victor van Bijlert victorvanbijlert at KPNPLANET.NL
Wed Feb 18 08:06:55 UTC 2009

I think we should also take into consideration that Sanskrit is by
definition an artificial language. The word itself means after all something
like: purified, perfected. It stood in contrast to the Prakrits, the natural
languages (of the Aryan elites?). Being an artificial language, Sanskrit
would not have the same features as a spoken contact language used in the

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] Namens Alexandra Vandergeer
Verzonden: woensdag 18 februari 2009 8:18
Onderwerp: Re: frequencies

Correct, but does it also hold for the top100 of used words? I doubt so, I
personally think that the highly specialized vocabularies, or jargons,
fall in a lower category, except of course of the name and ways of address
of the deity in a purana devoted to that particular deity and so on and so
on. Anyway it would be interesting to see whether indeed the different
genres in Skt texts are so different as we generally assume, restricting
ourselves to the top100. It would be equally interesting to see whether
there is a shift in language use throughout the centuries in the
high-frequency words.


> Frequency in Sanskrit does not work in the same way as in English and
> other modern languges. It is possible to complie a list of 3000 words
> in English that cover 70-80% of "all" conversations, newspaper
> articles, etc. This is just not possible in the case of Sanskrit--if
> it were possible, it would have been done a long time ago--because the
> vocabulary is highly specialized according to literary genres. On the
> other hand, if one moves within the same genre, one can go back and
> forth hundreds of years without any difficulty, something that cannot
> be done in English, German, French and do on. Hebrew is an exception,
> but this is a special case.
> Best wishes,
> EF

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