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RE: [Pali] Accent in Pali

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  • Andy
    Dear Venerables; Hi Group; Dear Dimitry; You might wish to contact Bill Pruitt at the Pali Text Society. I know that he has been working away at a study of the
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 9, 2002
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      Dear Venerables; Hi Group;

      Dear Dimitry;

      You might wish to contact Bill Pruitt at the Pali Text Society. I know that
      he has been working away at a study of the Burmese (now Myanmar) accent and
      has a good overview of the various ways that Pali is pronounced in different
      parts of the world. Pali pronunciation and accents is one of his subjects of
      special interest.

      peace from

      Andy

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Дмитрий Алексеевич Ивахненко (Dimitry A. Ivakhnenko)
      [mailto:sangha@...]
      Sent: Sunday, June 09, 2002 10:05 AM
      To: John Kelly
      Subject: [Pali] Accent in Pali


      Dear Pali friends,

      Can you please explain the basic rules of accent in Pali or give
      appropriate links?

      Thank you in advance,
      Dimitry



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    • Piya Tan
      Andy, Thanks for the refreshingly original look Pali. Interestingly, Sanskrit, the final .m is generally pronounced an -m (accented I suppose). And
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 10, 2002
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        Andy,

        Thanks for the refreshingly original look Pali. Interestingly, Sanskrit, the final
        .m is generally pronounced an "-m" (accented I suppose). And listening to the way
        most Sinhalese pronounce spoken Pali, the word may be spelt "dhamma", but is often
        pronounced "dharma" (i.e. dhaa/ma).

        May there be less hungry people wherever you live, too.

        Sukhi.

        P.

        Andy wrote:

