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Re: [Pali] About the thread of Relational Grammar

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Venerable Pandita, ... N: That sounds really interesting. I am looking forward, thank you. With respect, Nina. [Non-text portions of this message have been
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 1, 2009
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      Venerable Pandita,
      Op 1-dec-2009, om 5:21 heeft ashinpan het volgende geschreven:

      > The best way to learn Relational Grammar, in my experience of
      > teaching it, is to use it; the teacher can follow up with
      > corrections and explanations. At first, even simple sentences may
      > be baffling; the real benefits will come only later when you have
      > firmly grasped the underlying concept.
      >
      > I would like firstly to edit and upload one paper that I have
      > published in the Journal of the Post Graduate of Pali and Buddhist
      > Studies (Sri Lanka). It is entitled "Two Traditional Pali Tools in
      > Burma", which discusses the Relational Grammar and Thematic Units
      > (another concept not found outside Burma). Then we can think about
      > how to make Relational Grammar learnable in an online environment.
      ------
      N: That sounds really interesting. I am looking forward, thank you.
      With respect,
      Nina.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • George Bedell
      Ven. Pa.n.dita, Please add my name to the list of those interested in Relational Grammar . I found your examples (posted the same day) concerning Saddaniiti
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 2, 2009
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        Ven. Pa.n.dita,

        Please add my name to the list of those interested in 'Relational Grammar'. I found your examples (posted the same day) concerning Saddaniiti 869 of interest, and I would like to see the paper on Pali tools you mention. I have looked over the file 'Basic Relational Grammar', and a couple of questions come to mind:

        (i) What is the relation, if any, between your Relational Grammar and the 'Relational Grammar' proposed by David Perlmutter and Paul Postal in the USA and developed into a large literature in the 1970s and 1980s?

        (ii) What role does Relational Grammar play in your analysis of the examples you gave to explain the term tulyaadhikara.ne? I could not find the term 'substratum' in your outline.
        * * * * *
        George Bedell
        230/5 Suan Lanna Village, Huay Kaew Road,
        t. Chang Phuak, a. Muang
        Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
        +66-53-414100




        ________________________________
        From: ashinpan <ashinpan@...>
        To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 11:21:24
        Subject: [Pali] About the thread of Relational Grammar



        Dear Nina

        You wrote:

        > I think we should take up the thread of Relational Grammar and
        > compounds. I kept them in my private files. I find the abrevations
        > difficult to read and I would like more examples, if possible one
        > small part at a time. What I learnt from you is that we have to be careful not to project our notions of English grammar unto the Pali text and I always found that the idea of relational grammar makes sense.

        Thanks for your appreciation. The best way to learn Relational Grammar, in my experience of teaching it, is to use it; the teacher can follow up with corrections and explanations. At first, even simple sentences may be baffling; the real benefits will come only later when you have firmly grasped the underlying concept.

        I would like firstly to edit and upload one paper that I have published in the Journal of the Post Graduate of Pali and Buddhist Studies (Sri Lanka). It is entitled "Two Traditional Pali Tools in Burma", which discusses the Relational Grammar and Thematic Units (another concept not found outside Burma). Then we can think about how to make Relational Grammar learnable in an online environment.

        > Meanwhile, in your absence, the Saddaniiti studies have come into
        > being. Your contributions would be greatly appreciated.

        Thank you. I think I can attempt to contribute immediately to Saddaniiti studies.

        with metta

        Ven. Pandita





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      • ashinpan
        ... Thanks for showing your interest in my paper. Now I am editing the paper (mainly to clean up the citations) and I will upload it when it is ready. ... No
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 3, 2009
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          George Bedell wrote:

          > Please add my name to the list of those interested in 'Relational Grammar'. I found your examples (posted the same day) concerning Saddaniiti 869 of interest, and I would like to see the paper on Pali tools you mention.

