VYAKARAN: Re: Classical Sanskrit Accent

bpj at netg.se bpj at netg.se
Mon Apr 7 18:44:36 UTC 1997

At 13:28 7.4.1997 +0100, Dick Oliver wrote:
>>And is it worth it with a read-only language?
>Sanskrit may not be conversational anymore, but let's hope it never becomes
>a read-only language! It would be a sad day when the Vedic oral tradition
>vanishes completely.

Agree, but I was speaking specifically of the needs/requirements of WESTERN
students. A bit of loud reading out of a book is normally the most oral
their Sanskrit gets!

>>...only to make myself understood!
>The primary use of Sanskrit pronounciation today is not to make oneself
>understood, but to preserve what is almost certainly the planet's oldest
>language with a living oral tradition. Any efforts to identify how
>pronounciation varies regionally, and how it may vary from its historical
>pronounciation, is worthwhile in my book.

Agree again. I think this variation has a cultural identity value, and
should not be rashly suppressed in favor of a "reconstructed" pronunciation
having its origin in the head of western phoneticians. But as I said that
was not the issue.

>Oh, and BTW you'll probably be understood better if you refrain from, as the
>South-Indian idiom goes, "speaking in Sanskrit." <grin>

Assuredly, I'll stick to Swenglish, or even try English in worst cases! I
was talking about what level of perfection would be worthwhile for loud
reading, and only compared that to ESL use. In actual fact I, as a
practicing Buddhist, recite in Sanskrit quite often -- preferring
reasonably correct Sanskrit to crappy Tibetan, or English, until the day a
Swedish translation of the relevant texts is available.



*  B.Philip Jonsson <bpj at netg.se>               *
*  Editor, Translator (English <-> Swedish),    *
*  Scholarly font-designer, Web-book designer   *

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