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

Hock, Hans Henrich hhhock at illinois.edu
Sat Dec 27 18:18:54 UTC 2014

Language periodization, just like many aspects of textual periodization, is a perennial problem and only further complicates the picture. There are Prakritic forms as early as the Rig Veda (such as vikaṭa beside vikṛta, or kitava for expected kṛtavat).

Regarding Vedic “dialects”, there is an interesting paper by Emeneau: The dialects of Old Indo-Aryan. In: Ancient Indo-European dialects, ed. by Henrik Birnbaum and Jaan Puhvel, 123–138. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1966.


Hans Henrich Hock

On 27-Dec-2014, at 3:38, Oleg Bendz <oleg.bendz at yahoo.com<mailto:oleg.bendz at yahoo.com>> wrote:


Dear All:

The "prakrit" of Gandhara (the Kushans) had an army, but maybe not a navy.
Language periodization may be an important consideration.
The problem of language and dialect may reside in the terminology itself.
I should stop here.


On Friday, December 26, 2014 5:48 PM, Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at uchicago.edu<mailto:mkapstei at uchicago.edu>> wrote:

>Ultimately, a clear distinction between “language” and “dialects” eludes even modern linguistics, in spite of long discussions of this issue.

As Max Weinreich elegantly put it: "A language is a dialect with an army and navy."

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études,
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago


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