Dermot Killingley and Siew-Yue Killingley
University of Newcastle
Sanskrit, a living spoken minority language of the Indian subcontinent used for ritual and other purposes, has crucially influenced Western linguistic thought. This sketch describes classical Sanskrit, adapting traditional (Western) terminology in the light of modern linguistics, and taking into account indigenous (ancient Indian) terminology. It presents the phonology elegantly, relating it to the sanskritists' romanization and to Devan~g~ri. The morphology highlights the verb, the most complex inflectional class, and deals with verb derivation, tense, mood, aspect, voice, non-reflexive and reflexive polarity, deixis and concord. The verb paradigm is exemplified in tabular form as a complex piece of asymmetry. The traditional concepts of 'root' and 'stem' are explained in relation to word and lexeme, and to noun, adjective and verb formation. Phonological alternation (gua and vrddhi), thematic versus athematic, weak versus strong and other topics are also included. Sanskrit syntax is a relatively neglected area. The 'compound' (sam sa), often treated under word-formation, is treated here as a phrase of indefinite length with some word-like qualities. Fixed word order in the compound phrase is contrasted with free word order in the clause, which is typically SOV with alternative orders according to focus and modality. 'Verbless' clauses are treated in terms of BE-deletion. Voice is treated in relation to valency, and to agent/patient roles. Clause chaining is described in terms of finite and non-finite clauses, relative modifiers, conjunction and subordination, and the functions of infinitives and of inflected and uninflected participles are explained. The role of enclitics and conjunctions in discourse is described. The sketch ends with a text, a medieval didactic tale in a formal narrative style.
ISBN 9783895860256. Languages of the World/Materials 18. 1995.