          Thanks for showing your interest in my paper. Now I am editing the paper (mainly to clean up the citations) and I will upload it when it is ready.

          > I have looked over the file 'Basic Relational Grammar', and a >couple of questions come to mind:
          >
          > (i) What is the relation, if any, between your Relational Grammar and the 'Relational Grammar' proposed by David Perlmutter and Paul Postal in the USA and developed into a large literature in the 1970s and 1980s?

          No relation whatsoever. I coined the term "relational grammar" in (2002) while teaching at ITBMU as a rendition of the Burmese term "caacap"; I did not know that that term had been already in use in the field of linguistics.

          > (ii) What role does Relational Grammar play in your analysis of the examples you gave to explain the term tulyaadhikara.ne? I could not find the term 'substratum' in your outline.

          I used the concept when I described the "identical adjectives" but not the term. But I like Jim's term 'substratum' to render the Pali term 'adhikara.na'.

          with metta

          Ven. Pandita
        • George Bedell
          Ven. Pa.n.dita, ... This is not really Jim Anderson s term, but appears in K. V. Abhyankar s Dictionary of Sanskrit Grammar(1961) under tulyaadhikara.na:
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 6, 2009
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            Ven. Pa.n.dita,

            You wrote:

            >But I like Jim's term 'substratum' to render the Pali term 'adhikara.na'.

            This is not really Jim Anderson's term, but appears in K. V. Abhyankar's Dictionary of Sanskrit Grammar(1961) under tulyaadhikara.na: "having got the same substratum; denoting ultimately the same object; expressed in the same case; the same as samaanaadhikara.na in the grammar of Paa,nini. cf. Kaat. II. 5.5." (p. 189) This passage was called to the group's attention by Mahinda Palihawadana. Abhyankar also has an entry for adhikara.na alone: "(1) support; a grammatical relation of the nature of a location; place of verbal activity. cf. aadhaaro 'dhikara.nam P. I. 4.45;" (p. 14) But in the usual understanding of this suutra, it is aadhaara which means 'support', 'location' or 'substratum', and adhikara.na (the kaaraka) is being defined as having that sense.

            The above appears to be close to what you had in mind when you wrote:

            >In the sentence "puriso bhatta.m pacati", "puriso" refers to a particular man so that man is
            >the substratum of "puriso". The verb "pacati" refers to the action of that man, so he is also
            >the substratum of "pacati". Then "puriso" and "pacati" have the same substratum.

            and

            >In classical Pali grammars, content is treated as the locus (location) of the language that
            >refers to it. So "havin the same substratum" means that both "puriso" and "pacati" have the
            >same location, i.e., the same referent.


            There is a perhaps significant difference between what you say and what Abhyankar implies: tulyaadhikara.na 'having the same substratum' is a relation between two things. According to your explanation, these are puriso and pacati, but I think Abhyankar would say they are puriso and the suffix -ti. Only this interpretation is consistent with 'denoting ultimately the same object', since verb forms like pacati do not denote objects.

            I think I agree that 'having the same substratum' is a possible translation of tulyaadhikara.na, but I have two reservations about it. (i) I would prefer to avoid using obscure Latin terms to translate obscure Pali terms, and (ii) I think we should be surer that Aggava.msa in fact understood it in that way. Tulyaadhikara.na is not his term, since it appears in the corresponding suttas of Kaccaayana, and (according to Abhyankar) in the earlier Kaatantra Sanskrit grammar. Looking just at 869-71, it isn't clear to me that it means more than 'denoting the same object', where it is the nominative noun phrase and the verbal suffix indicating person and number which are involved: these suttas are part of a presentation of these suffixes.

            You also wrote, concerning tulyaadhikara.na:

            >I would like to suggest a working principle to be used in the meantime. It is what is
            >understood by this term in the Burmese tradition.

            That sounds like a useful principle, but it is a little difficult for us non-Burmese to practice. Aside from the materials that you have made available, how can we access the Burmese tradition?

