A Sanskrit lookup would be awesomesauce. But it is hard!
Sanskrit itself is phonetically more complex than Pali, so the initial scope is intrinsically bigger. At the same time, the Buddhist Sanskrit texts are much more diverse linguistically than the Pali. They range from fairly close to classical Sanskrit to various degrees of Prakrit hybrids. Furthermore, the texts are not necessarily from a clean and highly edited source like the modern Pali texts. In a text like the Lokuttaravada Bhikkhuni Vinaya, for example, it is not at all uncommon to find the same word spelled differently in the same paragraph, let alone in different contexts. Finally, the number of texts is much smaller than Pali. Not to mention, of course, that our team knows Pali much better than Sanskrit.
May I ask what your study involves? Where are you gonna be?
Hi Bhante, thanks for responding! I definitely understand that it’s not so straightforward, and I’ll keep an eye out to see if anyone has built a nice Sanskrit looker-upper.
I’ll be at the University of Oxford doing an MPhil in Buddhist Studies. I’m looking to focus on Vinaya/gender studies, particularly to do more research on whether transgender individuals can ordain in the Sangha, since there really hasn’t been any formal research done on the subject.
But my degree itself is really an overview of Buddhism/Buddhist studies with a focus on language.
It’s a bit disappointing really, there has, for many decades now, been quite a lot of work put into computing with Sanskrit, but little that is really useful is out there. The dictionaries are good these days, but still using old-school interfaces.
Cool. So who’s teaching there? BTW, if you meet Prof Gombrich or Ven Dhammasami, please give them my respects.
Fantastic, this is much needed. Keep us informed!
Okay, good. We should have a nice Pali learning widget ready to use some time. Stay tuned!
This is hilarious, I just started my course and came here to ask the EXACT SAME QUESTION bahahaha! So thanks!
Is there a Sanskrit to Pali dictionary out there at all anyone? (edit: or somewhere a resource that gives a rough guide of the relationship between Pali and Sanskrit - I know that they may not necessarily be able to be matched, but still?)
As for our Dictionary, it is still work in progress and
changes every day. For the time being, we therefore
prefer to make it available through our website only.
Once it reaches completion and is formally published, we
do intend to make the dataset publically available. This
will probably be a few years from now.
You will be happy to hear, however, that the
functionality you describe – clicking on a word and
getting a popup with a translation – is something that we
have been planning to offer for a very long time on Gandhari.org, and that we are very close to switching
that on. That (as well as greater image coverage) should
make the Gāndhārī corpus that we have assembled a whole
lot more accessible to beginning students as well as
scholars in this and neighboring fields.