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More replies to Nina as regards RG

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  • Ven. Pandita
    Nina Here are some more explanations and answers to your questions. ... No, Nina. Very different. Pali belongs to the Indo-European family while Burmese, to
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 1, 2005
      Nina

      Here are some more explanations and answers to your questions.

      >N: Is the structure of Burmese similar to the structure of Pali?
      >
      No, Nina. Very different. Pali belongs to the Indo-European family while
      Burmese, to Tibeto-Chinese(?). Burmese does have many Pali words
      adopted under the influence of Buddhist culture; but the language
      structure itself is different. Burmese is what some call an
      "agglutinative" language whereas Pali is an inflectional language.
      Burmese entirely lacks inflections such as declensions and conjugations
      that Pali has. Moreover, word order is very important in Burmese syntax.

      >What is the history of this Relational Grammar? Is it an old tradition? How is it related to the traditional grammars such as the Kaccayaana?
      >
      >
      RG is a very old tradition. The most widely used authority of RG is
      "Saasapchoyo:" a Burmese text of RG that appeared in 18th century.
      However, its origins are much older; we can find its usage in
      Ma.nisaarama~njuusaa .Tiikaa, an Abhidhamma commentary appearing in 15th
      century Burma.

      RG has two main sources: the chapter of Kaaraka in Kaccaayana and the
      typical explanations of syntax in the commentarial literature. If you
      search the phrase "*ti sambandho" (asterisk included) in the CSCD, you
      would find many instances of word-to-word relations.

      >I see that all notions you use are stemming from Pali, as indicated in the footnotes: vutta, avutta, etc. I have great trouble with the notions of acitive and inactive subjects and objects, since I do not know much about grammar.
      >
      Let's try to understand it by a simile. In a sentence, the main verb is
      the "king". The active subject or object must be in strict agreement
      with its verb, just like a minister in court who is forced to follow
      every whim and desire of the king. On the other hand, an inactive
      subject or object retains its own case and number regardless of the
      verb, like the lord of a distant town who retains his own identity and
      integrity away from the king.

      >I have trouble with the ending: bhaasiiyate. I see that this ending is used
      >many times in your examples.
      >
      Bhaasiiyate is a verb derived from bhaas (the root) + ya (passive sign)
      + te (3rd pers. singular Present Tense ending)

      >Q. Nina: thus, the emphasis is on gantabba.m and on hantabba.m, on the verb,as I understand.
      >
      Yes, you're right.

      >I still have trouble with inactive object, why inactive.
      >
      >
      Check the verb gantabba.m first. Why is this verb of neutral gender and
      singular number? There are two possible answers.
      1. This sentence is in Passive voice, and there must be agreement
      between the verb and the active object. The active object (not expressed
      in this example) is of neutral gender and singular number so the verb
      also follows suit.
      2. Or this sentence is in Absolute voice, so the verb is in neutral
      gender and singular (RG 2) Then both the subject and object would be
      inactive.

      Now think of nagara.m, the hypothetical object. It is of neutral gender,
      singular number but of two possible cases, namely, nominative and
      accusative. Of them, nominative would be for Passive voice while
      accusative for Absolute.

      >When I think how to apply the Relational Grammar, I do not know.
      > [2] Com: asaadhaara.nenaati puthujjanehi asaadhaara.nena.
      >N: Thai text: endowed with wisdom that is not common to ordinary people
      >(putthujjanas, non-ariyans).
      >
      I would really like to explain, Nina. But this sentence is, in the level
      of difficulty, similar to the one of Visuddhimagga Mahaa.tiikaa that you
      presented in a previous post --- too difficult for many members who are
      only beginners. Let's discuss such texts only after mastering the
      ordinary prose with RG.

      with metta

      Ven. Pandita
    • Gunnar Gällmo
      ... Don t you mean an isolative language? Agglutinative languages, like Finnish (and I think Turkish), do have a lot of inflections (Finnish actually has
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 1, 2005
        --- "Ven. Pandita" <ashinpan@...> skrev:
        > Burmese is what some
        > call an
        > "agglutinative" language whereas Pali is an
        > inflectional language.
        > Burmese entirely lacks inflections such as
        > declensions and conjugations
        > that Pali has.

        Don't you mean an "isolative" language?
        "Agglutinative" languages, like Finnish (and I think
        Turkish), do have a lot of inflections (Finnish
        actually has about twice as many grammatical cases as
        Pali), but unlike inflectional languages the roots
        themselves are not changed - the affixes are just
        added.