            Finally, thank you for the Pali tools paper which I received a few minutes ago. * * * * *
            George Bedell
            230/5 Suan Lanna Village, Huay Kaew Road,
            t. Chang Phuak, a. Muang
            Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
            +66-53-414100


            ________________________________
            From: ashinpan <ashinpan@...>
            To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Thursday, December 3, 2009 18:23:57
            Subject: [Pali] Re: About the thread of Relational Grammar


            George Bedell wrote:

            > Please add my name to the list of those interested in 'Relational Grammar'. I found your examples (posted the same day) concerning Saddaniiti 869 of interest, and I would like to see the paper on Pali tools you mention.

            Thanks for showing your interest in my paper. Now I am editing the paper (mainly to clean up the citations) and I will upload it when it is ready.

            > I have looked over the file 'Basic Relational Grammar', and a >couple of questions come to mind:
            >
            > (i) What is the relation, if any, between your Relational Grammar and the 'Relational Grammar' proposed by David Perlmutter and Paul Postal in the USA and developed into a large literature in the 1970s and 1980s?

            No relation whatsoever. I coined the term "relational grammar" in (2002) while teaching at ITBMU as a rendition of the Burmese term "caacap"; I did not know that that term had been already in use in the field of linguistics.

            > (ii) What role does Relational Grammar play in your analysis of the examples you gave to explain the term tulyaadhikara. ne? I could not find the term 'substratum' in your outline.

            I used the concept when I described the "identical adjectives" but not the term. But I like Jim's term 'substratum' to render the Pali term 'adhikara.na' .

            with metta

            Ven. Pandita





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          • ashinpan
            ... Thanks for the information. I don t have access to Abhyankar s work. ... In my understanding, two words having the same substratum can be compared to two
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 7, 2009
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              George Bedell wrote:

              > This is not really Jim Anderson's term, but appears in K. V. Abhyankar's Dictionary of Sanskrit Grammar(1961) under tulyaadhikara.na: "having got the same substratum; denoting ultimately the same object; expressed in the same case; the same as samaanaadhikara.na in the grammar of Paa,nini. cf. Kaat. II. 5.5." (p. 189) This passage was called to the group's attention by Mahinda Palihawadana. Abhyankar also has an entry for adhikara.na alone: "(1) support; a grammatical relation of the nature of a location; place of verbal activity. cf. aadhaaro 'dhikara.nam P. I. 4.45;" (p. 14) But in the usual understanding of this suutra, it is aadhaara which means 'support', 'location' or 'substratum', and adhikara.na (the kaaraka) is being defined as having that sense.

              Thanks for the information. I don't have access to Abhyankar's work.


              > There is a perhaps significant difference between what you say and what Abhyankar implies: tulyaadhikara.na 'having the same substratum' is a relation between two things. According to your explanation, these are puriso and pacati, but I think Abhyankar would say they are puriso and the suffix -ti. Only this interpretation is consistent with 'denoting ultimately the same object', since verb forms like pacati do not denote objects.

              In my understanding, two words 'having the same substratum' can be compared to two different labels on the same bottle. Are the labels related to each other or to the one and single bottle?

              And please see the footnote (3) of my newly uploaded paper how traditional grammarians view verb forms denoting objects.

              > I think I agree that 'having the same substratum' is a possible translation of tulyaadhikara.na, but I have two reservations about it. (i) I would prefer to avoid using obscure Latin terms to translate obscure Pali terms, and

              How about 'having the same referent'?

              >(ii) I think we should be surer that Aggava.msa in fact understood it in that way. Tulyaadhikara.na is not his term, since it appears in the corresponding suttas of Kaccaayana, and (according to Abhyankar) in the earlier Kaatantra Sanskrit grammar.

