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Spoken Language?

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  • Jesse
    Hello, I want to learn Pali in order to compare English translations in order to avoid as much as possible the translators biases. I like to memorize verses
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 13, 2010
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      Hello,

      I want to learn Pali in order to compare English translations in order to avoid as much as possible the translators' biases. I like to memorize verses in English and I want to also learn the corresponding Pali. But, I don't want to just memorize it without actually understanding it. I am not interested in learning Pali in order to carry on discussions of orthodox dogma. I am a secular Buddhist and have been on long before Stephen Batchelor gave it a name.

      I think that Pali should be the lingua franca of the Buddhist world. Perhaps it already is. But, the monks, nuns and lay teachers I've met have only a superficial understanding of the language. Pali ought to be for Buddhists what Latin is to the Catholic Church and Hebrew for Judaism.

      I know from language study that translating the written word is only a shadow of actually knowing a language. The point of my message is to discover if there are others with whom I can communicate in writing and verbal conversation.

      I look forward to a reply.

      Best Regards,

      Jesse
      New Zealand
    • Lennart Lopin
      Hi Jesse, You might probably know of a book called Lingua Latina by Hans Orberg. I guess sooner or later something similar will be done in Pali and
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 14, 2010
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        Hi Jesse,

        You might probably know of a book called "Lingua Latina" by Hans Orberg. I
        guess sooner or later something similar will be done in Pali and eventually
        spark groups like these:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi_6LIPEP7M

        It is very interesting to hear Prof. Turnberg's reasoning why he started to
        "immerse" himself into the language. One of the reasons he gives is exactly
        what you mention:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqOFnYgyRr8 (from min. 3:40)

        The (currrent) spoken Pali of monks varies from place to place. The Galduva
        monks in Sri Lanka, for instance, go through some basic training and I
        remember a few conversations I had with a young monk in Sri Lanka who wanted
        me to teach him English (he did not know any) through the means of Pali. He
        explained that they had to learn (to speak) Pali as one of their monastic
        requirements in order to be able to converse with especially Burmese
        meditation teachers who would come once in a while to Sri Lanka and do not
        know themselves any English. So the exchange of meditation related questions
        would happen in Pali.

        The general monastic population (I can only talk about Sri Lanka) typically
        only learns a few "snippets" or "quotations" to back up their Dhamma talks -
        the biggest hurdle is appropriate learning materials, at this point, but
        again, I am pretty sure we will soon see "immersive type" Pali books/audio
        at which point people will also be able to grasp the language from "within"
        without relying on translations and thus seeing the texts through a (very
        often non-meditative) "filter".

        much metta,

        Lennart



        On Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 2:58 AM, Jesse <threekiwis@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > Hello,
        >
        > I want to learn Pali in order to compare English translations in order to
        > avoid as much as possible the translators' biases. I like to memorize verses
        > in English and I want to also learn the corresponding Pali. But, I don't
        > want to just memorize it without actually understanding it. I am not
        > interested in learning Pali in order to carry on discussions of orthodox
        > dogma. I am a secular Buddhist and have been on long before Stephen
        > Batchelor gave it a name.
        >
        > I think that Pali should be the lingua franca of the Buddhist world.
        > Perhaps it already is. But, the monks, nuns and lay teachers I've met have
        > only a superficial understanding of the language. Pali ought to be for
        > Buddhists what Latin is to the Catholic Church and Hebrew for Judaism.
        >
        > I know from language study that translating the written word is only a
        > shadow of actually knowing a language. The point of my message is to
        > discover if there are others with whom I can communicate in writing and
        > verbal conversation.
        >
        > I look forward to a reply.
        >
        > Best Regards,
        >
        > Jesse
        > New Zealand
        >
        >
        >


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