Yāska was an early
1 Contribution 2 Lexical categories and parts of speech
2.1 Words as carriers of meaning: atomism vs. holism debate 2.2 Etymologically, nouns originate from verbs
3 Notes 4 References 5 External links
Yaska is the author of the Nirukta, a technical treatise on etymology,
lexical category and the semantics of Sanskrit words. He is thought to
have succeeded Śākaṭāyana, an old grammarian and expositor of the
Vedas, who is mentioned in his text.
nāma – nouns or substantives ākhyāta – verbs upasarga – pre-verbs or prefixes nipāta – particles, invariant words (perhaps prepositions)
Yāska singled out two main ontological categories: a process or an
action (bhāva), and an entity or a being or a thing (sattva). Then he
first defined the verb as that in which the bhāva ('process') is
predominant whereas a noun is that in which the sattva ('thing') is
predominant. The 'process' is one that has, according to one
interpretation, an early stage and a later stage and when such a
'process' is the dominant sense, a finite verb is used as in vrajati,
'walks', or pachati, 'cooks'.
But this characterisation of noun / verb is inadequate, as some
processes may also have nominal forms. For e.g., He went for a walk.
Yāska proposed that when a process is referred to as a
'petrified' or 'configured' mass (mUrta) extending from start to
finish, a verbal noun should be used, e.g. vrajyā, a walk, or pakti,
a cooking. The latter may be viewed as a case of summary scanning,
since the element of sequence in the process is lacking.
These concepts are related to modern notions of grammatical aspect,
the murta constituting the perfective and the bhāva the imperfective
Yāska also gives a test for nouns both concrete and abstract: nouns
are words which can be indicated by the pronoun that.
Words as carriers of meaning: atomism vs. holism debate
As in modern semantic theory,
Yāska views words as the main carriers
of meaning. This view – that words have a primary or preferred
ontological status in defining meaning, was fiercely debated in the
Indian tradition over many centuries. The two sides of the debate may
be called the Nairuktas (based on Yāska's Nirukta, atomists), vs the
Vaiyākarans (grammarians following Pāṇini, holists), and the
debate continued in various forms for twelve centuries involving
different philosophers from the Nyaya,
^ The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (2013). Ashtadhyayi, Work by
Panini. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 23 October 2017. ,
Quote: "Ashtadhyayi, Sanskrit Aṣṭādhyāyī (“Eight
Chapters”), Sanskrit treatise on grammar written in the 6th to 5th
century BCE by the Indian grammarian Panini."
^ a b
Bimal Krishna Matilal (1990). The word and the world: India's
contribution to the study of language. Delhi; New York: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-562515-8. LCCN 91174579.
OCLC 25096200. Yaska is dealt with in Chapter 3.
^ Langacker, Ronald W. (1999).
Kahrs, Eivind. On the Study of Yāska's Nirukta. Bhandarkar Oriental
Research Institute, Pune, India, 2005. LCCN 2006310275[permanent dead
link]. OCLC 64771339.
Matilal, Bimal Krishna. The word and the world: India's contribution
to the study of language. Oxford, 1990. ISBN 978-0-19-562515-8.
Langacker, Ronald W.
Niruktam sememes http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/concepts/vedangas.asp
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