              I believe Aggava.msa belonged to the Kaccaayana school. Then why did he choose to write a grammar of his own suttas rather than comment on Kaccaayana suttas like Nyaasa or Ruupasiddhi did? I think there are two reasons:
              1. He wished to be much more comprehensive. There are many Pali forms that cannot be resolved by Kaccaayana suttas; he aimed to resolve them by his own suttas.
              2. Some Kacccaayana suttas are interpreted differently by Nyaasa and Ruupasiddhi. If he had chosen to interpret Kaccaayana suttas, he could not avoid such controversial points. By setting up his own suttas, he could avoid such problematic points.

              > You also wrote, concerning tulyaadhikara.na:
              >
              > >I would like to suggest a working principle to be used in the meantime. It is what is
              > >understood by this term in the Burmese tradition.
              >
              > That sounds like a useful principle, but it is a little difficult for us non-Burmese to practice. Aside from the materials that you have made available, how can we access the Burmese tradition?

              This is the real problem. Even an ordinary Burmese citizen cannot access the traditional literature unless he or she has been trained in the monastic atmosphere. I should tell you a real story here.

              One of my professors who taught me at the monastic university in Burma is a modern Pali scholar. He got his MA by doing research under under the supervision of Prof. Brough. But he has no monastic training. One day, the Vice-Chancellor told him to translate the curriculum of the university into English so that it could be sent to universities abroad.

              The problem is not the prescribed texts but all the methodologies of textual analysis which the teacher and students must use. (Relational grammar and Thematic units are only two of them). My professor did not understand these concepts which have never seen the light in modern Pali scholarship. So he asked the senior monk professors. They tried to explain to him. But he still could understand. And he could not translate something that he did not really understand. Finally he gave up and just mentioned the prescribed texts of the curriculum and omitted all these methodologies.

              Therefore I am sorry to say that I cannot see any other alternative to access the Burmese tradition. Even if you learn Burmese, it will not help you to understand the "monastic Burmese" that only monks really know.

              > Finally, thank you for the Pali tools paper which I received a few minutes ago. * * * * *

              I hope you can give comments.

              with metta

              Ven. Pandita
            • Nina van Gorkom
              Venerable Pandita, ... N: Footnote 3: kamma.m kata.m purisena: Some difficulty to understand this. I think that the form kamma.m is neutre and therefore it can
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 8, 2009
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                Venerable Pandita,
                Op 8-dec-2009, om 7:17 heeft ashinpan het volgende geschreven:

                > And please see the footnote (3) of my newly uploaded paper how
                > traditional grammarians view verb forms denoting objects.
                ------
                N: Footnote 3: kamma.m kata.m purisena: Some difficulty to understand
                this. I think that the form kamma.m is neutre and therefore it can be
                subject or object.

                I was glad to see your passage that adjectives do not exist in Pali.
                This was something I had been looking for a while ago. It makes sense.

                Indeclinables: what place should these be given? In our Pali
                exercises at the moment they are dealt with all the time.

                With respect,
                Nina.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • George Bedell
                Ven. Pa.n.dita, Thank you very much for your response to my previous comments, and (again) for distributing your paper Two Unique Grammatical Tools Used in
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 10, 2009
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                  Ven. Pa.n.dita,

                  Thank you very much for your response to my previous comments, and (again) for distributing your paper 'Two Unique Grammatical Tools Used in the Traditional Pali Studies of Burma'.

                  (i) I seem to have failed to make clear what I meant by saying:

                  >I think we should be surer that Aggava.msa in fact understood it (= tulyaadhikara.ne) in that >way (= having the same substratum).

                  Aggava.msa did not coin the term tulyaadhikara.ne, but took it from earlier grammarians of Pali (eg. Kaccaayana) or Sanskrit (eg. Kaatantra). Just from its appearance in 869-871, it isn't clear what Aggava.msa meant by it, regardless of what it originally meant or how later commentaries interpreted it. Perhaps we can draw some conclusions from looking at other places where he uses it. I am mindful here of E. G. Kahrs, 'Exploring the Saddaniiti' JPTS 17, pp. 1-212. Kahrs translates Aggava.msa's suttas dealing with kaarakas, and argues, convincingly in my opinion, that although Aggava.msa uses the same terms as in mainline Sanskrit grammar, he does not understand their original sense.

