magadhi

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Visuddhimagga XIV 30. Herein, prior effort is the same as that already stated. Great learning is skill in some science or sphere of craft. Dialects means skill in the hundred-and-one tongues, particularly in that of Magadha. Scriptures means mastery of the Buddha’s word, even if only of the Chapter of Similes. {12}

25. Knowledge about enunciation of language dealing with meaning and law (§21): there is the language that is individual essence, and usage that has no exceptions, {9} and deals with that meaning and that law. Any knowledge falling within that category concerned with the enunciation of that, with the speaking, with the utterance of that, concerned with the root-speech of all beings, the Magadhan language that is individual essence, in other words, the language of law (dhamma), [any knowledge that] as soon as it hears it spoken, pronounced, uttered, knows ‘This is the individual-essence language; this is not the individual-essence language’ – [such knowledge] is discrimination of language. {10} [442] One who has reached the discrimination of language knows, on hearing the words ‘phasso, vedanaa’, etc., that that is the individual-essence language, and on hearing ‘phasaa, vedano’, etc., he knows that that is not the individual-essence language.
{9}. ‘Byabhicaara (vyabhicaara)’: not in PTS Dict.; normal grammarian’s term for an ‘exception’.
{10}. The idea behind the term ‘individual-essence language’ (sabhaava-nirutti) … that is to say, that there is a real name for each thing that is part of that thing’s individual essence … is dealt with at Dhs.391-2. Magadhan as ‘the root speech of all beings’ and the ‘individual-essence language’ is dealt with in greater detail at VbhA.387.
‘Phasso’ and ‘Vedanaa’ as respectively masc. and fem. nom. sing. have the correct terminations. ‘Phassaa’ and ‘vedano’ are wrong.

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