Re: [Pali] Traditional grammar 3: Kc 3, 4, 5
>Dear Rett--Hi Rene,
>I was wondering, who was Kaccayana? Can you give us a brief
>introduction to him, e.g. when / where he lived, and maybe the
>significance of this work? (Very briefly, of course). I couldn't
>find anything on him in my references.
Thanks for the question. In this post I try to provide some basic
background to the study of Kc.
Not much is known for sure about the author of this grammatical work.
According to tradition the author is identical to one of the Buddha's
foremost disciples, Mahaakaccaayana. There's quite a bit of
information about him, and a basic description of the grammar at:
(follow especially the links to kaccaayanavyakarana and mahaakaccaayana)
An alternative explanation is that the work is of later date but has
been ascribed to Mahaakaccaayana as a sign of respect and to give the
work status and authority. This sort of thing is quite common in
ancient Indian literature. What is clear is that Kc is closely
related to the Kaatantra school of Sanskrit grammar, which is a
school that competed with the Paniniyans.
As for the significance of the work, I believe that Kc has been of
great significance for the teaching and preservation of Pali. It has
founded a school, including such works as the Mahaaruupasiddhi, the
Mukkhamattadiipanii and the simplified beginners' book, the
Baalaavataara, all of which I believe have been read and studied in
Theravada countries since they were written. Kc also is one of the
sources of the Saddaniiti, which is by far the most comprehensive
traditional Pali grammar. These works were studied by pioneers of
Pali studies in the west, until they were more or less replaced by
western grammars. They now appear to be coming back into fashion in
the west after having been neglected for some decades. Duroiselle's
grammar is one example of a relatively early western grammar which is
strongly based on the Kc tradition. And Warder has used the
Saddaniiti extensively in his _Introduction to Pali_. Saddaniiti is
extensively quoted in Cone's excellent new _A Dictionary of Pali_.
Kc is divided into eight books (kappa) some of which are further
divided into chapters (ka.n.da). They are:
I. Sandhikappo (5 chapters) - euphonic combination
II. Naamakappa (5 chapters) - formation of nouns
III. Kaarakakappa - use of nominal cases (nominative, accusative etc)
IV. Samaasakappa - on compounds
V. Taddhitakappa - on secondary affixes (such as deriving words with
suffixes from already formed words)
VI. Aakhyaatakappa (4 chapters) - finite verbs, including use of
tenses and moods
VII. Kibbidhaanakappa (5 chapters) - on primary suffixes, (forming
stems directly from roots, etc)
VIII. U.naadikappo - additional suffixes, beginning with "u.n"
Now here I am guessing, but I believe that the Kc to some degree uses
a derivational system, where the final form of a word, would be the
result of the application of rules from various chapters. So rules
'feed into' each other.
For example, you might start with a root taken from a dictionary of
roots. Run it through chapter VII and you get a verb stem. Run that
through chapter VI and you have a finished finite verb. Or,back up a
step and take the stem to chapter V. There you can turn it into a
participle or a noun-stem or an infinite verb form. Run a noun stem
through chapters III and II, and you can end up with an inflected
noun ready to go into a sentence. Run a noun stem back through
chapter V and you could get an abstract noun. Or you could even turn
it back into a denominative verb, and keep going around in circles
forever. Or you could first run it through chapter IV, making a
compound, and THEN run it through chapter III. Along the way, rules
from chapter I (sandhi) might very well come into play.
Doesn't that sound fun?
These are the sorts of employments of the rules that I hope in the
long run to learn about in these studies of Kc. What I've written
above is really a bunch of guesses about how it *might* work. Finding
out how it really does work is the long term goal of my studies. But
first things first, the reading and interpretation of the basic rules
themselves. I find this valuable in itself because it's another side
of the Pali language, and can aid us in reading commentarial
literature. There are also many edifying examples drawn from the
canonical literature along the way.
Hope this helps
- Hi Rett,
Thank you, this is very clear, with all the word lists. I especially like
the last example by Aggava.msa, giving three varieties of niggahiita in one
op 28-12-2004 12:53 schreef rett op rett@...:
> Exploring Traditional Pali Grammar 5
> Kaccaayana suttas 7 and 8, and sutta 8 from Saddaniiti, by way of comparison.