                  >For Paa.nini the introduction of kaarakas is a technical device serving a distinct theoretical >purpose in the derivation of correct linguistic forms. For Aggava.msa they serve no such >purpose. The kaaraka concept serves to give names to the various participants in actions as >expressed in a sentence and in this way it could work as a useful tool in sentence analysis. >This possibility, however, breaks down when Aggava.msa constantly blurs the distinction >between kaaraka and vibhakti. In fact he treats kaarakas as a subset of vibhaktis. In the >A.s.taadhyaayii the abstract syntactic level of kaarakas is introduced in the derivational >process to secure the correct distribution of vibhaktis, case endings and verbal endings. >Aggava.msa's lack of distinction here reflects his absolutely mechanical way of proceeding. >(p. 203)

                  Something like this could be true of tulyaadhikara.ne as well.

                  (ii) Let's go back to your examples illustrating the idea of 'substratum':

                  >In the sentence "puriso bhatta.m pacati", "puriso" refers to a particular man so that man is
                  >the substratum of "puriso". The verb "pacati" refers to the action of that man, so he is also >the substratum of "pacati". Then "puriso" and "pacati" have the same substratum.

                  and

                  >In classical Pali grammars, content is treated as the locus (location) of the language that
                  >refers to it. So "havin the same substratum" means that both "puriso" and "pacati" have the >same location, i.e., the same referent.


                  I agree that the noun "puriso" refers to a particular man, and that the verb "pacati" refers to a particular action of that man. I am willing to say that that man is the substratum of "puriso", and that that man's action is the substratum of "pacati". But I don't see in what sense that man (alone) is the substratum of "pacati". At best that man is a component of the substratum of "pacati"; how can we say that he is the substratum (by himself)? I much prefer 'referent' to 'substratum' here not only because it is a familiar term, but also because its meaning is clear. The referent of "puriso" is a person and the referent of "pacati" is an action, and there is no way they could be the same. Insofar as it might make sense to say that the substratum of "puriso" is the same as the substratum of "pacati", then 'substratum' and 'referent' must refer to different things.

                  Why do we not say about "puriso bhatta.m pacati" that "bhatta.m" refers to a particular amount of rice, and "pacati" refers to a particular action affecting that rice, and that therefore they have the same substratum or referent? We do say something like that about "purisena bhatta.m paciiyate", but I don't think the question can be answered by thinking about substrata or referents. Somehow we have to mention the difference between "puriso" (nominative) and "purisena" (instrumental) and "pacati" (active) and "paciiyate" (passive), not to mention "bhatta.m" (accusative) and "bhatta.m" (nominative). I really don't see how your footnote 3 in the paper (which discusses the distribution of nominative case) bears on this issue.

                  (iii) When I have had time to read your paper carefully, I expect to have many comments, but for the moment I will make just one or two very general remarks. You say about 'Relational Grammar':

                  >The fundamental concept of RG is to think of Pali syntax solely in terms of word-to-word >relations, and to entirely ignore the word order of Pali sentences. (p. 2)

                  I can't agree that treating syntax in terms of word-to-word relations is in any sense special to Pali or uniquely Burmese. On the contrary, it seems to me that syntax is nothing more than the word-to-word relations (within sentences). Offhand I cannot think of any approach to syntax of which this could not be said. 'Parsing' sentences in traditional European grammar, or 'tree diagrams' in linguistics are just examples of representing word-to-word relations. Of course that is not to say that different approaches to syntax do not treat or classify such relations differently, or that all grammars put equal emphasis on syntax.

