[INDOLOGY] Traditional/ insider's view of language or dialect status of Prakrits

Nagaraj Paturi nagarajpaturi at gmail.com
Fri Dec 26 04:12:06 UTC 2014

1.What is interesting is that Sanskrit and Prakrit are treated as mutually
intelligible is a good starting point. But one could argue that in an
environment of bilingualism or multilingualism too , two different
languages can be mutually intelligible.

2. Filtering the value-terms such as correct , incorrect, refined
(samskrita), corrupt (apabhrashTa) etc., it can be seen that Sanskrit and
the Prakrits were considered always alternative *forms* of each other.
Whether Samskrita is considered to have been formed through the samskaraNa=
refinement of prAkrita or prAkrita is considered to have been formed
through the apabhrams'a = corrupted form of samskrita , the point is that
in both the perspectives samskrita and prAkrita are considered to have been
formed through the modification of either one from the other.

3. The classical drama's presentation of the two as the social class based
mutually intelligible versions of the same language too matches with the
above mentioned view under no.2.

Thanks to all the colleagues on the list for the references. I shall take
the help of all the books.

Thanks again.


On Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 3:46 AM, Hock, Hans Henrich <hhhock at illinois.edu>

>  While there may not have been notions like “language” and “dialect” as
> they are used nowadays, there was the notion of “correct” and “incorrect”
> (apabhraṣṭa) speech, manifested in many different ways; see especially the
> Mahābhāṣya on this issue. The different use of Sanskrit and Prakrits in
> Classical drama offers another perspective, with different forms of speech
> being appropriate for socially different participants in the action; here,
> linguistic difference is not directly associated with “correct” and
> “incorrect” speech but with social status (although the vidūṣaka’s use of
> [stage] Magahi can be correlated with stray statements in the Vedic
> tradition that associate *l-*pronunciation, which is characteristic of
> Magahi, with “incorrect” speech). What is interesting is that Sanskrit and
> Prakrit are treated as mutually intelligible. Does that mean they were
> considered “dialects” of the “same language”? Or does it indicate some kind
> of diglossia?
>  On this whole issue see also the following publication(s):
>  Hock, Hans Henrich, and Rajeshwari Pandharipande. 1976. The
> sociolinguistic position of Sanskrit in pre-Muslim South Asia. *Studies
> in Language Learning *1:2.106-38. (University of Illinois,
> Urbana-Champaign)
>  Hock, Hans Henrich, and Rajeshwari Pandharipande. 1978. Sanskrit in the
> pre-Islamic context of South Asia. *Aspects of sociolinguistics in South
> Asia*, ed. by B. B. Kachru & S. N. Sridhar, 11-25. (= *International
> Journal of the Sociology of Language*, 16.)
>  Ultimately, a clear distinction between “language” and “dialects” eludes
> even modern linguistics, in spite of long discussions of this issue.
>  Best wishes for the New Year,
>  Hans Henrich Hock
>  On 24-Dec-2014, at 2:55, Nagaraj Paturi <nagarajpaturi at gmail.com> wrote:
>  When did the convention of treating Prakrits as 'languages' and not as
> dialects begin?
> Was there such an attitude of 'languages' not 'dialects' towards Prakrits
> in Sanskrit or Prakrit sources of the ancient or medieval period?
> Is there a work dealing with this issue?
> Thanks in advance for any references in this direction.
> --
>  Prof.Nagaraj Paturi
> Hyderabad-500044
>  _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list
> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
> http://listinfo.indology.info

Prof.Nagaraj Paturi

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