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PfizerGuyzer t1_j0rbs00 wrote

I read the article and felt it answered all of these questions adequately. Panini was not a contemporary scholar, he was describing Sanskrit centuries ago. We knew that his machine worked, but could not follow his instructions now. (That's what the 'machine' was, a set of grammer instructions that produced perfectly correct Sanskrit words. It was a conceptual machine.)

Rishi cracked what Panini meant in his instructions, and now we have a way to construct close to perfect Sanskrit.


BurntRussianBBQ t1_j0sbc17 wrote

I am I correct in my understanding it was as simple as, when there is a choice between the right and left side of a word, always choose or "modify" right?

This seems incredibly simple. Why did not one run across this before?


sadness_elemental t1_j0sfbri wrote

They assumed it meant earlier rules had precedence over later rules, it's simple once you realise but they probably didn't even realise they were applying the rule wrong


masklinn t1_j0trht5 wrote

> They assumed it meant earlier rules had precedence over later rules

Other way around, within a priority level the later rule overrides the earlier (is the historical interpretation).


ColgateSensifoam t1_j0u5ihg wrote

For clarity, it was interpreted as the rule that occurs later in the rulebook applies, rather than the rule that occurs later in the word, as is actually the case


PfizerGuyzer t1_j0scmnr wrote

The last hundred years in particular has been spent assuming much more complicated solutions and delving into them..


Staerebu t1_j0t4aku wrote

A hundred years ago an academic realised Panini's approach would quickly put them out a job and promptly set about creating innumerable rules to keep themselves employed


laujac t1_j0u88bu wrote

Now this is a conspiracy I can get behind.


PfizerGuyzer t1_j0u18uu wrote

This is the kind of conspiracy the fits right at home with flat earth.


Buntschatten t1_j0s4bbf wrote

But what defines what is perfect Sanskrit?


BarAgent t1_j0s4pxx wrote

Sanskrit speakers. It’s a dead language, but there are plenty of people who know it. And there are plenty of texts. There’s enough for a person to validate whether the rules work.


43703 t1_j0spj4b wrote

It ain’t dead. It is compulsory upto 8th standard in Indian school curriculum. Its upto the students after that if they want to pursue it further.


zorokash t1_j0s86ma wrote

.... I dont see the point of calling a language dead but also saying there are several speakers of that language. That's like opposite of dead. Sorry, but studying languages that are actually dying due to nobody speaking them any more, your description somehow doesn't fit right.


Shibbledibbler t1_j0s8ojn wrote

'Dead' is a legitimate categorical term, not a subjective judgement by BarAgent.


zorokash t1_j0sdvrl wrote

There are a few everyday speakers of Sanskrit, who use it sort of a vernacular in public speaking.


FoolishConsistency17 t1_j0sas0k wrote

Linguists call a language dead when there are no native speakers. People may speak it, but they learn it as a second language, often from texts, or from people who learned from texts. It ceases to change or adapt as a living language does.


zorokash t1_j0sff4k wrote

Languages change due to act of speaking. Not related to it being native to anywhere or not.

English is not native to 99% of Indian population and some approx 20% can speak it. But if you removed those 20% and isolated them from other english speakers, the English they speak will still continue to change and adapt for newer needs and trends in language and pop culture.

This logic of a language is frozen if spoken only by second language speakers is entirely flawed. I know 6 languages, but if my 6th language got new trends among similar 6th language speakers of same language, I will still register that and it may or may not propagate back to 1st speakers of that language depending on how popular it gets.


LangyMD t1_j0sli5o wrote

"No native speakers" effectively means "nobody's primary language". Nobody is learning that language and using it in their day-to-day life as their primary mode of communication.

"No native speakers" is a rough approximation of that, but still pretty much accurate - someone's primary day-to-day language would be what their kids learn.

That said, if there were a group who didn't have kids but primarily used a language they learned as a second language (think priests who primarily use Latin to talk to one another but aren't allowed to have kids), that language could be "dead" by the technical definition of "no native speakers" but still able to change and adapt like a living language. An "undead" language, if you will.


zorokash t1_j0spg6c wrote

>Nobody is learning that language and using it in their day-to-day life as their primary mode of communication.

What difference does it make if the communication is the primary mode or secondary mode. What kind of arbitrary rule is this that there should be people who call it mother tongue for them to be considered a speaker of that language?

>"No native speakers" is a rough approximation of that, but still pretty much accurate - someone's primary day-to-day language would be what their kids learn.

That is irrelevant for it to be a qualifier for life of the language. A language spoken by 1st language speakers or 2nd language speakers is still the same language and usage. If do not use english for anything except in professional life should I not be considered part of the speaking population keeping it alive? Literally by speaking it, I am keeping the language tendencies accents inflection popcuktural references phrases and idioms, all relevant and recognizable. How is that not adding to keeping the language alive and well?

> An "undead" language, if you will.

So a Zombie language? Dude , the definition of living person vs a zombie is a human imagination. Just say its Alive without using complex "undead" status.

Besides, Latin is not used as extensively outside of religious services as Sanskrit is used.


LangyMD t1_j0ssghb wrote

If you really want to argue about this, you can take it up with the linguistics:

An extinct language is one that has no speakers, either native or second. A dead language is one that has no native speakers. These are terms that are widely used in the linguistics world and are well-defined, and mean different things.


