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Re: [Pali] what does ceto mean?

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  • rett
    Hi Robert and group, ... Yes I agree with your point. I shouldn t strictly call it a borrowing but rather say something along the lines of: it corresponds to
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 5, 2006
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      Hi Robert and group,

      >This raises an interesting question. You suggest that ceto is a borrowing
      >from Sanskrit. How do we know it is a borrowing from Sanskrit and a parallel
      >development? I think this is found in other Prakrits as well

      Yes I agree with your point. I shouldn't strictly call it a borrowing but rather say something along the lines of: it corresponds to the Skrt cetas. Saying it 'comes from sanskrit' is a loose way of referring to earlier dialects of Indic with a more complex phonology, such as consonant clusters, consonant final noun stems and so on.

      As you know, drawing the analogy is very useful because it explains an -o stem neuter that shifts to -as- in oblique cases. If we try to explain this without reference to Sanskrit we have to simply treat it as an odd exception (which is the method typically used by the native Pali grammarians). Similarly we can 'explain' pali forms like -bb- as coming from Sanskrit's -vr-, the doubling of the first consonant in words like appamaa.na with reference to the Sanskrit prefex pra- > Pali (p)pa, and so on, without taking sides as to whether the one is derived from the other or whether they are parallel developments from an earlier common ancestor. It's just a helpful way of understanding some of the peculiarities of Pali.

      The result is not just that we learn about the historical development of Indic languages. It becomes a lot easier, in practical terms, to read Pali texts. This is one of the reasons why I belive a year or two of Sanskrit is a good idea even for those who primarily want to read the suttas for their doctrinal and inspirational contents as quickly as possible. It's in no way a detour or waste of time.

      best regards,

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