Dictionary of the Pali Language

By Robert Caesar Childers
March 2005
REPRINT of the 1875 Edition
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers
ISBN: 812151150X
648 pages, 7 " x 9 "
$57.50 Hardcover


The Pali language is one of the Prakrits, or Aryan vernaculars of ancient India. It was spoken in the sixth century before Christ, and has therefore been a dead language for considerably over two thousand years. There is no reason to reject the Buddhist tradition that Pali was the dialect of Magadha, and that it was the language in which Gautama Buddha preached.

Originally, a more provincial idiom, the Magadhese tongue was raised by the genius of a great reformer to the dignity of a classic language, and is regarded by Buddhist with the same feelings of veneration with which a Jew of the present day looks upon the language of the Pentateuch. A language is generally what its literature makes it. Had Gautama never preached, it is unlikely that the Magadhese would have been distinguished from the many other vernaculars of Hindostan, except perhaps by an inherent grace and strength which make it a sort of Tuscan among the Prakrits.

Dictionary; Language Studies


Return to Coronet Books main page