An old question

Robert J. Zydenbos zydenbos at BLR.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Jul 16 08:16:04 UTC 1998

Jacob Baltuch wrote:

> Here's a simple test which you may or may not find relevant
> to your purpose: a language that has native speakers has
> an *independant* phonology.

> Similarly for Sanskrit. People speak it with a Marathi,
> or a Bengali or a Kannada or some other accent. No such thing as
> a "Sanskrit accent" in the 20th century. (This should allow me to
> rephrase my question about Sanskrit in a simplistic way: Until
> when was there such a thing as a "Sanskrit accent"? When did
> Sanskrit cease to be a language with an independant phonology?)

This is actually begging the question. The phonemics of literary
Dravidian languages like Telugu gand Kannada was thoroughly
Sanskritised, and thus they do not have a completely "independent
phonology". One could also ask where Marathi etc. phonology comes

Since phonology is constantly undergoing change in all languages, I
wonder whether we should make it a key criterion.


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