Sanskrit Discussion: Devanagari Question

Devanagari Question
Posts: 15

Report Abuse

Use this form to report abuse or request takedown.
The requests are usually processed within 48 hours.

Page: 1 2   Next  (First | Last)

M J Schreiber
2006-03-10 21:13:02 EST
Through an interest in Yoga and Yoga philosophy, I have recently begun a
self-study of the Sanskrit language. I am using Thomas Egenes' text
"Introduction to Sanskrit", as well as several good online sources. After
reading several reviews of introductory sanskrit texts, the Egenes text
seemed to be considered best for self-study based on its systematic approach
for the beginner. My question has to do with the differences in the
devanagari script that are presented in Egenes' book, as compared to that
which I have seen in most of the other sources I have seen, as well as
scriptural texts such as the Gita. The differences are primarily in the way
the letters a, aa, o, and au (as well as a few others) are written.
Unfortunately I can't type the devanagari characters to show you what I
mean. It is my understanding that one variation is common to the northern,
and the other to the southern area of India. Which version is more common?
Should I be learning the version presented by Egenes, or should I learn both
versions? In the variation which Egenes does not teach, the letter aa is
roughly written as 3TT, which appears to be the more common form. Could
someone please explain these differences to me and advise how I should study
them? Thank you.
Michael



Anon
2006-03-10 22:36:19 EST
M J Schreiber wrote:
>Through an interest in Yoga and Yoga philosophy, I have recently begun a
>self-study of the Sanskrit language. I am using Thomas Egenes' text
>"Introduction to Sanskrit", as well as several good online sources. After
>reading several reviews of introductory sanskrit texts, the Egenes text
>seemed to be considered best for self-study based on its systematic approach
>for the beginner. My question has to do with the differences in the
>devanagari script that are presented in Egenes' book, as compared to that
>which I have seen in most of the other sources I have seen, as well as
>scriptural texts such as the Gita. The differences are primarily in the way
>the letters a, aa, o, and au (as well as a few others) are written.
>Unfortunately I can't type the devanagari characters to show you what I
>mean. It is my understanding that one variation is common to the northern,
>and the other to the southern area of India. Which version is more common?
>Should I be learning the version presented by Egenes, or should I learn both
>versions? In the variation which Egenes does not teach, the letter aa is
>roughly written as 3TT, which appears to be the more common form. Could
>someone please explain these differences to me and advise how I should study
>them? Thank you.
>Michael
My understanding was that the other form was more likely to be seen in old
manuscripts written on leaves. I have seen all modern printed and handwritten
materials written with the "common form". I am not sure if there is any
north/south variation here. As long as you stick to printed materials, the
choice is clear.

-Chetan

Andrew Dalby
2006-03-11 12:12:25 EST

Anon wrote:
> M J Schreiber wrote:
...The differences are primarily in the way
> >the letters a, aa, o, and au (as well as a few others) are written.
> >Unfortunately I can't type the devanagari characters to show you what I
> >mean. It is my understanding that one variation is common to the northern,
> >and the other to the southern area of India. Which version is more common?
> >Should I be learning the version presented by Egenes, or should I learn both
> >versions? In the variation which Egenes does not teach, the letter aa is
> >roughly written as 3TT, which appears to be the more common form.

Yes, there is a variation in some letters: it's between the way they
are usually printed for Hindi (and other northern Indian languages) and
the way they are usually printed for Marathi (central western India).
The differences are only in a few characters, and Sanskrit is correctly
printed in either form (depending on where it's printed!) Therefore, my
advice is to accept what your textbook gives you. Once you are reading
easily, you will take the differences in your stride and probably cease
to notice them.

Andrew

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/dalby/


M J Schreiber
2006-03-11 15:25:38 EST
Thanks for your comments. It clears it up somewhat, although I am still
confused as to why a text such as Egenes, which seems to by used fairly
widely as a beginning text, would chose to present the much less common form
throughout the book. The confusion just seems to compound itself as one
attempts to learn the combination forms. It is obvious that he was aware of
the so called "common" form since on one page (71) he shows a side by side
comparison of the six letters in question. He gives no further explanation
as to the relative merits or history of the alternative styles, and he never
again makes any use of the "common form" ( where aa looks like 3TT ) in any
of the writing examples in volume one. I can't speak for volume two yet, as
I have not purchased it at this point. Anybody out there have any comments
on the text by Thomas Egenes?? Thanks

