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A Sanskrit Grammar For Students
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A Sanskrit Grammar For Students
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About The Book

It is an altogether fresh reprint of the eminent Orientalist, Arthur Macdonell’s A Sanskrit Grammar (1927 edition: Oxford). Which, ever since its first appearance, has been widely acclaimed both in India and elsewhere in the world, as an authentic, at once relevant account of classical Sanskrit.

Projecting, with well-chosen examples, a whole mass of grammatical forms to be met with in the post-Vedic Sanskrit literature, the author systematically explains the mechanics of its euphonic combinations (sandhi), declension, conjugation, nominal stem formation and compounds, and a lot else-with complete insights into the syntactical arrangement of Sanskrit sentence. Supported by several information-packaged appendices, the book also carries a brilliant resume of the Sanskrit grammatical tradition going back to the 5th century BC.

Now typeset anew with the latest technological aids, the late Macdonell’s work today remains as much indispensable to the students of Sanskrit as to the scholars, who seek to discover for themselves the splendour of its literary classics

Preface

IN preparing a new edition of this grammar I have found misprints requiring correction to be few and insignificant. The alterations that seemed necessary are nearly all concerned with facilitating the use of the book for students. One of these is the indication of the relevant number of chapter and paragraph on the inside top corner of each page. Since the grammar is intended to supply a complete account of Classical Sanskrit, many paragraphs may be omitted till a later stage of study. I therefore here append a list of those which are essential for absolute beginners and thus constitute a virtual primer of Classical Sanskrit.

I :1-7, 8-12, 13. II :16-22, 27, 30-34, 36 A.B., 37, 38, 40, 42-44, 45, 1.2, 52-55, 65, 67. III : 70, 71, 73, 74, 77, 85, 87, 90, 1, 97, 100, 101 D (p. 63), 103, 1, 2, 109-111, 120. IV : 121-128, 131, 132 (only Pres. Par., pp. 92, 98), 135, 136, 138, 1 (only tud., Par.), 141a (only Par.), 143, 1 (only Par.), 147 (only Par.), 148 (only adam), 151 (only Par.), 154 (only Pres.), 156, 160, 1, 2, 162, 163, 167, 168, 169, 172, 175.

When the student has gone through these paragraphs he will be quite prepared to begin reading. Any new grammatical forms he now meets with he will be able to find explained in the paragraphs that have been passed over. In this way he will understand, with the aid of a vocabulary, every word in the first canto of the Story of Nala within the course of a month, and know all the grammar necessary for reading easy Sanskrit texts.

Since the appearance of the second edition of this work (1911) my Vedic Grammar for Students was published (1916). Though this new book seemed at first sight to make Appendix III superfluous in the present work (pp. 236-44), I decided to retain it as presenting Vedic grammar in an abridged form and rendering it easier for absolute beginners to master.

Introduction

THE first impulse to the study of grammar in India was given by the religious motive of preserving intact the sacred Vedic texts, the efficacy of which was believed to require attention to every letter. Thus, aided by the great transparency of the Sanskrit language, the ancient Indian grammarians had by the fifth century BC arrived at scientific results unequalled by any other nation of antiquity. It is, for instance, their distinctive achievement to have recognized that words for the most part consist on the one hand of roots, and on the other of affixes, which, when compounded with the former, modify the radical sense in various ways.

The oldest grammar that has been preserved is Panini's. It already represents a fully developed system, its author standing at the end of a long line of predecessors, of whom no fewer than sixty-four are mentioned, and the purely grammatical works of all of whom, owing to the excellence and comprehensiveness of his work, have entirely perished.

Panini is considerably later than Yaska (probably about 500 BC), whom he mentions, and between whom and himself a good number of important grammarians intervene. On the other hand, Panini is much older than his interpreter Patanjali, who probably dates from the latter half of the second century BC, the two being separated by another eminent grammarian, Katyayana. Panini himself uses the word yavanani, which Katyayana explains as 'writing of the Yavanas' (i.e. Iaones or Greeks). Now it is not at all likely that the Indians should have become acquainted with Greek writing before the invasion of Alexander in 327 BC. But the natives of the extreme north-west, of whom Panini in all probability was one, would naturally have become acquainted with it soon after that date. They must, however, have grown familiar with it before a grammarian would make a rule as to how to form from Yavana, 'Greek,' a derivative form meaning 'Greek writing'. It seems therefore hardly possible to place Panini earlier than about 300 BC.

Panini's grammar consists of nearly 4,000 rules divided into eight chapters. Being composed with the utmost imaginable brevity, each Sutra or aphorism usually consists of only two or three words, and the whole work, if printed continuously in medium-sized Devanagari type, would not occupy more than about thirty-five pages of the present volume. And yet this grammar describes the entire Sanskrit language in all the details of its structure, with a completeness which has never been equalled elsewhere. It is at once the shortest and fullest grammar in the world.

