Bhante Sujato Pali Course 2023: Warder lesson 3

In Thai, a holy monk (and the religion) is พราหมณ์; whereas, the Creator God is (พระ) พรหม.

Seeing all the declensions of nouns/verbs has made me wonder about the approach/guidelines ancient Thais used to pick one of these forms to be included in our language. For instance, the word ‘putto’, we use บุตร (pronounced as a short ‘u’ sound).

The Thai forms are mostly from Sanskrit (though some are from Pāḷi). Then they’re just pronounced the Thai way (a few hundred years ago all the voiced and unvoiced consonants flipped: p <–> b, k <–> g, etc)

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Thank you, Venerable. I totally forgot about that. I need to re-visit my Thai-language history! :smiley:

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Here’s a table I made a while back explaining the relationship between the Thai alphabet and Sanskrit:

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Yes, but this is not what I meant. พราหมณ์ has a long ā and พรหม a short inherent vowel, originally a and pronounced in Thai o. Thais make this distinction just fine.

But the Pali also gives weight to the initial พร as well as the ห. That means the initial syllable is not just a long syllable, but an extra-super-duper long syllable. You can here the difference in the standard chanting on the word sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā. In Thailand, brāh is pronounced like any other long syllable, while in Sri Lanka, it is much loooooonger.

Obviously a trivial matter! I just found it interesting that such a small detail was observed.


I don’t understand the thai or sinhala pronunciation peculiarities, but in Pali and Sanskrit the word is to be pronounced identically to each other. The first vowel of brāhmaṇa is simply long (dīrgha) like any other long vowel, not extra-long (pluta). I am not aware of the existence of the the superlong vowels in Pali, but they exist in Sanskrit (Vedic & Classical). Is the vowel prolated due to the following ‘h’ becoming silent in the Sinhala pronunciation?