[INDOLOGY] Examples of very ambiguous devanagari Sanskrit sentences

Gérard Huet Gerard.Huet at inria.fr
Sun Feb 8 18:15:32 UTC 2015

Even before going to sentences, words are ambiguous (homophony) because distinct morphological constructions yield different meanings, even before compounding.

Kunjunni Raja (Indian Theories of Meaning p37) discusses samāna:
samāna1 = sam-āna :  digestion
s'amāna2 = taddhita derivative of sama : similar, same
samāna3 = sa-maana : of the same measure; honored; proud

and actually in this last case, one should distinguish samāna3 = sa-maana1 :  honored; proud
from samāna4 = sa-maana2 : of the same measure
since maana itself is more than polysemic, it has 2 distinct homophones:
maana1 : esteemed; proud ; esteem, pride (pp of root man = to think)
maana2 = kṛt derivative of root maa : measure, dimension

It is to be noted that MW's homonymy treatment of this situation is rather confusing.

Thus, even a simple inflected form such as samānam may have (at least) four different meanings, just by internal morphology ambiguity.


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