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Re: [Pali] On "same substratum"

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  • 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 1 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 2 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
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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 3 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 4 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 5 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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