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Re: [Pali] Re: Gair Karunatillake Answers - Chapters 8-9

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  • Robert Didham
    Paul I am sorry I cannot agree with your negative views on etymology. One of the ways (only one, but still an important one) in which we can work out the
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 30, 2002
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      Paul

      I am sorry I cannot agree with your negative views on etymology. One of the
      ways (only one, but still an important one) in which we can work out the
      meaning of a word is via its etymology. Semantic fields of all words change
      with context and over time and it is this problem which leads not just to
      misunderstandings but also to the long debates on exact meanings of passages
      (often with important doctrinal consequences). To ignore this problem puts
      us in the position of "knowing" ahead of time the meaning we want to get out
      of the text but the words and the grammar don't support it so we decide the
      words and the grammar are irrelevant.

      Of more importance to context than the date of the publication of MW was the
      lack of a BHS dictionary which had to wait until Edgerton. It is vital that
      we remember that any doctionary builds on all previous dictionaries, they
      each have (or should have) a clear understanding of their purpose and role
      which may or may not meet the purpose and roles users see for it, and each
      dictionary is merely one person's or group of people's views of the meaning
      and usage of the item at the time.

      However, at least you don't confuse etymology and meaning - there has been a
      discussion elsewhere on the etymology of "karuna" and none of the replies
      have more than scouted the edge of the question and most have concentrated
      on glosses of the word in the commentaries - in other words, on the meanings
      of the word in the opinion of various commentators rather than on its
      etymology.

      I am not sure what you mean by an "academic linguist" as opposed to an
      "amateur" - surely these are not merely not mutually exclusive but should
      be, in our field, handmaidens to each other? We cannot get at the texts
      without a lot of linguistics since there is so much material that is
      untranslated into modern languages we can read and often we have as yet no
      satisfactory dictionaries to help us out (as happens with some of the
      Prakrit material). Similarly, if we were not amateurs we wouldn't be in the
      field in the first place.

      I totally agree that the work of Margaret Cone on the Pali Dictionary is
      absolutely essential and thus far excellent - but this is not to denigrate
      the old PTS dictionary. For one thing, that one is at least complete. You
      still the PTS PED alongside as well as the CPD (as far as that has got so
      far)and when they fail there is always the Burmese Pali dictionary to fall
      back on. The reason I suggest this is that any dictionary (even one that
      concentrates on meanings)has a very limited scope and the citations can only
      cover the most frequent examples - you can be sure that the text you get
      stuck on will have a meaning not attested in the dictionaries at hand and
      you may even find that the commentaries, if they exist, disagree. In some
      cases it is difficult to be sure of the actual meaning (rhino horns and
      geese spring to mind here)

      Incidentally one criticism I have of MW is that it sometimes has obscure
      usages as examples and misses a common one - I wonder whether the pundit
      advisors he used sometimes had a small smile at his expense)


      Keep up the good work

      Robert Didham


      >From: "paulocuana" <paulocuana@...>
      >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      >To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [Pali] Re: Gair Karunatillake Answers - Chapters 8-9
      >Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2002 03:40:02 -0000
      >
      >Dear Dimitry,
      >
      >I was very happy to hear that the PTS was working on a new dictionary,
      >and the first volume of "A Pali Dictionary" by Ms. Margaret Cone is
      >very satisfying. The problem with the PED is its dogged commitment
      >to etymology. While the history of words has its place among the more
      >academic linguists, surely most of us amateurs read the texts for
      >their meaning. Ms. Cone's dictionary is much welcomed as it focuses
      >on meaning and usage instead of history.
      >As to Monier-Williams, wasn't the first edition published in 1851?
      >I see references to an Oxford reprint edition of 1899 but I'm not sure
      >this is the same thing you are referring to.
      >
      >Best Wishes,
      >Paul O Cuana
      >
      >
      >--- In Pali@y..., "������� ���������� ��������� (Dimitry A.
      >Ivakhnenko)" <koleso@i...> wrote:
      >
      > > Reconstructing rare Pali word on the basis of Sanskrit equivalent
      >is a
      > > common practice widely used by "paliglots", including Mr Rhys Davids
      > > himself.
      > >
      > > When PED was compiled in the beginning of 20th century, such
      >resources
      > > as Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary didn't exist yet. So we
      >should
      > > use such resources wisely in difficult cases.
      >
      >
      >


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    • ������� ���������� ��������� (Dimitry A.
      Dear Paul, Ms. Cone s dictionary is a step forward, but still has a lot to improve. What for are those numerous Pali citations without explanation - nowadays
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 30, 2002
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        Dear Paul,

        Ms. Cone's dictionary is a step forward, but still has a lot to
        improve. What for are those numerous Pali citations without
        explanation - nowadays anyone can find any number of relevant
        citations on computer. PED is more friendly in this regard. It also
        has many pioneering discoveries of the meanings, be they right or
        wrong. Ms. Cone's dictionary often simply preserves them and does not
        reflect active work of thought. It gives impression that
        philological Pali thought has somewhat stagnated since 1925.

        p> As to Monier-Williams, wasn't the first edition published in 1851?
        p> I see references to an Oxford reprint edition of 1899 but I'm not sure
        p> this is the same thing you are referring to.

        I don't know its exact publication date. The fact is that
        Monier-Williams dictionary is not included in the list of consulted
        sources of PED.

