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Pali noun declensions, animal style

A while back we had a pretty fun thread about Pali words for animals. @fiachra.harte , @ficus, and @Gillian and I have a Pali study group and we had a rather crazy but fun and perhaps not useless idea. Basically:

It can be quite hard to remember the Pali declensions, because they are usually named in a rather abstract way with terminology like “masculines in -a” or “neuters in -i” or wahtever. The thing is, those names are kind of confusing, because saying “in -a” for instance is only true part of the time — some of affixes in the “in -a” declensions don’t even contain an -a! It’s just a label, but it can get a little dizzying…

Anyway, our thinking was, what if we tried to think of a particular word to represent the whole declension? So rather than saying “neuters in -u”, you could say, “words like cakkhu”.

And this is where the animal words business comes in, because it seems more fun to take all the “symbol” words from a single semantic domain (and decontextualized eyes are rather creepy!). Animals seems like a good topic, since we already have a decent starting list.

AND, there is an amusing bonus, which is that there are emojis for many animals. So if you picked siha as the symbol for masculines in -a, then it’s from the :lion: declension!

This seems to me to be a win for newbies, because it’s simple.

All that would remain would be to select good “animal symbols” for every declension. And if it turns out that there are some declensions for which there are no good symbols, well, that would be rather interesting too.

Anybody in? I can wiki this topic and we could start working on a table?

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