                  The matter of word order does not affect this; that some languages such as Pali do not use word order to signal word-to-word relations (while others such as English do) is also nothing special to Pali or uniquely Burmese. There is a large literature concerning the syntactic role of word order in languages; one example is J. F. Staal (one of my teachers). His book 'Word Order in Sanskrit and
                  Universal Grammar' (1967) discusses Indian versus Western approaches:

                  >Almost all Indian theorists did, either implicitly or explicitly, regard word order as free. For >no independent word is a specific position in the sentence prescribed. Sentences which
                  >differ in the arrangement of their words only, are considered as equivalent and synonymous. >(p. 60)

                  >For the Indian grammarians, ... grammatical relations between words in the sentence, i. e. >kaaraka relationships and similar grammatical relationships, are expressed by inflexion and >the like. The order of words of the sentence, on the other hand, has no such significance; it >is entirely superficial. (pp. 60-1)

                  He is speaking not about Pali here, but Sanskrit.

                  Linguists generally regard approaches to syntax as applying not just to one particular language, but to any language. Otherwise we cannot meaningfully compare the syntax of one language with that of another, or understand why children are not programmed to learn the language of their parents, but learn any language they are exposed to while they grow up. From that point of view, Relational Grammar is mistaken in ignoring word order. I wonder if it has ever been used to analyze Burmese. If so, I think it would not ignore order. In spite of the above, I remain eager to learn more about the practice of syntactic analysis in Myanmar, not because of its uniqueness or isolation from other approaches, but for what it can tell us about Pali. Please continue your efforts to explain it to us.

                  * * * * *
                  George Bedell
                  230/5 Suan Lanna Village, Huay Kaew Road,
                  t. Chang Phuak, a. Muang
                  Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
                  +66-53-414100
                  _


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                • ashinpan
                  Dear Nina ... Yes. But if it were the object, it would mean that the action performs itself, and purisena would have made no sense. If we check the context
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 10, 2009
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                    Dear Nina

                    You wrote:
                    > N: Footnote 3: kamma.m kata.m purisena: Some difficulty to understand this. I think that the form kamma.m is neutre and therefore it can be subject or object.

                    Yes. But if it were the object, it would mean that the action performs itself, and "purisena" would have made no sense. If we check the context in this way, "kammaṃ" is clearly the active object.

                    > Indeclinables: what place should these be given? In our Pali
                    > exercises at the moment they are dealt with all the time.

                    They are nouns that "cannot be declined", i.e., do not change their forms. So their cases must be inferred from the context. For example:

                    1. puriso puttena saha gacchati.(= The man goes together with the son.)

                    puttena ---> saha (sociative-explicit relation)
                    saha ---> gacchati (adverbial relation)

                    Then we can interpret "saha" as having acc. or ins. case since only two these cases have the adverbial relation.

                    2. Purison ca putto ca gacchanti.

                    Here two "ca" show that "puriso" and "putto" refer to different entities as well as that they are the active subjects of "gacchanti". Otherwise there is no need for them to be related to any other word. Then we interpret two "ca"s as having the nominative case just to be legal words.

                    with metta

                    Ven. Pandita
                  • ashinpan
                    George Bedell, Sorry for the late reply. I have needed some time to think over your scholarly observations. ... If you check Kaccaayana (410-412), you will see
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 12, 2009
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                      George Bedell,

                      Sorry for the late reply. I have needed some time to think over your scholarly observations.

                      You wrote:

                      > (i) I seem to have failed to make clear what I meant by saying:
                      >
                      > >I think we should be surer that Aggava.msa in fact understood it (= tulyaadhikara.ne) in that >way (= having the same substratum).
                      >
                      > Aggava.msa did not coin the term tulyaadhikara.ne, but took it from earlier grammarians of Pali (eg. Kaccaayana) or Sanskrit (eg. Kaatantra). Just from its appearance in 869-871, it isn't clear what Aggava.msa meant by it, regardless of what it originally meant or how later commentaries interpreted it. Perhaps we can draw some conclusions from looking at other places where he uses it.

