INDOLOGY FAQ. Re. Varanasi

george thompson gthomgt at COMCAST.NET
Wed Feb 17 03:06:09 UTC 2010

With regard to Dominik's last point:

>There's lots to discuss about the various Clay decisions, but one thing I
>quite like is the use of the acute accent to mark stress or ictus.  While
>ictus isn't the same as vowel length, it's pretty close to gauravam, and
>people who know nothing of Sanskrit and don't have access to a teacher do
>rather well reading such accented words out loud.
Agreed.  But I am a Vedicist who spends most of his time working on 
accented Vedic texts like the Rigveda.  So for me at least this use of 
the acute accent marker is disconcerting, since Vedicists need to mark 
both long and short vowels as well as pitch.  I think that the best way 
to go, in general, is to start with the very simple and easy distinction 
between short and long vowels.  The Clay system does not do that.  In 
fact, the Clay program doesn't do Vedic at all. 

What does that mean?

In my view, the Clay Library system of transliteration is an arbitrary 
and a completely unsuccessful failure.

Is 'Rama' [with or without acute accent] reallly better than 'Raama?'  
Is 'Sita' an acceptable equivalent for 'Siitaa'?

Is 'Praja-pati' okay in any sense?

You will find all of these ghastly forms and many more in the Clay editions.

What is wrong with using long and short vowel markers instead?  
Sincerely, I think that the alternative is absurd.

Best wishes

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list