VYAKARAN: Re: Classical Sanskrit Accent

F. Smith fsmith at blue.weeg.uiowa.edu
Tue Apr 8 02:22:21 UTC 1997

In my own teaching, I constantly emphasize pronunciation as an important
part of the language and am forever correcting it when I find it faulty. 
It seems to me that good pronunciation is one of the features that lifts
Sanskrit from the unfair realm of "dead" language to the realm of the
living. This also energizes the students and assists their precision in
other aspects of the learning process. My own pronunciation is distinctly
Maharashtrian, e.g. the j~n as dnya, etc. But I always explain the reginal
variants and do not argue for any regional variety as inherently more
*correct* (even if I privately feel differently). I write this as a
non-Indian (though one who has spent more then 11 years in India, 7 of
them in Pune), though one with a practiced appreciation for the beauties
of the spoken Sanskrit word. I suspect I am not alone in this; indeed I'm
under the impression that a growing number of Sanskrit teachers in *the
academy* are emphasizing pronunciation to a greater degree than did our
predecessors (whose awesome gu.nas I am not at all trying to deflate).

Fred Smith
University of Iowa

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