Michael



Nikolaj
2006-03-13 04:24:38 EST
M J Schreiber wrote:
> Thanks for your comments. It clears it up somewhat, although I am still
> confused as to why a text such as Egenes, which seems to by used fairly
> widely as a beginning text, would chose to present the much less common form
> throughout the book. The confusion just seems to compound itself as one
> attempts to learn the combination forms. It is obvious that he was aware of
> the so called "common" form since on one page (71) he shows a side by side
> comparison of the six letters in question. He gives no further explanation
> as to the relative merits or history of the alternative styles, and he never
> again makes any use of the "common form" ( where aa looks like 3TT ) in any
> of the writing examples in volume one. I can't speak for volume two yet, as
> I have not purchased it at this point. Anybody out there have any comments
> on the text by Thomas Egenes?? Thanks
>
> Michael

I think Egenes is a good starting point. I have it and started my
Sanskrit learning with this book. It deals with fair amount of
declensional paradigms and from tenses it studies both present, future
and imperfect (past) this giving both main Sanskrit verb endings, so it
actually goes along way (later, of course, one has to expand both areas
with more comprehensive literature).

I especially like he gives the original Sanskrit terminology and in one
or two instances he also connects with a sUtra in pANini's grammar.

About the letters 'a, aa, o, ...'. The form that starts with '3' (3T,
3TT) is a norm; the other form is used very rarely if at all (apart from
Egenes). You should learn both forms for such letters (there are few
more, not just 'a', but also 'R, RR, L, N, etc'). About letters you can
also consult Charles Wikner and his Introduction to Sanskrit, chapter
9.A.2 - Variations in devanAgarI alphabet (it is even more
introductionary than Egenes, and it nicely explains some additional
points about pronunciation and end-of-line sandhis in declensions):

http://www.danam.co.uk/Sanskrit/Sanskrit%20Introductory/Wikner%20Sanskrit%20Intro.pdf

One nice site for on-line explorations from my experience is 'Gérard
Huet's Sanskrit Site' which allows you to check declensions and verbal
paradigms on-line (http://sanskrit.inria.fr/) - it had a few errors in
generation of noun declensions, but these are cleared now - there are
now only few additional alternatives that are not mentioned in other
sources.

Another (which I only found two days ago) is 'The Sanskrit Declension
Trainer', which I haven't tried yet, but it seems very nice (especially
for beginners) - http://www.imn.htwk-leipzig.de/~bunk/sanskrit.htm

Eki
2006-03-13 05:04:19 EST
Sat, 11 Mar 2006 14:25:38 -0600, "M J Schreiber" <mjsch@pro-ns.net> a
écrit:

>Thanks for your comments. It clears it up somewhat, although I am still
>confused as to why a text such as Egenes, which seems to by used fairly
>widely as a beginning text, would chose to present the much less common form
>throughout the book. The confusion just seems to compound itself as one
>attempts to learn the combination forms. It is obvious that he was aware of
>the so called "common" form since on one page (71) he shows a side by side
>comparison of the six letters in question. He gives no further explanation
>as to the relative merits or history of the alternative styles, and he never
>again makes any use of the "common form" ( where aa looks like 3TT ) in any
>of the writing examples in volume one. I can't speak for volume two yet, as
>I have not purchased it at this point. Anybody out there have any comments
>on the text by Thomas Egenes?? Thanks
>
>Michael
>

Part two also has the less common(?) form. Somehow I've got the
impression that Egenes would be a "TMer" (practitioner of
Transcendental Meditation). In that respect his choice would
be a bit strange, because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his "On
the Bhagavad-Gita" uses the 3T -form.

Neeraj Mathur
2006-03-13 05:11:22 EST

"M J Schreiber" <mjsch@pro-ns.net> wrote in message
news:44133242$0$81988$8046368a@newsreader.iphouse.net...
> Thanks for your comments. It clears it up somewhat, although I am still
> confused as to why a text such as Egenes, which seems to by used fairly
> widely as a beginning text, would chose to present the much less common
> form
> throughout the book. The confusion just seems to compound itself as one
> attempts to learn the combination forms. It is obvious that he was aware
> of
> the so called "common" form since on one page (71) he shows a side by side
> comparison of the six letters in question. He gives no further explanation
> as to the relative merits or history of the alternative styles, and he
> never
> again makes any use of the "common form" ( where aa looks like 3TT ) in
> any
> of the writing examples in volume one. I can't speak for volume two yet,
> as
> I have not purchased it at this point. Anybody out there have any comments
> on the text by Thomas Egenes?? Thanks

I've never used the Egenes book, although I've heard lots about it; people
seem to have good things to say about it as an introductory book on
Sanskrit.

