Pali Level 1

Would you like to read and understand the Pāli canon for yourself? Do you want to be able to check translations instead of blindly relying on them? Did you ever ask yourself: “Is that really what the Buddha and his disciples teach in the Pāli canon?”

This course is the first step to your mastery of Pāli! It contains 24 lessons, each with one lecture, several exercises and further materials such as factsheets and vocabulary lists. All this enables you to learn whenever and wherever you want, fitting the learning into your individual schedule.

The course is cumulative, meaning that the lessons build upon each other but you are free to navigate through the course as you like. You can skip all exercises and just do the lessons if you want. You can view Lecture 1, then jump to Lesson 17, then do the exercise of Lesson 3 – whichever way you want to do it. However, a completion rate of 75% for all exercises of the entire course is necessary if you want to receive a certificate. Don’t worry: you have an unlimited number of attempts for all the exercises.

Access to a Pāli dictionary is necessary for going through the exercises – luckily, one of the best complete dictionaries is available for free online, as a searchable database: The Pāli Text Society’s Pāli English Dictionary

A few facts about the course:

Content: 24 Lectures, amounting to 3.5 hours + 24 Factsheets + 13 Vocabulary Lists + many Exercises
Duration: 4-5 weeks based on 3-4 hours of self-study per week
Difficulty: Absolute Beginner (no previous knowledge required)

Note that once bought, your access to the course does not expire. When we update the course – for example by adding material or exercises – you will automatically have access to the new version.

This course is the first Level of our 3-Level Pāli instruction. Levels 2 and 3 can be found in the catalogue.

Learning Objectives for Pāli Level 1:

• You will learn about the early history of Pāli, including the reasons why Pāli can be considered to be the language of the Buddha
• You will develop proficiency in the Pāli alphabet and sound system: you will learn how to read and pronounce Pāli correctly
• You will build up a foundational level of Pāli vocabulary
• Nouns: you will become adept in the system of nominal inflection
• Verbs: you will receive a comprehensive overview of the Pāli verbal system, and gain an advanced knowledge of present tense conjugations
• Pronouns: you will learn how to use the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person pronouns
• You will learn how the principle of concord works: how nouns/pronouns, adjectives and verbs connect to create meaning
• You will be introduced to difficult aspects of Pāli syntax, including various uses of the verb to be: the copula, its omission, apposition, statements of possession etc.
• You will be able to form and translate complex Pāli sentences
• You will understand the grammar of two important Pāli chants: homage to the Buddha, and going for refuge

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7 thoughts on “Pali Level 1

  1. I am around the half waymark now and enjoying your Pali course. To receive a certificate, do you mean to say that one should manage 100% on 75% of the exercises or something else? I haven’t had access to all the diacritics and I’ve misspelled the occasional English word, but for the most part, after having produced a slew of Flashcards and gone over some lessons a few times, I’m catching on. It’s a great course. I intend to complete the three levels, albeit perhaps more slowly than you envision. It’s adding a whole new dimension to dhamma study. With metta, Michael

    • Thank you very much, Michael. We are glad to hear you enjoy the course. To get the certificate, you need to pass all exercises with at least 75% correct answers.

      No worries, you can take all the time you want and need. We tried to create the course in a way so that everybody can learn in her/his own pace. That is also why your course access will not expire.

      Please be aware that we would very much appreciate a review of the course, if you want to write one.

  2. It is a great course and enjoyed it very much. I had little knowledge of Pāli. Doing this course helped me to understand the grammar bit more.
    Hope to register for level 2.

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