Ancient Language Discoveries, volume 5

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Besides these few examples from the 1st century BCE, the earliest Sanskrit and hybrid dialect inscriptions are found in Mathura Uttar Pradesh. Of the Mathura inscriptions, the most significant is the Mora Well Inscription. It mentions a stone shrine temple , pratima murti , images and calls the five Vrishnis as bhagavatam.

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In Maharashtra and Gujarat , Brahmi script Sanskrit inscriptions from the early centuries of the common era exist at the Nasik Caves site, near the Girnar mountain of Junagadh and elsewhere such as at Kanakhera , Kanheri , and Gunda. It represents a turning point in the history of Sanskrit epigraphy, states Salomon. The Nagarjunakonda inscriptions are the earliest known substantial South Indian Sanskrit inscriptions, probably from the late 3rd century or early 4th century CE, or both.

The earliest substantial true Sanskrit language inscription of Susuniya West Bengal is dated to the 4th century. According to Salomon, the 4th-century reign of Samudragupta was the turning point when the classical Sanskrit language became established as the "epigraphic language par excellence" of the Indian world. Generally in accurate classical Sanskrit, they deploy a wide range of regional Indic writing systems extant at the time. Others praise the king or the donor in lofty poetic terms. The evidence of the use of the Sanskrit language in Indic writing systems appears in southeast Asia in the first half of the 1st millennium CE.

Early Sanskrit language inscriptions in Indic writing systems are dated to the 4th century in Malaysia, 5th to 6th centuries in Thailand near Si Thep and the Sak River, early 5th century in Kutai east Borneo and mid-5th century in west Java Indonesia. Sanskrit has been written in various scripts on a variety of media such as palm leaves, cloth, paper, rock and metal sheets, from ancient times.

For nearly 2, years, Sanskrit was the language of a cultural order that exerted influence across South Asia , Inner Asia , Southeast Asia , and to a certain extent East Asia. In some contexts, there are also more "prakritisms" borrowings from common speech than in Classical Sanskrit proper.

Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a literary language heavily influenced by the Middle Indo-Aryan languages , based on early Buddhist Prakrit texts which subsequently assimilated to the Classical Sanskrit standard in varying degrees. Sanskrit has greatly influenced the languages of India that grew from its vocabulary and grammatical base; for instance, Hindi is a "Sanskritised register" of Hindustani.

All modern Indo-Aryan languages , as well as Munda and Dravidian languages have borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit tatsama words , or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan languages tadbhava words. Words originating in Sanskrit are estimated at roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern Indo-Aryan languages, as well as the literary forms of Malayalam and Kannada. Sanskrit has also influenced Sino-Tibetan languages , mostly through translations of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.

Many terms were transliterated directly and added to the Chinese vocabulary. Many Sanskrit texts survive only in Tibetan collections of commentaries to the Buddhist teachings, the Tengyur. Sanskrit was a language for religious purposes and for the political elite in parts of medieval era Southeast Asia, Central Asia and East Asia. Many Sanskrit loanwords are also found in Austronesian languages , such as Javanese , particularly the older form in which nearly half the vocabulary is borrowed.

Similarly, Philippine languages such as Tagalog have some Sanskrit loanwords , although more are derived from Spanish.

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Sanskrit has also influenced the religious register of Japanese mostly through transliterations. These were borrowed from Chinese transliterations. Sanskrit is the sacred language of various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. It is used during worship in Hindu temples. In Newar Buddhism , it is used in all monasteries, while Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhist religious texts and sutras are in Sanskrit as well as vernacular languages. Further, states Paul Dundas , Sanskrit mantras and Sanskrit as a ritual language was commonplace among Jains throughout their medieval history.

Many Hindu rituals and rites-of-passage such as the "giving away the bride" and mutual vows at weddings, a baby's naming or first solid food ceremony and the goodbye during a cremation invoke and chant Sanskrit hymns. Davis, a scholar of Religion and South Asian studies, the breadth and variety of oral recitations of the Sanskrit text Bhagavad Gita is remarkable. In India and beyond, its recitations include "simple private household readings, to family and neighborhood recitation sessions, to holy men reciting in temples or at pilgrimage places for passersby, to public Gita discourses held almost nightly at halls and auditoriums in every Indian city".

More than 3, Sanskrit works have been composed since India's independence in The Sahitya Akademi has given an award for the best creative work in Sanskrit every year since Sanskrit is used extensively in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches of classical music. Kirtanas , bhajans , stotras , and shlokas of Sanskrit are popular throughout India. The samaveda uses musical notations in several of its recessions.

Numerous loan Sanskrit words are found in other major Asian languages. Zoetmulder contains over 25, entries , and even in English. Over 90 weeklies, fortnightlies and quarterlies are published in Sanskrit.


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Sudharma , a daily newspaper in Sanskrit, has been published out of Mysore , India, since , while Sanskrit Vartman Patram and Vishwasya Vrittantam started in Gujarat during the last five years. Sanskrit is one the 15 languages of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. The Central Board of Secondary Education of India CBSE , along with several other state education boards, has made Sanskrit an alternative option to the state's own official language as a second or third language choice in the schools it governs.

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Sanskrit is also taught in traditional gurukulas throughout India. A number of colleges and universities in India have dedicated departments for Sanskrit studies.

