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The Sanskrit Language

445 Pages · 2009 · 19.2 MB · English

  • The Sanskrit Language

    PREFACE


    The discovery of the Sanskrit language by European scholars


    at the end of the eighteenth century was the starting point from


    which developed the study of the comparative philology of the


    Indo-European languages and eventually the whole science of


    modern! linguistics. In spite of this there does not exist in


    English :~ny book presenting a systematic account of Sanskrit


    in its relation to the other Indo-European languages. One may


    even go further and say that there is no work in any language


    which adequately fulfils this purpose. Wackernagel's great


    work, begun sixty years ago, still remains to be completed,


    although, with the recent appearance of a further instalment,


    its completion has been brought nearer. Thumb's Handbuch


    des Sanskrit which was of service to manygenerations of students


    is now very much dated, and always fell between the two


    stools of trying to be an elementary text-book of Sanskrit and


    a treatise on its comparative grammar at the same time.


    On account of its antiquity and well-preserved structure


    Sanskrit is of unique importance for the study of Indo-European,


    and an up-to-date account of its comparative grammar is


    necessary, not only to students of Sanskrit itself, but also to


    those interested in any branch of Indo-European philology.


    Consequently when I was asked to contribute a book on


    Sanskrit to the series The Great Languages, it ¥Vas clear that by


    concentrating on the study of Sanskrit from this point of view


    the greatest need would be met. This is particularly true since


    for the history of Indo-Aryan inside India, from Sanskrit down


    to modern times, students already have at their disposal the


    excellent work of Jules Bloch.


    Providing a reliable account of Sanskrit in its relation to


    Indo-European is at the present moment not altogether a simple


    matter. Forty years ago there existed a generally agreed docxad


    trine of Indo-European theory wpich had been systematically


    presented in the early years of the century in Brugmann's


    Grundriss. At that time it would merely have been a question


    v vi PREFACE


    of adopting this corpus of agreed doctrine to the needs of the


    student and general reader. and of the particular language


    described. Since then theJiiscovery of Hittite has revolutionxad


    ised Indo-European studies and a considerable part of the older


    theory has been unable to stand up to the new evidence.


    Consequently Indo-European studies can now be said to be in


    a state of flux. New theories have appeared, and are clearly


    necessary but the process is not yet completed. There IS no


    I


    generally received body of doctrine replacing the old. and many


    of the fundamental points at issue remain disputed. Furtherxad


    more attention has tended to be largely concentrated on


    phonetic questions raised by Hittite, and matters of morphoxad


    logy. on which its evidence is also of fundamental importance.


    have been less exhaustively studied.


    In th/.:se circumstances I have attempted to present a reasonxad


    ably consistent account of the comparative grammar of Sanskrit


    based on the evaluation of the new evidence. A work like this


    is not the .place to enter into discussion of the various conflicting


    theories that are in the field. if only for reasons of space. and


    bibliographical references have been systematically omitted.


    What has been written in recent years on these problems has


    been taken into account, and such theories as appear acceptable


    are incorporated in this exposition. It is hoped that it will go


    some way to providing ,an up-to-date synthesis of a subject


    which in its present state is hardly accessible outside the widely


    scattered specialist literature.


    The study of Sanskrit has advanced recently in another direcxad


    tion also. Investigation of the influence of the pre-Aryan


    languages of India on Sanskrit and on Indo-Aryan in its later


    stages, has shown that this is considerable and solid results


    have been achieved. As far as the structure of the language is


    concerned, particularly in its early stage, which is the only one


    relevant to the comparative study of Indo-European. this influxad


    ence hardly counts at alL On the other hand in the field of


    vocabulary it is very important that the Indo-European and


    non-Indo-European elements should be separated. The last


    chapter of the book contains a summary of the main findings


    on the part of the subject so far as established at the present


    stage. Future work will no doubt add more.


