VYAKARAN: Re: Classical Sanskrit Accent

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Sun Apr 6 19:54:44 UTC 1997

	The pronunciation of Sanskrit by Marathi Pandits of today
basically works within the range of Marathi phonology.  It should however
be noted that there is a range of sophistication and nuances within the
Marathi Sanskrit pronunciation.  Except for a few determined individuals
who maintain a conscious distinction between "s and .s, most Marathi
Pundits pronounce both of these sounds as "s.  Thus the distinction
between s and "s is maintained, but not between "s and .s.  The visarga is
almost universally pronounced as a voiced h, followed by an echo of the
previous vowel.  
	The short vowels preceding consonant clusters get stressed.  In
general, the sentence intonation of Sanskrit in Maharashtra follows that
of Marathi.  During my college days in Pune, I translated a children's
play from Marathi into Sanskrit, staying as close in vocabulary and word
order to Marathi as was possible within the rules of Sanskrit.  When the
play was staged by the children, they first learned to do the play in
Marathi, and at some time the language change was carried out.  The
children pronounced Sanskrit sentences with exactly the same intonation.
This was not just perceived as children's Sanskrit, but was perceived very
favorably by the judges, who awarded this children's group the first
prize, while the "Saakuntala presented by myself and my college classmates
was awarded a second prize.  
	Within the range of Marathi/Sanskrit pronunciation, however, there
are many interesting areas of explicit vernacularization of Sanskrit.  I
have covered some of these in my article "Features of Priestly Sanskrit"
in the volume "Ideology and Status of Sanskrit" edited by Jan E.M. Houben,
Brill, 1996.
	All the best,
				Madhav Deshpande

On Sun, 6 Apr 1997, Jacob Baltuch wrote:

> This's a thread which originated on VYAKARAN and for some reason
> was redirected by Madhav Deshpande to Indology. Am I correct in
> assuming most of the people on Indology are also on VYAKARAN?
> (In any case if you haven't seen Michael Witzel's post Madhav
> Deshpande had been responding to, just ask me for it in email)
> Madhav Deshpande wrote:
> >The most important feature I have always
> >noticed, and is imperceptibly also part of my own personal pronunciation,
> >is that the Sentence intonation of modern Sanskrit is almost exclusively
> >connected with one's regional language.
> Then, putting this together with Michael Witzel's statement about
> the source of the "classical Sanskrit accent rule," that it apparently
> could be due to Buehler and have originated in his observation of
> the practice of Marathi pandits [I am paraphrasing what I think MW
> said; I hope it is correct], can we conclude that rule is nothing
> but the accent rule of Marathi? Do you recognize any Marathi accent
> rule in there?
> Cheers
> Jacob

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