How close is English to Pali? If you look at the etymological pages in wiktionary, for English words, it often includes a "Proto-Indo-European" root, and sometimes mentions Sanksrit too. Take e.g. 'mad'


From Middle English mad, madde, madd, medd, from Old English ġemǣdd, ġemǣded (“enraged”), past participle of ġemǣdan, *mǣdan (“to make insane or foolish”), from Proto-Germanic *maidijaną (“to change; damage; cripple; injure; make mad”), from Proto-Germanic *maidaz ("weak; crippled"; compare Old English gemād (“silly, mad”), Old High German gimeit (“foolish, crazy”), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌼𐌰𐌹𐌸𐍃 (gamaiþs, “crippled”)), from Proto-Indo-European *mey- ("to change"; compare Old Irish máel (“bald, dull”), Old Lithuanian ap-maitinti (“to wound”), Sanskrit मेथति (méthati, “he hurts, comes to blows”)).

Is there anywhere I can read about Pali as a language that has influenced the etymon, development, of English today?

1 Answer 1


You can find this info on the wikipedia page for Indo-European Languages in the form of a family tree below, with Pali and English highlighted with a yellow box.


  • Green: Language still in use
  • Red: Language extinct
  • White: Categories

English is a Germanic language, while Pali is an Indo-Iranian language. Both come under the major family of Indo-European languages.

Indo-European Languages family tree

Credits: Modified from this image


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