However, I'd recommend that, once you finish it, you try Coulson's *Teach
Yourself Sanskrit*. Despite the series it's in, it's actually a fairly
thorough textbook, used as the coursebook for many second-year Sanskrit
courses in North America, and used as the only textbook for introductory
Sanskrit here at the University of Oxford (where I'm finishing my BA in
Classics and Sanskrit). One of the reasons it's used less widely is that it
is quite difficult and compact, especially for people working without a
teacher; having used the first book of Egenes should help to reduce this
difficulty for you (since you'll already be familiar with the script,
sandhi, basic noun declensions and verb paradigms).

You won't need to actually finish Coulson before you start reading other
texts; the only real way to acquire actual Sanskrit after you've learnt the
basic paradigms, rather than some textbook writer's idea of what the
language is, is to read it. By far the best way to do this is still to use
Charles Rockwell Lanman's *Sanskrit Reader*. It's made to go along with
Whitney's Sanskrit Grammar, which has just been reprinted in an affordable
edition by Dover, but can be used with any grammar or even without a grammar
if you're prepared to learn by observation. At Oxford, we work through the
first few texts of Lanman - Nala and some of the Hitopadesa - before moving
to the Bhagavad-Gita (unfortunately, not in Lanman); starting with Coulson
from scratch, we cover this much (up to four chapters of the Gita) in the
first two terms (ie. starting in October, and examined in early March).
After this point it's reasonable to say you 'know' Sanskrit.

Neeraj Mathur



Neeraj Mathur
2006-03-13 05:28:19 EST
I should have mentioned, going back to your original question: for now,
learn the letters as Egenes presents them to you. When you migrate to a
different textbook or start reading texts, you'll meet the other forms of
the alphabet. The important things are a) to learn one way of writing that
is quick and instinctive for you, and b) to be able to recognise quickly and
efficiently any form thrown at you by a text. In all honesty, once you've
learnt one way, to then pick up the other forms when you're reading a new
text will take all of about ten seconds; the difficulty is in learning the
way that the alphabet works and getting the idea of it settled into your
head in the first place. Apparently, Egenes' text does this rather well, so
I wouldn't worry about what form of letter he uses.

Alphabets have always been considered transient in India, anyway; until very
recently, Sanskrit texts were always printed in the local variant of the
script. This means that in books printed in Gujarat, they would use Gujarati
script; in Bengal, they'd use the Bengali script and so on. The earliest
Sanskrit is written in Brahmi, which is the ancestor script to most of those
used in South Asia today, and several used in Southeast Asia as well
(Tibetan, Khmer, etc.). Devanagari only became 'standard' because of the
accident that it was used both in Delhi/UP and Maharashtra (as the usual
script of the various languages grouped under 'Hindi', including modern
standard Hindi, and also of Marathi), which include major political and,
crucially, academic centres of Sanskrit study (Benares Hindu University in
UP, and the numerous places in Poona, including the Bhandarkar Oriental
Reasearch Institute (BORI), who produced the controversial critical edition
of the Mahabharata).

As you become more and more of a Sanskritist, you will have to get familiar
with all kinds of different scripts; luckily, most of them all work in
exactly the same way, but just with different shapes for letters. (The only
exceptions are the Roman-based systems of standard transliteration, which is
used in academic circles in the West and also (controversially) in the new
Clay Sanskrit Library series, and the brief experiments with writing
Sanskrit in Perso-Arabic based script, with similar modifications to that
used to write Urdu or Panjabi).

Neeraj Mathur



Nikolaj
2006-03-14 04:16:54 EST
M J Schreiber wrote:

> Through an interest in Yoga and Yoga philosophy, I have recently begun a
> self-study of the Sanskrit language. I am using Thomas Egenes' text
> "Introduction to Sanskrit", as well as several good online sources. After
> reading several reviews of introductory sanskrit texts, the Egenes text
> seemed to be considered best for self-study based on its systematic approach
> for the beginner. My question has to do with the differences in the
> devanagari script that are presented in Egenes' book, as compared to that
> which I have seen in most of the other sources I have seen, as well as
> scriptural texts such as the Gita. The differences are primarily in the way
> the letters a, aa, o, and au (as well as a few others) are written.
> Unfortunately I can't type the devanagari characters to show you what I
> mean. It is my understanding that one variation is common to the northern,
> and the other to the southern area of India. Which version is more common?
> Should I be learning the version presented by Egenes, or should I learn both
> versions? In the variation which Egenes does not teach, the letter aa is
> roughly written as 3TT, which appears to be the more common form. Could
> someone please explain these differences to me and advise how I should study
> them? Thank you.
> Michael

Another little comment: I checked my copy of Egenes' book and I see that
he also uses the common form (the one that looks like '3TT'). The book
was published in 1990. He also shows alternative forms in lesson 7,
alphabet part, paragraph 9.


