correct pronunciation

Palaniappa at Palaniappa at
Sun Feb 23 01:51:26 UTC 1997

A professor of sociology who has done his research work in Punjab is teaching
a course on Indian culture at a Texas university.  In the class, he kept
saying mahaabhaarat, dharm, etc. to refer to the epic and the concept of
righteousness(?)/code of conduct, etc. A student of Indian origin suggested
that the words he was using were the north Indian language forms and not the
Sanskrit forms and so not used all over India. (In fact, a person in
Tamilnadu will say them as mahabharatam, dharmam, etc.) So, the preferred
words should have been mahaabhaarata, dharma, etc. To this, the professor
said that that was the way the words were pronounced in Punjab and
Hindi-speaking areas.  He should check his references. So, here  is a
question for the Indologists. 

Is there an accepted norm of using the Sanskrit form of the words when
describing aspects of Indo--Aryan culture or is one free to use modern
Indo-Aryan forms instead of Sanskrit forms?

S. Palaniappan

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