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Re: [Pali] Accent in Pali

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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 1 of 4 , Jun 10, 2002
      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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