Grammar. Philosophy and Epistemology

Deshpande, Madhav mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Mon Oct 16 01:22:59 UTC 2006

Thanks, Ashok, for further stimulating discussion.  There may indeed be points of convergence with what you are saying. However, having written a rather long article that I referred to in my previous email, I am sure the complexities of the issue are beyond being discussed in emails.  There is a rather a long history of discussions of suppletion that I have discussed in my article, as well as some elucidation of the verbal semantics in terms of modern theories of aspectual distinctions by linguists like Dowty and others. That extensive discussion cannot be summarized in emails. I am looking forward to reading your article in the Motilal Banarsidass volume on Bhartrhari which is long overdue.  I also have an article in the same volume, and I hope the volume appears soon.


-----Original Message-----
From: Indology on behalf of Ashok Aklujkar
Sent: Sun 10/15/2006 10:20 AM
Subject: Re: Grammar. Philosophy and Epistemology
Thanks, Madhav. 

As point no. 8 in my last post clarifies, I was not arguing for the
acceptance of a specific semantic distinction, only for the position that
there must be a distinction. I am open to specifications of distinction
different from the ones I have come up with.

If you think that the nouns vipassanA/vipazyanA  and dassana/darzana
contain, respectively, the element 'an on-going process without a necessary
conclusive moment of culmination' and the element 'a sense of achievement
culminating a conclusive moment,' why should we not associate the elements
respectively with the roots in the nouns, namely with pa;s/pa;sya and d.r;s?
Certainly the mutually differing elements cannot be associated with the
suffix anaa/ana. The association of elements with the roots would be just
another way of saying that their connotations differ -- that they have a
semantic distinction.

If one root has only imperfective semantics and the other only perfective
semantics, should there not be something in their meanings that is conducive
to the emergence of neat alliances, respectively, with verbal suffixes
signifying "on-going processes without a necessary conclusive moment of
culmination" and with verbal suffixes signifying "a sense of achievement
culminating a conclusive moment"?

Also, are the alliances really neat? How do we account for the perfective
element in the form paspa;se quoted by Mayrfofer or in the past participle

(Alternatively, could we be reading 'an on-going process' element in
vipassanA/vipazyanA and 'a sense of achievement' element in dassana/darzana
because we associated imperfective semantics with the finite verbs derived
from pa;s and perfective semantics with the finite verbs derived from d.r;s
or because we know that vipassanaa, being associated primarily with
Theravaada Buddhism, should have no conclusion/implication of achievement?
Actually, both vipassanaa and dar;sana, being action nouns, should not lose
the 'on-going process' element.)

You write: 
> for mantradRz being different from any relation to pazya, note many
> Brahmana/Upanishad passages describing how a certain sage produced a certain
> verse:  tad etat pazyan RSir uvAca, or mantreSu karmANi kavayo yAny apazyan.
> There does not seem to be as contrastive a semantic distinction between pazya
> and dRz in these texts.

I am not sure I follow your point here. Is the last sentence incomplete or
is it supposed to be "There does not seem to be a semantic distinction ..."?
In mantreSu karmANi kavayo yAny apazyan, the object of the action signified
by pa;s is karmANi, not mantrAn. So, there is no scope for the mantrad.r;s
notion anyway. In the first sentence, is it contextually clear that the
verses produced are always mantra? Even if they all turn out to be mantras,
as long as the introductory sentences are not something like tad etat pazyan
RSir (mantram) dadar;sa/apa;syat (in the place of verbs like uvaaca), how
would we get a truly relevant example?

A study of the larger context may bring to light a distinction even in the
case of the passages you cite, namely, in "darzam hi vizvadarzatam darzam
ratham adhi kSami", "ko dadarza pratha[ma?]m jAyamAnam", "apazyam gopAm
anipadyamAnam", "apazyam grAmam vahamAnam", "apazyam tvA manasA cekitAnam"
etc. *For example,* could the choice of the root not be dictated, at least
to some extent, by the kind of object that was seen or the suggestion that
the expected/unexpected happened? I have not had the time to study the
larger contexts, but what you cite makes me wonder if we really have the
minimal pairs we would need to be sure that the root choice is dictated by
no element other than the (contextually required, I suppose) verbal ending.

Finally, if the 'pa;s : d.r;s' distinction were to be seen as rooted in an
'on-going process .. : sense of achievement ...' distinction (I am not
attributing this position to you), it would not be irreconcilable with my
(b) and (c) distinctions.

Anyway, I have enjoyed this opportunity to go deeper into an issue I
mentioned incidentally in my paper "Veda revelation according to
Bhart.r-hari" that is expected to be published in the proceedings of the
international seminar on BH organized by Motilal Banarsidass about two years


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