More on word splitting and hyphenation in transliteration

harry spier harryspier at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 9 19:06:20 UTC 1999

Thank you for the replies to my question about guidelines or accepted
standards for word splitting and hyphenation in  roman transliteration.
I was surprised by the answer for the reason stated by Dr. Smith in his
letter. (see letters from Dr. Smith and Dr. Killingley dated Feb. 8)  As
he indicates putting spaces between words wherever possible results in
some unpronounceable words being written separately in roman.  i.e. "tv
asti" for "tvasti" etc.

This is the very problem that I am trying to avoid.  I am preparing a
new edition of the Bhagavad Geeta for publication which will contain
both the devanagari and the roman transliteration. One of the uses of
the edition will be to chant the Geeta.  Some of those who use the text
will have Hindi as a first language and use the devanagari,  and some of
those who use it will have English as a first language.  In general the
majority will not know Sanskrit.

1) Isn't this one of the main uses of written Sanskrit (both now and
historically)? i.e. as an aid to proper recitation for those who do not
know the text by memory.  And shouldn't any standard address this need.
The pronounciation of the written phrase "tvidam" is much more obvious
than the phrase written as "tv idam" etc..  A space intuitively
indicates hiatus.

2) Also this standard seems to fall somewhere in the middle.  Of course
not producing a pada text, but making a samhita text "look" outwardly a
little like a pada text.  i.e. looking like individual words.  Thus
making some difficulties for recitation but not really making it much
easier for analysis.

3) My idea was to either:

a) Have the roman transliteration mirror the devanagari.  (To my western
trained eye this made long undivided sentences seem complicated.)  I
think Dr. Killingley indicates in his letter that this is an alternative

b) Put spaces between words except where there were any changes due to
sandhi.  Thus avoiding the problem of unpronouncable words and making
the text easier to chant by avoiding both unpronouncable words being
written separately and extremely long unbroken syllable strings.  Is
this an acceptable practice?

Comments or Suggestions Please.

Thank you

Harry Spier

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