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Difference between Sanskrit and Pali

Difference between Sanskrit and Pali

Both Sanskrit and Pali are ancient languages that originated in India. They are both considered sacred languages, and are used in religious texts. However, there are some key differences between the two languages. Sanskrit is a more formal language, while Pali is more colloquial. Additionally, Sanskrit has a richer vocabulary than Pali. Pali is also based on Prakrit, whereas Sanskrit is based on Classical Sanskrit. Finally, Pali appears to be more closely related to modern Indian languages than Sanskrit does.

What is Sanskrit?

Sanskrit is an Indo-European language that was first attested in the Vedic texts of ancient India. Sanskrit is a classical language of South Asia and one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. The Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- may be translated as “refined, consecrated, sanctified, holy, pure”, or “ceremonial”. It is derived from the root saṃs-kṛt-, which means “put together, construct, compose, make”. Sanskrit has been described as the “perfected” language of ancient India.

Sanskrit is composed in a metrical manner and it is said to be the largest repository of knowledge in the world. Sanskrit has been a central part of Hindu culture and civilization and it has also influenced other cultures. There are many schools of thought on Sanskrit such as Grammarians, Philosophers, Mimamsakas, Vedantins, Physiologists etc. Sanskrit has also influenced some non-Indo European languages like Thai, Chinese and Japanese.

What is Pali?

Pali is a language that was spoken in what is now Sri Lanka and parts of India. Pali is an Indo-European language, and it is closely related to Sanskrit. Pali was the language of Theravada Buddhism, and it was used for many of the earliest Buddhist texts. Pali continued to be used as a sacred language by Theravada Buddhists, even after it ceased to be spoken as a vernacular language. Pali scholarly works were also composed in Sri Lanka and southeast Asia. Pali is currently being revived in some parts of India.

Difference between Sanskrit and Pali

Sanskrit and Pali are two closely related languages that have played an important role in the development of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Sanskrit is a classical language of India that was used by scholars and priests for religious texts, while Pali was the language of the Theravada Buddhist scriptures. Although both languages share a common origin, Sanskrit is more complex grammatically, while Pali is simpler and more concise. Sanskrit also has a larger vocabulary, while Pali has been influenced by regional dialects. As a result, Sanskrit texts tend to be more philosophical and literary in nature, while Pali texts are more practical and down-to-earth.


Although Sanskrit and Pali are both languages derived from the same source, they have evolved differently over time and offer unique benefits to those who study them. If you’re interested in learning more about Buddhism or want to start reading religious texts in their original language, Pali may be a better choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a more complete understanding of classical Indian literature or would like to learn Sanskrit for spiritual reasons, then studying both languages may be the best option.

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