Re: [INDOLOGY] Speaking of plagiarism: Satya Prakash Sarasvati and Satyakam Vidyalankar’s Ṛgveda

Jesse Knutson jknutson at
Mon Jul 20 12:15:50 UTC 2015

If anyone has a pdf of the article from Lexicographica, I would love to see
it. My university library only seems to have it available from 2009 onwards

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 4:42 PM, Klaus Karttunen <
klaus.karttunen at> wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> I have Zgusta not at hand to check, but it is important to note that the
> accusations of plagiarism of MW were made against his first edition (1872).
> The second edition (1899), used by us, was very carefully revised and in
> this work he had some good assistants. See, beside his introduction, the
> reviews by Bloomfield /*AJPh* 21, 1900, 323-32) and Winternitz (*WZKM*
> 14, 1900, 353-360).
> Some 30 years ago, when checking the various interpretation given to some
> Vedic ritual terms, I noted that Apte has copied some lemmas directly from
> the old Calcutta dictionary edited by Wilson.
> Best,
> Klaus
> Klaus Karttunen
> South Asian and Indoeuropean Studies
> Asian and African Studies, Department of World Cultures
> PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38 B)
> 00014 University of Helsinki, FINLAND
> Tel +358-(0)2941 4482418
> Fax +358-(0)2941 22094
> Klaus.Karttunen at
> On 20 Jul 2015, at 02:35, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at> wrote:
> On 19 July 2015 at 20:12, George Hart <glhart at> wrote:
>> I remember years ago when I was studying Sanskrit Ingalls mentioned that
>> Monier Williams had apparently copied from Boethlingk-Roth without
>> attribution. He said that Boethlingk was able to adduce entries in Monier
>> Williams that had the same mistakes originally made on the SP Lexicon. Plus
>> ça change…. George Hart
> ​The relationship of the MW and PW dictionaries was carefully evaluated in
> the 1988 article,
> Ladislav Zgusta, "Copying in Lexicography. Monier-Williams' Sanskrit
> Dictionary and Other Cases (Dvaikośyam)" *Lexicographica*, 1988, 4,
> 145-164.
> It's a complex and nuanced relationship, that Zgusta describes very well,
> developing seven defined categories of textual dependence (A-G).  It's
> worth reading the whole article, which is careful and illuminating.  Zgusta
> says, p.161,
> To sum up: MONIER-WILLIAMS is completely independent of PW in respect to
> the general
> plan of the arrangement of his dictionary, or its macrostructure (category
> E, p. 157); and
> in respect to his semantics, or the way in which he handles the
> description of meaning by
> English equivalents (cat. G, p. 159). Yet some alleged cases of copying
> remain unclear
> (cat. D, p. 156).
> However, there is no doubt that MONIER-WILLIAMS copied some data from PW
> (cat.
> B, p. 154) although sometimes it is clear that while he copied without
> checking in
> the original sources, he gave the material thus gained some thought of his
> own (cat. C, p.
> 155). The data which he acquired in this way are mostly of peripheral
> importance; one
> can easily imagine that he tried to save time in this unorthodox way.
> There is. however,
> one block, or set of highly important data which he completely took over,
> or copied from
> PW, namely the indications of Vedic morphological forms (cat. F, p. 158).
> It can even be shown that MW contains not only facts or data of language
> from PW,
> but also interpretations conceived by BÖHTLINGK and ROTH (cat. A, p. 154).
> There is no defense as far as category A is concerned. As for category F
> (p. 158),
> it would seem that a more explicit acknowledgement in the preface to MW
> would be
> necessary, but also sufficient: it is against the cumulative spirit of
> scientific discovery,
> against the synchronic and diachronic cooperation of scholars, to repeat
> some already
> well done research in all its minutiae; and also, if there are myriads of
> bits of information
> thus obtained spread throughout a dictionary, it would be difficult to
> acknowledge each
> and every single piece. MONIER-WILLIAMS ought to have been more explicit
> in the pre-
> face; but had he been more open on the subject, this ought to have
> sufficed.
> The same can be said mutatis mutandis about categories B and C. One simply
> cannot
> expect a Sanskrit lexicographer working after the publication of PW not to
> use the wealth
> of data published in it and re-do all the excerption himself. As in the
> case of the preced-
> ing category, MONIER-WILLIAMS ought to have been more explicit in his
> preface. In
> addition to this, he ought to have checked all second-hand date in the
> primary sources to
> eliminate PW's misprints and errors, which he neglected to do. (Although
> the second
> Ought to' perhaps may have to be reworded as 'should' in this real,
> non-ideal world of
> ours.)
> Both in the case of categories F, and B and C, MONIER-WILLIAMS' sins are
> rather those
> of omission than of commission; only category A comprises a sin of
> commission.
> Zgusta also says, p.160,
> In sum, it is not possible fully to condemn MONIER-WILLIAMS, just as it is
> not possible
> fully to exonerate him.  ...
> MONIER-WILLIAMS and his dictionary have
> been taken seriously; e.g., when G. BÜHLER in his 'Lexicographic Notes'21
> (p. 90) men-
> tions "the three great modern Sanskrit dictionaries, compiled by
> Europeans", it is clear
> that he puts MW into the same category as PW and pw. The same scholar also
> discusses
> (ibid., p. 86) a case where MONIER-WILLIAMS indicated his doubt about a
> translational
> equivalent given in PW and was right in his skepsis. It must also be
> mentioned that not
> only did MONIER-WILLIAMS get an honorary PhD degree from the University of
> Göttin-
> gen, but also that such serious scholars as E. LEUMANN (Strassburg) and C.
> (Jena) did not hesitate to cooperate with him on the second edition of MW.
> Best,
> Dominik Wujastyk
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Jesse Ross Knutson PhD
Assistant Professor of Sanskrit and Bengali, Department of Indo-Pacific
Languages and Literatures
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
452A Spalding

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