Bhante Sujato Pali Course 2023: Warder lesson 2

Great advice Mr. Kelly!

I think just understanding what Warder means by agent & patient is challenge enough !


Yes, it is a very strange way to spell “subject” and “object” :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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I totally agree with what you are saying @johnk.

As a reminder to everyone, I still consider myself an absolute beginner in Pali. I’ve had no prior exposure to the language, and only started learning about 6 weeks ago, when I started doing some exercises in Pali Primer. I only picked up Warder 3 weeks ago, after @sujato announced the course. Unlike Gillian, I don’t consider myself an expert in linguistics - frankly, the terms and the minutiae confuse and bore me.

However, my method of learning a language is basically to immerse myself in it. Ideally, I would like to have learnt from a native speaker, but since there are no native speakers, the next best thing is to devour every book I can find. My intention is to get to a point where I can start reading the suttas, and learn just enough grammar to be able to do that. I feel like I am close to that point now, but at the same time I also feel like I’m just scratching at the gate and there is so much more to learn.

I am taking your and @sujato’s advice to ignore all the finer details - vowel gradations, stem production, even all the different declension and conjugation rules. I get bored whenever I see a table, I’ll rather read the text and then over time figure it all out by osmosis.


I think these are highly technical linguistic terms, unnecessary for a beginning Pali language student. (Along with, as Mr. Kelly mentioned, vowel gradations etc. )

It can all be very off-putting for a student who wishes to enhance their spiritual practice.

Patient (grammar) - Wikipedia


That’s my point: they are all skilful means.

I apologise if I have caused anyone distress or offence.



It reminded me when I was learning Japanese. I struggled with one textbook after another - they all had over complicated grammatical explanations showcasing why Japanese is so different from English.

In the end, I learnt from a Japanese teacher using a Japanese textbook, where the explanations are in Japanese. And they are so much simpler. They just showed examples of what the different sentence patterns are, and how to interpret them. And then it all clicked in - the more examples I saw, the more I understand how to apply them, and the subtle differences in the use of particles became clear with experience.

I am hoping that is also the case with Pali. I browsed through Kaccayana yesterday, and I can already see his explanations are so much simpler and to the point. Yes, he does get into the gory detail, particularly on all the production rules, but they are all skippable.

He confirmed for me the Pali noun cases are more syntactic than semantic, which is why they are just called first case, second case etc. rather than technical terms like “nominative”, “accusative” etc. And then everything becomes clearer - the case endings are just production rules. The semantic meaning is often by context. Similarly for vowel conjugation, the different endings are mostly production rules, with enough examples the semantic meaning will become clear. No need to understand what “past participle” eg. means (Kaccayana just calls them verb-nouns).

Would it be possible to upgrade to a better internet provider, Bhante @sujato ? StarLink is available in Australia now, if you’re not against giving Elon your business… :sweat_smile:

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Bhante, I apologize for being late today. Had some issues with finding + using the zoom link which really speaks to being better prepared going forward. Apologies to everyone.
Beth L

Questions relevant to our Lesson 2

  1. Page 17: This type of construction includes such sentences as “he declares (that) time (is) the cause”, where kālo (“time”) and paccayo (“condition”, “cause”) will both be in the accusative.

Is this because paccayo is considered the apposition of kālo?

  1. Page 18: The accusative is also used to specify the person in greetings and imprecations, with an indeclinable.

Is this the same as ‘addressee’? Could you please kindly give an example?

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Bhante @sujato, If the lay students in the class could make an offering in some way to provide you with better resources for connectivity, could you please let us know? We’re immensely grateful for the time and attention you’ve generously offered to teaching us, and would be glad to help make it easier for you, however we can. :pray:


Not at all (at least for me).

If anything, you have done me a great service by challenging my assumptions and my thinking, and in doing so you have helped clarify them. And at the end isn’t that what learning is all about?

One day I will like to thank you properly for helping me on my journey towards learning Pali. As have many others on this forum.

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I’d rather use a carrier pigeon.

Happens to me all the time!

That’s correct, yes.

Not the addressee, but certain idioms when greeting someone, basically saying “hello, how’s it going?”

kacci, bhikkhu, khamanīyaṁ, kacci yāpanīyaṁ, kacci piṇḍakena na kilamasī”ti?
I hope you’re doing okay and getting by, and have no trouble with almsfood?

Thanks so much! I’ll look into it, but really it’s just the NBN.

Lesson 3 thread is up!


Certainly, Bhante, the classes would run more smoothly and be a better experience for everyone if you were hosting the sessions with a better internet connection. Whatever the long-term solution might be, in the short-term I’m willing to offer to host the sessions using my good reliable broadband connection (from Brisbane/Meanjin, Australia) and my own personal Zoom account. Then, as host, I can easily make you co-host so that you can share your screen when needed, and so on. I think that might work well.

Having said that, the one class I need to miss in this series is next week (Lesson 3), so my apologies for that.

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Thanks John. We’ll miss you next week.

My understanding is that Zoom (or Jitsi or whatever) runs on central servers, so the place you are should only affect your connection, not the Zoom as a whole. Or am I wrong? When I dropped out, it was only me, right? Everyone else was still there?

Maybe I can find a place in Parramatta to do it, it’s just ten minute’s walk. Harris Park is pretty socio-eco, so I doubt there was any great priority to put in good internet.

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Dear Bhante,

When our 'landline (in fact now wi-fi) doesn’t work so well, I use my phone as a hot spot for the laptop and it works well 90% of the time.

I wonder if we could upgrade your mobile phone plan to have enough data to be able to support zoom meetings with a good-speed connection?


Yeah, that’s correct.

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Ha ha, I have 120GB, do you think that will be enough?

Folks, thanks for your support but I’ll take care of it.


@sujato At some point at the beginning of the last session you commented on “conjugation” and as I got it, you said something like: ‘Do not worry too much about verb conjugation, much more important is knowing the root and inflections as well as prefixes.’

Did I get it right, Bhante? And whether yes or not, could you comment and specify what you meant (or not meant) by that?

It reminded me of a similar comment @Brahmali made in the first lesson of his Introduction to Pali based on Warder on the importance of knowing roots and prefixes - which I definitely recommend to listen to in addition to our course here.


Just a thought, Bhante, if you do end up picking a different location with better interconnectivity maybe some of us can join you in person if that is not too much trouble to you.

For this course, I would be willing to travel to attend in person. I’ve never been comfortable with things like Zoom with all the attendant privacy issues and foreign monitoring etc. I know attending meetings in person that are also conducted via Zoom does not alleviate that but at least I am not “defiling” my laptop with these akusala apps :slight_smile:

It’s a pity I am no longer working otherwise I will offer to book a venue for you. As it is, I have retired (or, as I jokingly refer to it as pahāya, pabbajami) and I spend my whole days arguing the finer points of Pali and reading Kaccayana for breakfast.

@JohnK’s offer is ideal. Several of us can vouch for the reliability of his server! It’s a shame what happened to the vision for wifi in Australia. Mine is also good (top flight even because of being in a marginal electoral constituency!) and I’d be happy to host for the week(s) John is absent.