Sanskrit to be an elective subject in schools

David Magier magier at
Mon Oct 10 18:46:21 UTC 1994

>   Aditya Mishra <z900672a at> writes:
> > Relation of Sanskrit to the modern day languages is like Latin
> >to Italian. Sanskrit is essentially a dead language...

>     Needless to say, none of these statements is true.  Sanskrit has a
> continuous living tradition, and remains a spoken language among pandits and
> others...

I suspect that the original posting was employing the technical
linguistics usage of the term 'dead language', which is used to refer
to a language which no longer has any native speakers. (A native
speaker of a particular language is someone who speaks that language
as their first or 'mother' tongue.). Of course, no such definitions
are completely airtight, but Sanskrit is generally understood to be a
dead language in this sense (as Latin is), although it is certainly
still very much 'alive' in the perhaps more common sense of being used
and studied and spoken by many people. But I doubt there are many
people anywhere in the world (even pandits) who spoke Sanskrit as
their first language in the home for all their daily-life uses of
language, census claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

David Magier

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