Pali and Sanskrit: some history

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Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:11 pm

(a recovered and edited E-Sangha post)

An approximate timeline:

1500 BC

OLD INDO-ARYAN

Vedic is the language of the Vedas, the earliest sacred texts of India. The earliest of the Vedas, the Rigveda, was composed in the 2nd millennium BC.

The Vedic is an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian (spoken around 2000 BC), and still comparatively similar (being removed by maybe 1500 years) to the Proto-Indo-European language. Vedic is the oldest attested language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. It is also still closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language.

600 BC

MIDDLE INDO-ARYAN

Vedic is preserved only in sacred recitation of Vedas. Many dialects have developed, including local dialects, like Magadhi (the language of Magadha region), and dialects of social groups, like Ardha-Magadhi (the language of upper castes in Magadha).

The Ardha-Magadhi is probably used as a ligua franca (language for cultural exchange, commerce and diplomacy) in a wide area of India beyond Magadha.
This language is preserved in Jain texts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism

Buddha probably uses Ardha-Magadhi for preaching.

"Pāli as a MIA language is different from Sanskrit not so much with regard to the time of its origin than as to its dialectal base, since a number of its morphological and lexical features betray the fact that it is not a direct continuation of Ṛgvedic Sanskrit; rather it descends from a dialect (or a number of dialects) which was (/were), despite many similarities, different from Ṛgvedic.[1] Some examples may help to illustrate this point [2]:..."

Pāli: A Grammar of the Language of the Theravāda Tipiṭaka
By Thomas Oberlies
page 6

http://books.google.com/books?id=zFc5_S ... frontcover

500 BC

Probaly the Indian Brahmanists feel the need to counteract the popularity of Buddha's teaching by propagating their knowledge. Indian grammarian Panini begins a project of resurrecting Vedic language (which he calls 'chandaso') in a form that can be widely used, and composes a grammar.

This new language later acquires a name "Sanskrit" ("refined"), and the vernaculars come to be called "Prakrits" ("natural").

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prakrit

Still Sanskrit is markedly different from Vedic in grammar and vocabulary.

200 BC

The development of Sanskrit allows to compose a big epic Mahabharata, and thus to propagate the traditional values among lower castes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabharata

Ardha-Magadhi is no longer spoken.
The language of Theravada canon comes to be known as 'Pali'.
Buddhist grammarians write down the rules of this language.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pali

100 CE

The wave of sanskritization reaches Buddhist scriptures, and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit develops

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_Hybrid_Sanskrit

The buddhist texts previously precerved in vernaculars are converted to Sanskrit.
Mahasanghika texts are an evidence of this stage, being written in partly sanskritized Prakrit.

However in Theravada the texts are preserved as much as possible in original form and not sanskritized.


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:12 pm

Thomas Oberlies, 'Aśokan Prakrit and Pali', page 163:

1.1 The Middle Indo-Aryan languages

The Indo-Aryan languages are commonly assigned to three major groups - Old, Middle and New Indo-Aryan -, a linguistic and not strictly chronological classification as the MIA languages are not younger than ('Classical') Sanskrit. And a number of their morphophonological and lexical features betray the fact that they are not direct continuations of Ṛgvedic Sanskrit, the main base of 'Classical' Sanskrit; rather they descend from dialects which, despite many similarities, were different from Ṛgvedic and in some regards even more archaic.

MIA languages, though individually distinct, share features of phonology and morphology which characterize them as parallel descendants of Old Indo-Aryan. Various sound changes are typical of the MIA phonology:

(1) The vocalic liquids 'ṛ' and 'ḷ' are replaced by 'a', 'i' or 'u';
(2) the diptongs 'ai' and 'au' are monophthongized to 'e' and 'o';
(3) long vowels before two or more consonants are shortened;
(4) the three sibilants of OIA are reduced to one, either 'ś' or 's';
(5) the often complex consonant clusters of OIA are reduced to more readily pronounceable forms, either by assimilation or by splitting;
(6) single intervocalic stops are progressively weakened;
(7) dentals are palatalized by a following '-y-';
( 8 ) all final consonants except '-ṃ' are dropped unless they are retained in 'sandhi' junctions.

