Notes on the segmentation of Pali Vinaya with Brahmali's translation


The convention in narrative prose is to say: “A, B, or C”. Slashes are usually reserved for quick binary pairs of closely related things: “and/or”, “he/she”.

In addition, the slash will break any screen reader: cows/pigs will read “cows slash pigs”. Thus they harm accessibility.

I understand, but in some places you leave out the gloss and then have to put a note explaining the absence. It just seems unnecessarily complicated.


If it’s a straightforward translation, should there be additional gloss?! I assume the Pali has enough gloss embedded over the centuries.

Use of / :

With metta,


Slashes make accessibility difficult for sighted readers too, especially/when/they/are/used/instead/of/spaces. What comes out are sometimes very long words which I find difficult to read with my very eyes. :eyes:

So if you want to use slashes, could / you / just / use / spaces / as / well? :grin:


I agree. There is a rhyme and reason for typographic conventions. They have evolved over many centuries and should not be lightly dismissed.

Normally no: if it is an if/then pair it is unnecessary, and if it is a long string of slashes/it/should/not/exist!


Maybe it’s also language specific. In German I have never seen slashes without spaces. And generally, they seem much less in use than in English.


We are referring to the term and definition as found in the text itself. Not all terms in the Vinaya are defined. But where they are defined, sometimes a term may need definition in Pali, but in English it is not really needed or possible, so you end up with just a redundancy. In such cases, Ven Brahmali has simply left them out of his translation.


I have not generally used slashes in narrative prose (if I have, I will remove them), but rather for special applications. Here is an example:

High insults: “you’re wise/you’re competent/you’re intelligent/you’re learned/you’re an expounder of the Teaching; you’re not going to a bad destination/you can only expect a good destination”—these are called “high insults.”

I have used a lot of slashed in this sort of context. So far as I can see it works well. And I am not sure the problems you mention apply to this sort of context.

With “or” it might read as follows:

High insults: “you’re wise” or “you’re competent” or “you’re intelligent” or “you’re learned” or “you’re an expounder of the Teaching” or “you’re not going to a bad destination” or “you can only expect a good destination”—these are called “high insults.”

A minor problem with this is that it does not follow the Pali, which only has a single end quote at the end of all the alternatives.


But this is what I mean by prose. Slashes are never used in English to separate phrases in this way. The option with “or” is better, but normally you’d avoid that kind of construction. Instead perhaps:

High insults: “you’re wise”, “you’re competent”, “you’re intelligent”, “you’re learned”, “you’re an expounder of the Teaching”, “you’re not going to a bad destination”, "you can only expect a good destination”—these are called “high insults.”

Or maybe use an em-dash; this is somewhat old-fashioned typography, but it might work here.

High insults: “you’re wise”— “you’re competent” — “you’re intelligent” — “you’re learned” — “you’re an expounder of the Teaching” — “you’re not going to a bad destination” — "you can only expect a good destination”: these are called “high insults.”

Use of -ti is pretty flexible.


It’s just about a month now. I do not wish to hold you to this, but I am interested to find out how close you are. I’ve been asked by someone who wishes to use my translation as an aid to translate into their own language. Am I right that such third party translation will be easier once it’s all up on Github?