[INDOLOGY] Examples of very ambiguous devanagari Sanskrit sentences

dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk
Thu Feb 12 09:28:42 EST 2015


Dear Elliot,

Thank you for your comments. Thanks also to Camillo Formigatti for his precise (though 
necessarily incomplete) observations on indications of word division in manuscript practice.

As you point out, I was wrong to say that    /  fulfils the requirement (Harry Spiers's, 
not mine) of a sentence that is ambiguous in devanagari but not in roman. 

With best wishes,

Dermot
,
On 10 Feb 2015 at 15:02, Elliot Stern wrote:

Dear Dermot,

You are of course right that my response was not on target. Some of the earlier responses 
led me away from the specific focus of your question.

I don't see, however, that Martin Gansten's response met your requirement:

sa mene na and sam enena are distinct in the usual roman transcription, but they are also 
distinct in the usual printed devanagari:


   

In case your system doesn't read this devanagari, here is the same as transcribed into 
roman:

sa mene na samenena

Cheers!

Elliot


Elliot M. Stern
552 South 48th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143-2029
United States of America
telephone: 215-747-6204
mobile: 267-240-8418
emstern at verizon.net


    On 09 Feb 2015, at 09:34, dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk wrote:

    Dear Elliott,
    
    Thank you for your contribution below. But that example (´sveto) is ambiguous whether 
    you
    write it in roman or devanagari. The original request was for sentences that are 
    ambiguous in
    devanagari but not in roman. Martin Gansten's example from BU 4.3.1, sa mene na / 
    sam
    enena, fulfils the requirement, because the space between sa and mene can be written 
    in
    roman though not in devanagari. But Matthew Kapstein's example ekonAviMzati / eko 
    nA
    viMzati doesn't fulfil the requirement, because the spaces can be written in devanagari 
    as
    well as in roman.
    
    I notice that you follow the practice of only writing spaces in roman where they are 
    possible in
    devanagari, e.g. dhavatityekasmadeva rather than dhavatity ekasmad eva. As far as I 
    know
    this is a fairly recent practice; the older practice is to write spaces in roman where they 
    are
    possible--that is, wherever a letter doesn't belong to two words because of sandhi. I 
    have
    sometimes been rebuked for following this practice, on the grounds that I should 
    transcribe
    the devanagari exactly. But the practice of writing spaces in devanagari is itself 
    relatively
    recent. I haven't any firm evidence, but I understand it came in with printing, around 
    1800. So
    the demand to write spaces in roman only where they would be written in devanagari is 
    not
    supported by ancient tradition. The rule for both is the same: write spaces where you 
    can.
    
    This means that in devanagari, though less often than in roman, editors of texts make
    judgments which guide the reader to one or other way of understanding the utterance: 
    e.g. sa
    mene na or sam enena in BU 4.3.1. This is not a matter of variants in the text itself, but 
    only
    two ways of interpreting it, since the text is neither of the above, but only samenena.
    
    If anyone can help with more precise observations, I'd be grateful.
    
    Dermot Killingley
    
    On 8 Feb 2015 at 16:40, Elliot Stern wrote:
    
    Here's an example as explained in nyayakaika:
    
    yatha ´sveto dhavatityekasmadeva vakyadarthadvayamavagamyate ´suklo nirektiti ca
    kauleyaka ito druta gacchatiti ca
    
    
    
    Elliot M. Stern
    552 South 48th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19143-2029
    United States of America
    telephone: 215-747-6204
    mobile: 267-240-8418
    emstern at verizon.net
    
    
    On 08 Feb 2015, at 15:25, Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at uchicago.edu> wrote:
    
    well, there's always the famous prahelikaa verse:
    ekona vi´sati stria snanartha sarayu gata | vi´sati pratiyata ca eko
    vyaghrea bhakita
    
    where it all changes if you read:
    eko na
    
    Matthew
    
    Matthew Kapstein
    Directeur d'études,
    Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
    
    Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
    The University of Chicago
    
    
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-- 
Dermot Killingley
9, Rectory Drive,
Gosforth,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1XT
Phone (0191) 285 8053





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