In his endeavour, to give an exhaustive survey of the bhasa or classical Sanskrit with a view to correct usage, Panini went on to include within the scope of his grammar the language of the sacred texts, which was no longer quite intelligible. He accordingly gives hundreds of rules about the Veda, but without completeness. His account of the Vedic language, taken as a whole, thus shows many gaps, important matters being often omitted, while trifles are noticed. In this part of his work Panini shows a decided incapacity to master his subject-matter, attributing to the Veda the most unbounded grammatical license, especially in interchanging or dropping inflections.

The grammar of Panini is a sabdanusasana, or 'Treatise on Words', the fundamental principle of which is, that all nouns are derived from verbs. Starting with the simplest elements into which words can be analysed, root, affix and termination, Panini shows how nominal and verbal stems are formed from roots and complete words from stems. He at the same time indicates the functions which words acquire by the addition of formative elements and by being compounded with other words. It is a peculiarity of Panini's wordformation, that he recognizes derivation by suffixes only. Thus when a verbal root like bhid, 'to pierce,' is used in the nominal sense of `piercer', he has recourse to the highly artificial expedient of assuming an imaginary suffix, for which a blank is substituted!

Yaska records that the universality of Sakatayana's principle of nouns being derived from verbs was contested by Gargya, who objected to the forced etymologies resulting from a general application of this principle. Gargya maintained that if asva, 'horse,' for instance, were derived from as, 'to travel,' not only would everything that travels be called asva, and everything be named after all its activities, but states of being (bhava) would be antecedent to things (which are presupposed by those states).

Panini makes a concession to Gargya's objection by excluding all words the derivation of which is difficult owing to their form or meaning, as asva, horse, go, 'cow,' and purusa, 'man.' Primary nouns of this kind had been collected before Panini's time in a special list, in which they were often forcibly derived from verbal roots by means of a number of special suffixes The first of these suffixes being u, technically called un, the whole list of these formations received the name of unadi (`beginning with un'). Panini refers to all such words as ready-made stems, the formation of which does not concern him.

The Unadi list which Panini had before him survives, in a somewhat modified form, as the Unadi Sutra with the commentary (dating probably from the thirteenth century AD) of Ujjvaladatta. In its extant shape this Sutra contains some late words, such as dinara (Lat. denarius), a noun which cannot have come into use in India much before 100 AD.

**Contents and Sample Pages**











A Sanskrit Grammar For Students

Item Code:
NAW764
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Edition:
1997
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9788124600948
Language:
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Pages:
264
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About The Book

It is an altogether fresh reprint of the eminent Orientalist, Arthur Macdonell’s A Sanskrit Grammar (1927 edition: Oxford). Which, ever since its first appearance, has been widely acclaimed both in India and elsewhere in the world, as an authentic, at once relevant account of classical Sanskrit.

Projecting, with well-chosen examples, a whole mass of grammatical forms to be met with in the post-Vedic Sanskrit literature, the author systematically explains the mechanics of its euphonic combinations (sandhi), declension, conjugation, nominal stem formation and compounds, and a lot else-with complete insights into the syntactical arrangement of Sanskrit sentence. Supported by several information-packaged appendices, the book also carries a brilliant resume of the Sanskrit grammatical tradition going back to the 5th century BC.

Now typeset anew with the latest technological aids, the late Macdonell’s work today remains as much indispensable to the students of Sanskrit as to the scholars, who seek to discover for themselves the splendour of its literary classics

Preface

IN preparing a new edition of this grammar I have found misprints requiring correction to be few and insignificant. The alterations that seemed necessary are nearly all concerned with facilitating the use of the book for students. One of these is the indication of the relevant number of chapter and paragraph on the inside top corner of each page. Since the grammar is intended to supply a complete account of Classical Sanskrit, many paragraphs may be omitted till a later stage of study. I therefore here append a list of those which are essential for absolute beginners and thus constitute a virtual primer of Classical Sanskrit.

I :1-7, 8-12, 13. II :16-22, 27, 30-34, 36 A.B., 37, 38, 40, 42-44, 45, 1.2, 52-55, 65, 67. III : 70, 71, 73, 74, 77, 85, 87, 90, 1, 97, 100, 101 D (p. 63), 103, 1, 2, 109-111, 120. IV : 121-128, 131, 132 (only Pres. Par., pp. 92, 98), 135, 136, 138, 1 (only tud., Par.), 141a (only Par.), 143, 1 (only Par.), 147 (only Par.), 148 (only adam), 151 (only Par.), 154 (only Pres.), 156, 160, 1, 2, 162, 163, 167, 168, 169, 172, 175.

When the student has gone through these paragraphs he will be quite prepared to begin reading. Any new grammatical forms he now meets with he will be able to find explained in the paragraphs that have been passed over. In this way he will understand, with the aid of a vocabulary, every word in the first canto of the Story of Nala within the course of a month, and know all the grammar necessary for reading easy Sanskrit texts.

