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 [Ditthadhamma Lokadhamma]


Towards a Uniform Style
for Pali Texts and Translations

This thread, until such time as it is organized into a formal style book, will be a random collection of thoughts and suggestions. Latest additions first.

Links at the nidana (and in future at all sections) should be placed in chronological order of translation: [1] (always the Pali) [wrrn][chlm][pts][than][ntbb][bodh][olds] in some cases the order of the last four will be different than is shown here.

Quotation marks: After the narrator, the first speaker should be quoted using standard quotation marks: " "; quotations within, either of the speaker of him self or of others should have single quotation marks ' '; with that pattern followed thereafter: "'"'"'...

Compounds should be hyphinated except in the case of the long vowel or the double consonnant.

Abbreviations should have the apostrophy: tv'eva.

Each sentence should be in it's own paragraph and end with "|| ||";
phrases within a sentence should be given a line-break and end with "||";
lists should also get a line break ("||") between each item and each item should be separated by commas up to the second-to-the-last which should get no comma;
sentences with internal lists or repeated long phrases with internal phrases separated by commas should be broken between each item with a paragraph break and be separated by a semi-colon and should not be capatilized at the beginnings of each section.

If, in the Pali text or a translation you see a number, and it looks like this: [1] that is the page number of the original source of that text and that page number is an identified object to which you may link by appending to the url for the page "#pg1" (without the quotation marks.) When the page number is in other formats, it has not yet been given an identity. You may, however, link to it in the same way in the expectation that at some point it will be given such an id. So doing will not invalidate the link it will just point to the top of the page.

Example: Use: "../../dhamma-vinaya/pts/mn/mn.013.horn.pts.htm#pg119" for Horner's MN.13, page 119.

Similarly, in the cases of those books primarily composed of verses, verse numbers appear like this: [1] and may be linked to by appending to the url for the page "#v1"

Example: Use "../../dhamma-vinaya/pts/kd/thag/thag.240.rhyc.pts.htm#v601" for Mrs. Rhys Davids' THAG.240, verse 601

On Style: After having thoroughly purged almost all the translations of their references to Pali pages, I have seen the value of these references and will begin to restore them as I go along. They will have the following appearance: [348] and will be links to the PTS Pali Text Page number as located on this site's BJT/PTS hybrid Pali Text. These links can themselves be linked to by appending "#pt000" (without the quotation marks; zeros do not precede single or double digit numbers) to the url.
Along these same lines, I can see at some point a future generation editor adding/restoring the alternative readings and the page numbers of other versions of the Pali. At this point, for the following reasons, I have not included/kept these items: 1. Alternate readings are 99% irrelevant to the understanding of the doctrine (occasionally they are significant, but on these occasions they will almost certainly have been noted in footnotes); 2. are needlessly confusing; 3. would take more time than seems reasonable to me considering their utility; 4. page numbers to Pali texts that are not readily available are a time consuming luxory.
While we're at it, let's add to this list the insertion of the various corrections found in errata sheets, footnotes, and on errata pages at the end of some of the books.




Section numbers and symbols separating sections are unreliable. Different versions of the Pali have used different section numberings as have different translations. Editing of such has altered the numbering inconsistently. The precise 'rule' for determining a section is not defined consistently.

Suggested style:

[1] The first, (location,) portion of the Nidana.

[2] The second, (occasion,) portion of the Nidana.

Where the first portion of the Nidana is missing, the occasion portion should still be numbered [2]. At some point someone will have the enterprise to figure out the proper location portion for all suttas. Some 'Chapter' collections (where the second and subsequent suttas often begin: "Then ..." will be determined to consist of only one sutta.

Sections should be given a number when a new idea is introduced and between it's sub-sections and sub-sub-sections.

There are two categories of things: A and B.

There are two A things.

What two?



These are the two.



There are two B things things.

What two?



These are the two.

These are the A and B catagories of things.




Complete change of direction or major category change.




Of all the problems with diacriticals that of the use of the 'mg' (anusvara) is the worst offender. Again different parts of the different versions of the Pali and translations use different symbols 'ṃ', 'ṁ', 'ɱ', and 'ṅ'. Second in terms of confusion is the 'ng' (velar n) which is found as 'ṅ' and 'ṅ', 'ṃ'.

Suggested style:

'ɱ' for the 'mg' (anusvara). It most clearly indicates pronunciation. Evaɱ me sutaɱ. Pronounce: Evam me sutam holding the 'm' sound thinking 'ming' and distinctly concluding the word.

'ṅ' for the 'ng' (velar n). Aṅguttara Pronounce: Ang-gut-tara.

'nya' for the ñ. Controversial, but think about it: While a good portion of the population does understand the pronunciation of this letter, a good portion does not and a further good portion of the portion that does understand it's pronunciation does not do it properly. How do you pronunce: Suññata? (su-nya-nyat-ta) or Aññā (a-nya-nyaa)

The underdot 'ḍ', 'ṇ', 'ṭ', and 'ḷ', if understood to mean 'pronounce ḍis ṭincṭ ḷy, work as is; as do the long vowels, though in both cases for the most part they would be pronounced in the same way without any diacritical at all.

I have not yet, but will begin at this point to take steps to introduce at least the changes suggested for the mg and ng.

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