The most conspicious features of the morphological system of these languages are: loss of the dual; thematicization of consonantal stems; merger of the f. 'i-/u-' and 'ī-/ū-' in one 'ī-/ū-' inflexion, elimination of the dative, whose functions are taken over by the genitive, simultaneous use of different case-endings in one paradigm; employment of 'mahyaṃ' and 'tubhyaṃ' as genitives and 'me' and 'te' as instrumentals; gradual disappearance of the middle voice; coexistence of historical and new verbal forms based on the present stem; and use of active endings for the passive. In the vocabulary, the MIA languages are mostly dependent on Old Indo-Aryan, with addition of a few so-called 'deśī' words of (often) uncertain origin.

The most archaic of the MIA languages are the inscriptional Aśokan Prakrit on the one hand and Pāli and Ardhamāgadhī on the other, both literary languages.Two other stages of MIA may be distinguished, that of the Prakrits proper (excluding Ardhamāgadhī) and that of the Apabhraṃśa languages.

http://books.google.com/books?id=jPR2Ol ... #PPA163,M1


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:34 am



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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:36 pm



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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Qianxi » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:44 pm


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:11 am



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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Qianxi » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:42 am


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:01 pm

Thank you, very interesting. Indeed, translators are inclined to think that translation is commended.

Here's an article by Jayarava regarding the link of Pali and Magadhi:

Asoka, Pāli, and some red herrings
http://jayarava.blogspot.ru/2009/02/aso ... gs_13.html


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Kare » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:25 pm

To me it is baffling to see that none of the respected scholars quoted here seem to be aware of the problem of Magadha/Magadhi.

None of them ask these questions:

What was Magadha/Magadhi at the time of the Buddha?
What was Magadha/Magadhi at the time of Asoka?
What did the Sri Lankans regard as Magadha/Magadhi at the time of the arrival of the Pali texts in Sri Lanka?
What was Magadha/Magadhi at the time of the commentaries?
What was Magadha/Magadhi at the time of the literary Prakrits?

I have suggested a scenario that may be the reply to these questions. My scenario may be wrong, but I have not seen anyone else discuss this topic or suggest another scenarios. Everyone seems to take it for a fact that Magadha/Magadhi was a fixed and unchangeable unit, and do not see how this may be problematic.
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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:02 pm

Thank you, Kare, your valuable contributions:

viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4630&p=284570#p284570
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=9686&p=148914#p148914
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4630&p=70785#p70785

complement what I would like to emphasize: that Magadhi, identified with Pali, is not a local language, but rather a lingua franca of an extensive territory.


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby bharadwaja » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:29 pm


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:39 am



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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby bharadwaja » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:38 pm


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:26 pm



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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Kare » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:01 pm

Mettāya,
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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby manjughosamani » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:41 pm

Hi Kare,

You can read the majority, if not all, of the text online here:

All the best.
Sabbe saṅkhārā anicca'ti yadā paññāya passati
Atha nibbindati dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiyā.

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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Kare » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:49 pm

Mettāya,
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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Kare » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:11 pm

I am reading Bronkhorst's book now. It is interesting, but from what I till now have seen, it does not address the questions I specified. Bronkhorst has a different focus for his writing.
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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Dmytro » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:32 pm

Lance Cousins writes:

"The standard epigraphical language used in the Gangetic plain and beyond in the last centuries B.C. and a little after was a form of Middle Indian rather close to Pali. We have no reason to believe that any other written language existed in that area at that time. Like Pali it is eclectic with word-forms originally from different dialectics and also with no standardized spelling (as was probably originally the case for Pali). So the first Buddhist texts written down in that area should have been in that form. Since the enlarged kingdom of Magadha eventually extended over nearly the whole Gangetic plain, that language was probably called the language of Magadha, if it had a name. And that of course is the correct name of the Pali language.

Pali is essentially a standardized and slightly Sanskritized version of that language. Māgadhī is a language described by the Prakrit grammarians and refers to a written dialect that developed later (early centuries A.D. ?) from the spoken dialect in some part of 'Greater Magadha'.

In effect, then, Pali is the closest we can get to the language spoken by the Buddha. And it cannot have been very different — we are talking about dialect diferences here, not radically distinct languages."

http://www.buddha-l.org/archives/2013-May/018487.html


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Re: Pali and Sanskrit: some history

Postby Kare » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:17 pm

Mettāya,
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