[INDOLOGY] sanskrit and computers?

Dean Michael Anderson eastwestcultural at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 12 14:44:52 UTC 2020

 As someone who is familiar with both Sanskrit and professional computer programming, I'd say that any contribution of Sanskrit is more likely to be from an abstract level of thinking deeply about language rather than any kind of direct application of Sanskrit as a programming language. 

In fact, one of the very things that makes Sanskrit such a fascinating language for philosophy and poetry -- its ability to have multiple meanings and nuance -- are the things which make it unsuitable for computers, as least in a simplistic application. At the moment, computers don't do nuance very well.
Here is a link to the Briggs article:

    On Sunday, April 12, 2020, 7:14:56 PM GMT+5:30, Antonia Ruppel via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:  
 Dear Patrick,
This is something I have been engaging with on and off, partly to see whether one can actually do anything with the idea, but mostly to use it as a hook with which to get people to think about their conceptions of what language is and what it can be used for.
I am not aware of anything cogent by any stretch of the imagination, but I've attached an article about Sanskrit use for NLP that I've sometimes seen referred to as 'proof' that this is a respectable/serious subject for academic study. (It is IEEE, but from the proceedings of a conference rather than one of their own (prestigious) publications.) 
You already mention Briggs' article; I am curious to hear what else people may be able to contribute. This is mentioned so often that there *have* to be some efforts to make more of the idea.
All the very best,     Antonia

On Sun, 12 Apr 2020 at 11:27, patrick mccartney via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

Dear Friends, I'm wondering if I might be directed towards any objective discussion specifically related to Sanskrit and computers.To give some more context, this is an evolving component of my Imagining Sanskritland project. It links in with assertions like Sanskrit is the "language of the rural masses." The idea that Sanskrit is the best language for computing holds particular currency. I'm keen to look into it more. I'm guessing most are likely aware of the factoids circulating, which are ultimately based on the infamously disembedded NASA article by Rick Brigg's from 1985. It is consistently recycled as a means to justify several cultural nationalist assertions, one being that Sanskrit is the most "computerable" language. To illustrate, here is a very recent assertion, 

The language deserves to be treated much better than it has been so far, more so when it has been called the best ‘computerable’ language. Sanskrit’s credentials to be a language of future India are definitely better and greater than we have realised so far. Its revival will not only renew and revive the pride in our own cultural heritage, but will also bring about spiritualism and the concept of a meaningful society and polity, thereby bringing order and peace all across the country, a desideratum for any developed society. 
Since I'm not in any way a computer scientist, I'm curious to learn from members of the list. I have found many articles from obscure online journals and countless blogs that repeat the same things, quite often copy and pasted...just like the "Sanskrit-speaking" village rumors. 

I'm not, necessarily, curious about the intricacies of using technology to understand Sanskrit's grammar or digitize the humanities, but, rather, the aspiration to apply it to other machine learning/AI projects that compete with other conlangs specific to the task of coding. However, what I'm ultimately looking for is cogent discussion of the sociological side of this phenomenon, if it exists. 

Any advice is appreciated. :-)

All the best,

パトリック マッカートニー
Patrick McCartney, PhDResearch Affiliate - Organization for Identity and Cultural Development (OICD), Kyoto
Research Associate - Nanzan University Anthropological Institute, Nagoya, JapanVisiting Fellow - South and South-east Asian Studies Department, Australian National UniversityMember - South Asia Research Institute (SARI), Australian National University
Skype / Zoom - psdmccartneyPhone + Whatsapp + Line:  +61410644259Twitter - @psdmccartney @yogascapesinjap
 Yogascapes in Japan Academia Linkedin Modern Yoga Research
bodhapūrvam calema ;-)



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