European scholarship in Sanskrit, begun by Heinrich Roth — and Johann Ernst Hanxleden — , is considered responsible for the discovery of an Indo-European language family by Sir William Jones — This research played an important role in the development of Western philology , or historical linguistics. The 18th- and 19th-century speculations about the possible links of Sanskrit to ancient Egyptian language were later proven to be wrong, but it fed an orientalist discourse both in the form Indophobia and Indophilia, states Trautmann.

Scholars such as William Jones and his colleagues felt the need for systematic studies of Sanskrit language and literature. This launched the Asiatic Society, an idea that was soon transplanted to Europe starting with the efforts of Henry Thomas Colebrooke in Britain, then Alexander Hamilton who helped expand its studies to Paris and thereafter his student Friedrich Schlegel who introduced Sanskrit to the universities of Germany. Schlegel nurtured his own students into influential European Sanskrit scholars, particularly through Franz Bopp and Friedrich Max Muller. As these scholars translated the Sanskrit manuscripts, the enthusiasm for Sanskrit grew rapidly among European scholars, states Trautmann, and chairs for Sanskrit "were established in the universities of nearly every German statelet" creating a competition for Sanskrit experts.

In Nepal, India and Indonesia , Sanskrit phrases are widely used as mottoes for various national, educational and social organisations:. Contrary to popular belief, there is an astonishing quality of creative upsurge of writing in Sanskrit today. Modern Sanskrit writing is qualitatively of such high order that it can easily be treated on par with the best of Classical Sanskrit literature, It can also easily compete with the writings in other Indian languages.

The latter half of the nineteenth century marks the beginning of a new era in Sanskrit literature. Many of the modern Sanskrit writings are qualitatively of such high order that they can easily be treated at par with the best of classical Sanskrit works, and they can also be judged in contrast to the contemporary literature in other languages. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 27 September Language family. Vedic Sanskrit. Writing system. Historic Sanskrit manuscripts: a religious text top , and a medical text. See also: Indo-European vocabulary. Main article: Vedic Sanskrit.

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Extant manuscripts in Sanskrit number over 30 million, one hundred times those in Greek and Latin combined, constituting the largest cultural heritage that any civilization has produced prior to the invention of the printing press. Sanskrit language manuscripts exist in many scripts.


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All are Hindu texts except the last Buddhist text. See also: Sanskrit revival. The system of Sanskrit Sounds [The] order of Sanskrit sounds works along three principles: it goes from simple to complex; it goes from the back to the front of the mouth; and it groups similar sounds together. How Sanskrit chants sound? A recitation of the Sanskrit composition Guru Stotram , or "the hymn of praise for the teacher guru ".

Main article: Sanskrit grammar. See also: Vedic Sanskrit grammar. Main article: Sanskrit prosody. There is no word without meter, nor is there any meter without words.

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Further information: Brahmi script and Devanagari. Main article: Brahmi script. Main articles: Devanagari , Nandinagari , and Nagari script. Sanskrit has had a historical presence and influence in many parts of Asia. See also: Sanskrit studies. See also: List of educational institutions which have Sanskrit phrases as their mottos and List of institutions which have Sanskrit phrases as their mottoes.

It is the language evidenced by the undeciphered Harappan script from the 3rd millennium BCE. Equivalent "paternal Heaven" phrasal equation is found in many Indo-European languages. The stronger argument for this position is that we have no specimen of the script before the time of Ashoka, nor any direct evidence of intermediate stages in its development; but of course this does not mean that such earlier forms did not exist, only that, if they did exist, they have not survived, presumably because they were not employed for monumental purposes before Ashoka".

Scharfe adds that the best evidence, at the time of his review, is that no script was used in India, aside from the Northwest Indian subcontinent, before around BCE because Indian tradition "at every occasion stresses the orality of the cultural and literary heritage. It is even less likely, states Norman, that a writing script was invented during Ashoka's rule, starting from nothing, for the specific purpose of writing his inscriptions and then it was understood all over South Asia where the Ashoka pillars are found. Johannes Bronkhorst disagrees with Falk, and states, "Falk goes too far.

It is fair to expect that we believe that Vedic memorisation—though without parallel in any other human society—has been able to preserve very long texts for many centuries without losing a syllable. According to Sanskrit epics scholar John Brockington, the earliest layer of the Ramayana epic was composed about the 5th to the 4th centuries BCE. Other recent scholarly estimates are around the 4th century BCE, give or take a century.

The thirty million estimate is of David Pingree , a manuscriptologist and historian. Sounds in grey are not phonemic. It may also reflect that the text is a compilation of works of different authors and time periods. The only known similarity is found in the Ethiopic scripts, but Ethiopic system lacks clusters and the Indic set of full vowels signs.

Louis Renou called it "the great linguistical paradox of India" that the Sanskrit inscriptions appear later than Prakrit inscriptions, although Prakrit is considered as a descendant of the Sanskrit language. He adds, that the Scythian rulers of northern and western India while not the originators, were promoters of the use of Sanskrit language for inscriptions, and "their motivation in promoting Sanskrit was presumably a desire to establish themselves as legitimate Indian or at least Indianized rulers and to curry the favor of the educated Brahmanical elite".

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By about the 14th century, with the Islamic armies conquering more of the Indian subcontinent, the use of Sanskrit language for inscriptions became rarer and it was replaced with Persian, Arabic, Dravidian and North-Indo-Aryan languages, states Salomon. The list of phonetically transcribed and semantically translated words from Sanskrit into Chinese is substantial, states Xiangdong Shi.

Grammaticalization and the Rise of Configurationality in Indo-Aryan. Oxford University Press. November Archived from the original PDF on 28 December Glottolog 3.