Nikolaj
2006-03-14 04:36:09 EST
Neeraj Mathur wrote:
> "M J Schreiber" <mjsch@pro-ns.net> wrote in message
> news:44133242$0$81988$8046368a@newsreader.iphouse.net...
>
>
> I've never used the Egenes book, although I've heard lots about it; people
> seem to have good things to say about it as an introductory book on
> Sanskrit.
>
> However, I'd recommend that, once you finish it, you try Coulson's *Teach
> Yourself Sanskrit*. Despite the series it's in, it's actually a fairly
> thorough textbook, used as the coursebook for many second-year Sanskrit
> courses in North America, and used as the only textbook for introductory
> Sanskrit here at the University of Oxford (where I'm finishing my BA in
> Classics and Sanskrit). One of the reasons it's used less widely is that it
> is quite difficult and compact, especially for people working without a
> teacher; having used the first book of Egenes should help to reduce this
> difficulty for you (since you'll already be familiar with the script,
> sandhi, basic noun declensions and verb paradigms).
>
> You won't need to actually finish Coulson before you start reading other
> texts; the only real way to acquire actual Sanskrit after you've learnt the
> basic paradigms, rather than some textbook writer's idea of what the
> language is, is to read it. By far the best way to do this is still to use
> Charles Rockwell Lanman's *Sanskrit Reader*. It's made to go along with
> Whitney's Sanskrit Grammar, which has just been reprinted in an affordable
> edition by Dover, but can be used with any grammar or even without a grammar
> if you're prepared to learn by observation. At Oxford, we work through the
> first few texts of Lanman - Nala and some of the Hitopadesa - before moving
> to the Bhagavad-Gita (unfortunately, not in Lanman); starting with Coulson
> from scratch, we cover this much (up to four chapters of the Gita) in the
> first two terms (ie. starting in October, and examined in early March).
> After this point it's reasonable to say you 'know' Sanskrit.
>
> Neeraj Mathur
>

I am not sure about second part of Egenes, I think there are texts there
as well (gIta).

I don't have Lanman's Sanskrit Reader yet, I intend to buy it someday.
But I have Bucknell's Sanskrit Grammar. There author says that his book
(and not Whitney's grammar) goes along with Lanman's Reader.

I actually can only recommend the Bucknell. It has a lot of the grammar,
which is given in easy to use tables and he covers a lot of topics, from
rules of sandhi to rules how verbs form different participles, in
between covering declensions, tenses, adjective formation, gender
changes, etc...

I have once written down the introduction:
---------------------------
SANSKRIT MANUAL

A Quick-reference Guide to the Phonology and Grammar of Classical Sanskrit

Compiled by Roderick S. Bucknell

Motilal Banarsidass Publishers
1994, 2004


PREFACE

This book is designed to serve as a convenient quick-reference quide to
the grammar of Classical Sanskrit, for the use of university students
and others. It is not intended to be a complete grammar of the language.
Rather, its purpose is to present, mainly in the form of easily read
tables, essential reference information such as the rules of sandhi,
declensional and conjugational paradigms, and the principal parts of
major verbs.

About two-thirds of the book consists of tables. The remainder is text,
with advice on how to use the tables and explanations of the grammatical
principles underlying them.

...
As regards the scope of the two tables dealing with specific verbs,
'Principal parts of the verbs' (Table 27) and 'Index to verb stems'
(Table 28), the choice of verbs to be included was determined ultimately
by the content of Lanman's /Reader/. The two tables cover every verb
(apart from exclusively Vedic ones) contained in Lanman, to a total of
432. This ensures that the manual meshes in well with students'
continuing studies, since Lanman seems likely to remain a major text in
university Sanskrit courses for many years to come.
Page: 1 2   Next  (First | Last)


2020 - UsenetArchives.com | Contact Us | Privacy | Stats | Site Search
Become our Patron