                      If you check Kaccaayana (410-412), you will see that the Saddaniiti suttas and their vuttis in this context are but the adaptations of their Kaccaayana counterparts and that Kaccaayana is not clearer either regarding tulyaadhikara.na. This unclearness can be attributed to two alternative reasons:
                      1. Both Kaccaayana and Saddaniiti did not really understand what tulyaadhikara.na is
                      2. Or it was not their job to explain what it is.
                      I think the latter is more plausible (See 4.4 of my uploaded paper).

                      > I am mindful here of E. G. Kahrs, 'Exploring the Saddaniiti' JPTS 17, pp. 1-212. Kahrs translates Aggava.msa's suttas dealing with kaarakas, and argues, convincingly in my opinion, that although Aggava.msa uses the same terms as in mainline Sanskrit grammar, he does not understand their original sense. ... Something like this could be true of tulyaadhikara.ne as well.

                      I haven't studied Kahrs' work so I cannot really comment. However, I can at least say that, to compare main Sanskrit grammars with Saddaniiti directly without taking Kaccaayana into account can produce only a lopsided view. For Saddaniiti is only a superset of Kaccaayana; fundamentally they are not really different. (Even the portion you have quoted above is only a variation on Kaccaayana's tune, for instance.)

                      > I agree that the noun "puriso" refers to a particular man, and that the verb "pacati" refers to a particular action of that man. I am willing to say that that man is the substratum of "puriso", and that that man's action is the substratum of "pacati". But I don't see in what sense that man (alone) is the substratum of "pacati". At best that man is a component of the substratum of "pacati"; how can we say that he is the substratum (by himself)? I much prefer 'referent' to 'substratum' here not only because it is a familiar term, but also because its meaning is clear. The referent of "puriso" is a person and the referent of "pacati" is an action, and there is no way they could be the same. Insofar as it might make sense to say that the substratum of "puriso" is the same as the substratum of "pacati", then 'substratum' and 'referent' must refer to different things.

                      Your argument is a philosophical one. In this case, at least I can recall the the Neo-logic (navanyaaya) of Indian philosophy, which defines a person's action as his attribute (I cannot give any reference however; all my Skt. books are left at my parents' home in Burma.) However, I think we needn't go that far; the Pali classical grammarians are, as far as I know, not linguistic philosophers like their Sanskrit counterparts. Rather they are only pragmatic linguists, for whom Pali is only a tool, a medium.

                      Now for the practical side of argument. If we argue that the agent of an action cannot be the substratum of the action, how do we explain even more radical instances, i.e., "ruupe cakkhuvi~n~naa.na.m"? Here the visual form (the object) is denoted as the location of eye-consciousness which is aware of it. In common sense, the object cannot be the location of the consciousness aware of it. However language dictates the linguist, not vice versa; so our job is to try to understand the usage.

                      In my understanding, the concept of substratum here is nothing but a conceptual tool to explain why there must be concord between the verb and the subject or the object. How? A given action can be viewed from different perspectives. In the case of a man cooking rice, the action of cooking can be viewed a) either as the action of that man b) or as the process of the changes that rice undergoes c) or just as the action itself regardless of the agent or the object. In the first case, the emphasis is on the agent; the active form "pacati" must be used and its agent must agree with it. (usage) Why? because the agent is the substratum of the action (conceptual explanation). In the second case, the emphasis is on the rice; the passive form "paciiyate" must be used and its object must agree with it. (usage) Why? Because the object is the substratum of the action (conceptual explanation). In the last case, the emphasis is on the action itself; so the absolute form "paciiyate" must be used but there is no need to agree with either the subject or the subject. (usage) Why? Because neither the agent nor the object is the substratum of the action (conceptual explanation).