        Gunnar

        =====
        gunnargallmo@...
      • rett
        ... I don t know Burmese, but as of late I ve been becoming very interested in it. I ve often seen it referred to as agglutinative because of the lengthy
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 2, 2005
          >Gunnar Gällmo wrote:
          >Don't you mean an "isolative" language?
          >"Agglutinative" languages, like Finnish (and I think
          >Turkish), do have a lot of inflections (Finnish
          >actually has about twice as many grammatical cases as
          >Pali), but unlike inflectional languages the roots
          >themselves are not changed - the affixes are just
          >added.

          I don't know Burmese, but as of late I've been
          becoming very interested in it. I've often seen
          it referred to as agglutinative because of the
          lengthy strings of postpositional particles which
          influence the syntax of a sentence. This is a
          feature of the Tibeto-Burman family of languages
          which hasn't carried out the 'isolating' process
          as thoroughly as, say, Chinese.

          By adapting this feature of the language, Burmese
          scholars have developed the 'nissaya' style of
          commentary on Pali texts, where the particles are
          given particular technical senses for explicating
          the syntax of glossed Pali words. For example a
          particle can indicate that a word is the 'agent'
          of a sentence, or an 'object', or belongs to any
          other kaaraka category. There are dozens of these
          specialized uses of the particles in commentarial
          style Burmese.

          I believe that this might tangent the relational
          grammar subject, even if the RG materials which
          Ven Pandita has provided are in English.

          best regards,

          /Rett
        • Nina van Gorkom
          Venerable Bhante Pandita, thank you very much for the explanations. It will take me time to absorb direct and indirect subject and object. I will need many
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 3, 2005
            Venerable Bhante Pandita,
            thank you very much for the explanations. It will take me time to absorb
            direct and indirect subject and object. I will need many examples.
            op 01-03-2005 18:40 schreef Ven. Pandita op ashinpan@...:

            > Bhaasiiyate is a verb derived from bhaas (the root) + ya (passive sign)
            > + te (3rd pers. singular Present Tense ending)
            N: Looking at Warder, p. 51, I am confused: pahiiyati, the ending is in ti
            not in te. .
            With respect,
            Nina.
          • Ong Yong Peng
            Dear Ven. Pandita, Nina and friends, this is interesting. Please correct me where I am wrong. We are dealing heavily with linguistics here, hence unfamiliar
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 4, 2005
              Dear Ven. Pandita, Nina and friends,

              this is interesting. Please correct me where I am wrong. We are
              dealing heavily with linguistics here, hence unfamiliar terms like
              absolute voice and inactive object/subject.

              In English there are just two voices: passive and active.

              [Subject: student]
              The student writes a report. (Active)
              A report is written by the student. (Passive)

              In the first sentence, 'student' the subject is active. In the second
              sentence, 'student' the subject is passive, 'report' the object is
              active.

              The potential participle is also known as gerundive. It denotes
              something should be done or is fit to be done[1]. Hence, the subject
              is inactive, and is always in the Instrumental case.

              For example:

              Future: I shall go. Aha.m gamissaama. - active
              Potential participle: I should go. Mayaa gantabba.m. - inactive

              When saying "I should go" in potential participle, it does not
              mean "I shall go later", but "I have to go or it will be too late".
              This is absolute voice, the emphasis is on the verb, not the subject,
              and there is no object.

              However, this distinction is not clear in English, hence the
              confusion.

              metta,
              Yong Peng.

              [1] http://omega.cohums.ohio-state.edu/latin/grammar/gerundive.htm

              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Ven. Pandita wrote:

              >I still have trouble with inactive object, why inactive.

              Check the verb gantabba.m first. Why is this verb of neutral gender
              and singular number? There are two possible answers.

              1. This sentence is in Passive voice, and there must be agreement
              between the verb and the active object. The active object (not
              expressed in this example) is of neutral gender and singular number
              so the verb also follows suit.
              2. Or this sentence is in Absolute voice, so the verb is in neutral
              gender and singular (RG 2) Then both the subject and object would be
              inactive.

              Now think of nagara.m, the hypothetical object. It is of neutral
              gender, singular number but of two possible cases, namely, nominative
              and accusative. Of them, nominative would be for Passive voice while
              accusative for Absolute.
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