Prakrit's evolution/relation with Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
2,988
USA
#41
I would not say that. The simple answer is that they were basically herders and did not know any script, so transferred their lore orally. When the initial migration took place, the indigenous people liked Sanskrit and adopted it, speaking it as best as they could do and mixing it with their own words. Later the Pundits/scholars arrived with Vedic Sanskrit. Sure, they were very particular about pronunciation. Panini attempted to harmonize/standardize the Vedic Sanskrit and Prakrit, and I should say succeeded nicely, and came up with modern Sanskrit. Later, the scholarly use of Prakrits declined and Jains and Buddhists too wrote and discoursed in Sanskrit.
Yes the herders recited all the chandas, vyakarana, darshana and everything in between. This they achieved magically after coming from Arctic to India in the course of couple hundred years! Wait a minute.... They took all the lofty ideas of the indigenous people and translated those in Sanskrit and gave them back. Wow, what a hypothesis!
 

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
2,988
USA
#42
Following hypothesis on connection between Prakrit & Sanskrit seems plausible:

1. There was a common Proto-Indo-Iranian spoken language.

2. Some of the hymns of Rig Ved Samhita and Zend Avesta were composed in the above language (because a few hymns with similar pronunciation and meter are found in both).

3. Proto Indo-Iranian separated into (gave birth to) two sister languages - Indic and Iranian.

4. The above Indic is the Original / First Prakrit. With expansion of Indo-Aryans, over period of centuries, it divided and gave birth to many spoken languages or Prakrits.

5. In order to preserve the exact words and their pronunciation of Vedic hymns & other religious compositions - rather than allow change with (get corrupted) due to evolution of Original/First Prakrit - "Sanskrit" as a language was created by Brahmin linguistic scholars.

Thus Sanskrit was a standardized language created out of an Original / First Prakrit to preserve the pronunciation etc of religious hymns.

6. Standardization meant creation of four branches of knowledge. [1] These four are

Shiksha (śikṣā): phonetics, phonology, pronunciation.
[ii] Chandas (chandas): prosody.
[iii] Vyakarana (vyākaraṇa): grammar and linguistic analysis.
[iv] Nirukta (nirukta): etymology, explanation of words, particularly those that are archaic and have ancient uses with unclear meaning.


These four are part of six Vedangas (Auxiliaries of Vedas) essential to understanding the Vedas. The remaining two parts of Vedangas are not connected with language. The two are:

[v] Kalpa (kalpa): ritual instructions.
[vi] Jyotisha (jyotiṣa): Auspicious time for rituals, astrology and astronomy.



6. Over period of time the Sankrit was also revised but in a controlled evolution.


7. The final revision of Sanskrit language happened based on Panini's "Astha-adhyayi" around c. 300 BCE. He laid down 3990 rules of language.

Subsequently, Katyayana composed a "Vartika" on Panini's work. Still later Patanjali composed 'Maha-bhashya' on works of Panini & Katyayana.

All composer of Sanskrit works began following the rules laid down by these three and thus 'Classical Sanskrit' was created.

8. There were several experts on language before Panini who laid down language rules on Sanskrit thus resulting in controlled evolution. They can form the subject of another post.

References:

[1] Vedanga - Wikipedia

[2] Sanskrit grammar - Wikipedia

[3] Sanskrit - Wikipedia:

Vedic and Avetan do not seem to be sibling languages. Vedic is the more ancient of the two. Why I say this is because of this:

zairi-gaosha [-]green-eared; golden-eared (k195)... Vedic equivalent: Hari Ghosha
zam [-]earth Vedic equivalent: Gma
zañgem [zañga]8 (A) m. bone of the leg; ankle-bone (D.) (k199) Vedic equivalent: Jangha

Look at how three different starting sounds in Vedic "ha", "ga" and "ja" all map to 'za' in Avestan. The probability of different Vedic sounds getting reduced to one sound in Avestan is more than one sound of Avestan getting mapped to multiple sounds in Vedic. It is very likely that the Avestan language had only one assigned sound for all such sounds, and was "used" to express the Vedic language.

Another example of transformation is as follows:

dushmainyunãm [dush-mainyu]5 (plG) m. evil thinking (lit.), an enemy (k269) (evil-spirited!). Vedic equivalent: Durmanyu
dushmataca [dushmata]5 (plA) n. an evil thought Vedic equivalent: Durmata

Durmanyu itself is compound word consisting of "duh" + "manyu", and so is durmata => "duh" + "mata". Note that the 'h' at the end of the word duh is actually a visarga.