Since the appearance of the second edition of this work (1911) my Vedic Grammar for Students was published (1916). Though this new book seemed at first sight to make Appendix III superfluous in the present work (pp. 236-44), I decided to retain it as presenting Vedic grammar in an abridged form and rendering it easier for absolute beginners to master.

Introduction

THE first impulse to the study of grammar in India was given by the religious motive of preserving intact the sacred Vedic texts, the efficacy of which was believed to require attention to every letter. Thus, aided by the great transparency of the Sanskrit language, the ancient Indian grammarians had by the fifth century BC arrived at scientific results unequalled by any other nation of antiquity. It is, for instance, their distinctive achievement to have recognized that words for the most part consist on the one hand of roots, and on the other of affixes, which, when compounded with the former, modify the radical sense in various ways.

The oldest grammar that has been preserved is Panini's. It already represents a fully developed system, its author standing at the end of a long line of predecessors, of whom no fewer than sixty-four are mentioned, and the purely grammatical works of all of whom, owing to the excellence and comprehensiveness of his work, have entirely perished.

Panini is considerably later than Yaska (probably about 500 BC), whom he mentions, and between whom and himself a good number of important grammarians intervene. On the other hand, Panini is much older than his interpreter Patanjali, who probably dates from the latter half of the second century BC, the two being separated by another eminent grammarian, Katyayana. Panini himself uses the word yavanani, which Katyayana explains as 'writing of the Yavanas' (i.e. Iaones or Greeks). Now it is not at all likely that the Indians should have become acquainted with Greek writing before the invasion of Alexander in 327 BC. But the natives of the extreme north-west, of whom Panini in all probability was one, would naturally have become acquainted with it soon after that date. They must, however, have grown familiar with it before a grammarian would make a rule as to how to form from Yavana, 'Greek,' a derivative form meaning 'Greek writing'. It seems therefore hardly possible to place Panini earlier than about 300 BC.

Panini's grammar consists of nearly 4,000 rules divided into eight chapters. Being composed with the utmost imaginable brevity, each Sutra or aphorism usually consists of only two or three words, and the whole work, if printed continuously in medium-sized Devanagari type, would not occupy more than about thirty-five pages of the present volume. And yet this grammar describes the entire Sanskrit language in all the details of its structure, with a completeness which has never been equalled elsewhere. It is at once the shortest and fullest grammar in the world.

In his endeavour, to give an exhaustive survey of the bhasa or classical Sanskrit with a view to correct usage, Panini went on to include within the scope of his grammar the language of the sacred texts, which was no longer quite intelligible. He accordingly gives hundreds of rules about the Veda, but without completeness. His account of the Vedic language, taken as a whole, thus shows many gaps, important matters being often omitted, while trifles are noticed. In this part of his work Panini shows a decided incapacity to master his subject-matter, attributing to the Veda the most unbounded grammatical license, especially in interchanging or dropping inflections.

The grammar of Panini is a sabdanusasana, or 'Treatise on Words', the fundamental principle of which is, that all nouns are derived from verbs. Starting with the simplest elements into which words can be analysed, root, affix and termination, Panini shows how nominal and verbal stems are formed from roots and complete words from stems. He at the same time indicates the functions which words acquire by the addition of formative elements and by being compounded with other words. It is a peculiarity of Panini's wordformation, that he recognizes derivation by suffixes only. Thus when a verbal root like bhid, 'to pierce,' is used in the nominal sense of `piercer', he has recourse to the highly artificial expedient of assuming an imaginary suffix, for which a blank is substituted!

Yaska records that the universality of Sakatayana's principle of nouns being derived from verbs was contested by Gargya, who objected to the forced etymologies resulting from a general application of this principle. Gargya maintained that if asva, 'horse,' for instance, were derived from as, 'to travel,' not only would everything that travels be called asva, and everything be named after all its activities, but states of being (bhava) would be antecedent to things (which are presupposed by those states).

Panini makes a concession to Gargya's objection by excluding all words the derivation of which is difficult owing to their form or meaning, as asva, horse, go, 'cow,' and purusa, 'man.' Primary nouns of this kind had been collected before Panini's time in a special list, in which they were often forcibly derived from verbal roots by means of a number of special suffixes The first of these suffixes being u, technically called un, the whole list of these formations received the name of unadi (`beginning with un'). Panini refers to all such words as ready-made stems, the formation of which does not concern him.

The Unadi list which Panini had before him survives, in a somewhat modified form, as the Unadi Sutra with the commentary (dating probably from the thirteenth century AD) of Ujjvaladatta. In its extant shape this Sutra contains some late words, such as dinara (Lat. denarius), a noun which cannot have come into use in India much before 100 AD.

**Contents and Sample Pages**











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