Hiragana and Indic Scripts

gthomgt at COMCAST.NET gthomgt at COMCAST.NET
Fri Aug 13 16:52:49 UTC 2010

Dear List, 

I think that the issue here is not really about the influence of Indic scripts on other Asian scripts.  No, it is rather a question of the influence of the Sanskrit grammarians on the organization of these other Asian scripts.  What was transmitted to these Asian cultures from India was not a script.  What was transmitted was an awareness of the remarkable insight of these Sanskrit grammarians into the sound system not only of Sanskrit, but of language in general. 

The Sanskrit grammarians organized the Sanskrit sound system according to a rational system organized from points of articulation in the vocal apparatus, from back formations to front formations. This applies to vowels first and then to consonants. It is this phonolological insight that has been passed on to other other Asian scholars -- not  a knowledge of scripts per se.  

So, I agree with Kengo Harimoto that it was the logical order of the sounds that was learned from the Sanskrit grammarians, not the script itself. 

I think that list members may benefit from reading an essay by Frits Staal, who made these points explicit in an excellent paper which has't gotten much attention: 

"The Sound Pattern of Sanskrit in Asia" 

["Sanskrit Studies Centre Journal. An annual publication on any research subject related to Sanskrit". (Sanskrit 
Studies Centre. Dept. of Oriental Languages. Faculty of Archaeology,Silpakorn, Bangkok, Thailand.) Vol.II (2006) 193-208.] 

Best wishes, 
George Thompson

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