Summary – Section 8(2) (Facts 95 to 102)
In this section we discuss Appreciation and Analysis of our Mother Tongue (2 of 2)
Fact 95 – How do we recognise the root of a word in Sanskrit? That is, if we see a word, how do we know what root it is derived from? In this ‘fact’ we look at some of the clues we can use to identify the root from which a word originates.
We look at Yāska’s ‘the first principle’ for the derivation of words. (The first principle is: Derive words from roots in the normal fashion modifying the root to get regular grammatical
forms). If the first approach fails, we can also use Yāska’s second and third principles to arrive at the root – using the meaning of the word and deriving it from some similarity of form
or similarity of letter or syllable; and deriving the word in accordance with its meaning.
Fact 96 – We look at some words in English that have a common ancestor with our Mother Tongue. The words in English that derive from a common root as Sanskrit may have arrived there through a circuitous route. For example, from Old Germanic to Old English to English; or from Latin to French to Old English to English; or from Latin to French to English; or from Latin or Greek to English; or from Old Norse to Danish to English, etc. We will not trace the whole path but just look at the Sanskrit and the English words.
Fact 97 – We take the story, “The Brahmin and his faithful mongoose”, fable 13 of book 4 of the Hitopadeśa. We then challenge you to solve a crossword based on the words in the story.
Fact 98 – We look at having some fun with the language. We look at an extremely popular exercise in ancient India called Samasyā pūrti (problem solving) which is a class of Sanskrit (and of many other Indian languages) literature where the last line (pāda) of a metrical composition is given. This line will be completely meaningless as is. The solver has to provide the other (previous) lines so that what is stated in the last line makes sense.
We look at a couple of these.
Fact 99 – Sanskrit poets were past-masters at the literary technique called constrained writing, that is writing in which the writer is bound by certain constraints. Many Sanskrit
writers have also used their works to brilliantly display such feats with the language.
We look at one such verse, the 15th verse of the 15th chapter of Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi which uses only the consonant sound n except for the last one! We analyse this verse.
Another verse, which we do not analyse, is from the Śiśupālavadha of Māgha. The 114th verse of the 19th chapter uses only the letter da.
Fact 100 – The sounds l and r are interchangeable in many languages. This is true of Sanskrit also. We look at this phenomenon.
Fact 101 – We look at the allphasyllabic numeral notation system known as the
kaṭapayādi system. This system is used to remember numbers easily as words or phrases or verses. The system is supposed to have originated with Vararuci and has been extensively used in the Kerala schools of astronomy and mathematics from around the middle of the first millennium CE. Many of the tables of astronomy have been encoded in this system.
Fact 102 – In this ‘fact’ we look at a few random interesting words in Sanskrit.
Click on the links below to visit the other summary pages