Language Variant subtags for Sanskrit

Michael Everson everson at
Wed Jul 14 10:31:54 CEST 2010

On 14 Jul 2010, at 03:01, Peter Scharf wrote:

>> Vedic dialect.
> 'chandas' is the term Panini used.  He distinguished from it 'bhaa.saa' (the spoken dialect of Sanskrit at his time).
> 'vaidikabhaa.saa' is one modern term for Vedic language.

(By the way, Peter, on the Mac OS if you use the US Extended keyboard you can type option-x s for ṣ and option-a a for ā. Thus vaidikabhāṣa)

> I have never heard Indian terms for the other three.  This is not surprising, since historical linguistics is a 19th century European phenomenon, though ancient Indian linguists did have awareness of historical language change.  If there are terms for the following, they are probably very modern ones.  I'll ask on the Indology list.
>> Classical dialect.
>> Epic dialect.
>> Buddhist dialect.

Monier-Williams gives "Classical" (refined) saṁskṛtaḥ, sādhuḥ; (of the first rank) prayamavargoyaḥ, śreṣṭaḥ, prayamapadasyaḥ; (relating to ancient books) pūrvvakālonagranthasasrantho-ndhūni-ndhī

Jeepers. Hope I got that right. The type isn't always so clear in my copy.

Under "Epic" he gives etīhāsīkaḥ, viracarīnnakathakaḥ, kāthīkaḥ, śūravṛntāntavīvayaḥ, mahākāvyasasrantho (of which I recognize Kathika)

He doesn't give Buddhist but I'd guess it'd be something like bauddhikabhāṣa.

Michael Everson *

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