[INDOLOGY] Transmission of sanskrit grammatical concepts/terminology to Europe

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Thu Apr 11 03:53:23 UTC 2019

Dear Adriano,
Apart from Frits Staal's *A Reader on the Sanskrit Grammarians* (Cambridge,
MIT 1972), one could mention among many other publications Staal's *Universals:
Studies in Indian logic and linguistics* (Chicago 1988), and Prof. Rosane
Rocher's *La Théorie des voix du verbe dans l'école pāṇinéenne* (Bruxelles
1968) and her "The concept of the verbal root in Indian grammar" in
of Language* 5, pp. 73-82.
In a forthcoming volume ed. by Axel Michaels and Christoph Wulf
(proceedings of the Delhi 2015 conference on "Scientification and Scientism
in the Humanities"), I contributed an article "The Art of Grammar"
discussing the 'scientification' in the reception of the Sanskrit
grammatical knowledge system in Europe and in modern linguistics, and
observed, *inter alia*:
"On the rules, skilfully formulated by several generations of grammarians
up to Pāṇini, a formalism was superimposed and finally brought to
perfection by Pāṇini. Behind it, the skilful and even artful choices of
description all but disappeared except to the discerning eye of a few
critical thinkers, including the earliest great grammarian-philosopher in
the Pāṇinian tradition, Bhartṛhari (fifth century CE), who at a few
occasions emphasised the ‘arbitrariness’ of the descriptive choices. The
formalism is, moreover, not everywhere equally strict and becomes even
occasionally sketchy where the archaic language of the Vedic texts is
concerned (Thieme 1935). In contrast, in the Greek and Hellenic worlds the
grammar of Dionysius Thrax (second century BC), which was indeed much less
profound in its linguistic analysis – no concept of the verbal root, for
instance, had ever been applied to the ancient Greek language until this
was done by Franz Bopp and other linguists of the 19th century inspired by
the dhātu of Sanskrit grammarians – and which lacked the formal
sophistication of Pāṇini, did not hide its nature as an art, and was known
under the title of Art of Grammar, the τέχνη γραμματική (Kemp 1986; Law &
Sluiter 1995)."
Best regards, Jan


*Jan E.M. Houben*

Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology

*Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite*

École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, PSL - Université Paris)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

54, rue Saint-Jacques, CS 20525 – 75005 Paris

*johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr <johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr>*

*johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu <johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>*


On Thu, 11 Apr 2019 at 01:31, Adriano Aprigliano via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> I'm looking for articles and/or books dealing with the transmission of
> sanskrit/paninian concepts/terminology to Europe. Terms such as root, afix
> and the like I have been hearing for long were calques from sanskrit
> grammar terms (dhaatu, pratyaya...), but never went as far as to dig the
> exact sources that brought them in. Now a student of morphology here in São
> Paulo asks for my help to find them.
> I'd appreciate your help.
> Thanks
> Adriano
> *Prof. Dr. Adriano Aprigliano*
> Língua e Literatura Latina - DLCV - FFLCH
> Universidade de São Paulo
> Gabinete 30, tel.: 3091 2065
> Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 403 CEP: 05508-900
> Cidade Universitária, São Paulo - SP / Brasil
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