                      > I can't agree that treating syntax in terms of word-to-word relations is in any sense special to Pali or uniquely Burmese. On the contrary, it seems to me that syntax is nothing more than the word-to-word relations (within sentences). Offhand I cannot think of any approach to syntax of which this could not be said. 'Parsing' sentences in traditional European grammar, or 'tree diagrams' in linguistics are just examples of representing word-to-word relations. Of course that is not to say that different approaches to syntax do not treat or classify such relations differently, or that all grammars put equal emphasis on syntax.
                      >
                      > The matter of word order does not affect this; that some languages such as Pali do not use word order to signal word-to-word relations (while others such as English do) is also nothing special to Pali or uniquely Burmese. There is a large literature concerning the syntactic role of word order in languages; one example is J. F. Staal (one of my teachers). His book 'Word Order in Sanskrit and
                      > Universal Grammar' (1967) discusses Indian versus Western approaches:
                      >
                      > >Almost all Indian theorists did, either implicitly or explicitly, regard word order as free. For >no independent word is a specific position in the sentence prescribed. Sentences which
                      > >differ in the arrangement of their words only, are considered as equivalent and synonymous. >(p. 60)
                      >
                      > >For the Indian grammarians, ... grammatical relations between words in the sentence, i. e. >kaaraka relationships and similar grammatical relationships, are expressed by inflexion and >the like. The order of words of the sentence, on the other hand, has no such significance; it >is entirely superficial. (pp. 60-1)
                      >
                      > He is speaking not about Pali here, but Sanskrit.
                      >
                      > Linguists generally regard approaches to syntax as applying not just to one particular language, but to any language. Otherwise we cannot meaningfully compare the syntax of one language with that of another, or understand why children are not programmed to learn the language of their parents, but learn any language they are exposed to while they grow up. From that point of view, Relational Grammar is mistaken in ignoring word order.

                      I appreciate your detailed and insightful observation. However, I have a couple of reasons to emphasize on the word-to-word relations in contrast to word order in RG.

                      1. No classic grammar has talked about the word order, and traditionally word order has been treated as a matter of style rather than of syntax. Yet I myself have doubts whether word order is really arbitrary in Pali or in Sanskrit. If it were really arbitrary, a given sentence must be able to appear in all possible variations of word order, and yet still remains the same "sentence". However, when I try to read such variations, I cannot but feel that some variations are better than others even though I cannot explain why. So I personally think RG can be only a pragmatic tool, which cannot guarantee that you can see the full picture of Pali in it.
                      2. And this is also meant as a warning to Pali learners. In my experience of teaching students of various nationalities, the greatest problem is their tendency to read Pali as they read English; many beginners try to rely upon the word order to get the meaning of Pali sentences. You cannot master RG as long as that mental stumbling block is there.

                      >I wonder if it has ever been used to analyze Burmese. If so, I >think it would not ignore order.

                      RG has never been used to analyze Burmese. It is purely a monastic tool to analyze Pali texts.

                      > In spite of the above, I remain >eager to learn more about the practice of syntactic analysis in >Myanmar, not because of its uniqueness or isolation from other >approaches, but for what it can tell us about Pali. Please continue >your efforts to explain it to us.

                      Thanks for your appreciation. I will try my best within the constraints of time and circumstances.

                      with metta

                      Ven. Pandita
                    • Nina van Gorkom
                      Venerable Pandita, Thank you very much for the explanations. I have to get used to these notions. With respect, Nina. ... [Non-text portions of this message
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 14, 2009
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                        Venerable Pandita,
                        Thank you very much for the explanations. I have to get used to these
                        notions.
                        With respect,
                        Nina.
                        Op 10-dec-2009, om 14:14 heeft ashinpan het volgende geschreven:

                        > But if it were the object, it would mean that the action performs
                        > itself, and "purisena" would have made no sense. If we check the
                        > context in this way, "kamma���" is clearly the active object.



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