    T. BURROW ~


    PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION


    A number of alterations to the text of the The Sanskrit Language


    have been made in this edition, the principal ones being as


    follows. In Chapter I the latter part of Section 6 has been


    rewritten to conform with the now prevailing opinion that the


    Aryan vestiges of the ancient Near East are to be connected


    specifically with Indo-Aryan. Also rewritten are Section II and


    t, (in part) Section 17 of Chapter III to take account of the


    conclusions reached on those topics in the articles of mine which


    are quoted in the Appendix. Chapter VIII has been renamed


    Loanwords in Sanskrit, so that loanwords from Greek and


    Iranian (Section 2) can be dealt with in it as well as loanwords


    from AustIo-Asiatic and Dravidian (Section I). The list of


    loanwords from Dravidian in this chapter has been shortened by


    the omission of some items now considered to. be false or


    dubious,


    At the'.end an Appendix has been added containing references


    to the rrla~t important contributions to the subject which have


    appeared since 1955, and also some supplementary notes.


    September I972 T. BURROW


    ". #


    vii .r.


    CONTENTS


    PREFACE page v


    1. SANSKRIT AND INDO-EUROPEAN I


    II. OUTLINES OF THE HISTORY OF SANSKRIT 35


    III. PHONO'LOGY 67


    \xad


    IV. THE FORMATION OF NOUNS 118


    V. THE DECLENSION OF NOUNS 220


    VI. NUMEHALS, PRONOUNS, INDECLINABLES 258


    vn. THE VERB 289


    VIII. LOANWORDS IN SANSKRIT 374


    APPENDIX TO THE THIRD EDITION 390


    SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 399


    INDEX 402


    ,.


    ix CHAPTER I


    SANSKRIT AND INDO-EUROPEAN


    § 1. INDO-ARYAN AND INDO-IRANIAN


    .


    In the greater part of India today languages are spoken which


    :1.


    are derived from a single form of speech which was introduced


    into India by invaders from the north-west more than three


    thousand years ago. The invading peoples were known in their


    own language as iirya-, a word which is also commonly used as


    an adjective meaning' noble, honourable '. Behind them in


    Central Asia remained kindred peoples who eventually occupied


    the plateau of Iran, as well as large tracts of Central Asia.


    These peoples used the same name of themselves, in Av estan


    airya-. and from the genitive plural of this word the modern


    name Iran is ultimately derived. In conformance with this


    usage the term A ryan is now used as the common name of these


    peoples and their languages; alternatively the term Indoxad


    Iranian is commonly used. To distinguish the Indian branch


    from the Iranian, the term Indo-Aryan has been coined, and as


    applied to language, it covers the totality of languages and


    dialects derived fronl this source from the earliest times to the


    present day. It is practical to distinguish three periods, Old,


    Middle and Modern Indo-Aryan. The classical form of Old


    Indo-Aryan eventually came to be designated by the term


    Sa1JZskrta- meaning · polished, cultivated, correct (according to


    the rules of grammar) " in contradistinction to Priikrta the


    speech of the uneducated masses, which was the same Indoxad


    Aryan in origin, but was subject to a process of steady change


    and evolution. As a term to distinguish Indo-Aryan from the


    non-Aryan languages the adjective arya-· was used in opposition


    to mlecchd- ' barbarian '. In addition we may note that one of


    the terms for' speech', bhiirati (sc. viik) had originally an ethnic


    sense, meaning' language of the Bharatas


    ',1


    1 At an early period the most prominent of the Indo~Aryan trillf's. whence


    also the indigenous name of India bhiirata(-lIar-?a). 2 SANSKRIT AND INDO-EUROPEAN


    Sanskrit in its narrower sense applies to standard classical


    Sanskrit as regulated by the grammarians but may be conxad


    veniently used'more widely as equivalent to Old Indo-Aryan.


