I am looking for someone versed in Pali and English

I have a teacher, but he is not always available (based in Thailand). I am looking for someone who is versed in both Pali and English and could help me with translations. I am basically teaching myself Pali and invariably hit stumbling blocks here and there. Preferably I am looking for someone who is versed in the proper grammatical sense as well (i.e. you know what ablative, accusative, nominative, dative, genders, etc.).


Dear @DonnyHacker.

The first resource I would suggest is the site Wisdom & Wonders.

But if you have specific questions, please post them here and people will help you.


Thank you for that link, I had not seen that one yet.

I am working on a series of exercises and while the original publisher/author did not create an answer sheet, I have found one online. The problem I am having is this:

When doing a Pali to English translation, I am having difficulty with the ablative case. I am having difficulties determining whether to use -ā, -mhā, -smā when translating. For example ācariya (teacher) to either ācariyā, ācariyamhā, or ācariyasmā. I have several different resources available, but none of them are particularly clear on when and/or how to use those particular extensions. For example, how would you translate the following sentence:

“We hear the doctrine of the Buddha from the teacher.”

I am having similar problems with -ehi and -ebhi in the ablative case, etc.

Hope that makes sense.

Looks like you mean English to Pali from the example you give.

One of the most important pieces of advice Bhante Bodhi gave me was to completely skip any exercises that involve English to Pali. Not only is it a useless skill, but very frustrating, as you have seen. I can understand why someone would think to do it purely for educational purposes, but time is spent better somewhere else.

In the case above I did mean English to Pali, absolutely correct.

I do some work for a monk in Thailand that involves editing/proofreading various Buddhist texts. While they have been translated into English, they also contain quite a bit of Pali in them as well and that was why I started doing this. It has already helped in that I now know what many of the word endings mean, etc.

In lieu of doing exercises, what would you recommend instead and/or what was recommended to you to learn Pali?

Spending time as soon as possible doing parallel readings of Pali and English (or whatever language you feel comfortable), even if you can only catch some of it.

Personally I’ve found it rather helpful to do a few exercises just to get a feel of it. On page 20 of W&W you will find the Ablative (Part 20 – Wisdom & Wonders) and some exercises as well as audio explantions. The keys to the exercises are also given.

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It’s just idioms, so you can use whichever you like!

As a general rule, use the simplest form unless there is a reason to use the more complex one. Such reasons might include:

  • Emphasis: in general in language, the bigger and more explicit something is, the more emphatic it is. So if I wanted to say: “We hear the doctrine from the teacher—not of the teacher.” Then use ācariyasmā or ācariyamhā.
  • Disambiguation: if it’s a context where ācariyā may be ambiguous (mistaken for nominative plural, for example).
  • Euphony: If it’s a verse or some other context where one or other form chimes with other forms in the sentence.
  • Idiomaticness: Search the text corpus for the forms; you may find that in a specific case, one or other form of that word is more common. Or perhaps in the kind of phrase you are doing, a particular form is more common.

Thank you, that was what I was wondering about. I figured it had something to do with which was used more often, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve only been doing a self-study for the last few weeks, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it :slight_smile:

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I do some reading as well, but I’m interested in the writing/translating aspects at the moment due to the work that I do :slight_smile: