Update: 2015-12-18 10:08 PM -0500


Language and thought


A collection by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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UKT 151214 : To use the computer search engines, I have to take out the diacritics from Skt-Dev words. Note also that in Bur-Myan, Mon-Myan, Pal-Myan, and Skt-Dev, we do not use capital letters at the beginning of sentences and in proper names. Use of capital letters is derived from English usage which makes transcription within BEPS languages unnecessarily complex.

Language and thought
Sanskrit philopsophy of language
  Sphoṭa : the doctrine of meaning
History : Western contribution on Language and Thought
Scientific theories
Linguistic relativity : Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis


UKT notes
Benjamin Whorf (1897-1941)
Bhartṛhari {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.} 
Jerome Bruner
nirukta (Etymology)
Panini पाणिनि «pāṇini» {pa-Ni.ni.} - the first Classical Sanskrit linguist
Patanjali पतञ्जलि «patañjali» {pa.tiñ~za.li.}
vyākaraṇa {bya-ka.ra.Na.}
Yaska यास्कः «yāska» {ya-Ska.}/ {yaaþ~ka.} - the last Vedic linguist

Noteworthy passages in this file: (always check with the original section from which they are taken.)
• Yaska यास्कः «yāska » {ya-Ska.} (around 7th c. BCE) claimed that all nouns are ultimately derived from some verbal root. This process is reflected in the Sanskrit grammar as the system of krit - प्रत्यय «pratyaya» or verbal affixes.
-- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Śākaṭāyana 090805
-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C4%81ka%E1%B9%AD%C4%81yana 151218
• According to Edward Sapir: "No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached." No doubt this position was well understood by Gautama Buddha, when he proscribed the use of Sanskrit as the medium of preaching his dhamma.
See Language problem of primitive Buddhism, by Chi Hisen-lin - lang-probl.htm 

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Language and thought

Excerpt from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_and_thought 090827.
Note: "Language and thought" is also the title of a book by Lev Semenovich Vygotsky.

A variety of different authors, theories and fields purport influences between language and thought.

Many point out the seemingly common-sense realization that upon introspection we seem to think in the language we speak. A number of writers and theorists have extrapolated upon this idea.

UKT: Let's not argue about the phrase "we seem to think in the language we speak." By "language" we mean the human language not the machine language. And by "human language" we mean the sign language as well.
   One of the earliest written records of a signed language occurred in the fifth century BC, in Plato's Cratylus [UKT: see the accompanying file - crat.htm], where Socrates says: "If we hadn't a voice or a tongue, and wanted to express things to one another, wouldn't we try to make signs by moving our hands, head, and the rest of our body, just as dumb people do at present?" It seems that groups of deaf people have used signed languages throughout history.
   Of course, we now accept that higher animals can think, which means they have some sort of a language. -- UKT 101203
Now let's see what Second Language (L2) acquisition and teaching workers have to say on the subject. I am lifting the following from Principles of Language Learning and Teaching , 4th. ed., by H. Douglas Brown, Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., ISBN 0-13-017816-0 . On page 037-038, Brown writes:

For years researchers have probed the relationship between language and cognition [meaning]. The behavioristic view that cognition is too mentalistic to be studied by the scientific method is diametrically opposed to such positions as that of Piaget (1972), who claimed that cognitive development is at the very center of the human organism and that language is dependent upon and springs from cognitive development.

Others emphasized the influence of language on cognitive development. Jerome Bruner (Bruner, Olver, & Greenfield 1966), for example, singled out sources of language-influenced intellectual development: words shaping concepts, dialogues between parent and child or teacher and child serving to orient and educate, and other sources. Vygotsky (1962, 1978) also differed from Piaget in claiming that social interaction, through [{p038begin}] language, is a prerequisite to cognitive development. Thought and language were seen as two distinct cognitive operations that grow together (Schinke-Uano 1993). Moreover, every child reaches his or her potential development, in part, through social interaction with adults and peers. Vygotsky's zone of proximal development is the distance between a child's actual cognitive capacity and the level of potential development (Vygotsky 1978: 86).

One of the champions of the position that language affects thought was Benjamin Whorf, who with Edward Sapir formed the well-known Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity -- namely, that each language imposes on its speaker a particular "world view." (See Chapter 7 for more discussion of the Sapir-Whorl hypothesis.)

The issue at stake in child language acquisition is to determine how thought affects language, how language affects thought, and how linguists can best describe and account for the interaction of the two. While we do not have complete answers, it is clear that research has pointed to the fact that cognitive and linguistic development are inextricably intertwined with dependencies in both directions. And we do know that language is away of life, is at the foundation of our being, and interacts simultaneously with thoughts and feelings.


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Sanskrit philosophy of language

 UKT: The earliest Eastern linguists (or grammarians) were those of Iron Age India (fl. roughly 8th c. BCE):
  • Pāṇini पाणिनि «pāṇini» {pa-Ni.ni.} (circa 5th c. BCE)
  • Śākaṭāyana शाकटायन «śākaṭāyana» {þa-ka.Ta-ya.na.}
  • Yāska (यास्कः) {yaaþ~ka.} (around 7th c. BCE).

It is probable that Gautama Buddha (563?-483? B.C.) would have known the works of  Śākaṭāyana (शाकटायन) and Yāska (यास्कः).

UKT151216: Though Myanmar is well-known as a Theravada {hté-ra.wa-da.} Buddhist country, there are presence of elements of other brands of Buddhism. See ¤ Folk Elements in Buddhism -- flk-ele-indx.htm (link chk 151216)

Theravada {hté-ra.wa-da.} was popularly known at one time as Hinayana {hi-na. ya-na.} - the Lesser Vehicle of Deliverance. Another brand of Buddhism, almost unknown in Myanmar is Mahayana {ma.ha ya-na.} - the Greater Vehicle of Deliverance. The third form, which may be termed Wajrayana {waiz~za ya.na.} is probably the remnant of the "good practices" of Arigyis of pre-Anawrahta days of Ancient Pagan. The practices of casting of the runes {ing:} and Burmese Astrology are probably the remnants of this brand of Buddhism which probably predates the historical Buddha - probably harking back to the Indus Valley Civilization 3300-1700BCE. This observation of mine should be checked by Myanmar historians. Another brand of Buddhism we should be looking into is the Newar Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. The following is an excerpt from: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newar_Buddhism 100729

"Newar Buddhism is the form of Mahayana- Vajrayana Buddhism practiced by the Newar ethnic community of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. It has developed unique socio-religious elements, which include a non-monastic Buddhist society based on a caste system and patrilinial descent. The ritual priests, Bajracharya or Vajracharya, and their Shakya assistants form the non-celibate religious sangha while other Buddhist Newar castes serve as the laity."

The following were linguists (or grammarians) of later periods:
Patañjali (पतञ्जलि) {pa.tiñ-za.li.} (fl. 150 BCE or 2nd c. BCE)
Bhartṛhari (4th c. AD)

It is imperative for us to study their works because of their influence on the Burmese-Myanmar (Bur-Myan) and Pali-Myanmar (Pal-Myan) languages.

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sphoṭa स्फोट  m. burst - SpkSkt
Skt-Devan: स्फोट = स ् फ ो ट --> {þ~hpau:Ta.}

Note the {þ} aka 'killed {þa.}' at the beginning of the syllable which would be difficult for a Bur-Myan to pronounce. However, a {S} aka 'killed {sa.}' would not be difficult to pronounce for those have been exposed to English sounds. Therefore, I have to change  {þ~hpau:Ta.} --> {s~hpau:Ta.} .

This at once brings up the possibility of a further change {s~hpau:Ta.} --> {z~hpau:Ta.}. This brings to my mind to look up Bur-Myan {zau:}

Bur-Myan: {zau:} n. surge of emotion, passion. (Pal: {za.wa.na.}) - MED150
Pal-Myan: {za.wa.na.} - - UHS-PMD0410

I still need to look up for a Pal-Myan equivalent. - UKT101126


From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphota 090725

Sphoṭa (literally "bursting, opening") is an important concept in Sanskrit philosophy of language, relating to the problem of speech production, how the mind orders linguistic units into coherent discourse.


Early concept of sphoṭa

The concept of sphoṭa changed considerably over two millennia of linguistic thought. Two sources have been proposed for the origin of the term - that it was initially proposed by Sphoṭāyana, [see my note on vyākaraṇa ], an ancient grammarian referred to in Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni.} (see my note); or that it was developed by some author before Patañjali, and is etymologically derived from the root √sphuṭ 'to burst'. Yāska, in his Nirukta (1.1), says that language is eternal in the faculties, where Audumbarāyaṇa is another ancient grammarian. Based on this, some scholars, feel that the idea may owe something to Audumbarāyana [1]. Possibly some of the ideas were in the air, though Pāṇini himself never discusses it.

UKT: The root √sphuṭ 'to burst' does not signify a destructive explosion. It signifies (to me), something coming out of the unknown - like a spring of water coming out from the bowels of the earth: like Spring flowers bursting out of the "dead" frozen earth which had been dead throughout the Winter - the Winter of the Himalayan highlands. - UKT101107

The preceding Wikipedia paragraph mentions two grammarians with the name ending of yana/yaṇa : Sphoṭāyana and Audumbarāyaṇa . Since यान  yāna means 'vehicle' as in Hinayana {hi-na. ya-na.}, Mahayana {ma.ha ya-na.}, and Wajrayana {waiz~za ya.na.}, is it possible that Sphoṭāyana and Audumbarāyana were not historical personages but "deliverance" philosophies and their practices. Another personage I have come to doubt was Śākaṭāyana (शाकटायन) . SpkSkt (Dictionary) does not list yana : it listed only yāna . I hope some Indologist would come to my aid. - UKT101107

• यान  yāna  n.  wagon, travel, journey, marching, riding, van, moving, vehicle, going - SktSpk
• शकट  śakaṭa  m. coach, chaise. n. carriage. n.m. cart - SpkSkt

• वज्रयान  vajrayāna  n. one of the three major Buddhist schools - SktSpk
• वज्र  vajra  adj. hard, adamant. m. weapon of Indra  n.m. thunderbolt [Indra's weapon] - SktSpk

According to Patañjali {pa.tiñ~za.li.} (2nd c. BCE), sphoṭa is the invariant quality of speech. The noisy element (dhvani, audible part) can be long or short, loud or soft, but the sphoṭa remains unaffected by individual speaker differences. Thus, a single letter or sound ('varṇa') such as /k/, /p/ or /a/ is an abstraction, distinct from variants produced in actual enunciation [2]. Patañjali gives some analogies: distance remains the same whatever means one travels along it; a drumbeat may be louder, but it remains a drumbeat, so also a sphoṭa remains unaltered however fast or loud a speaker may utter it. This concept appears to be close to the modern notion of phoneme, an abstraction for a range of sounds.

UKT: In effect, a phoneme is a group of slightly different sounds which are all perceived to have the same function by speakers of the language in question. An example of a phoneme is the /k/ sound [POA (Place of Articulation in the mouth): velar-stop] in the words <kit> and <skill>. (In transcription, phonemes are placed between slashes, as here.) -- excerpt from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoneme 090814
   Note: <kit> and <skill> are transcribed in DJPD16 in broad-transcription: /kɪt/ (DJPD16-301) and /skɪt/ (DJPD16-491).
   However, in narrow transcription they would be: [kʰɪt] and [skɪt]. [kʰ] is {hka.} and [k] is {ka.} which according to the Westerners are the allophones of /k/. Of course, we take [kʰ] {hka.} and [k] {ka.} to be different phonemes in their own rights.
   Note also that <kit> [kʰɪt] is {hkít} spelled with a "split vowel" (cf. Bengali "split vowels" - absent in Devanagari) and not {hkic} -- UKT090828

The grammarian Vyadi, author of the lost text Saṃgraha, may have developed some ideas in sphoṭa theory; in particular, he made some distinctions relevant to dhvani are referred to by Bhartṛhari.


Bhartrihari's sphota

In Bhartṛhari (4th c. AD) (see my note) the term sphoṭa takes on a finer nuance, but there is some dissension among scholars as to what Bhartṛhari intended to say. Sphoṭa retains its invariant attribute, but now its indivisibility is emphasized and it now operates at several levels.

Bhartṛhari develops this doctrine in a metaphysical setting, where he views sphoṭa as the language capability of man, revealing his consciousness [3]. Indeed, the ultimate reality is also expressible in language, the śabda-brahman, or the Eternal Verbum. Early indologists such as A. B. Keith felt that Bhartṛhari's sphoṭa was a mystical notion, owing to the metaphysical underpinning of Bhartṛhari's text, Vākyapādiya where it is discussed, but it appears to be more of a psychological notion. Also, the notion of "flash or insight" or "revelation" central to the concept also lent itself to this viewpoint. However, the modern view is that it is perhaps a more psychological distinction.

Bhartṛhari expands on the notion of sphoṭa in Patañjali, and discusses three levels:

1. varṇa-sphoṭa, at the syllable level. George Cardona feels that this remains an abstraction of sound, a further refinement on Patañjali for the concept of phoneme - now it stands for units of sound.

2. pada-sphoṭa, at the word level, and

3. vakya-sphoṭa, at the sentence level.

UKT: The following are from http://www.spokensanskrit.de/

• Skt-Dev: वर्ण  varṇa  m. letter, caste, paint, cover, coat, colour, class, character - SpkSkt
¤ Pal-Myan: {wûN~Na.} - UHS-PMD0845

• Skt-Dev: पद  pada  subject. n. part, word, token, division, footing, portion, concept, business affair,
    sign, post, place, matter, characteristic - SpkSkt
  Skt-Dev:  पाद  pāda  m.  quarter (of anything), poetical verse, foot, ray, beam, foot as a measure - SpkSkt

• Skt-Dev: वाक्य  vākya  n. legal evidence [jur.], sentence, argument [logic],
    speech, saying, words, assertion, declaration [jur.] statement - SpkSkt

In verse I.93, Bhartṛhari states that the 'sphota' is the universal or linguistic type - sentence-type or word-type, as opposed to their tokens (sounds) [2]. He makes a distinction between sphoṭa, which is whole and indivisible, and 'nāda' {na-da.}, the sound, which is sequenced and therefore divisible. The sphoṭa is the causal root, the intention, behind an utterance, in which sense is similar to the notion of lemma in most psycholinguistic theories of speech production. However, sphoṭa arises also in the listener, which is different from the lemma position. Uttering the 'nāda' induces the same mental state or sphoṭa in the listener - it comes as a whole, in a flash of recognition or intuition (pratibhā , 'shining forth') ( {pra.ti.Ba} - UKT: needs to check with Pali scholars.). This is particularly true for vakya-sphoṭa or sentence-vibration, where the entire sentence is thought of (by the speaker), and grasped (by the listener) as a whole.

UKT: "Uttering the 'nāda' induces the same mental state ..." seems to be similar to the custom of recitation of Buddhist texts in Pali-Myanmar by Burmese-Myanmar monks to induce a mental state of piety in the listeners. (Waiting for comments from my peers.) -- UKT090828

Nāda [Sk. nāda , see nadati ] loud sound, roaring, roar -- PTSDict349
Nādi (f.) =  nāda, loud sound, thundering (fig.) -- PTSDict349

• Skt-Dev: नाद  nāda  adj.  ringing [of bell etc.] - SpkSkt
¤ Pal-Myan: {na-da.} - PMD473
• Skt-Dev: नद  nada  m.  great river, river, sound - SpkSkt

• Skt-Dev: प्रतिभ  pratibha  adj.  intelligent - SpkSkt
• Skt-Dev: प्रतिभा  pratibhā  f.  understanding, genius, suitableness, shining, idea, creativity - SpkSkt 

On the other hand, the modern sanskritist S.D. Joshi feels that Bhartṛhari may not have been talking about meanings at all, but a class of sounds.

Bimal K. Matilal has tried to unify these views - he feels that for Bhartṛhari the very process of thinking involves vibrations, so that thought has some sound-like properties. Thought operates by śabdana or 'speaking', - so that the mechanisms of thought are the same as that of language. Indeed, Bhartṛhari seems to be saying that thought is not possible without language. This leads to a somewhat whorfian position [see Linguistic relativity : Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis] on the relationship between language and thought. The sphoṭa then is the carrier of this thought, as a primordial vibration.

Sometimes the nāda-sphoṭa distinction is posited in terms of the signifier-signified mapping, but this is a misconception. In traditional Sanskrit linguistic discourse (e.g. in Katyāyana), vācaka refers to the signifier, and 'vācya' the signified. The 'vācaka-vācya' relation is eternal for Katyāyana and the Mīmāṃsakas, but is conventional among the Nyāya. However, in Bhartṛhari, this duality is given up in favour of a more holistic view - for him, there is no independent meaning or signified; the meaning is inherent in the word or the sphoTa itself.

Beyond Bhartrihari

Sphoṭa theory remained widely influential in Indian philosophy of language and was the focus of much debate over several centuries. It was adopted by most of the vyakaraṇa school of grammarians, but both the Mīmāṃsā and Nyāya schools rejected it, primarily on the grounds of compositionality. Adherents of the 'sphota' doctrine were holistic or non-compositional (a-khanḍa-pakṣa), suggesting that many larger units of language are understood as a whole, whereas the Mīmāṃsakas in particular proposed compositionality (khanḍa-pakṣa). According to the former, word meanings, if any, are arrived at after analyzing the sentences in which they occur. Interestingly, this debate had many of the features animating present day debates in language over semantic holism, for example.

Skt-Devan: व्याकरण  vyākaraṇa  n.  grammar - SpkSkt
Pal-Myan: {bya-ka.ra.Na.} - - UHS-PMD0714

The Mīmāṃsakas felt that the sound-units or the letters alone make up the word. The sound-units are uttered in sequence, but each leaves behind an impression, and the meaning is grasped only when the last unit is uttered. The position was most ably stated by Kumarila Bhatta (7th c.) who argued that the 'sphoṭas' at the word and sentence level are after all composed of the smaller units, and cannot be different from their combination [4]. However, in the end it is cognized as a whole, and this leads to the misperception of the sphoṭa as a single indivisible unit. Each sound unit in the utterance is an eternal, and the actual sounds differ owing to differences in manifestation.

The Nyāya view is enunciated among others by Jayanta (9th c.), who argues against the Mīmāṃsā position by saying that the sound units as uttered are different; e.g. for the sound [g], we infer its 'g-hood' based on its similarity to other such sounds, and not because of any underlying eternal. Also, the vācaka-vācya linkage is viewed as arbitrary and conventional, and not eternal. However, he agrees with Kumarila in terms of the compositionality of an utterance.

Throughout the second millennium, a number of treatises discussed the sphoṭa doctrine. Particularly notable is Nageśabhaṭṭa's Sphotavāda (18th c.). Nageśa clearly defines sphoṭa as a carrier of meaning, and identifies eight levels, some of which are divisible.

In modern times, scholars of Bhartṛhari have included Ferdinand de Saussure, who did his doctoral work on the genitive in Sanskrit, and lectured on Sanskrit and Indo-European languages at the Paris and at the University of Geneva for nearly three decades. It is thought that he might have been influenced by some ideas of Bhartṛhari, particularly the sphoṭa debate. In particular, his description of the sign, as composed of the signifier and the signified, where these entities are not separable - the whole mapping from sound to denotation constitutes the sign, seems to have some colourings of sphoṭa in it. Many other prominent European scholars around 1900, including linguists such as Leonard Bloomfield and Roman Jakobson may have been influenced by Bhartṛhari [5].

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.
More on sphoṭa  in The Sphoṭa theory of languagespho-cwrd-indx.htm : HG. Coward, The sphoṭa theory of language : Google book preview 090904

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History : Western contribution on Language and Thought

Excerpt from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whorfian 090827

The idea that language and thought are intertwined goes back to the classical civilizations, but in the history of European philosophy the relation was not seen as fundamental. [UKT ¶]

UKT: Perhaps it might be useful to read Socrates' idea of etymology in Plato's Cratylus (5th century BC.) - crat.htm
included in this CD package.

St. Augustine for example held the view that language was merely labels applied to already existing concepts. [3] Others held the opinion that language was but a veil covering up the eternal truths hiding them from real human experience. For Immanuel Kant, language was but one of several tools used by humans to experience the world. In the late 18th and early 19th century the idea of the existence of different national characters, or "volksgeisten", of different ethnic groups was the moving force behind the German school of national romanticism and the beginning ideologies of ethnic nationalism.

In 1820 Wilhelm von Humboldt connected the study of language to the national romanticist program by proposing the view that language is the very fabric of thought, that is that thoughts are produced as a kind of inner dialog using the same grammar as the thinker's native language. [4] This view was part of a larger picture in which the world view of an ethnic nation, their "weltanschauung", was seen as being faithfully reflected in the grammar of their language. Von Humboldt argued that languages with an inflectional morphological type, such as German, English and the other Indo-European languages were the most perfect languages and that accordingly this explained the dominance of their speakers over the speakers of less perfect languages.

The German scientist Wilhelm von Humboldt declared in 1820:

The diversity of languages is not a diversity of signs and sounds but a diversity of views of the world. [4]

The idea that some languages were naturally superior to others and that the use of primitive languages maintained their speakers in intellectual poverty was wide spread in the early 20th century. [UKT ¶ ]

The American linguist William Dwight Whitney for example actively strove to eradicate the native American languages arguing that their speakers were savages and would be better off abandoning their languages and learning English and adopting a civilized way of life. [5] [UKT ¶ ]

UKT: The above views, particularly that of Whitney, smack of Nazism of the Third Reich (1933-1945) under Adolf Hitler. -- UKT 090828

The first anthropologist and linguist to challenge this view was Franz Boas who was educated in Germany in the late 19th century where he received his doctorate in physics. [6] While undertaking geographical research in northern Canada he became fascinated with the Inuit people and decided to become an ethnographer. In contrast to Humboldt, Boas always stressed the equal worth of all cultures and languages, and argued that there was no such thing as primitive languages, but that all languages were capable of expressing the same content albeit by widely differing means. Boas saw language as an inseparable part of culture and he was among the first to require of ethnographers to learn the native language of the culture being studied, and to document verbal culture such as myths and legends in the original language.

According to Franz Boas:

It does not seem likely [...] that there is any direct relation between the culture of a tribe and the language they speak, except in so far as the form of the language will be moulded by the state of the culture, but not in so far as a certain state of the culture is conditioned by the morphological traits of the language. " Boas, Franz (1911). Handbook of American Indian languages (Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 40. Washington: Government Print Office (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology).) 1.  </ref>

Boas' student Edward Sapir reached back to the Humboldtian idea that languages contained the key to understanding the differing world views of peoples. In his writings he espoused the viewpoint that because of the staggering differences in the grammatical systems of languages no two languages were ever similar enough to allow for perfect translation between them, and that because language represented reality different that also mea t that speakers of different languages perceived reality differently. According to Edward Sapir:

No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached. [7]

While Sapir never made a point of studying how languages affected the thought processes of their speakers the notion of linguistic relativity lay inherent in his basic understanding of language, and it would be taken up by his student Benjamin Lee Whorf.

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Scientific theories

Excerpt from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_and_thought 090827.

• The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in linguistics states that the structure of a mother language [L1 - the first language] influences the way adherents to it perceive the world. It has found at best very limited experimental support, at least in its strong form. For instance, a study showing that speakers of languages lacking a subjunctive mood such as Chinese experience difficulty with hypothetical problems has been discredited. However, another study has shown that subjects in memory tests are more likely to remember a given color if their mother language includes a word for that color.

UKT: As far as I know (and I know very little), the hypothesis has not been disproved. And so it still holds.

• According to Cognitive therapy, founded by Aaron T. Beck, our emotions and behavior are caused by our internal dialogue. We can change ourselves by learning to challenge and refute our own thoughts, especially a number of specific mistaken thought patterns called "cognitive distortions". Cognitive therapy has been found to be effective by empirical studies.

• In behavioral economics, according to experiments said to support the theoretical availability heuristic, people believe more probable events that are more vividly described than those which were not. Simple experiments asking people to imagine something led them to believe it to be more likely. The mere exposure effect may also be relevant to propagandistic repetition like the Big Lie. According to prospect theory, people make different economic choices based on how the matter is framed .

... ... ...

Various other schools of persuasion directly suggest using language in certain ways to change the minds of others, including oratory, advertising, debate, sales, and rhetoric. The ancient sophists discussed and listed many figures of speech such as enthymeme and euphemism. The modern public relations term for adding persuasive elements to the interpretation of and commentary on news is called spin.

UKT: More in the Wikipedia article.

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Linguistic relativity : Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Excerpt from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whorfian 090827

The linguistic relativity principle (also known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) is the idea that the varying cultural concepts and categories inherent in different languages affect the cognitive classification of the experienced world in such a way that speakers of different languages think and behave differently because of it.

The idea that linguistic structure influences the cognition of language users has bearings on the fields of anthropological linguistics, psychology, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, cognitive science, linguistic anthropology, sociology of language and philosophy of language, and it has been the subject of extensive studies in all of these fields. The idea of linguistic influences on thought has also captivated the minds of authors and creative artists inspiring numerous ideas in literature, in the creation of artificial languages and even forms of therapy such as neuro-linguistic programming.

The idea originated in the German national romantic thought of the early 19th century where language was seen as the expression of the spirit of a nation, as put particularly by Wilhelm von Humboldt. The idea was embraced by figures in the incipient school of American anthropology such as Franz Boas and Edward Sapir. Sapir's student Benjamin Lee Whorf added observations of how he perceived these linguistic differences to have consequences in human cognition and behaviour. Whorf has since been seen as the primary proponent of the principle of linguistic relativity.

Whorf's insistence on the importance of linguistic relativity as a factor in human cognition attracted opposition from many sides. Psychologist Eric Lenneberg decided to put Whorf's assumptions and assertions to the test. He formulated the principle of linguistic relativity as a testable hypothesis and undertook a series of experiments testing whether traces of linguistic relativity could be determined in the domain of color perception. In the 1960s the idea of linguistic relativity fell out of favor in the academical establishment, since the prevalent paradigm in linguistics and anthropology, personified in Noam Chomsky, stressed the universal nature of human language and cognition. When the 1969 study of Brent Berlin and Paul Kay showed that color terminology is subject to universal semantic constraints, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis was seen as completely discredited.

From the late 1980s a new school of linguistic relativity scholars, rooted in the advances within cognitive and social linguistics, have examined the effects of differences in linguistic categorization on cognition finding broad support for the hypothesis in experimental contexts. [1] Effects of linguistic relativity have been shown particularly in the domain of spatial cognition and in the social use of language, but also in the field of color perception. Recent studies have shown that color perception is particularly prone to linguistic relativity effects when processed in the left brain hemisphere, suggesting that this brain half relies more on language than the right one. [2] Currently a balanced view of linguistic relativity is espoused by most linguists holding that language influences certain kinds of cognitive processes in non trivial ways but that other processes are better seen as subject to universal factors. Current research is focused on exploring the ways in which language influences thought and determining to which extent. [1]

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UKT notes

Benjamin Whorf (1897-1941)

From Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Whorf 080221

Benjamin Lee Whorf (April 24, 1897 in Winthrop, Massachusetts – July 26, 1941) was an American linguist. Whorf, along with Edward Sapir, is best known for having laid the foundation of the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.

The son of Harry and Sarah (Lee) Whorf, Benjamin Lee Whorf graduated from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1918 with a degree in chemical engineering. Shortly thereafter, he began work as a fire prevention engineer (inspector) for the Hartford Fire Insurance Company, pursuing linguistic and anthropological studies as an avocation.
   In 1931, Whorf began studying linguistics at Yale University and soon deeply impressed Edward Sapir, who warmly supported Whorf's academic pursuits. In 1936, Whorf was appointed Honorary Research Fellow in Anthropology at Yale. In 1937, Yale awarded him the Sterling Fellowship. He was a Lecturer in Anthropology from 1937 through 1938, when he began having serious health problems.
   Whorf said that having an independent, non-academic source of income allowed him to pursue his specific academic interests more freely. Although he never took up linguistics as a profession, his contributions to the field were nevertheless profound, and have proved influential down to the present day. He disseminated his ideas not only by publishing numerous technical articles, but also by writings accessible to lay readers, and by popular lectures (reportedly, he was a captivating speaker).
   Whorf's primary area of interest in linguistics was the study of Native American languages, particularly those of Mesoamerica. He became quite well known for his work on the Hopi language, and for a theory he called the principle of linguistic relativity. Among Whorf's most fascinating findings while studying the Hopi was that: “… the Hopi language is seen to contain no words, grammatical forms, construction or expressions or that refer directly to what we call “time”, or to past, present, or future…'
   [{UKT: Why did Whorf used the word "relativity"? Was he thinking of another very famous theory with a similar name though from another discipline "General Relativity Theory" of Einstein being developed in the years 1907-1915? -- my own question 080221}].
   The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis primarily dealt with the way that language affects thought. Also sometimes called the Whorfian hypothesis, this theory claims that the language a person speaks affects the way that he or she thinks, meaning that the structure of the language itself affects cognition.
   Some of Whorf's early work on linguistics and particularly on linguistic relativity was inspired by reports he wrote on insurance losses, in which misunderstanding based on linguistic confusion had been a contributing factor. In an incident recounted in his essay " The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language," (Whorf, 1956/1997), Whorf explains how the idea of language affecting thought first came to him. Employed as an investigator for a fire insurance company, his job was to investigate the causes of industrial fires. In his own words:

"My analysis was directed toward purely physical conditions, such as defective wiring, presence of lack of air spaces between metal flues and woodwork, etc., and the results were presented in these terms. ... But in due course it became evident that not only a physical situation qua physics, but the meaning of that situation to people, was sometimes a factor, through the behavior of people, in the start of a fire. And this factor of meaning was clearest when it was a LINGUISTIC MEANING [Whorf's emphasis], residing in the name or the linguistic description commonly applied to this situation. Thus, around a storage of what are called 'gasoline drums,' behavior will tend to a certain type, that is, great care will be exercised; while around a storage of what are called 'empty gasoline drums,' it will tend to be different -- careless, with little repression of smoking or of tossing cigarette stubs about. Yet the 'empty' drums are perhaps the more dangerous, since they contain explosive vapor. Physically, the situation is hazardous, but the linguistic analysis according to regular analogy must employ the word 'empty,' which inevitably suggests a lack of hazard. The word 'empty' is used in two linguistic patterns: (1) as a virtual synonym for 'null and void, negative, inert,' (2) applied in analysis of physical situations without regard to, e.g., vapor, liquid vestiges, or stray rubbish, in the container." (Whorf, 1956, p. 135)

In studying the cause of a fire which had started under the conditions just described, Whorf concluded that it was thinking of the "empty" gasoline drums as "empty" in the meaning described in the first definition (1) above, that is as "inert," which led to a fire he investigated. His papers and lectures featured many other examples from his insurance work to support his belief that language shapes understanding.

Less well known, but important, are his contributions to the study of the Nahuatl and Maya languages. He claimed that Nahuatl was an oligosynthetic language (a claim that would be brought up again some twenty years later by Morris Swadesh, another controversial American linguist). In a series of published and unpublished studies in the 1930s, he argued that Mayan writing was phonetic to some degree. Although many details of his work on Maya are now known to have been incorrect, his central claim was vindicated by Yuri Knorozov's syllabic decipherment of Mayan writing in the 1950s.
   Whorf died of cancer at the age of 44. He is mainly remembered for a posthumous collection of his work, titled Language, Thought, and Reality, first published in 1956.

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhartṛhari 090829
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhart%E1%B9%9Bhari 151218
There are differences between the two. The following is from the later version with fill-ins from the first.

Bhartṛhari भर्तृहरि «bhartṛhari» (= भ र ् त ृ ह र ि ) {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.} also romanised as Bhartrihari; fl. c. 5th century CE) is a Sanskrit author who is likely to have written two influential Sanskrit texts:

• the Vākyapadīya, on Sanskrit grammar and linguistic philosophy, a foundational text in the Indian grammatical tradition, explaining numerous theories on the word and on the sentence, including theories which came to be known under the name of Sphoṭa; in this work Bhartrhari also discussed logical problems such as the liar paradox and a paradox of unnameability or unsignfiability which has become known as Bhartrhari's paradox, and

• the Śatakatraya, a work of Sanskrit poetry, comprising three collections of about 100 stanzas each; it may or may not be by the same author who composed the two mentioned grammatical works.

In the medieval tradition of Indian scholarship, it was assumed that both texts were written by the same person. Modern philologists were sceptical of this claim, owing to an argument that dated the grammar to a date subsequent to the poetry. Since the 1990s, however, scholars have that both works may indeed have been contemporary, in which case it is plausible that there was only one Bhartrihari who wrote both texts.

The Grammarian

- from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhartṛhari 090829 

Bhartṛhari was an early figure in Indic linguistic theory, mentioned in the 670s by Chinese traveller Yi-Jing, author of the Vākyapadīya ("About Words and Sentences"). The work is divided into three books, the Brahma-kāṇḍa , (or Āgama-samuccaya "aggregation of traditions"), the Vākya-kāṇḍa , and the Pada-kāṇḍa  (or Prakīrṇaka  "miscellaneous").

He theorized the act of speech as being made up of three stages:

1. Conceptualization by the speaker (Paśyantī " idea")
2. Performance of speaking (Madhyamā " medium)
3. Comprehension by the interpreter (Vaikharī "complete utterance").

Bhartṛhari is of the śabda-advaita " speech monistic" school which identifies language and cognition. He introduces the sphoṭa doctrine of meaning. According to George Cardona, "Vākyapadīya is considered to be the major Indian work of its time on grammar, semantics and philosophy."

Both the grammar and the poetic works had an enormous influence in the ir respective fields. The grammar in particular, takes a holistic view of language, countering the compositionality position of the Mimamsakas and others.

The poetry constitute short verses, collected into three centuries of about a hundred poems each. Each century deals with a different rasa or aesthetic mood; on the whole his poetic work has been very highly regarded both within the tradition and by modern scholarship.

The name Bhartrihari is also sometimes associated with Bhartrihari traya Shataka, the legendary king of Ujjaini in the 1st century.

The account of the Chinese traveller Yi-Jing indicates that Bhartrihari's grammar was known by 670 CE, and that he may have been Buddhist, which the poet was not. Based on this, scholarly opinion had formerly attributed the grammar to a separate author of the same name from the 7th century CE.[1] However, other evidence indicates a much earlier date:

Bhartrihari was long believed to have lived in the seventh century CE, but according to the testimony of the Chinese pilgrim Yijing [...] he was known to the Buddhist philosopher Dignaga, and this has pushed his date back to the fifth century CE. — [2]

A period of c. 450–500[3] "definitely not later than 425–450",[4] or, following Erich Frauwallner, 450–510[5][6] or perhaps 400 CE or even earlier.[7]

Yi-Jing's other claim, that Bhartrihari was a Buddhist, does not seem to hold; his philosophical position is widely held to be an offshoot of the Vyakaran or grammarian school, closely allied to the realism of the Naiyayikas and distinctly opposed to Buddhist positions like Dignaga, who are closer to phenomenalism. It is also opposed to other mImAMsakas like Kumarila Bhatta.[8][9] However, some of his ideas subsequently influenced some Buddhist schools, which may have led Yi-Jing to surmise that he may have been Buddhist.

Thus, on the whole seems likely that the traditional Sanskritist view, that the poet of the Śatakatraya is the same as the grammarian Bhartṛhari, may be accepted.

The leading Sanskrit scholar Ingalls (1968) submitted that "I see no reason why he should not have written poems as well as grammar and metaphysics", like Dharmakirti, Shankaracharya, and many others.[10] Yi Jing himself appeared to think they were the same person, as he wrote that (the grammarian) Bhartṛhari, author of the Vakyapadiya, was renowned for his vacillation between Buddhist monkhood and a life of pleasure, and for having written verses on the subject.[11][12]



Bhartrihari's views on language build on that of earlier grammarians such as Patanjali, but were quite radical. A key element of his conception of language is the notion of sphoṭa – a term that may be based on an ancient grammarian, Sphoṭāyana, referred by Pāṇini,[13] now lost.

In his Mahabhashya, Patanjali (2nd century BCE) uses the term sphoṭa to denote the sound of language, the universal, while the actual sound (dhvani) may be long or short, or vary in other ways. This distinction may be thought to be similar to that of the present notion of phoneme. Bhatrihari however, applies the term sphota to each element of the utterance, varṇa the letter or syllable, pada the word, and vākya the sentence. To create the linguistic invariant, he argues that these must be treated as separate wholes (varṇasphoṭa, padasphoṭa and vākyasphoṭa respectively). For example, the same speech sound or varṇa may have different properties in different word contexts (e.g. assimilation), so that the sound cannot be discerned until the whole word is heard.

Further, Bhartrihari argues for a sentence-holistic view of meaning, saying that the meaning of an utterance is known only after the entire sentence (vākyasphoṭa) has been received, and it is not composed from the individual atomic elements or linguistic units which may change their interpretation based on later elements in the utterance. Further, words are understood only in the context of the sentence whose meaning as a whole is known. His argument for this was based on language acquisition, e.g. consider a child observing the exchange below:

elder adult (uttama-vṛddha "full-grown"): says "bring the horse"
younger adult (madhyama-vṛddha "half-grown"): reacts by bringing the horse

The child observing this may now learn that the unit "horse" refers to the animal. Unless the child knew the sentence meaning a priori, it would be difficult for him to infer the meaning of novel words. Thus, we grasp the sentence meaning as a whole, and reach words as parts of the sentence, and word meanings as parts of the sentence meaning through "analyis, synthesis and abstraction" (apoddhāra).[8]

The sphoṭa theory was influential, but it was opposed by many others. Later Mimamsakas like Kumarila Bhatta (c. 650 CE) strongly rejected the vākyasphoṭaview, and argued for the denotative power of each word, arguing for the composition of meanings (abhihitānvaya). The Prabhakara school (c. 670) among Mimamsakas however took a less atomistic position, arguing that word meanings exist, but are determined by context (anvitābhidhāna).

In a section of the chapter on Relation Bhartrhari discusses the liar paradox and identifies a hidden parameter which turns an unproblematic situation in daily life into a stubborn paradox. In addition, Bhartrhari discusses here a paradox that has been called "Bhartrhari's paradox" by Hans and Radhika Herzberger.[14] This paradox arises from the statement "this is unnameable" or "this is unsignifiable".

The Mahābhāṣya-dīpikā (also Mahābhāṣya-ṭīkā) is an early subcommentary on Patanjali's Vyākaraṇa-Mahābhāṣya, also attributed to Bhartṛhari.[15]



Bhartrihari's poetry is aphoristic, and comments on the social mores of the time. The collected work is known as Śatakatraya "the three śatakas or 'hundreds' ('centuries')", consisting of three thematic compilations on shringara, vairagya and niti (loosely: love, dispassion and moral conduct) of hundred verses each.

Unfortunately, the extant manuscript versions of these shatakas vary widely in the verses included. D.D. Kosambi has identified a kernel of two hundred that are common to all the versions.[10]

Here is a sample that comments on social mores:

yasyāsti vittaṃ sa naraḥ kulīnaḥ
sa paṇḍitaḥ sa śrutavān guṇajñaḥ
sa eva vaktā sa ca darśanīyaḥ
sarve guṇaḥ kāñcanam āśrayanti (#51)
A man of wealth is held to be high-born
Wise scholarly and discerning
Eloquent and even handsome —
All virtues are accessories to gold! (tr. Barbara Stoler Miller)[16]

And here is one dealing with the theme of love:

The clear bright flame of a man's discernment dies
When a girl clouds it with her lamp-black eyes. [Bhartrihari #77, tr. John Brough; poem 167][17]

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Jerome Bruner

From Wikepedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Bruner 080223

Jerome Seymour Bruner (born Oct1 1915) is an American psychologist who has contributed to cognitive psychology and cognitive learning theory in educational psychology and to the general philosophy of education. Bruner is currently a senior research fellow at the New York University School of Law. Bruner's ideas are based on categorization. "To perceive is to categorize, to conceptualize is to categorize, to learn is to form categories, to make decisions is to categorize." Bruner maintains people interpret the world in terms of its similarities and differences. Like Bloom's Taxonomy, Bruner suggests a system of coding in which people form a hierarchical arrangement of related categories. Each successively higher level of categories becomes more specific, echoing Benjamin Bloom's understanding of knowledge acquisition as well as the related idea of instructional scaffolding.

He has also suggested that there are two primary modes of thought: the narrative mode and the paradigmatic mode. In narrative thinking, the mind engages in sequential, action-oriented, detail-driven thought. In paradigmatic thinking, the mind transcends particularities to achieve systematic, categorical cognition. In the former case, thinking takes the form of stories and "gripping drama." In the latter, thinking is structured as propositions linked by logical operators.

In his research on the development of children (1966), Bruner proposed three modes of representation: enactive representation (action-based), iconic representation (image-based), and symbolic representation (language-based). Rather than neatly delineated stages, the modes of representation are integrated and only loosely sequential as they "translate" into each other. Symbolic representation remains the ultimate mode, for it "is clearly the most mysterious of the three." Bruner's theory suggests it is efficacious when faced with new material to follow a progression from enactive to iconic to symbolic representation; this holds true even for adult learners. A true instructional designer, Bruner's work also suggests that a learner (even of a very young age) is capable of learning any material so long as the instruction is organized appropriately, in sharp contrast to the beliefs of Piaget and other stage theorists.

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Nāda : Nāda yoga

UKT 090827: I expect this form of mental concentration, being of Hindu origin, would not be acceptable to Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar) form of Theravada Buddhism. And I advise the reader to check what is given below with their own religious teachers.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nāda 090827:
Redirected from Nāda .

Nāda yoga is a ancient Indian metaphysical system. It is both a philosophical system , a medicine, and as the name suggests a form of yoga. The system's theoretical and practical aspects are based on the premise that the entire cosmos and all that exists in the cosmos, including human beings, consists of sound vibrations, called nāda. This concept holds that it is the sound energy in motion rather than of matter and particles which form the building blocks of the cosmos.

Nāda yoga is also a way to approach with reverence and respond to sound. Sound and music is in this context, something more than just the sensory properties and sources of sensuous pleasure, sound and music is considered also to play the role as a potential medium to achieve a deeper unity with both the outer and the inner cosmos.

Nāda yoga's use of sound vibrations and resonances are also used to pursue palliative effects on various problematic psychological and spiritual conditions. It is also empoyed to raise the level of awareness of the postulated energy centers called chakra.

Music has been used by most Indian saints, prophets as an important and powerful tool in the quest for the achievement of nirvana; notable name to be mentioned here include Thyagaraja, Kabir, Meerabai, Namdeo, Purandaradasa and Tukaram.

Skt-Devan:  निर्वाण  nirvāṇa  adj.  blown or put out, tamed, quieted, calmed, extinguished [as a lamp or fire].
  n. extinction, blowing out, disappearance, final liberation, vanishing, setting, cessation of attachments, cessation of passions . - SpkSkt
Skt-Devan: निर्वन  nirvana  n. complete pleasure - SpkSkt

The Nāda yoga system divides music into two categories: internal music, anahata, and external music, ahatter. While the external music is conveyed to consciousness via sensory organs in the form of the ears, in which mechanical energy is converted to electrochemical energy and then transformed in the brain to sensations of sound, it is the anahata chakra, which is considered responsible for the reception of the internal music, but not in the way of a normal sensory organ.

Skt-Devan: अनाहत  anāhata  adj.  unbeaten, unstruct, intact - SpkSkt
Skt-Devan: अनाहतनाद  anāhatanāda  m. mystical sound heard internally, unstruct note - SpkSkt

The anahata concept refers to one's own personal sound vibrations, which is thought to be so closely associated with one's self and the self that a person can not share their anahata with another human being.

The individual can, according to nāda yoga, "listen in on" their own anahata, their own "inner music", and exploit it. According nāda yoga, such a process of inner awareness and sensitivity leads to increased harmony and relaxation which are often the goal of people engaged in such activities as meditation .

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nighantu 090826

Nighantu (nighaṇṭu) {ni.GaN-Tu.} is a Sanskrit term for a traditional collection of words, grouped into thematic categories, often with brief annotations. Such collections share characteristics with glossaries and thesauri, but are not true lexicons, such as the kośa of Sanskrit literature. Particular collections are also called nighaṇṭava.

Skt-Dev: निघण्टु  nighaṇṭu  m.  vocabulary, glossary of words - SpkSkt
Pal-Myan: {ni.GaN-Tu.} Pali  -- PMDict-480
Nighaṇḍu [Sk. nighaṇṭu ...] an explained word or a word explanation, vocabulary, gloss, usually in ster. formula marking the accomplishments of a learned Brahmin ... -- PTSDict-355

While a number of nighantavas devoted to specialized subjects exist, the eponymous Nighantu of the genre is an ancient collection, handed down from Vedic times. It was the subject of the Nirukta [1], a commentary, together with a treatise on etymology, by Yaska. Technically, Yaska's Nirukta should designate his commentary only, but traditionally the Nighantu has been understood to be included in it.

The traditional Nighantu

According to Yaska (Nirukta 1.20), the Nighantu was a collection of rare or difficult words gathered by earlier sages for easier understanding of Vedic texts that perhaps they may not have fully understood themselves. The collection comprises five adhyāyas or chapters, in three kāṇḍas or books:

naighaṇṭuka kāṇḍa: three adhyāyas of similes, synonyms, metonyms and other glosses. The first adhyāya deals mainly with physical things and objects of nature. The second adhyāya deals mainly with man, his physical being, and qualities associated with his being, such as property and emotional states. The third adhyāya deals mainly with abstract qualities and concepts.

naigama kāṇḍa: one adhyāya of homonyms (aikapadikam) and particularly difficult or ambiguous words.

daivata kāṇḍa: one adhyāya of epithets of divine beings.

Skt-Devan: दैवत  daivata  adj.  divine - SpkSkt
Skt-Devan: देवता  devatā  f. divinity, god, goddess, nymph - SpkSkt
Skt-Devan: देवत  devata  m. the deity - SpkSkt
Skt-Devan: दैवतस्  daivatas  adv. accidentally, by chance, by accident - SpkSkt

Yaska's Nirukta covers the Naighantuka somewhat synoptically, often merely echoing a given gloss, but deals with the 278 words of the Naigama and the 151 names of the Daivata in detail. A full word-by-word commentary on the Naighantuka was written by Devarajayajvan, some time before the 14th CE. [2]

A critical edition of the Nighantu and the Nirukta was published in the 1920s by Lakshman Sarup. In it, two major recensions were identified, one longer than the other, indicating additions at untraceable yet relatively early dates. It is now customary to render both recensions together, with the additions of the longer recension in parentheses.

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Nirukta निरुक्त sp?

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirukta 090825

Nirukta ("explanation, etymological interpretation") is one of the six Vedānga disciplines of Hinduism, treating etymology, particularly of obscure words, especially those occurring in the Vedas. [1] [2] [3] [UKT ¶ ]

The discipline is traditionally attributed to Yāska, an ancient Sanskrit grammarian. Yāska's association with the discipline is so great that he is also referred to as Niruktakāra or Niruktakrit ("Maker of Nirukta"), as well as Niruktavat ("Author of Nirukta"). In practical use, nirukta consists of brief rules (sūtras) for deriving word meanings, supplemented with glossaries of difficult or rare Vedic words.

Nirukta is also the name given to a celebrated commentary by Yāska on the Nighantu, an even older glossary which was already traditional in his time. Yāska's Nirukta contains a treatise on etymology, and deals with various attempts to interpret the many difficult Vedic words in the Nighantu. It is in the form of explanations of words, and is the basis for later lexicons and dictionaries. The Nighantu is now traditionally combined with the Nirukta as a unified text.

A critical edition of the Nighantu and the Nirukta was published by Laskhman Sarup in the 1920s.


etymology n. pl. etymologies Abbr. etym. etymol. 1. The origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning, tracing its transmission from one language to another, identifying its cognates in other languages, and reconstructing its ancestral form where possible. 2. The branch of linguistics that deals with etymologies. [Middle English etimologie from Old French ethimologie from Medieval Latin ethimologia from Latin etymologia from Greek etumologia etumon true sense of a word; See etymon -logia -logy ] -- AHTD

Nirukta (Sanskrit) from nir forth, out + the verbal root vac to speak, utter. Uttered, pronounced, expressed, defined; as a noun, the etymological interpretation of a word, also the name of such works.

Use of nirukta in rhetoric

The related Sanskrit noun niruktiḥ means "derivation", or in rhetoric, an "artificial explanation of a word."

Flourishes of rhetorical skills in the art of nirukta were considered a mark of commentorial authority. As a result, many Sanskrit commentaries include elaborate variations on possible word derivations, sometimes going far afield of obvious meanings in order to show hidden meanings. The nature of Sanskrit grammar, with its many contractions, gave rise to ample opportunities to provide alternate parsings for words, thus creating alternative derivations.

UKT: According to Chi Hisen-lin in his Language Problem of Primitive Buddhism, Journal of the Burma Research Society, XLIII, i, June 1960, the meaning of the word "nirukta" has become a point of controversy over a rule laid down by Gautama Buddha. ban-skt-indx.htm:

anujānāmi bhikkhave sakāya niruttiyā buddhavacanam pariyāpunitum

literally translated: "I permit you, O Monks, to learn the word of the Buddha in his own language."

Though the question of using Sanskrit to express Buddha's words should have been laid to rest with the above rule laid down by the Buddha, it is not so because the question resurfaced in our times around the meaning of the word of nirutti . So it is imperative to concentrate on this word and a work on it by Yāska, an ancient Sanskrit grammarian. Refer to Wikipedia articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirukta 090806 and  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas 090807; or my notes on it in the files buddh-philo.htm and brah.htm an accompanying files. At the present Nirukta has been identified with Etymology. -- UKT 090807

Many examples of the rhetorical use of nirukta occur in Bhaskararaya's commentaries. Here is an example from the opening verse of his commentary on the Ganesha Sahasranama. [4]

The opening verse includes Gaṇanātha as a name for Ganesha. The simple meaning of this name, which would have seemed obvious to his readers, would be "Protector of the Ganas", parsing the name in a straightforward way as gaṇa (group) + nātha (protector). [UKT ¶ ]

UKT 090827: "Ganesha" to the Bur-Myan is {ma.ha-pain~nè} the elephant-headed Hindu god. (Note: MEDict336 erroneously identified {ma.ha-pain~nè} as Vishnu.). From the parsing gaṇa (group) + nātha (protector), we get:
¤ gaṇa (group) --> {ga.Na.} . See PMDict333
¤ nātha (protector) --> {na-hta.} . See PMDict473
From the meanings given in PMDict, I can loosely translate the name as {geiN:nat} 'the protector of a (religious) group' 

But Bhaskararaya demonstrates his skill in nirukta by parsing it in an unexpected way as the Bahuvrīhi compound gaṇana + atha meaning "the one the enumeration (gaṇanaṁ) of whose qualities brings about auspiciousness. The word atha is associated with auspiciousness (maṅgalam)." [5] This rhetorical flourish at the opening of the sahasranama demonstrates Bhaskaraya's skills in nirukta at the very beginning of his commentary on a thousand such names, including a clever twist appropriate to the context of a sahasranama.

UKT: More in Wikipedia article.

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- UKT 151214 :

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pāṇini 090814

Pāṇini , पाणिनि «pāṇini» {pa-Ni.ni.}, a patronymic meaning "descendant of Paṇi") was an Ancient Indian Sanskrit grammarian from Pushkalavati, Gandhara (fl. 4th century BCE [1], [2]).

He is known for his Sanskrit grammar, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules [2] of Sanskrit morphology in the grammar known as Ashtadhyayi अष्टाध्यायी «aṣṭādhyāyī» 'eight chapters', the foundational text of the grammatical branch of the Vedanga {wé-dïn~ga.}, the auxiliary scholarly disciplines of Vedic religion.

The Ashtadhyayi is one of the earliest known grammars of Sanskrit, although he refers to previous texts like the Unadisutra, Dhatupatha, and Ganapatha. [2] It is the earliest known work on descriptive linguistics, generative linguistics, and together with the work of his immediate predecessors (Nirukta, Nighantu, Pratishakyas) stands at the beginning of the history of linguistics itself.



Pāṇini's comprehensive and scientific theory of grammar is conventionally taken to mark the end of the period of Vedic Sanskrit, by definition introducing Classical Sanskrit.

UKT 151211: I now hold that Vedic and Sanskrit are two different languages. Vedic is Tibeto-Burman, whilst Sanskrit is Indo-European. Vedic is the language of the then indigenous peoples, whilst Sanskrit was the language of new comers into the are through north-western borders of India. Vedic principle gods are Indra - the celestial king, Agni - his messenger who acts as a go-between humans and celestials, and Soma - the giver of peace and tranquility to those on earth. The Hindu gods of Trinity of Vaishnavite-Hinduism, the Mahabrahma, Vishnu, and Siva are minor gods as attested by the small number of hymns in Rig Veda directed to them as compared to the number of hymns directed to Indra, Agni, and Soma. Of course, the Shiva aka Siva of Shaivite-Hinduism who is claimed to be the Supreme God is a minor god.

On Monday, August 30, 2004, the Department of Posts of the Government of India, released a Rs. 5 postage stamp to honor Pāṇini.

Date and context

Nothing definite is known about Pāṇini's life, not even the century he lived in. The scholarly mainstream favours a 4th century BC floruit, corresponding to Pushkalavati, Gandhara. Contemporary to the Nanda Dynasty ruling the Gangetic plain, but a 5th or even late 6th century BC date cannot be ruled out with certainty. According to a verse in the Panchatantra, he was killed by a lion. [3] According to Xuanzang (Hieun-Tsang), a statue of him existed at Śalātura, the place of his birth. [4]

Pāṇini's grammar defines Classical Sanskrit, so that Pāṇini by definition lived at the end of the Vedic period: he notes a few special rules, marked chandasi ("in the hymns") to account for forms in the Vedic scriptures that had fallen out of use in the spoken language of his time, indicating that Vedic Sanskrit was already archaic, but still a comprehensible dialect.

An important hint for the dating of Pāṇini is the occurrence of the word yavanānī (यवनानी) (in 4.1.49, either "Greek woman", or "Greek script"). [5] There would have been no first-hand knowledge of Greeks in Gandhara before the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 330s BC, [6] but it is likely that the name was known via Old Persian yauna, so that the occurrence of yavanānī  taken in isolation allows for a terminus post quem as early as 520 BC, i.e. the time of the conquest of Darius the Great.

It is not certain whether Pāṇini used writing for the composition of his work, though it is generally agreed that he did use a form of writing, based on references to words such as "script" and "scribe" in his Ashtadhyayi. [7] It is believed that a work of such complexity would have been very difficult to compile without written notes, though some have argued that he might have composed it with the help of a group of students whose memories served him as 'notepads'. Writing first reappears in India (since the Indus script) in the form of the Brāhmī script from ca. the 3rd century BC in the Ashokan inscriptions.

While Pāṇini 's work is purely grammatical and lexicographic, cultural and geographical inferences can be drawn from the vocabulary he uses in examples, and from his references to fellow grammarians. Deities referred to in his work include Vasudeva (4.3.98). The concept of dharma is attested in his example sentence (4.4.41) dharmam carati  "he observes the law".

The Ashtadhyayi

The Ashtadhyayi , Aṣṭādhyāyī   अष्टाध्यायी = अ ष ् ट ा ध ् य ा य ी , is the central part of Pāṇini's grammar, and by far the most complex. It is at once the most exhaustive as well as the shortest grammar of Classical Sanskrit. It takes material from the lexical lists (Dhatupatha, Ganapatha) as input and describes algorithms to be applied to them for the generation of well-formed words. It is highly systematised and technical. Inherent in its generative approach are the concepts of the phoneme, the morpheme and the root, only recognized by Western linguists some two millennia later . His rules have a reputation for perfection — that is, they are claimed to describe Sanskrit morphology fully, without any redundancy. A consequence of his grammar's focus on brevity is its highly unintuitive structure, reminiscent of contemporary "machine language" (as opposed to "human readable" programming languages) . His sophisticated logical rules and technique have been widely influential in ancient and modern linguistics.

The Ashtadhyayi consists of 3,959 sutras (sūtrāṇi) or rules, distributed among eight chapters, which are each subdivided into four sections or padas (padāni).

From example words in the text, and from a few rules depending on the context of the discourse, additional information as to the geographical, cultural and historical context of Pāṇini can be discerned.

... ... ...

Pāṇini and modern linguistics

Pāṇini, and the later Indian linguist Bhartrihari, had a significant influence on many of the foundational ideas proposed by Ferdinand de Saussure, professor of Sanskrit, who is widely considered the father of modern structural linguistics. While this is maintained by Prem Singh in his foreword to the reprint edition of the German translation of Pāṇini’s Grammar in 1998, George Cardona warns against an overestimation: "As far as I am able to discern upon rereading Saussure's Memoire, however, it shows no direct influence of Paninian grammar. Indeed, on occasion, Saussure follows a path that is contrary to Paninian procedure." [9] On the other hand, the influence of Pāṇini on the founding father of American structuralism, Leonard Bloomfield, is very clear, see e.g. his 1927 paper "On some rules of Pāṇini". [10]

Noam Chomsky has always acknowledged his debt to Pāṇini for his modern notion of an explicit generative grammar. [11] In Optimality Theory, the hypothesis about the relation between specific and general constraints is known as "Panini's Theorem on Constraint Ranking". Pāṇinian grammars have also been devised for non-Sanskrit languages. His work was the forerunner to modern formal language theory (mathematical linguistics) and formal grammar, and a precursor to computing. [12]

Pāṇini 's use of metarules, transformations, and recursion together make his grammar as rigorous as a modern Turing machine. The Backus-Naur form (Panini-Backus form) or BNF grammars used to describe modern programming languages have significant similarities to Pāṇini grammar rules. Pāṇini 's grammar can be considered to be the world's first formal system, well before the 19th century innovations of Gottlob Frege and the subsequent development of mathematical logic. To design his grammar, Pāṇini used the method of "auxiliary symbols," in which new affixes are designated to mark syntactic categories and the control of grammatical derivations. This technique was rediscovered by the logician Emil Post and is now a standard method in the design of computer programming languages.

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- UKT 151216: Patañjali पतञ्जलि «patañjali» - the compiler of Yoga Sutras - would not have been known to Gautama Buddha. But the practice of Yoga as a means of physical discipline would have been known to him. Since some practices are extremely "harmful" to the human body, it is these practices that the Buddha had rejected. His Middle Way is neither the self indulgence of Tantric Practices nor the self mortification of Yoga Practices.
See Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asceticism 151216.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patañjali 090828

Patañjali पतञ्जलि «patañjali» (= प त ञ ् ज ल ि ) --> {pa.tiñ~za.li.}) (fl. 150 BCE [1] or 2nd c. BCE [2] [3]) is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, and also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a major commentary on Panini's Ashtadhyayi. However, whether these two works are that of the same author or not remains in some doubt.

In recent decades the Yoga Sutra has become quite popular worldwide for the precepts regarding practice of Raja Yoga and its philosophical basis. "Yoga" in traditional Hinduism involves inner contemplation, a rigorous system of meditation practice, ethics, metaphysics, and devotion to God, or Brahman. At the same time, his Mahābhāṣya, which first foregrounded the notion of meaning as referring to categorization, remains an important treatise in Sanskrit linguistic philosophy.


Whether these two works are by the same author has been the subject of considerable debate. The authorship of the two are first attributed to the same person in Bhojadeva's Rajamartanda, a relatively late (10th c.) commentary on the Yoga Sutras [4], as well as a large number of subsequent texts. As for the texts themselves, the Yoga Sutra iii.44 cites a sutra as that from Patanjali by name, but this line itself is not from the Mahābhāṣya. However, certain themes such as the unity of the constituent parts appear common to both. Sources of doubt include the lack of cross-references between the texts, and no mutual awareness of each other, quite unlike other cases of multiple works by (later) Sanskrit authors. Also, some elements in the Yoga Sutras may date from as late as the 4th c. AD [3], but such changes may be due to divergent authorship, or due to later additions which are not atypical in the oral tradition. In the absence of any concrete evidence for a second Patanjali, and given the approximately same time frame for the origin of both texts, and the traditional ascription of both to a Patanjali most scholars simply refer to both works as "by Patanjali".

In addition to the Mahābhāṣya and Yoga Sutras, the 11th c. text on Charaka by Chakrapani, and the 16th c. text Patanjalicharita ascribes to Patanjali a medical text called the Carakapratisamskritah (now lost) which is apparently a revision (pratisamskritah) of the medical treatise by Charaka. Some have cited the Patanjali reference in Yoga Sutra as possibly being from this text. Were he to be the author of all three works, it would be quite amazing, although such diversity would not be very uncommon in many early civilizations, as in the work of Pingala or Katyayana, both grammaticians who also worked in mathematics, or their contemporary Aristotle, say.

One tradition holds that all three works are by the same author, as in this invocation:[5]

yogena cittasya, padena vācāṃ, malaṃ śarīrasya ca vaidyakena  ।
yo'pākarot taṃ pravaraṃ munīnāṃ patañjaliṃ prāñjalir ānato'smi  ॥

पतञ्जलिप्रार्थनं॥ योगेन चित्तस्य पदेन वाचां मलं शरीरस्य च वैदिकेन योपाकरोति तं प्रवरं मुनीनां पतञ्जलिं प्राञ्जलीरानतोस्मि॥


In the Yoga tradition, Patañjali is a revered name and has been deified by many groups, especially in the Shaivite bhakti tradition. It is claimed that Patañjali is an incarnation of Ādi Śeṣa who is the first ego-expansion of Viṣṇu, Sankarshana. Sankarshana, the manifestation of Vishnu His primeval energies and opulences, is part of the so-called catur vyūha, the fourfold manifestation of Vishnu. Thus may Patañjali be considered as the one incarnation of God defending the ego of yoga.

Even his name has been glorified; it is said that desiring to teach yoga to the world, he fell (pat-) from heaven into the open palms (-añjali) of a woman, hence the name Patañjali. He is also often respectfully referred to as Patañjali Maharishi, or great sage.

In one popular legend, Patañjali was born to Atri (First of the Saptha Rishis) and his wife Anusuya (this would make him go back to the time of the creation by Brahma). According to this tradition, Anasuya had to go through a stern test of her chastity when the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) themselves came as Bhikshuks and asked her for Bhiksha. She passed their test by accepting them as her children and fed them while naked. She got the boon where all the three Murtis will be born to them. They were Soma Skandan or Patañjali, Dattatreya, and Durvasa.

Tamil Shaivite legend

Regarding his early years, a Tamil Shaivite tradition from around 10th c. AD holds that Patañjali learned Yoga along with seven other disciples from the great Yogic Guru Nandhi Deva, as stated in Tirumular's Tirumandiram (Tantra 1).

Nandhi arulPetra Nadharai Naadinom
Nandhigal Nalvar Siva Yoga MaaMuni
Mandru thozhuda Patañjali Vyakramar
Endrivar Ennodu(Thirumoolar) Enmarumaame

English translation

By receiving Nandhi's grace we sought the feet of the Lord
The Four Nandhis (Sanagar, Santhanar, Sanath Sujatar, Sanath Kumarar),
Siva Yoga Maamuni, Patañjali, Vyakramapadar and I (Thirumoolar)
We were thus eight disciples.

The ancient Kali Kautuvam also describes how Patañjali and Vyagrapada gathered along with the gods in Thillai near Chidambaram to watch Shiva and Kali dance and perform the 108 mystic Karanas, which formed the foundation for the system of Natya Yoga.

This Tamil tradition also gives his birth place in South Kailash, possibly the modern day Thirumoorthy hills near Coimbatore. Some other traditions feel that his being born in Bharatavarsha - the part of the ancient world corresponding to South Asia - is beneath his godlike status, and that he must have been born in the Jambudvipa, the mythical center of the universe.

Patañjali as Siddha is also mentioned by the goldsmith-sage Bogar:

It was my Grandfather who said, "Climb and see."
But it was Kalangi Nathar who gave me birth.
Patañjali,Viyagiramar,and Sivayogi Muni all so rightly said,
"Look! This is the path!" - Bhogar, 7000 sayings

This tradition also holds that Patañjali was a master of dance.


The Yoga tradition is much older, there are references in the Mahabharata, and the Gita identifies three kinds of yoga, and it is also the subject of the late upanishad, Yogatattva. The Yoga Sūtras codifies the royal or best (rAja) yoga practices, presenting these as a eight-limbed system (ashtanga). The philosophic tradition is related to the Samkhya school. The focus is on the mind; the second sutra defines Yoga - it is the cessation of all mental fluctuations, all wandering thoughts cease and the mind is focused on a single thought (ekagrata). The eight limbs or the Ashtanga Yoga propounded here are

1. yama, ethics, restraint and ahimsa,
2. niyama, cleanliness, ascetism, etc.
3. Asana, posture
4. prANAyama, breath-control
5. pratyahAra, sense-withdrawal
6. dhAraNa, concentration
7. dhyana meditation, and
8. samAdhi, oneness with the Pranava of the Ishvara.

Expanded as this:-

1. Yama - non-violence, truthfulness, brahmacharya, non-accumulating/non-coveting
2. Niyama - Tapas (Discipline)- Svadhyaya (Self Study) - Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender to God/Higher Self) - Contentment/Acceptance
3. Asana - Discipline of the body
4. Pranayama - Breath Control
5. Pratyhara - withdrawal of all senses
6. Dharana - Concentration/Expand awareness beyond oneself
7. Dhyana - Meditation
8. Samadhi - oneness with the Pranava

Later the Sahaja-Samadhi leads to true universal oneness

In contrast to the focus on the mind in the Yoga sutras, later traditions of Yoga such as the Hatha yoga focus on more complex asanas or body postures.

Relevance of his contribution to the science of yoga

Patañjali defended in his yoga-treatise several ideas that are not mainstream of either Sankhya or Yoga. He, according to the Iyengar adept, biographer and scholar Kofi Busia, acknowledges the ego not as a separate entity. The subtle body linga sarira he would not regard as permanent and he would deny it a direct control over external matters. This is not in accord with classical Sankhya and Yoga.

Although much of the aphorisms in the Yoga Sutra possibly pre-dates Patanjali, it is clear that much is original and it is more than a mere compilation. The clarity and unity he brought to divergent views prevalent till then has inspired a long line of teachers and practitioners up to the present day in which his most renowned defender is B.K.S. Iyengar. With some translators he seems to be a dry and technical propounder of the philosophy, but with others he is an empathic and humorous witty friend and spiritual guide.


The Mahābhāṣya ("great commentary") of Patañjali on the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini is a major early exposition on Panini, along with the somewhat earlier Varttika by Katyayana. Here he raises the issue of whether meaning ascribes to a specific instance or to a category:

kim punar AkritiH padArthaH, Ahosvid dravyam [6].
Now what is 'meaning' (artha) [of a word]? Is it a particular instance (dravya) or a general shape (Akriti)?

This discussion arises in Patanjali in connection with a sutra (Panini 1.2.58) that states that a plural form may be used in the sense of the singular when designating a species (jAti).

Another aspect dealt with by Patanjali relates to how words and meanings are associated - Patanjali claims shabdapramâNaH - that the evidentiary value of words is inherent in them, and not derived externally[7] - the word-meaning association is natural. The argument he gives is that people do not make an effort to manufacture words. When we need a pot, we ask the potter to make a pot for us. The same is not true of words - we do not usually approach grammarians and ask them to manufacture words for our use. [27] This is similar to the argument in the early part of Plato's Cratylus, where morphemes are described as natural, e.g. the sound 'l' is associated with softness.

These issues in the word-meaning relation (symbol) would elaborated in the Sanskrit linguistic tradition, in debates between the Mimamsa, Nyaya and Buddhist schools over the next fifteen centuries.

Sphota : An early phonemic theory?

Patanjali also defines an early notion of sphota, which would be elaborated considerably by later Sanskrit linguists like Bhartrihari. In Patanjali, a sphoTa (from sphuT, burst) is the invariant quality of speech. The noisy element (dhvani, audible part) can be long or short, but the sphoTa remains unaffected by individual speaker differences. Thus, a single letter or 'sound' (varNa) such as k, p or a is an abstraction, distinct from variants produced in actual enunciation[7]. This concept has been linked to the modern notion of phoneme, the minimum distinction that defines semantically distinct sounds. Thus a phoneme is an abstraction for a range of sounds. However, in later writings, especially in Bhartrihari (6th c. AD), the notion of sphoTa changes to become more of a mental state, preceding the actual utterance, akin to the psycholinguistic lemma.

Patañjali's writings also elaborate some principles of morphology (prakriyā). In the context of elaborating on Panini's aphorisms, he also discusses Kātyāyana's commentary, which are also aphoristic and sūtra-like; in the later tradition, these were transmitted as embedded in Patañjali's discussion. In general, he defends many positions of Panini which were interpreted somewhat differently in Katyayana.

Metaphysics as grammatical motivation

Unlike Panini's objectives in the Ashtyadhyayi which is to distinguish correct forms and meanings from incorrect ones (shabdaunushasana), Patanjali's objectives are more metaphysical. These include the correct recitations of the scriptures (Agama), maintaining the purity of texts (raksha), clarifying ambiguity (asamdeha), and also the pedagogic goal of providing an easier learning mechanism (laghu)[7]. This stronger metaphysical bent has also been indicated by some as one of the unifying themes between the Yoga Sutras and the Mahābhāṣya.

The text of the Mahābhāṣya had diversified somewhat in the late Sanskritic tradition, and the nineteenth-century orientalist Franz Kielhorn produced the first critical edition and developed philological criteria for distinguishing Kātyāyana's "voice" from Patañjali's. Subsequently a number of other texts have come out, the 1968 text by S.D. Joshi and J.H.F. Roodbergen often being considered definitive.

Patanjali also writes with a light touch. For example, his comment on the conflicts between the orthodox Brahminic (Astika) groups, versus the heterodox, nAstika groups (Buddhism, Jainism, and atheists) seems relevant for religious conflict even today: the hostility between these groups was like that between a mongoose and a snake[8]. He also sheds light on contemporary events, commenting on the recent Greek incursion, and also on several tribes that lived in the Northwest regions of the subcontinent.

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.

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From: The sphoṭa theory of language: a philosophical analysis, by Harold G. Coward, 1st ed. Dehli 1980, reprints Delhi 1986, 1997. p.123 as given by Google book preview.

Pratibhā . Pratibhā is described by Bhartṛhari as the perceiving of the meaning-whole of the sentence (vākya-sphoṭa ) in a flash of intuition. (fn123-03). It is not logical in nature, nor is it capable of being directly described to others. The words used in attempting to describe this pratibhā to someone else can do no more than evoke in the other the conditions which will allow that vākya-sphoṭa (already present in his inmost self) to be revealed in the listener's own pratibhā experience. Pratibhā , therefore, is of the nature of one's inner self, but normally requires uttered word or words for its manifestation.  The meaning it reveals is the  complete and indivisible sentence-meaning. In the context of one word sentences pratibhā functions to complete the sentence-meaning by making present, in a unitary act of intuition, whatever other meaning or meanings may be required  -- without mentally adding any word or words to the word actually uttered.

Sphoṭa theory defines pratibhā as the indivisible meaning expressed by a sentence which is ingrained in each person. Chakravarti attempts to make this unique aspect of Indian thought understandable to the modern reader by describing it as follows:

To the grammarian pratibhā is inborn intelligence; it is innate and not postnatal. Pratibhā is neither an acquisition that is sense-born nor does it result from common experience. It is called saṁskāra or bhāvanā, firmly seated in our mind and linked together with the continuous currents of knowledge flowing from previous stages of existence. Here we [{p123end}]


fn123-01. See Vāk., II:327a.
fn123-02. Ibid., II:335-6. See also Iyer's summary of this argument in Bhartṛhari , pp. 197-198.
fn123-03. See Vāk., II:143-145

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Śākaṭāyana 090805, 101118,
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C4%81ka%E1%B9%AD%C4%81yana 151218

Śākaṭāyana was the name of two Sanskrit grammarians, one who was a predecessor of Yaska (c. 7th cent BCE) and Panini (c. 5th cent BCE) [Vedic language] in Iron Age India,[1] and one who was a [Classical] Sanskrit grammarian (fl. c. 9th century, during the reign of Amoghavarsha (800–878 CE)).[2]

He claimed that all nouns are ultimately derived from some verbal root. This process is reflected in the Sanskrit grammar as the system of krit- pratyayas or verbal affixes.

In his The word and the world, the philosopher Bimal Krishna Matilal (1935–1991) refers to this debate (which lasted several centuries) as an

interesting philosophical discussion between the nairuktas or etymologists and the pāṇinīyas or grammarians. According to the etymologists, all nouns (substantives) are derived from some verbal root or the other. Yāska in his Nirukta refers to this view (in fact defends it) and ascribes it to an earlier scholar Śākaṭāyana . This would require that all words are to be analysable into atomic elements, 'ro ots' or 'bases' and 'affixes' or 'inflections' — better known in Sanskrit as dhātu and pratyaya [...] Yāska reported the view of Gārgya who opposed Śākaṭāyana (both preceded Pāṇini who mentions them by name) and held that not all substantival words or nouns (nāma) were to be derived from roots, for certain nominal stems were 'atomic'. (p. 8-9)

His text may have been called the Lakṣaṇa Śāstra {þhyût~ta.ra.}, in which he also describes the process of determining grammatical gender in animate and inanimate creation.

UKT: The term Śāstra «śāstra» {shaat~ta.ra.} {þhyût~ta.ra.} is not listed in MPali. That the akshara {þhya.}/{thhya.} is not present in Pali-Myanmar is also confirmed by U Tun Tint of MLC. -- UKT 090806

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vy%C4%81kara%E1%B9%87a 101119

The Sanskrit grammatical tradition of vyākaraṇa व्याकरण, {bya-ka.ra.Na.}) is one of the six Vedanga disciplines. It has its roots in late Vedic India, and includes the famous work, Aṣṭādhyāyī, of Pāṇini (ca. 4th century BCE).

The impetus for linguistic analysis and grammar in India originates in the need to be able to obtain a strict interpretation for the Vedic texts.

The work of the very early Indian grammarians has been lost; for example, the work of Sakatayana (roughly 8th c. BCE) is known only from cryptic references by Yaska (ca. 6th-5th c. BCE) and Pāṇini. One of the views of Sakatayana that was to prove controversial in coming centuries was that most nouns are etymologically derivable from verbs.

In his monumental work on etymology, Nirukta, Yaska supported this claim based on the large number of nouns that were derived from verbs through a derivation process that became known as krit-pratyaya; this relates to the nature of the root morphemes.

Yaska also provided the seeds for another debate, whether textual meaning inheres in the word (Yaska's view) or in the sentence (see Pāṇini, and later grammarians such as Prabhakara or Bhartrihari). This debate continued into the 14th and 15th c. CE, and has echoes in the present day in current debates about semantic compositionality.

Pre-Pāṇinian schools

Pāṇini's Ashtadhyayi, which is said to have eclipsed all other contemporary schools of grammar, mentions the names of eleven schools of Sanskrit grammar that preceded it. The scholars representative of these schools are:

• Āpiśali (Pan. 6.1.92)
• Śākalya
• Kāṣakṛtsna
• Gālava (Nir. 4.3)
• Kāśyapa (Pan. 8.4.67)
• Senaka (Pan. 5.4.112)
• Sphoṭāyana (Pan. 6.1.123)
• Candravarmaṇa
• Kuṇaravāḍava (Pan. 3.2.14; 7.3.1)

There is no surviving evidence of any of these schools that predates Pāṇini except for Yāska's Nirukta {ni.roak~ta.}. Yāska was a grammarian in the tradition of Śākaṭāyana who may have predated Pāṇini by about a century. In Yāska's time, nirukta "etymology" was in fact a school which gave information of formation of words. The etymological derivation of words. According to the nairuktas or "etymologists", all nouns are derived from s verbal root. Yāska defends this view and attributes it to Śākaṭāyana. While others believed that there are some words which are "Rudhi Words". 'Rudhi" means custom. Meaning they are a part of language due to custom, and a correspondence between the word and the thing if it be a noun or correspondence between an act and the word if it be a verbroot. Such word can not be derived from verbal roots. Yāska also reports the view of Gārgya, who opposed Śākaṭāyana who held that certain nominal stems were 'atomic' and not to be derived from verbal roots [1]

Of the remaining schools, we know only what Yaska, Pāṇini and later authors attribute to them, their original works being lost. Śākalya is held to be the author of the padapatha of the Rigveda (a word-by-word analysis of the mantra text).

Pāṇini's school

Pāṇini's extensive analysis of the processes of phonology, morphology and syntax, the Aṣṭadhyāyī, laid down the basis for centuries of commentaries and expositions by following Sanskrit grammarians. Pāṇini's approach was amazingly formal; his production rules for deriving complex structures and sentences represent modern finite state machines. Indeed many of the developments in Indian Mathematics, especially the place value notational system may have originated from Pāṇinian analysis.

Pāṇini's grammar consists of four parts:

Śivasūtra: phonology (notations for phonemes specified in 14 lines)
Aṣṭadhyāyī: morphology (construction rules for complexes)
Dhātupāṭha: list of roots (classes of verbal roots)
Gaṇapāṭha: lists classes of primitive nominal stems

Commentators on Pāṇini and some of their views:

Kātyāyana (linguist and mathematician, 3rd c. BCE): that the word-meaning relation is siddha, i.e. given and non-decomposable, an idea that the Sanskriticist Ferdinand de Saussure called arbitrary. Word meanings refer to universals that are inherent in the word itself (close to a nominalist position).
Patanjali (linguist and yoga sutras, 2nd c. BCE) - author of Mahabhashya. The notion of shabdapramânah - that the evidentiary value of words is inherent in them, and not derived externally. Not to be confused with the founder of the Yoga system.
• The Nyaya school, close to the realist position (as in Plato). Considers the word-meaning relation as created through human convention. Sentence meaning is principally determined by the main noun. uddyotkara, Vachaspati (sound-universals or phonemes)
• The Mimamsa school. E.g. sentence meaning relies mostly on the verb (corresponds to the modern notion of linguistic head). Kumarila Bhatta (7th c.), prabhakara (7th c. CE).
Bhartṛhari (c. 6th c. CE) that meaning is determined by larger contextual units than the word alone (holism).
Kāśikāvṛttī (7th century)
Bhaṭṭi (c. 7th c. CE) exemplified Pāṇini's rules in his courtly epic the Bhaṭṭikāvya[2].
• The Buddhist school, including Nagarjuna (logic/philosophy, c. 150 CE) Dignaga (semantics and logic, c. 5th c. CE), Dharmakirti.

Medieval accounts

The earliest external historical accounts of Indian grammatical tradition is from Chinese Buddhist pilgrims to India from the 7th century [3].

The Indica of Al-Biruni (973-1048), dating to ca. 1030 contains detailed descriptions of all branches of Hindu science.

Mughal period

Early Modern (Mughal period, 17th century) Indian linguists who revived Pāṇini's school include Bhattoji Dikshita and Varadaraja.

Similar to the Chinese Buddhists, Tibetan Buddhism aroused interest in India among its followers. Taranatha (born 1573) in his treatise of the history of Buddhism in India (completed around 1608) speaks about Pāṇini and provides some information about grammars, but not in the manner of a person familiar with their content.

Gaudiya Vaishnava Sanskrit grammar is outlined by Jiva Goswami in his Hari-nāmāmṛta-vyākaraṇam. [4]

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UKT 151217: Coming before Pānini {pa-Ni.ni.}, Yāska {ya-Ska.}/ {yaaþ~ka.} must be considered to be a Vedic linguist. His work on etymology, shows that he is more concerned with a useful branch of learning, derisively known as just a limb of the Veda. What is now taken to be the Veda is nothing more than hymns directed to axiomatic gods, and formulas for placating them for favors, is of very little use to us. The "Veda" must be taken as the sum-total of human knowledge of the time.

To understand my analysis of the following text, I take Vedic to be the older language of the indigenous peoples of the Indian sub-continent, and Sanskrit the newer language of the intruders who came in across the north-western borders. Vedic is Tib-Bur (a modern language being Bur-Myan). Sanskrit, IE (a modern language being Eng-Lat}. There is considerable difference between the vowels & consonants between the two language groups.

From Wikipedia:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaska 090730
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C4%81ska 151217
UKT: the two texts are not the same. The following is from 090730.

Yāska , यास्क  «yāska» {ya-Ska.}/ {yaaþ~ka.} (6th-5th centuries B.C. according to Shukla, Georgetown Univ.) was a Vedic Sanskrit grammarian who preceded Pānini {pa-Ni.ni.}. His famous text is Nirukta {ni.roat~ta.} which deals with etymology, lexical category and the semantics of words. He is thought to have succeeded Śākaṭāyana, an old grammarian and expositor of the Vedas, who is mentioned in his text. He is sometimes referred to as Yāska ācārya (ācārya = teacher).

The Nirukta attempts to explain how certain words get to have their meanings, especially in the context of interpreting the Vedic texts. It includes a system of rules for forming words from roots and affixes, and a glossary of irregular words, and formed the basis for later lexicons and dictionaries. It consists of three parts, viz.:

(  i) Naighantuka, a collection of synonyms 
( ii) Naigama, a collection of words peculiar to the Vedas 
(iii) Daivata, words relating to deities and sacrifices

UKT 151217: Going by the number of hymns directed to gods and goddesses in the Rig Veda, there are only three major gods of importance: the celestial king Indra, the messenger between celestials and terrestrials Agni, and the giver of rest and tranquility Soma. The main gods of the Brahmin-Poannar {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} , Mahabrahma, Vishnu, and Siva are minor gods. Based on this observation, "(iii) Daivata, words relating to deities and sacrifices" is an addition by the Brahmin-Poannar.

The nirukta was one of the six vedangas {wé-dïn~ga.} or compulsory ritual subjects in syllabus of Sanskrit scholarship in ancient India.


Lexical categories and Parts of Speech

Yāska defines four main categories of words [1]:

1. nāma - nouns or substantives : {na-ma.) PMDict-474
2. ākhyāta - verbs : {a-hkya-ta.} PMDict-152
3. upasarga - pre-verbs or prefixes : {U.pa.sa-ra.} PMDict-211
4. nipāta - particles, invariant words (perhaps prepositions)

Yāska singled out two main ontological categories: a process or an action (bhāva), and an entity or a being or a thing (sattva).
   [UKT: Yāska defined]
   - the verb as that in which the bhāva ('process') is predominant
   - the noun is that in which the sattva ('thing') is predominant.
The 'process' is one that has, according to one interpretation, an early stage and a later stage and when such a 'process' is the dominant sense, a finite verb is used as in vrajati, 'walks', or pachati, 'cooks'. [1]

UKT from UseE http://www.usingenglish.com/ 080525 :
Verbs have two forms:
• The finite forms of a verb are the forms where the verb shows tense, person, or number (singular / plural).
  e.g. I go / she goes / he went .
• The non-finite verb forms have no person, tense or number.
  e.g. to go / going 

vrajati, 'walks' - {wa.za.ti.} PMDict-746 
pachati, 'cooks' - {pa.sa.ti.} PMDict-511

But this characterization of Noun / Verb is inadequate, for some processes may also have nominal forms (e.g. "He went for a walk"). For this, Yāska proposed that when a process is referred to as a 'petrified' or 'configured' mass (mUrta) extending from start to finish, a verbal noun should be used, e.g. vrajyā, a walk, or pakti, a cooking. The latter may be viewed as a case of summary scanning [2], since the element of sequence in the process is lacking.

These concepts are related to modern notions of grammatical aspect, the mUrta constituting the perfective and the bhāva the imperfective aspect.

Yāska also gives a test for nouns both concrete and abstract: nouns are words which can be indicated by the pronoun that.


Words as carriers of meaning: Atomism vs Holism debate

As in modern semantic theory, Yāska {ya-Ska.} views words as the main carriers of meaning. This view - that words have a primary or preferred ontological status in defining meaning, was fiercely debated in the Indian tradition over many centuries. [UKT ¶]

on·tol·o·gy - n. 1. The branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being. -- AHTD
See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics 151217

The two sides of the debate may be called the Nairuktas (based on Yāska's Nirukta {ni.roat~ta.}, atomists), vs the Vaiyākarans (grammarians following Panini, holists), and the debate continued in various forms for twelve centuries involving different philosophers from the Nyaya, Mimamsa and Buddhist schools.

In the prātishākhya texts that precede Yāska, and possibly Sakatayana as well, the gist of the controversy was stated cryptically in sutra form as "saṃhitā pada-prakṛtiḥ". [UKT ¶]

According to the atomist view, the words would be the primary elements (prakṛti) out of which the sentence is constructed, while the holistic view considers the sentence as the primary entity, originally given in its context of utterance, and the words are arrived at only through analysis and abstraction.

This debate relates to the atomistic vs holistic interpretation of linguistic fragments - a very similar debate is raging today between traditional semantics and cognitive linguistics, over the view whether words in themselves have semantic interpretations that can be composed to form larger strings. The cognitive semantics view is that words constrain meaning, but the actual meaning can only be construed by considering a large number of individual contextual cues.


Etymologically, Nouns originate from verbs

Yāska {ya-Ska.} also defends the view, presented first in the lost text of Sakatayana that etymologically, most nouns have their origins in verbs. [UKT ¶]

UKT 151216: In Bur-Myan, the verb "to drive" a vehicle is {yiñ maung: hkyïn:}
--> noun "person who drives" {yiñ maung: þa.ma:} aka {yiñ maung: þu},
which is shortened to {yiñ maung:}

An example in English may be the noun origin, derived from the Latin originalis, which is ultimately based on the verb oriri, "to rise". This view is related to the position that in defining agent categories, behaviours are ontologically primary to, say, appearance. This was also a source for considerable debate for several centuries (see Sakatayana for details).

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