The literary dialects spanned by a vast period starting from the early Vedic to the Classical Sanskrit are placed under one linguistic period called Old Indo-Aryan. However, the language of all these literary texts is not uniform. The language of the Epics differs from that of the Vedic and of Classical Sanskrit. The Epic peculiarities have been explained as irregularities or un-Paninian forms. The language of the Epics, in fact, represents a particular variety of popular Sanskrit which was current much earlier than Panini's time. Epic language shares a number of Middle Indo-Aryan features. Various scholars expressed in the past the need for a systematic and exhaustivs study of the language of the Epics. Such a study will greatly contribute to our understanding of the history of the syntax of Indo-Aryan and also increase our knowledge of Middle Indo-Aryan.
The present work makes a comparative study of the peculiarities of the Epic language with that of the Vedic on the one hand and Middle Indo-Aryan on the other, in the introduction. Besides giving a detailed description of the Epic language, this work points out, at relevant places, the Epic peculiarities and idioms which differ from those noted down by Panini. This work, it is hoped, will fulfil a long-felt need.
This book is a revised version of my thesis submitted to the University of Pune in 1963 and approved by the University for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1964. Grateful acknowledgement is due to the authorities of the University of pune for permission to publish the thesis.
I wish to record my gratitude to all those who helped me in some way or other while I prepared my thesis and also during the time of its publication.
I am greatly indebted to Professor M. A. Mehendale, Deccan College, Pune, under whose guidance and supervision, I worked for my Ph.D. Degree. I am extremely grateful for his unfailing help and encouragement. I am also thankful to the authorities of Deccan College and the staff of the library for affording me all facilities in connection with my research work.
I am very grateful to Professor S. Gopal for his interest in getting this book published. Dr. B. D. Chattopadhyaya deserves my most sincere thanks for helping me in reading the proofs with great care.
My thanks are also due to Ms. Himansu Prabha Ray for helping me in reading the proofs.
I am very thankful to all those scholars whose works I have referred to in this work.
The accents are not marked in the Vedic examples cited in the book due to the non-availa-bility of proper types. Mahabharata references are from the critical edition (Sabh5parvan by Franklin Edgerten and Udyogaparvan by Sushi! Kumar De) and Ramayana) references are from Nirnayasagar edition with the commentary Tilaka of Rama by Wasudev Laxman Sastri Pansikar.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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