LightIsWater t1_j0stb44 wrote

One measuring stick I can think of is that the “primary” (spoken every day by everyday folks) mode of communication can generate slang, while a language like Latin does not have those organic conditions in which to evolve at the typical rate of language change, which is how I’ll try to distinguish between Latin and English: one still has way more potential for change unless people suddenly start speaking Latin in stadiums and clubs. As for Sanskrit, I don’t know if I can determine its potential for change — sounds like there are people who still use it as their primary mode.


zorokash t1_j0svlq0 wrote

You are missing one big difference.. Latin today is used solely for two purposes, as a liturgical language on religion, and scholarly study of the language.

Sanskrit has more than just those. There is literature like prose poetry and plays written, recited and enacted for crowds. There are philosophical discussions happening. There was recently a south Indian commercial movie released , made entirely in Sanskrit, for general public to watch and enjoy.

For these reasons. Sanskrit is not in same boat as Latin. People keep trying to push it in that, but it isn't.

Also, how a language changes along with time is entirely dependent on culture and the specific language construction itself.

Sanskrit was largely focused on oral traditions and was extensively worked out to prevent changes in language sounds. Paninis works shows how those time lasting standards and mechanisms were made and enacted. Due to its peculiar circumstances, it should not be judged on same standard as other language with little to no sound standards like in latin or Hebrew etc.


AliMcGraw t1_j0sxbfl wrote

You are incorrect. People are still writing literature in Latin, updating the language with modern terms, producing newspapers and newscasts in Latin, and so on.

It's still a dead language, but it's in wide and lively use, and well outside the walls of the Vatican.


youdubdub t1_j0s9lj2 wrote

Knowing and speaking are two very different things.


PfizerGuyzer t1_j0scjhl wrote

Not relevant in this case. Dead means no native speakers.


youdubdub t1_j0scmnx wrote

That was my point. Thanks for the downvote, but we happen to be vigorously agreeing, lol.


zorokash t1_j0se5fm wrote

People are having conversations in it, writing literature, has a news telecast in Sanskrit, there are drama and theatre , .... what else needs to happen for it to be considered "speaking" it?


youdubdub t1_j0sj6fj wrote

It should be distinguished from the former language. There is no way the new speakers can discern prior inflection, verbal varieties, etc.

The old version of the language in dead in spite of an attempted revival.


zorokash t1_j0snvmy wrote

You are literally forgetting how Sanskrit works. There has always been an unbroken line of scholars who have learned the language and have a vast understanding of the inflection and verbal varieties.

There is plenty supporting evidence of how vedas being recited in vedic schools with aid of oral traditions, are reciting in the exact inflection and speech variation as the ancient times. The oral traditions have literally constructed mechanisms to ensure this as a system that is widely studied as well. Sanskrit is not some language that people stopped using it for hundreds of years. Never the case. Infact the last Sanskrit scholar who wrote extensively in the language was no more than a 150 years ago.

There have been several Sanskrit schools of learning before and after that person. You are in denial of how the language actually functions and exists and studied continually. And all of these do cause language variations and trends just as much as any other language, or maybe fewer, but not zero.


AliMcGraw t1_j0sxf8a wrote

So what you're saying is it's basically exactly the same as Latin and Hebrew?


[deleted] t1_j0sdb3x wrote

How are they dying if noone speaks them?


zorokash t1_j0sfjok wrote

They are dying BECAUSE noone is speaking them... going extinct if it makes more sense to you?


[deleted] t1_j0si2aj wrote

If no one is speaking them, they're dead, not dying.


zorokash t1_j0smzeh wrote

I literally explained how people are speaking it as a secondary language for various functions such as speech, poetry, prose, and theatre. People are speaking and writing it. There are schools teaching it in the hundreds. You are using the word "speaking" but not giving a satisfactory definition of it.


[deleted] t1_j0sperd wrote

So not no one?


zorokash t1_j0sq3g3 wrote

Yes, not Noone. There are speakers who speak it regularly, in the several thousands. Just not as mother tongue.


[deleted] t1_j0t9l1e wrote

Okay. You kept on saying no one speaks the dying languages. So you can see that language isn't exactly precise and even though you think the definition of dead language isn't obvious, that doesn't mean it's wrong.


JamesTheJerk t1_j0t9wln wrote

Sure however the article is vague. If someone reading it sees the word 'machine', what conclusion is most easily drawn? And the entire article is written like that. It's deliberately metaphorical and this naturally confuses unexpecting readers.


PfizerGuyzer t1_j0u3opq wrote

"Pāṇini’s system—4,000 rules detailed in his greatest work, the Aṣṭādhyāyī which is thought to have been written around 500 BC—is meant to work like a machine. Feed in the base and suffix of a word and it should turn them into grammatically correct words and sentences through a step-by-step process."

I don't know. If you guys are having this reaction to the article, then it must in some sense be confusing, but if I were the author I would find this criticism borderline offensive.


JamesTheJerk t1_j0wujgo wrote

Criticism is natural in every aspect of life and if the author is offended, so be it. I don't care and neither should they due to me being a lowly redditor and not a peer to the writer on the subject.

This is my opinion on the article and that's how I feel.


PfizerGuyzer t1_j0wv33p wrote

Your feelings seem motivated by a desire to put others down so you can feel big in comparison.


JamesTheJerk t1_j0wvy7j wrote

Which 'feelings' have I portrayed again? Please disregard my alias as I am not in fact a 'jerk'.