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Sanskrit Grammar

Sanskrit Grammar
Item Code: NAZ446
Author: William Dwight Whitney
Publisher: Bharatiya Granth Niketan
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 9788189211028
Pages: 552
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.73 kg

In preparing a new edition of this grammar, I have made use of the new material gathered by myself during the intervening years,** and also of that gathered by others, ec far-as it was accessible to me and fitted into my plan; aad I have had the benefit of kind suggestions from various Quarters — for all of which I desire to return a grateful acknowledgment. By such help, I have been able not only te correct and repair certain errors and omissions of the First edition. but also to speak with more definiteness upon very many points relating to the material and usages of the language.

In order not to impair the applicability of the referen- ces already made to the work by various authors, its para- graphing has been retained unchanged throughout; for in- creased convenience of further reference, the subdivisions of paragraphs have been more thoroughly marked, by letters ‘now and then changing a former lettering); and the par- agraph-numbers have been set at the outer instead of the inner edge of the upper margin.

My remoteness from the place of publication has for- bidden me the reading of more than one proof; but the kindness of Professor Lanman in adding his revision (ac- companied by other timely suggestions; to mine, and the care of the printers, will be found, I trust, to have aided in securing a text disfigured by few errors of the press.

Circumstances beyond my control have delayed for a year or two the completion of this revision, and have made it in some parts less complete than I should have desired.



. It seems desirable to give here such a sketch of the history of Indian literature as shall show the relation to one another of the different periods and forms of the lan- guage treated in the following grammar, and the position of the works there quoted.

The name "Sanskrit" ‘sarnskrta, 1087 d, adorned, elab- orated, perfected), which is popularly applied to the whole ancient and sacred language of India, belongs more properly only to that dialect which, regulated and established by the labors of the native grammarians, has led for the last two theusand years or more an artificial life, like that of the Latin during most of the same period in Europe, as the written and spoken means of communication of the learned and priestly caste; and which even at the present day fills that office. It is thus distinguished, on the one hand, from the later and derived dialects — as the Prakrit, forms of language which have datable monuments from as early as the third century before Christ, and. which are represented by inscriptions and coins, by the speech of the uneducated characters in the Sanskrit dramas ‘see below), and by 4 limited literature; the Pali, a Prakritic dialect which became the sacred language of Buddhism in Farther India. and is still in service there as such; and yet later and more altered tongues forming the transition to the languages of modern India. And, on the other hand, it is distinguished, but very much less sharply and widely, from the older dialects or forms of speech presented in the canonical literature, the Veda and Brahmana.

This fact, of the fixation by learned treatment of an authorized mode of expression, *which should thenceforth be used aceording to rule in the intercourse of the educated, is the cardinal one in Indian linguistic history; and as the native grammatical literature has determined the form of the language,- so it has also to a large extent determined the grammatical treatment of the language by European scholars.

Much in the history of the learned movement is still obscure, and opinions are at variance even as to points of prime consequence. Only the concluding works in the devel- opment of the grammatical science have been preserved to us; and though. they are evidently the perfected fruits of a long series of learned labors, the records of the latter are lost beyond recovery. The time and ‘the place of the cre- ation of Sanskrit are unknown; and as to its occasion, we have only our inferences and conjectures to rely upon. It seems, however, altogether likely that the grammatical sense of the ancient Hindus was awakened in great measure by their study of the traditional sacred texts, and by their com- parison of its different language with that of contemporary use. It is certain that the grammatical study of those texts (gakhas, lit’ly branches), phonetic and other, was zealously and effectively followed in the Brahmanic schools; this is attested by our possession of a number of phonetico-gram- matical treatises, pratigikhyas (prati gaikham Jelonging to each several text:, each having for subject one principal Vedic text, and noting all its peculiarities of form; these, both by the depth and exactness of their own researches and by the number of authorities which they quote, speak plainly of a lively scientific activity continued during a long time. What-part, on the other hand, the notice of differ- ences between the correct speech of the learned and the altered dialects of the vulgar may have borne in the same movement is not easy to determine; but it is not customary that a language has its proper usages fixed by rule until the danger is distinctly felt of its undergoing corruption.

The labors of the general school of Sanskrit grammar reached a climax in the grammarian Panini, whose text-book, containing the facts of the language cast into the highly artful and difficult form of about four thousand algebraic- formula-like rules (in the statement and arrangement of which brevity alone is had in view, at the cost of distinct- ness and unambiguousness), became for all after time the authoritative, almost sacred, norm of correct speech. Re- specting his period, nothing really definite and trustworthy is known; but he is with much probability held to have lived some time (two to four centuries) before the Christian era. He has had commentators in abundance, and has under- gone at their hands some measure of amendment and com- pletion; but he has not been overthrown or superseded. The chief and most authoritative commentary on his work is that called the M&habhishya great comment, by Patanjali.

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