    In this sense it covers both classical Sanskrit and the prexad


    classical or Vedic language. Middle Indo-Aryan, that is Prakrit


    in the widest sense of the term, comprises three successive


    stages of developmen.t: (r) The earliest stage is represented in


    literature by P

    Thera-vada school of Buddhism. This is a language of the cenxad


    turies immediately preceding the Christian era. On the same


    level of development are the various dialects recorded in the


    inscriptions of Asoka (c. 250 B.C.), and also the language of other


    early inscriptions. (2) Prakrit in the narrower sense of the word,


    or Standard Literary Prakrit, represents the stage of developxad


    ment reached some centuries after the Christian era. It is


    found mainly in the Drama and in the religious writings of the


    Jains. The various literary forms of Prakrit were stabilised by


    grammarians at this period and, as a written language, it rexad


    mains essentially unchanged during the succeeding centuries.


    (3) Apabhrarpsa is known from texts of the tenth century A.D.


    but as a literary language it was formed some centuries earlier.


    It represents the final stage of Middle Indo-Aryan, the one


    immediately preceding the emergence of the Modem Indoxad


    Aryan languages. The Modern languages, Bengali, Hindi,


    Gujarati, Marathi, etc., begin to be recorded from about the end


    of the first millennium A.D., and from then their development can


    be followed as they gradually acquire their present-day form.


    Thus we have before us in India three thousand years of


    continuous linguistic history, recorded in literary documents.


    During the course of this period a single, and originally alien


    idiom has spread over the greater part of the country, and,


    evolving by slow degrees, has resulted in the various languages


    now spoken in Northern and Central India. Enormous changes


    have taken place during this time, and the languages we meet


    today are very different indeed frOITl the ancient speech


    spoken by the invading Aryan tribes. Nevertheless the docuxad


    ment:ltion available enables us to follow in detail the various


    intermediate stages of development and to observe how.


    by changes hardly noticeable from generation to generation, an


    original language has altered into descendant languages which


    superficially at any rate, are now barely recognisable as the same. SANSKRIT AND INDO-EUROPEAN 3


    The earliest document of the linguistic history of Indoxad


    Aryan is the lJgveda, which, by rough guess-work, is placed in


    the region of 1000 B.C. The language we find there is the source


    from which all later developments in India have arisen. But


    this language itself had evolved out of a yet earlier form of


    speech, by precisely the same kind of slow change and alteraxad


    tion which caused it to evolve later into something else. This


    earlier evolution is unrecorded by any direct documentation,


    but it can be reconstructed in considerable detail by means of


    comparison with related languages. By this method two stages


    in the prehistory of the language can be established: (1) By


    comparison of early Indo-Aryan with the very closely related


    Iraniallr it is possible to form a fairly accurate idea of the


    original Indo-Iranian or Aryan language from which both have


    evolved. {z} By comparing Indo-Aryan and Iranian with the


    other Indo-European languages (enumerated below) it is P()Sxad


    sible atso togo beyond this, and to reconstruct in general outxad


    line the characteristics of the original language from which all


    these are derived.


    Since Iranian in view of its very close relationship with Indoxad


    Aryan is of the first importance for the study of Indo-Aryan


    philology, a short account of its distribution and documentation


    is desirable. The migration of the Indo-Aryans to India brought


    about, or perhaps was the final stage of, the separation of the


    primitive Aryan community into two distinct divisions which


    henceforth evolved separately in linguistic as in other respects.


    The Iranians left behind in the region of the Ox us valley


    1


    proceeded to expand rapidly in various directions, occupying


    not only the Iranian plateau which remaint;d -their centre of


    gravity, but also large tracts of Central Asia, extending on the


    one hand to the confines of China and on the other hand to the


    plains of South Russia. From an early period Iranian showed a


    much stronger tendency to differentiation into separate dialects


    which soon became independent languages than was the case


    with Indo-Aryan, which for geographical and other reasons


    maintained a comparative unity over most of North India for


    a very long period.


    For the old period Iranian is represented by documents in


    Avestan and Old Persian, and it is these texts which are of


    1 A recollection ofChorasmia as their original home is preserved in the


    traditions of the ancient Iranians.


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