This book is intended for modern students, inside or outside the classroom, as a work of reference rather than a "teach yourself" textbook. It presents an introductory sketch of Pali using both European and South Asian grammatical categories. In English-language works, Pali is usually presented in the traditional terms of English grammar, derived from the classical tradition, with which many modern students are unfamiliar. This work discusses and reflects upon those categories, and has an appendix devoted to them. It also introduces the main categories of traditional Sanskrit and Pali grammar, drawing on, in particular, the medieval Pali text Saddaniti, by Aggavamsa. Each grammatical form is illustrated by examples taken from Pali texts, mostly canonical. Although some previous knowledge of Sanskrit would be helpful, the book can also be used by those without previous linguistic training. A bibliographical appendix refers to other, complementary resources.
Steven Collins is professor of South Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago, and was formerly a council member of the Pali Text Society (London).