Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Wed Feb 18 11:23:02 UTC 2009

On Wed, 18 Feb 2009, victor van Bijlert wrote:

> I do agree that statistical and other analysis of the corpus of Sanskrit
> texts would deliver interesting insights, for instance in the way technical
> terms were invented by different sects in order to separate themselves off
> from the 'competition'. Perhaps one could see in the Sanskrit texts
> interference with the mothertongues of the authors. I think texts of Jains
> and Buddhists should be included.
> Victor

I think the examples of research you outline above are not necessarily the 
kind of result that can be found from corpus analysis.  The corpus doesn't 
know, e.g., what a "technical term" is, unless it's be so tagged, and that 
tagging is based on prejudgement.  The BNC page I cited mentions questions 
like these:

  In what social situations is wicked a term of approval? Why does it
  "sound wrong" to say "The good weather set in on Thursday" although "The bad
  weather set in on Thursday" is perfectly acceptable? If I can say "I live a
  stone's throw away from here", can I also say "I'm going a stone's throw
  away from here?"

I'm not sure that I would even agree with the suggestion above that we can 
find out causes (answer "Why?" questions).  Language is, in the end, just 
what people say and what passes between people in such a manner that they 
believe they understand each other.  But maybe I'm wrong about that.


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