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The Wonder That is Sanskrit

By Santhanam Nagarajan

Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.

These remarkable words of William Jones (1746-1794)ant as the 18th century European enlightenment’s view of an ancient language of Asia.

He had founded Asiatic Society in 1784d February 1786, during the third anniversary discourse he expressed his view of Sanskrit as a language superior to Greek and Latin.

fessor H H Wilson says:”It is impossible to conceive a language so beautifully musical or so magnificently grand.”
Pictet says
:”The most beautiful perhaps of all languages
” One of the most exciting applications is the use of Sanskrit as a natural language interface for computers.

In 1984, an article was published in AI (Artificial Intelligence) magazine which stated that Sanskrit is ideally suited as an intermediate language for machine translation. That is if we have to translate, Japanese into English, we should first translate Japanese into Sanskrit and then Sanskrit to English.

Consider a sentence: Sam reads a book If the words are interchanged in this sentence, the meaning changes completely. A book reads Sam! The meaning is changed completely.

“Book Sam reads a” has no meaning! Whereas in Sanskrit even if the words are interchanged the meaning will be the same!

Sanskrit words are self expressive as they are all derived from about 4000 basic roots. They are usually a combination of two or more roots. Once the meanings of the roots are known and a word is split into its basic roots, the meaning of the word becomes derivable and thus is self expressive. The structural, grammatical and semantic properties of Sanskrit make it a suitable candidate for machine communication. Dr Sen Gupta ex-vice Chancellor of Burdwan University says: “Another aspect of this perfect language that should appeal to the modernists, is its wonderful science“.

The five vargas or classes in Sanskrit consonant – ka, cha, ta, tha, pa – sounds of which originate from the throat down to the lips have been most scientifically defined, described and classified which is a wonder achievement according to all the linguists of the world. You may be surprised that the modern system of stenography followed by Pittman to his shorthand is indebted to this science of language embodied in Sanskrit.” Sanskrit is described as the Language of Gods, the language of immortals and ‘amarvani’ or’ that does not perish’.

However one can not describe all the glories of the wonder that is Sanskrit.

Link :Excerpts from e-books on Nilashop : October 24, 2006, 11:59 am