See that in DevanAgari:
दुः

The rules of compounding the words dictate that an 'r' sound come between "du" and "mata" when such combination happens, not a 'sh' as seen in Avestan.

While the 'sh' sound is used in other compounds like:

Goshpada => Goh + pada. Note that this word does not become Gorpada.

So clearly Avestan speakers must have been at the periphery of the core Vedic speaking area where grammar rules could be flouted.

Another example:

duzhvacanghô [duzhvacangh]10 (G, plNA) evil speech; evil- speaking Vedic equivalent: Durvachas => "duh" + "vachas"

Notice how "zh" has replaced "r" here. I wonder if this 'zh' is a sound that actually was a "retroflex".

Notice how in Parkrits, the word "durlabha" ("duh" + "labha") becomes "dullabha".
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,361
New Delhi, India
#43
Yes the herders recited all the chandas, vyakarana, darshana and everything in between. This they achieved magically after coming from Arctic to India in the course of couple hundred years! Wait a minute.... They took all the lofty ideas of the indigenous people and translated those in Sanskrit and gave them back. Wow, what a hypothesis!
Most of these things were achieved after coming to India. They came with Vedas and Brahmanas. By the time they did what you have written they had already become indigenous themselves.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
3,797
India
#45
What a flawed logic! Just because you do not have evidence for existence or non-existence of Prakrit when Vedic language existed, does not automatically make it co-exist with Vedic language (it could have but those dates and guesses do not make any conclusive evidence).

One has to examine the way words are formed and then decide which is ancient and which has evolved from the other.
I tried to learn Prakrit as I already know Sanskrit and my observation was Prakrit just a distorted/evolved form of Sanskrit, the vocabulary was more close to modern Indian languages.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
3,797
India
#46
According to Dr. Wendy Donizer, Sanskrit was never an everyday languate, but was always some kind of special sacred language of religion and learning.

Prakitt didn't evolve from Sanskrit. Early western scholars were misled by analogy with Latin, where languages like French and Italian had evovled from Latin, and naturally assumed the same thing happened between Prakitt and Sanskrit. But unlike Latin, the oldest Indian writing is in Prakitt, not Sanskrit. It is only after you see writing in Prakit that you see writing in Sanskrit. It would be like seeing writing in French and Italian before you saw any writing in Latin.

It really isn't until the time of the Guptas that you see Sanskrit becoming the main language of learning and high culture. I suspect that that is because the Gutpas were pushing the Hindu religion, into new area and replacing Buddhism, and needed a common language for their empire. They began using Sanskrit they way Latin was being used in Europe, where Germans, Slavs, Irish, etc., were all using it, even though their own languages did not descend from it, and they were never part of the Roman empire.

(I must point out that Doniger's claims were are dispute by a lot of scholars and those and other claims resulted in her book being withdrawn from India. You can't buy her book in India any more as a result.)
The earliest form of Prakrit comes from Mauryan period, Panini wrote Ashtadhayayi, the Sanskrit grammar book before that, Vedic Sanskrit is dated even far ancient to that. Although Prakrit originated directly from Vedic Sanskrit instead of Classical Sanskrit. Beside, I had learned Sanskrit in school, the relation between Sanskrit and Prakrit is similar to Standard Latin and Vulgar Latin. Sanskrit(classical) means 'structured speech' while Prakrit means 'natural speech', which means the terminology was used for literary and spoken variant of the same language similar to the case of Standard Latin and Vulgar Latin of Italy and Iberia.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,361
New Delhi, India
#47
But from what i have gathered over the years from Singhala Buddhists are that the Prakrit and Sanskrit both belong to the same family of Indo--Aryan languages .. But only spoken among themselves like a "code Language" ! ---Prakrit was a literary Language with its various other Dialects. They were spoken daily as a vernacular by the common lay people of Indo-Aryans who lived in the entire North India until 13th century ! However Some dialects are completely died out Eg Paisaci.

When the Buddha and Mahavira "revolted " against the Vedic Rituals and Cast Hierarchy Etc---Vedic Brahmins decided to put Sanskrit Language into writing to edge out Buddhism and Jainism -Hence the beginning of the evolution of "Classical Sanskrit" which was completed during Gupta Period -- During the Mayuran kingdom especially under King Asoka Buddhism/Jainism and Prakrit languages was riding high with the royal patronage and protection ---After the Assassination of the last king of their Kingdom ---All the Buddhist Monks and Jains Archaryas came down to South India [ Andra/Kannada/ TN /Kerala] to spread their Religions by building several Temples/Viharas and Publishing many literary works in South Indian local languages and at the same time there was Invasion by Indo--Greeks who were ardent Buddhists during Sunga Dynasty! I am afraid There is no reliable "Source" for this information anywhere in History books like many Genocides really happened all over the world :)
Sanskrit, or more correctly, pre-Vedic and Vedic language, was not a code language, a secret language. It was the language of the people of Central Asia at that time. That is why Avesta was written in it. It was new language when it came to India but quickly displaced the old languages. The prakrits, Apabramsha languages are still spoken in many regions of India - Maithili, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Dingal in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sindh (Dingal - Wikipedia), and many more. All such languages are basically prakrits, derivatives of Sanskrit as the people spoke it.