        > Dear Venerables; Hi Group;
        >
        > WARNING: Just some "untraditional thinking" from one guy who is *not* an
        > expert in Pali and *not* and expert in languages!
        >
        > Dear Dimitry;
        >
        > I had this same question about stress and emphasis when I started my Pali
        > studies. I am not satisfied by the current thinking about Pali
        > pronunciation, so I did a mini-analysis. I have not yet taken the time to
        > formalize my thinking in a systematic way. Here are a few notes and a few
        > questions I've had for some time.
        >
        > Premises:
        > a) Pali would be very easy for any human being to pronounce. A Buddha would
        > not teach in a language which was hard for any human being to speak
        > "out-loud". He knew that the teaching would move to different languages and
        > cultures. 2,500 years ago, most people were illiterate and they used
        > speaking for teaching and learning. Pali would have to be able to move
        > easily with the teaching.
        > b) Whoever created the romanized Pali transcription system would have
        > included *all* of the information necessary to pronounce the Pali word
        > correctly (including stress and emphasis).
        >
        > Clues:
        > a) the underdot m that is so commonly used at the end of words
        > b) Pali word order
        > c) the use of the letter "h"
        > d) the doubling of hard and soft consonants.
        > e) word inflection redundancy
        >
        > General Stuff:
        >
        > I'm not really an "expert" in languages. I only speak English (various
        > centuries), French, German (a couple of centuries), Italian and Spanish. I
        > know some Pali, and at various times over the years I've studied a tiny tad
        > of Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Thai. Still, I think it would be fair to
        > say that I do have a good "overview" of the construction and pronunciation
        > of human languages.
        >
        > I also enjoy composing music. Basically, it is my (limited) knowledge of
        > formal musical notation that is the root of my thinking about Pali
        > pronunciation.
        >
        > In the context of figuring out Pali pronunciation I would say this:
        > a) The easiest and most fun language to speak that I know is Italian. The
        > *sounds* are very easy to pronounce and they fit easily together.
        > b) German is interesting because of word order. Since the word order is very
        > formal and verbs (in anything more than a simple sentence) will occur at the
        > end of a sentence, a person needs to speak slowly and very clearly. The
        > listener needs time to keep track of all the bits and pieces of the
        > sentence. Then, at the *end* of a sentence, the listener will also need a
        > short moment to "put it all together and think about it".
        > c) Most Asian languages are interesting because they are tonal, making them
        > "harder" to pronounce.
        > d) word inflection redundancy is typical of very old languages - where
        > people spoke many regional dialects; most people were illiterate; books were
        > expensive luxuries; and teaching was done by speaking (not reading). The
        > inflectional redundancy would help people figure out what the speaker was
        > trying to say (Example: the inflection of the adjective should agree with
        > the inflection of the noun. If the speaker messed this up, there would be
        > enough information in the sentence for the listener to figure out what the
        > speaker was trying to say.)
        >
        > My Current Working Hypothesis:
        >
        > a) The overdot and underdot marks are *not* used to change the pronunciation
        > of the character. They are used as stress and emphasis marks. A specific
        > case: the underdot-m (.m) at the end of a word. I see no need for this to
        > have the rather annoying and difficult "ng" sound - again and again and
        > again - in a sentence. I think that this is simply means "pronounce m - and
        > emphasize it a bit and wait a split-second to make it easy for the listener
        > to note that this is the end of the word before you roll into the next word.
        > The listener needs a split-second to become aware of the inflected ending,
        > figure out what it might imply, and mentally note it for use when the verb
        > finally shows up later in the sentence."
        > b) In English, we have long vowels and short vowels. We also have aspirated
        > vowels (like "happy"). The "h" character is used in Pali to create an
        > aspirated vowel anywhere in a word. Again, this aspirated vowel is used more
        > as a mechanical device so that the pronunciation of the word has correct
        > *timing*, stress and emphasis. I think it is more
        > c) The doubling of consonants. Obviously, the doubling of a hard consonant
        > is a "timing and emphasis" mark. You don't "pronounce it twice". (Example:
        > dukkha. You don't say duK-Kha. You say doo-Kha.) Which means that romanized
        > Pali is *not* perfectly phonetic, where every character is pronounced. The
        > doubling of soft consonants (Example: dhamma.) is also a stress and emphasis
        > mark.
        >
        > To create a fictious example: duka, dukka, dukha, dukkha - according to my
        > current theory, where's the timing, stress and emphasis? du-ka, du-Ka,
        > du-kHa, du-Kha.
        >
        > Another fictious example: dama, damma, dhama, dhamma - da-ma, da-Ma, dHa-ma,
        > dHa-Ma.
        >
        > Another fictious example: rata, ratta, ratha, rattha / ra.ta, ra.t.t.a,
        > ra.tha, ra.t.tha - ra-ta, ra-Ta, ra-tHa, ra-Tha / rat-a, RAT-a, rat-Ha,
        > RAT-ha
        >
        > Putting it all together (another fictious example): dama.m, damma.m,
        > dhama.m, dhamma.m - da-mam da-Mam, dHa-mam, dHa-Mam.
        >
        > The overdot n ("n) works to tie the n to the following consonant and avoid
        > triple consonants. A triple consonant would make it impossible to tell where
        > the emphasis went. Example: sa"ngha. This is pronounced sang-gHa. If it was
        > written sanggha we could have san-Gha as our pronunciation. To confirm this,
        > I used my software to looked all of the words using the "n character in the
        > Paliwords dictionary. There are 587 basewords that use "n. None of them have
        > triple consonants. (ie "ngg, "nbb, "nkk, etc.)
        >
        > Fictious exampels: sangha, sa.ngha, sa"ngha - san-gHa, SAN-gHa, san(g)-gHa
        >
        > I think the only character that has a different "sound" as a result of an
        > inflection mark is ~n, where I think the "nyuh" sound commonly used is
        > correct.
        >
        > I do not think that Pali uses "tonality" at all.
        >
        > Questions:
        >
        > a) What was the nationality of the person who created romanized Pali?
        > b) What year did that person create it?
        > c) What form of English (British, American, India) did they know?
        >
        > WARNING AGAIN: Just some "untraditional thinking" from one guy who is *not*
        > an expert in Pali and *not* and expert in languages!
        >
        > thanks and peace from
        >
        > Andy
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Äìèòðèé Àëåêñååâè÷ Èâàõíåíêî (Dimitry A. Ivakhnenko)
        > [mailto:sangha@...]
        > Sent: Sunday, June 09, 2002 9:20 PM
        > To: Robert Eddison
        > Subject: Re[2]: [Pali] Accent in Pali
        >
        > RE> What do you mean by accent? Are you referring to pronunciation or
        > RE> to stress/emphasis?
        >
        > Stress/emphasis - where it is placed in Pali words?
        >
        > Best wishes,
        > Dimitry
        >
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