Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at
Wed May 8 10:42:48 UTC 1996

On Tue, 7 May 1996 LGoehler at wrote:


> But there is one more point that Saussure introduced
> into Western philosophy of language,  that he could easily have borrowed in
> India: the synchronic view of language (abstraction from the historical
> *diacronic* development of language which is implied theories as that
> of zabdanityatA) that made structural approaches to language possible. Both
> concepts formed cornerstones of the early theories of the
> linguistic-turn-philosophers and exert influence up to the present. - I
> wonder whether there is literature on the bhAratamUlatva of Saussure's
> theories?

De Saussure's PhD thesis topic was the genitive absolute in Sanskrit, so
there is no question that he was well acquainted with the language.  The
degree of his acquaintance with the grammatical schools, and Bhartrhari in
particular, is less clear.

I am also unaware that the Sanskrit grammarians ever made a
synchronic/diachronic distinction beyond the primitive "bhasayam" and
"chandasi" of Panini. The doctrine of sabdanityata and of the levels of
language etc. have to do not with depth in time, but with "depth in
consciousness" or perhaps "depth in linguistic abstraction", if I can use
those terms.

Dominik Wujastyk

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