Spoken Sanskrit

Klaus Karttunen klaus.karttunen at HELSINKI.FI
Mon Aug 11 03:38:08 EDT 2008

Dear colleagues,
H. H. Hock studied spoken Sanskrit in the 1980s in U.P., in Lucknow  
and Varanasi, if I remember right. See his article  “Spoken Sanskrit  
in Uttar Pradesh — a sociolinguistic profile”, Journal of  
Orientology. Lokaprajñā vol. 2. Prof. N. S. Rāmānuja Tātācārya  
Felicitation Volume. Puri 1988, 1–24. There has been a small  
percentage of people giving Sanskrit as their language in every  
census, but often it seems to be "father tongue" rather than "mother  

Klaus Karttunen, Ph.D.
Professor of South Asian and Indoeuropean Studies
Institute for Asian and African Studies
PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38 B)
00014 University of Helsinki, FINLAND

Tel +358-(0)9-191 22674
  Fax +358-(0)9-191 22094
  Email Klaus.Karttunen at helsinki.fi

On Aug 8, 2008, at 7:31 PM, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:

> There's an interesting set of reflections on the topic here:
> Journal of Linguistic Anthropology
> June 2008, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 24-45
> Posted online on July 28, 2008.
> (doi:10.1111/j.1548-1395.2008.00002.x)
> Licked by the Mother Tongue: Imagining Everyday Sanskrit at Home  
> and in the World
> by Adi Hastings
> Abstract:
> This paper examines the ways in which Sanskrit revivalists in  
> contemporary India imagine social contexts for the production and  
> reproduction of Sanskrit speech. In contrast to the received view  
> of Sanskrit as being a ritual language par excellence, opposed at  
> every step to the domestic sphere and everyday life, Sanskrit  
> revivalists treat Sanskrit as a “mother tongue,” figuring the  
> home as the primary site for the creation of an “everyday  
> Sanskrit” world and the mother as the primary agent of this  
> process of Sanskritizing the domestic sphere. “Domesticating  
> Sanskrit,” the process of bringing the elevated ritual language  
> down into everyday life, at the very same time “Sanskritizes the  
> domestic,” that is, ritually transforms or elevates the home into  
> a “Sanskrit home.” Moving outward from the Sanskritized domestic  
> sphere, activists also imagine other contexts in which one could  
> use Sanskrit, which nonetheless conforms to a notion of a Sanskrit  
> interiority or domesticity.
> -- 
> Dr Dominik Wujastyk
> Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow
> University College London

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