Which is the king that you mention as assassinated? Sure, Hinduism became the majority religion in Gupta times. Adoption of Sanskrit was not the reason for decline of Jainism nd Buddhism. Jains remain in North India even now and Buddhists were in North India till the sack of Nalanda around 1,200 D by Bakhtiar Khilji. Nalanda was supported by Hindu kings all through the history. Jainism and Buddhism reached South India much earlier than that and at one time they were prosperous there. I put reason behind the decline of these religions as too much ascetism and academism. The simple village folk were not interested in ascetism and did not understand the complicated philosophies. They found Hinduism much less demanding and easier to follow. I do not know of any major genocide. Sure, there are some stories in Buddhist and Jain literature with which they tried to explain their waning influence, but there is no supporting evidence for it.

The problem is that your bias against North India, Sanskrit, Brhmins and Hinduism is clearly showing up.
 
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Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,361
New Delhi, India
#48
The problem is that your bias against North India, Sanskrit, Brhmins and Hinduism is clearly showing up.
"Like many other ancient Indian rulers, Harsha (590–647 CE)was eclectic in his religious views and practices. His seals describe his ancestors as sun-worshippers, his elder brother as a Buddhist, and himself as a Shaivite.

Like many other ancient Indian rulers, Harsha was eclectic in his religious views and practices. His seals describe his ancestors as sun-worshippers, his elder brother as a Buddhist, and himself as a Shaivite. .. Xuanzang also describes a 21-day religious festival organized by Harsha in Kannauj; during this festival, Harsha and his subordinate kings performed daily rituals before a life-sized golden statue of the Buddha."
Harsha - Wikipedia

Basically, Buddhism and Jainism were not separate religions at that time. They were parts/sects of Hinduism and people adopted whatever way they liked to spend their lives. They were known as 'Matas', Jain mata, Buddha mata, which literally means 'opinion'. We still have many opinions and matas in Hinduism. We do not regret that they parted from Hinduism. It is their choice, but they have not gone very far away; and we still have respect for each other.
 

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
2,988
USA
#49
Sanskrit, or more correctly, pre-Vedic and Vedic language, was not a code language, a secret language. It was the language of the people of Central Asia at that time. That is why Avesta was written in it. It was new language when it came to India but quickly displaced the old languages. The prakrits, Apabramsha languages are still spoken in many regions of India - Maithili, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Dingal in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sindh (Dingal - Wikipedia), and many more. All such languages are basically prakrits, derivatives of Sanskrit as the people spoke it.

Which is the king that you mention as assassinated? Sure, Hinduism became the majority religion in Gupta times. Adoption of Sanskrit was not the reason for decline of Jainism nd Buddhism. Jains remain in North India even now and Buddhists were in North India till the sack of Nalanda around 1,200 D by Bakhtiar Khilji. Nalanda was supported by Hindu kings all through the history. Jainism and Buddhism reached South India much earlier than that and at one time they were prosperous there. I put reason behind the decline of these religions as too much ascetism and academism. The simple village folk were not interested in ascetism and did not understand the complicated philosophies. They found Hinduism much less demanding and easier to follow. I do not know of any major genocide. Sure, there are some stories in Buddhist and Jain literature with which they tried to explain their waning influence, but there is no supporting evidence for it.

The problem is that your bias against North India, Sanskrit, Brhmins and Hinduism is clearly showing up.
Secret language? All three Varnas - BrAhmaNa, Kshatriya and Vaishya had to go through Upanayana and learn Vedas. And language of people from Central Asia? You got to be kidding..
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,361
New Delhi, India
#50
Aatreya, kindly read what I have written carefully, do not be in a hurry to put me to blame. That Sanskrit was a code/secret language was sid by Niroshan. In my message that you have qwuoted, I am saying exactly what you have said, that Sanskrit was not a code/secret language. (You too should have quoted Niroshn's post and not mine, as I did. You make it seem like I made such a statement).
 

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