        Etymology represents an important constituent of linguistic studies -
        alongside with actual context, commentarial glosses, definitions,
        equivalents in other languages. We should use all these tools for
        better understanding.

        Best Wishes,
        Dimitry
      • ������� ���������� ��������� (Dimitry A.
        Dear Robert, RD Of more importance to context than the date of the publication of MW was the RD lack of a BHS dictionary which had to wait until Edgerton.
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 1, 2002
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          Dear Robert,

          RD> Of more importance to context than the date of the publication of MW was the
          RD> lack of a BHS dictionary which had to wait until Edgerton.

          Can you please tell more about Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary by
          F. Edgerton? How relevant it is to Pali studies?

          Kind regards,

          Dimitry Ivakhnenko
        • Robert Didham
          Dear Dimitry The point I was making was partly that the search for meanings and etymologies of Pali and Prakrit texts is likely to prove less fruitful if one
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 1, 2002
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            Dear Dimitry

            The point I was making was partly that the search for meanings and
            etymologies of Pali and Prakrit texts is likely to prove less fruitful if
            one looks in classical Sanskrit as attested in MW than it is to be if one
            looks at forms reflected BHS. For this reason if the compilers of the PED
            were to have needed recourse to a Sanskrit dictionary they would have found
            Edgerton a lot more useful if only because the examples were drawn almost
            exclusively from Buddhist materials.

            They probably would have used used Boehtlingk of course rather than MW but
            their stated sources do not indicate this (neither are mentioned, though
            they do mention both Brugmann and Grassmann - and their foreword is well
            worth a read for considerable insight into their perspective).

            Edgerton's dictionary was not published until around 1950 (there are current
            editions published by Motilal Banarsidass) but as with any dictionary, these
            don't get written overnight anymore than one might find a publisher
            overnight!!

            I am not sure if I have adequately answered your question, Dimitry, but
            please let me know if I have totally missed the target.

            Cheers

            Robert

            >From: "������� ���������� ��������� (Dimitry A. Ivakhnenko)"
            ><koleso@...>
            >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
            >To: Robert Didham <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
            >Subject: Re[2]: [Pali] Re: Gair Karunatillake Answers - Chapters 8-9
            >Date: Sun, 1 Dec 2002 10:00:53 +0200
            >
            >Dear Robert,
            >
            >RD> Of more importance to context than the date of the publication of MW
            >was the
            >RD> lack of a BHS dictionary which had to wait until Edgerton.
            >
            >Can you please tell more about Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary by
            >F. Edgerton? How relevant it is to Pali studies?
            >
            >Kind regards,
            >
            >Dimitry Ivakhnenko
            >
            >


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          • Paul O Cuana
            Dear Dimitry, I don t wish to be contentious but it seems important that one should know the date of publication of Monier-Williams before stating that it
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 1, 2002
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              Dear Dimitry,

              I don't wish to be contentious but it seems important
              that one should know the date of publication of
              Monier-Williams before stating that it didn't exist at
              the time the PED was compiled. Not knowing anything
              about Sanskrit, I was genuinely confused by the
              comment
              to the point that I thought perhaps there were two
              such
              people named M-W and I'm still not convinced of this.
              This is to say nothing of the question that the
              existence of M-W leaves open, i.e. why did Rys-Davids
              and Stede not choose M-W.

              As to the two PTS dictionaries, the old focuses on
              etymology and the new on meaning and usage. Both are
              fine works and I didn't mean to denigrate the old.
              I think you'll find that Ms. Cone uses quotations to
              illustrate meaning and mere citations to show the
              range
              of texts, usually canonical, where a word is found.

              I did think your criticism of Ms. Cone was rather
              harsh
              and it recalled a humourous poem that Dorothy Parker
              wrote. Now remember this is all in good fun. I
              believe Mrs. Parker wrote the poem in response to a
              friend of hers who had criticized the work of Charles
              Dickens.

              Those who call him spurious and shoddy
              Shall do so over my lifeless body,
              I do invite such birds
              To step outside and say those words.

              Thank you, Dimitry, for all that you contribute.
              With sincere best wishes,
              Paul

              --- "������� ���������� ��������� (Dimitry A.
              Ivakhnenko)" <koleso@...> wrote:
              > Dear Paul,
              >
              > Ms. Cone's dictionary is a step forward, but still
              > has a lot to
              > improve. What for are those numerous Pali citations
              > without
              > explanation - nowadays anyone can find any number of
              > relevant
              > citations on computer. PED is more friendly in this
              > regard. It also
              > has many pioneering discoveries of the meanings, be
              > they right or
              > wrong. Ms. Cone's dictionary often simply preserves
              > them and does not
              > reflect active work of thought. It gives impression
              > that
              > philological Pali thought has somewhat stagnated
              > since 1925.
              >
              > p> As to Monier-Williams, wasn't the first edition
              > published in 1851?
              > p> I see references to an Oxford reprint edition of
              > 1899 but I'm not sure
              > p> this is the same thing you are referring to.
              >
              > I don't know its exact publication date. The fact is
              > that
              > Monier-Williams dictionary is not included in the
              > list of consulted
              > sources of PED.
              >
              > Etymology represents an important constituent of
              > linguistic studies -
              > alongside with actual context, commentarial glosses,
              > definitions,
              > equivalents in other languages. We should use all
              > these tools for
              > better understanding.
              >
              > Best Wishes,
              > Dimitry
              >
              >
              >


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