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Historical Survey of Ancient Indian Grammars (Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit)

Sures Chandra Banerji (Author)
Synopsis In Western tradition, ‘Grammar’ (from Greek grammatike) stands for that branch of knowledge which deals with the inflectional forms, rules for their application, syntax, and some times, the phonetic system of the language, and its representation in writing . In India the term ‘vyakarana’ connotes much more than the term ‘grammar’ does. In Sanskrit the science of language is called ‘vyakarana’ which includes phonetics, etymology, accentuation, syntax, word formation by declension and conjugation, and semantics. Grammatical thought, in India, is coeval with the Vedas. The preservation and understanding of the vedic texts were regarded as a religious duty. The attempts to analyse the word for their better understanding are as old as the Taittiriya-samhita. We know from the Brahmanas and the Upanisads that Vyakarana was regarded as a vedanga, i.e. an auxiliary to the vedic studies since very old times. To the oldest phase of Sanskrit grammatical literature belong the pratisakhyas. Then follow the grammarians whose works have been lost but who have been referred to by Panini in his monumental work Astadhyayi. The oldest grammarian of India whose complete works have come down to us, is Panini. There is an erroneous notion among some people that Panini’s is the only grammar of ancient. India. Ancient and medieval India has not only produced numerous grammarians but also has seen the development of several grammatical schools independent of one another. To name a few are, Katantra, Mugdhabodha, Sarasvata, Sanksiptasara, etc. Eminent scholars of Pali and Prakrit did not lag behind. They also wrote grammars of their respective languages and dialects. For Pali we have the grammars of Kaccayana, Moggallana, Aggavamsa; for Prakrit Vararuci, Trivikrams, Markandeya, Canda, etc. Synopses, commentaries, super-commentaries, etc. continued to be written since very old time down to our time. The grammatical tradition very rich as it is, there has never been attempted a comprehensive history of Indian grammars. Dr. S.C. Banerji’s work is a pioneering work in this field. It is very comprehensive and scientifically organized. Not only all the schools of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit grammars have been represented in this work all the works and their authors have been described in a chronological order. The bibliographical references contained in this work are very valuable for a researcher.
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About the author

Sures Chandra Banerji

S.C. Banerji, (born 1917, Bengal), M.A. (Dacca), and Ph.D. (Calcutta), is a retired professor of Sanskrit, a Fellow of Asiatic Society, Calcutta and recognized by International Biographical Centre, Cambridges. England, as International Man of the Year 1997/98, is a dedicated indologist. He has, to his credit, about sixty books, on different aspects of indology, in English, Bengali and Hindi. Among his English works are A Companion to Sanskrit Literature, A Brief History of Tantra Literature, Studies in the Origin and Development of Yoga, A Companion to Indian Philosophy, New Perspectives in the study of the Puranas, A Brief History of Dharmasastra, Historical Survey of Ancient Indian Grammars (Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit), Principles of Hindu Jurisprudence (2 Vols.), Studies in the Mahapuranas, Cultural Reciprocation between India and the World, etc.

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Bibliographic information

Title Historical Survey of Ancient Indian Grammars (Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit)
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1996
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 818561640X
length 220p., Tables; Bibliography; 23cm.