

                        Please feel free to do what you like with the postings on the 25th
                        pariccheda. I agree it's a good idea to put the material and the
                        discussions all together. I will probably be doing some compiling
                        myself and maintaining a master file for the text, translation, and
                        notes which will all be subject to future revisions. I won't be typing
                        in the text exactly as found in Smith's edition in that I'll be using
                        lower case letters only and leaving out the apostrophes that mark
                        elision. I will also compare with the Thai script edn. and take note
                        of significant differences in the readings. I find both editions very
                        reliable.

                        > I can understand if you have to take occasional breaks in-between
                        the postings, which will last for a few years. Keeping it short, I
                        look forward to the very first post on "aakhyaata.m".

                        I'll be sending in my first post tomorrow on Monday as planned.

                        Best wishes,
                        Jim
                      • ypong001
                        Dear Jim, thank you. I shall see what I can do. I hope you can start the 25th pariccheda on a new thread, rather than replying to this post. Thank you. metta,
                        Message 11 of 30 , Aug 31, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Dear Jim,

                          thank you. I shall see what I can do. I hope you can start the 25th pariccheda on a new thread, rather than replying to this post. Thank you.

                          metta,
                          Yong Peng.


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

                          Please feel free to do what you like with the postings on the 25th pariccheda. I agree it's a good idea to put the material and the discussions all together. I will probably be doing some compiling myself and maintaining a master file for the text, translation, and notes which will all be subject to future revisions. I won't be typing in the text exactly as found in Smith's edition in that I'll be using lower case letters only and leaving out the apostrophes that mark elision. I will also compare with the Thai script edn. and take note of significant differences in the readings. I find both editions very reliable.
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.