Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Pali] Kunstsprache

Expand Messages
  • Edward Miller
    If Pali wasn t a lingua franca of northern India, then what language did the Buddha speak? ... I would like to re-formulate that: Pali however was never
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 8, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      If Pali wasn't a lingua franca of northern India, then what language did the Buddha speak?

      Gunnar G�llmo <gunnargallmo@...> wrote:--- Piya Tan <libris@...> skrev:
      >
      > Pali however was never a "living
      > spoken" language. It was a Kunstsprache...

      I would like to re-formulate that:

      "Pali however was never anyone's first language. It
      was a Plansprache..."

      For two reasons:

      1. Any language with a normalized grammar and spelling
      is more or less artificial; therefore, the term
      "Kunstsprache" ("artificial language") for languages
      like Volap�k and Esperanto tends now to be replaced by
      "Plansprache" ("planned language").

      2. It is perfectly possible for a planned language to
      be a "living spoken" one, as can be testified by
      anyone who has visited an Esperanto congress - where,
      for many of its participants, the "artificial"
      language is actually more "living" than their second
      or third national language.

      What makes me doubt that Pali was ever a "living
      spoken" language, therefore, is not the fact that it
      is an artificial language, and perhaps a planned one,
      but the fact that it is so specialized. All Pali texts
      either deal directly with Buddhist matters (like the
      Tipitaka), or makes use of Buddhism for political
      goals (like the Mahava"msa), or are written to get
      into contact with Buddhists (like the Pali translation
      of the Bible), so the language seems never to have
      been meant for general use about everyday secular
      life.

      Gunnar


      =====
      gunnargallmo@...


      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
      [Send Message] pali@yahoogroups.com
      Paaliga.na - a community for Pali students
      Yahoo! Groups members can set their delivery options to daily digest or web only.


      Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
      It is better to give?
      �Especially when giving to a child in poverty.�Click here to meet a child you can help.

      ---------------------------------
      Yahoo! Groups Links

      To visit your group on the web, go to:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Pali/

      To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      Pali-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Derek
      ... Dear Edward, It is sometimes said that the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language. The trouble is, we have no records of the Magadhi language, so simply saying
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 9, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Edward Miller <emillersa1@s...> wrote:
        > If Pali wasn't a lingua franca of northern India, then what
        > language did the Buddha speak?

        Dear Edward,

        It is sometimes said that the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language. The
        trouble is, we have no records of the Magadhi language, so simply
        saying "the Buddha spoke Magadhi" may or may not answer your
        question!

        Two hundred years after the time of the Buddha, yhe emperor Ashoka
        (3rd century B.C.) had pillars with edicts on them put up over large
        parts of India, and by studying the edicts on these pillars we can
        get some idea of the way language varied from place to place. Hence
        we can speculate a little about what Magadhi may have looked like.
        For example the vocative plural form bhikkhave is thought to be
        typically Magadhi. But that's about as far as we can go.

        Derek.
      • Ong Yong Peng
        Dear Derek, Edward, Gunnar, Piya and friends, thanks for the interesting discussion. To the common beliefs that 1. the Buddha may have never spoken Pali, 2.
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 9, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Derek, Edward, Gunnar, Piya and friends,

          thanks for the interesting discussion. To the common beliefs that

          1. the Buddha may have never spoken Pali,
          2. the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language.

          I would like to add that due to the fact the Buddha spent a good
          portion of his time in Magadha, and Kapilavatu was a political ally
          of Magadha, Magadhi was the dialect most often used by Him.

          However, Magadhi was not the only vernacular the Buddha used. The
          Buddha had also learnt the 'religious language' of the Vedas.
          Furthermore, He did not set a particular language to be superior
          than others. As recorded in the Tipitaka, the Buddha allows his
          disciples to preach the Dhamma in the local language.

          The Buddha's footsteps covered the entire Northern India and Nepal.
          So, it is unlikely that he spoke only one language. Just like it was
          impossible to travel across Europe and preached to masses all in one
          language.

          It is interesting to note that while each sutta records certain
          statistics of the meeting, such as the place, time and attendees,
          there is no mention of the language used.

          My guesses are:

          1. The reciter (Ananda) of the suttas did not perceive language as
          an issue. It is known to the assembly of the Arhats the Buddhist
          attitude towards language usage (as the mean to an end, Zen
          saying: "finger pointing the moon"), hence it is not recorded.

          2. It is social norm for people to speak in different tongues in
          different places. This is especially true as the Buddhist sangha was
          not elitist and did not promote the use of the Vedic language. So,
          the language used was not much of a concern for the records, as it
          is (for academic purpose) today.


          metta,
          Yong Peng


          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Derek wrote:
          > If Pali wasn't a lingua franca of northern India, then what
          > language did the Buddha speak?


          It is sometimes said that the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language. The
          trouble is, we have no records of the Magadhi language, so simply
          saying "the Buddha spoke Magadhi" may or may not answer your
          question!

          Two hundred years after the time of the Buddha, yhe emperor Ashoka
          (3rd century B.C.) had pillars with edicts on them put up over large
          parts of India, and by studying the edicts on these pillars we can
          get some idea of the way language varied from place to place. Hence
          we can speculate a little about what Magadhi may have looked like.
          For example the vocative plural form bhikkhave is thought to be
          typically Magadhi. But that's about as far as we can go.
        • Gunnar Gällmo
          ... That s my theory as well. Asokas edicts, also, were written in different local Prakrits. That was practical when dealing with texts cut in stone, and not
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 10, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            --- Ong Yong Peng <ypong001@...> skrev:
            >

            > However, Magadhi was not the only vernacular the
            > Buddha used.

            ...

            > The Buddha's footsteps covered the entire Northern
            > India and Nepal.
            > So, it is unlikely that he spoke only one language.

            That's my theory as well. Asokas edicts, also, were
            written in different local Prakrits. That was
            practical when dealing with texts cut in stone, and
            not to be carried around; but the Tipitaka, obviously,
            needed some kind of standardized language, so I think
            the members of the first council just elected one of
            the Prakrits, or perhaps made a new one, without
            making a great fuss about it.

            Gunnar


            =====
            gunnargallmo@...
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.