Valerie J Roebuck vjroebuck at MACUNLIMITED.NET
Thu Feb 19 08:29:18 UTC 2009

Actually I think you'll find that there is a dual number in Homeric 
Greek, but as an alternative, not compulsory as the Sanskrit dual is. 
(I have no Homeric grammar to hand at present to check this.) It also 
has a locative (on place names) and other familiar features.

Many languages have a strongly artificial element to them, but they 
don't always stay artificial. A case in point is Italian, which as I 
understand it was originally a language of literature and culture 
(developed from the Tuscan dialect), in the days when, in daily life, 
the Italian people spoke a number of widely different dialects. Here 
too there is (or was until recently) a slow rate of linguistic 
change: I am told that a modern Italian can still sit down and read 
Dante (1265-1321) with the aid of a few notes, whereas the modern 
English speaker needs a course in Middle English (or a translation) 
to tackle Chaucer (around a hundred years later).

Valerie J Roebuck

At 9:39 am +0200 19/2/09, Alexandra Vandergeer wrote:
>Well, the tense system in Homeric Greek (and modern Greek, though to a
>lesser extent of course) is as complicated as that of Sanskrit. The dual
>number is, however, lacking. But what does that prove? Duality can be very
>easily skipped using additional pronouns such as 'both'.
>>  <And is it not also possible that at some stage, without the use of
>>  writing, archaic vocabulary and archaic grammatical features which had
>>  fallen
>>  out of the everyday spoken language were preserved for the production of
>>  new
>>  hymns?>
>>  What prompts one to explore such possibilities of which there is noB hints
>>  in the literature? Why should not the same hold good for Homer? And then
>>  why not extend the same argument to speculate upon the artificiality of
>>  Homeric Greek?B  It is absurd and just luxury in speculation to assume
>>  that a language that has parallels should have been created artificially
>>  without a dialectal base and then a literature should be produced. At
>>  least that is not a linguist's standpoint.B 
>>  Something akin happened to Classical Sanskrit. But that took place when it
>>  B when it lost its dialectal base.
>>  Moreover, standard dialects exist everywhere. The BBC does not allow
>>  Cockney in speeches delivered through it. Does it? And does that make
>>  Standard British English an artificial language?
>>  DB
>>  --- On Wed, 18/2/09, Allen W Thrasher <athr at LOC.GOV> wrote:
>>  From: Allen W Thrasher <athr at LOC.GOV>
>>  Subject: Re: frequencies
>>  To: INDOLOGY at
>>  Date: Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 9:52 PM
>>  Is it not possible that the language of the hymns (or at least some of
>>  them) was
>>  largely an artificial one, at least that it exploited every possibility of
>>  the
>>  language for artifice, artifice which might extend to morphology as well
>>  as
>>  imagery?  And is it not also possible that at some stage, without the use
>>  of
>>  writing, archaic vocabulary and archaic grammatical features which had
>>  fallen
>>  out of the everyday spoken language were preserved for the production of
>>  new
>>  hymns?
>>  Allen
>>  Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
>>  Senior Reference Librarian
>>  Team Coordinator
>>  South Asia Team, Asian Division
>>  Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
>>  101 Independence Ave., S.E.
>>  Washington, DC 20540-4810
>>  tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at
>>  The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of
>>  Congress.
>>>>>  Dipak Bhattacharya <dbhattacharya2004 at YAHOO.CO.IN> 2/18/2009
>>  11:06:54 AM >>>
>>  09 02 18
>>  Victor's observations pertain to post-Paa.ninian Classical Sanskrit. But
>>  early Vedic was a living language with a Vedic dialectal base. There was
>>  no
>>  Prakrit (that has a system different from the one common to Classical
>>  Sanskrit
>>  and Vedic) around in say 1000 BCE. The fact that post-Paa.ninian records
>>  outnumber Vedic ones is no reason for forgetting the reality of the Vedic
>>  dialects. To observations like "Sanskrit is by definition an artificial
>  > language" one must add "if we do not regard Vedic as Sanskrit"
>>  But that does not stand.
>>  DB
>>  --- On Wed, 18/2/09, victor van Bijlert <victorvanbijlert at KPNPLANET.NL>
>>  wrote:
>>  From: victor van Bijlert <victorvanbijlert at KPNPLANET.NL>
>>  Subject: Re: frequencies
>>  To: INDOLOGY at
>>  Date: Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 1:36 PM
>>  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
>>  bazaars.
>>  -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
>>  Van: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] Namens Alexandra
>>  Vandergeer
>>  Verzonden: woensdag 18 februari 2009 8:18
>>  Aan: INDOLOGY at
>>  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.
>>  Alexandra
>>>  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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