551Re: [Pali] Re: History
- Nov 2, 2001Robert,
I thought the term is Kunstsprache, perhaps Dichtersprache is Bechert's.
Robert Didham wrote:
> Dear Yong Peng
> By vernacular I usually mean a spoken language rather than a literary
> language. In the case of Pali, it is a very mixed language in terms of
> origin - it draws on several vernacular dialects, both eastern and western
> MIA - but was essentially a written form which seems notto have coincided
> exactly with any particular Prakrit language or dialect as far as is known.
> This is not to say the language is somehow artifical - it isn't - but rather
> that it has its origins in a number of different spoken varieties of speech
> and appears to have been a literary language from the start (as a
> Dichtersprache as somebody called it - I think perhaps it was Bechert). It
> appears to have been used as a lingua franca at some stage (around the time
> of Asoka?) in some parts of what is now India.
> Nor does this mean that the original texts of the canon were not transmitted
> orally - just that Pali (as it was dubbed a couple of hundred years ago) is
> the written form into which the texts of the Theravada Tipitaka became
> crystallised, and not necessarily the language in which they were spoken
> These "literary" languages did not have to be written - oral literature is
> often transmitted in stylised forms of languages which helps preserve their
> integrity over time. Not sure if there has been a lot done on this aspect
> for Pali, but there is at least some excellent work (Mark Allon's thesis
> springs to mind) and I am sure much more widely read people than I could
> point us to the right places.
> However, I hope this sort of answers your question
> >From: "Ong Yong Peng" <ypong001@...>
> >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
> >To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
> >Subject: [Pali] Re: History
> >Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 03:40:19 -0000
> >Dear Robert,
> >thanks. I have updated the page with more pointers.
> >Can you elaborate on the following statement you made.
> >Yong Peng.
> >--- Robert Didham wrote:
> >We also know that Pali was not exactly a vernacular.
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