[INDOLOGY] Fwd: Question on Diacritical Marks

Herman Tull hermantull at gmail.com
Mon Sep 5 18:18:24 UTC 2016

My reply just went to Jeff; here it is.

Herman Tull

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Herman Tull <hermantull at gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 12:23 PM
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Question on Diacritical Marks
To: Jeffery Long <dharmaprof108 at yahoo.com>

Hi, Jeff:

Long ago, I used to follow my former mentor Wendy Doniger on this.  To
paraphrase her position, Indologists will know what the Sanskrit words
really are, and non-specialists will not care. But, I no longer agree with
this.  For one thing, with the advent of on-line dictionaries, even
non-scholars (or non
Indological scholars) have the opportunity to look up terms (and without
the diacriticals those without Sanskrit, or those who have lost their
Sanskrit) are
  For another, the ease with which diacriticals can be added
​using modern technology ​
makes it inexcusable to leave them out. (In the the 80s, using one of the
first personal word processing systems, I still had to add them in by hand
​ for my dissertation​

Last but not least Sanskrit words are not
at all without the diacriticals.  E.g., the letters "ṭ" and "t" are really
not the same
​mashing them up into
a single "t"
​ is nothing more than a misrepresentation, and
not using diacriticals turns the 48 sounds/letters of Sanskrit into
something they are not.

So, yes.  It is distracting
​ not to have them​
, a
​I think a lot
 more. I would demand the
​employment of ​
diacriticals of any scholar who uses Sanskrit.
​ ​



On Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 12:13 PM, Jeffery Long via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

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> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Jeffery Long <dharmaprof108 at yahoo.com>
> To: Indology List <indology at list.indology.info>
> Cc:
> Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2016 16:12:54 +0000 (UTC)
> Subject: Question on Diacritical Marks
> Dear Colleagues,
> I have a somewhat delicate question on which I would appreciate your
> candid opinions.
> Imagine a doctoral dissertation in the field of philosophy.  The
> primary audience for this dissertation is other philosophers, most of whom
> are likely to have little or no expertise in the field of Indology.  The
> dissertation does, however, engage quite extensively with Indic
> philosophical traditions and texts, and does so in a serious and
> responsible fashion.  Because the author him or herself is also, however,
> primarily a philosopher and not an Indologist, s/he does not deploy
> diacritical marks in presenting Sanskrit terms.
> How would such a dissertation be regarded by most of you?  Would the
> non-use of diacritical marks alone disqualify this work from being taken
> seriously?  (My own reaction: I would personally find it distracting and
> irritating, but not disqualifying if the scholarship were otherwise sound.)
>  Your thoughts?
> With thanks in advance,
> Jeff
> Dr. Jeffery D. Long
> Professor of Religion and Asian Studies
> Elizabethtown College
> Elizabethtown, PA
> https://etown.academia.edu/JefferyLong
> Series Editor, *Explorations in Indic Traditions: Theological, Ethical,
> and Philosophical*
> Lexington Books
> Consulting Editor, Sutra Journal
> http://www.sutrajournal.com
> "One who makes a habit of prayer and meditation will easily overcome all
> difficulties and remain calm and unruffled in the midst of the trials of
> life."  (Holy Mother Sarada Devi)

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