Spoken Sanskrit

George Hart glhart at BERKELEY.EDU
Mon Aug 11 10:07:05 EDT 2008

I myself once encountered someone from Karnataka who lived in the  
village where "Sanskrit" is spoken.  It was a dumbed-down language not  
much resembling (in my opinion) the eloquent tongue used by Kalidasa  
and Sankara -- or even the epics.  It dispenses with such frills as  
the dual and many verb forms.  I asked him if he had read Sanskrit  
literature -- poetry, darsana, whatever.  He seemed nonplussed by the  
question -- he spoke Sanskrit; why should he read Kalidasa?  I felt he  
was entirely ignorant of the intellectual grandeur and scope of the  
language and spoke it (or his version of it) merely to make a  
statement.  I would remark parenthetically that the use of Sanskrit in  
a Malayalam historical novel I once read -- including 3-line Sanskrit  
compounds -- was far more sophisticated than this "Sanskrit" speaker  
could have managed.  If he had studied the literature of Kannada --  
which I suspect was his real native language -- his Sanskrit would  
certainly have been much better.  George Hart

On Aug 11, 2008, at 12:47 AM, veeranarayana Pandurangi wrote:

> dear friends,
> welcome to such new studies.
> but is is difficult for a naiyayika to imagine ritual transformation  
> of
> household in the context of modern sanskrit revivalism. Since I know
> personally many sanskrit families here, it is nothing but some kind of
> national revivalism.
> thanks
> veeranarayana
> On Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 10:01 PM, Dominik Wujastyk  
> <ucgadkw at ucl.ac.uk> 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
> -- 
> Veeranarayana N.K. Pandurangi
> Head, Dept of Darshanas,
> Yoganandacharya Bhavan,
> Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Rajasthan Samskrita University, Madau, post
> Bhankrota, Jaipur, 302026.

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