compound analysis in e-texts

Birgit Kellner kellner at
Sun Aug 25 17:38:32 UTC 1996

Lars Martin Fosse wrote: 
>  May I, by the way,
> suggest that all typing of Sanskrit texts should be done with compound
> analysis the way it is done in the TZ-format? Proper compound analysis makes
> the texts fare more valuable for electronic analysis than entering the texts
> in the way they appear in a Sanskrit book or manuscript. It is definitely
> "value added" text entry!

I strongly disagree, or, at least, I would like to express some reservations
as to compound-analysis or Sandhi-separation (but maybe Lars did not refer
to the latter, anyway). Most of the time, I type texts which I do not yet
fully understand, or I type texts, because I'm paid for it, and I do not
aspire to fully understand them. There are critical cases of compound
analysis, i.e. ambiguous cases (sometimes it's difficult to even tell
whether a certain cluster is a compound or not), and analysis carried out by
somebody who actually did not work closely with the text is more detrimental
than no analysis at all. 

Anybody who wants to work with a text has to work out the correct analysis
for himself anyway. And those who don't want to really work with the text,
and simply use it for locating quotations etc., might find it easier to use
unseparated/unanalyzed texts in search functions, for there is uniformness
in compounded ambiguity, whereas there is divergence and indecisiveness in
analyzed disambiguity. 

On a more mundane level - I am using texts where compounds are analyzed
(i.e. compound-elements are separated with dashes), and quite frequently, I
paste quotations from those texts into foot-notes of other files. It's quite
a hassle to get rid of all the dashes, and I would much more prefer a file
which didn't have analyzed compounds. 

I know, everybody else seems to be perfectly happy with compound-analysis,
so either I am suffering from a chronical misunderstanding, or my knowledge
of Sanskrit is even worse than I thought ...

Birgit Kellner
Department for Indian Philosophy
University of Hiroshima

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