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History Of Lingustics In India Essay

1076 words - 5 pages

Linguistics as a study endeavors to describe and explain the human faculty of language.

In ancient civilization, linguistic study was originally motivated by the correct description of classical liturgical language, notably that of Sanskrit grammar by Pāṇini (fl. 4th century BC), or by the development of logic and rhetoric among Greeks. Beginning around the 4th century BC, China also developed its own grammatical traditions and Arabic grammar and Hebrew grammar developed during the Middle Ages.

Modern linguistics began to develop in the 18th century, reaching the "golden age of philology" in the 19th century. The first half of the 20th century was marked by the structuralist school, ...view middle of the document...

5th century BCE?) posits that meaning inheres in the sentence, and that word meanings are derived based on sentential usage. He also provides four categories of words—nouns, verbs, pre-verbs, and particles/invariants—and a test for nouns both concrete and abstract: words which can be indicated by the pronoun that.

Pāṇini (c. 4th century BC) opposes the Yāska view that sentences are primary, and proposes a grammar for composing semantics from morphemic roots. Transcending the ritual text to consider living language, Pāṇini specifies a comprehensive set of about 4,000 aphoristic rules (sutras) that:

1. Map the semantics of verb argument structures into thematic roles
2. Provide morphosyntactic rules for creating verb forms and nominal forms whose seven cases are called karaka (similar to case) that generate the morphology
3. Take these morphological structures and consider phonological processes (e.g., root or stem modification) by which the final phonological form is obtained

In addition, the Pāṇinian school also provides a list of 2000 verb roots which form the objects on which these rules are applied, a list of sounds (the so-called Shiva-sutras), and a list of 260 words not derivable by the rules.

The extremely succinct specification of these rules and their complex interactions led to considerable commentary and extrapolation over the following centuries. The phonological structure includes defining a notion of sound universals similar to the modern phoneme, the systematization of consonants based on oral cavity constriction, and vowels based on height and duration. However, it is the ambition of mapping these from morpheme to semantics that is truly remarkable in modern terms.

Grammarians following Pāṇini include Kātyāyana (c. 3rd century BCE), who wrote aphorisms on Pāṇini (the Varttika) and advanced mathematics; Patañjali (2nd century BCE), known for his commentary on selected topics in Pāṇini's grammar (the Mahabhasya) and on Kātyāyana's aphorisms, as well as, according to some, the author of the Yoga Sutras, and Pingala, with his mathematical approach to prosody. Several debates ranged over centuries, for example, on whether word-meaning mappings were conventional (Vaisheshika-Nyaya) or eternal (Kātyāyana-Patañjali-Mīmāṃsā).

The Nyaya Sutras specified three types of meaning: the individual (this cow), the type universal (cowhood), and...

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