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Encyclopedia > Prakrit

Prakrit (also spelt Pracrit) (Sanskrit: prākṛta प्राकृत (from pra-kṛti प्रकृति), "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", i.e. "vernacular", in contrast to saṃskṛtā "excellently made", both adjectives elliptically referring to vak "speech") refers to the broad family of the Indic languages and dialects spoken in ancient India. The Prakrits became literary languages, generally patronized by kings identified with the Kshatriya caste, but were regarded as illegitimate by the Brahmin orthodoxy. The earliest extant use of Prakrit are the inscriptions of Asoka, emperor of Northern India, and while the various Prakrit languages are associated with different patron dynasties, with different religions and different literary traditions, none of them were at any time an informal "mother tongue" in any area of India. The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is an old Indo-Aryan language from the Indian Subcontinent, the classical literary language of the Hindus of India[1], a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Look up Vernacular in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is an old Indo-Aryan language from the Indian Subcontinent, the classical literary language of the Hindus of India[1], a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... The Indo-Aryan languages form a subgroup of the Indo-Iranian languages, thus belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area. ... Kshatriya (Hindi: , from Sanskrit: , ) is the title of the princely military order in the Vedic society. ... A Brahmin (anglicised from the Sanskrit word IAST ; Devanagari ), also known as Vipra, Dvija, Dvijottama (best of the Dvijas), (god on Earth) is the highest caste in Indian caste system within Hindu society. ... This article is about Ashoka, the emperor. ...

Contents

Forms of Prakrit

Prakrit is foremost a native term, designating "vernaculars" as opposed to Sanskrit. Some modern scholars follow this classification by including all Middle Indo-Aryan languages under the rubric of "Prakrits", while others emphasise the independent development of these languages, often separated from the history of Sanskrit by wide divisions of caste, religion, and geography. The Middle Indo-Aryan (Middle Indic) languages are the medieval dialects of the Indo-Aryan languages, the descendants of the Old Indo-Aryan dialects such as Sanskrit, and the predecessors of the medieval languages such as Apabhramsha or Abahatta, which eventually evolved into the contemporary Indo-Aryan languages, including Hindustani... Caste systems are traditional, hereditary systems of social stratification, enforced by law or common practice, based on classifications such as occupation, race, ethnicity, etc. ...


The three Dramatic Prakrits - Sauraseni, Magadhi, Maharashtri, as well as Jain Prakrit each represent a distinct tradition of literature within the history of India. Other Prakrits are reported in historical sources, but are no longer spoken (e.g., Paisaci). Any of the three main dialects of Prakrit, used extensively in Sanskrit literature. ... A Dramatic Prakrit, Sauraseni was the chief language of northern medieval India, evolving into the Hindi language complex and Punjabi. ... Magadhi Prakrit is of one of the three Dramatic Prakrits, the written languages of Ancient India after the decline of Sanskrit as an official language. ... Maharashtri is a language of medieval India, descended from Sanskrit, and spoken in what is now Maharashtra and other parts of India. ... Jain Prakrit is a term loosely used for the language of the Jain canon. ... Paisaci, also known as Paisachi, or Paishachi, is an extinct language of classical India, its existence as a medium of debate and literary expression is recorded in various Theravada Buddhist sources, and mentioned in Prakrit and Sanskrit grammars of antiquity. ...


Ardhamagadhi ("half Magadhi"), an archaic form of Magadhi which was used extensively to write Jain scriptures, is often considered to be the definitive form of Prakrit, while others are considered variants. For this reason, courses teaching "Prakrit" often teach Ardhamagadhi. Prakrit (Sanskrit prakrta: natural, usual, vulgar) refers to the broad family of the Indic languages and dialects spoken in ancient India. ... Prakrit (Sanskrit prakrta: natural, usual, vulgar) refers to the broad family of the Indic languages and dialects spoken in ancient India. ...


Pali (the language of Theravada Buddhism) tends to be treated as a special exception, as classical (Sanskrit) grammars do not consider it as a Prakrit per se, presumably for sectarian rather than linguistic reasons. Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... Theravada (Pāli: theravāda, Sanskrit: sthaviravāda → English: The Way of the Elders) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and parts of southwest... Buddhism is a dharmic, non-theistic religion, which is also a philosophy and a system of psychology[]. Buddhism is also known as Buddha Dharma or Dhamma, which means the teachings of the Awakened One in Sanskrit and Pali, the languages of ancient Buddhist texts. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Sectarian violence. ...


Etymology

According to the dictionary of Monier Monier-Williams, the most frequent meanings of the Sanskrit term "prakrta", from which our "prakrit" is derived, are "original, natural, normal" and the term is derived from prakrti, "making or placing before or at first, the original or natural form or condition of anything, original or primary substance." In linguistic terms, this is used in contrast with samskrta, "refined". Photo of Monier Monier-Williams by Lewis Carroll Sir Monier Monier-Williams (1819–1899) studied, documented and taught Asian languages in England, and compiled one of the most widely-used Sanskrit-English dictionaries. ...


Traditional accounts

Virtually every Sanskrit student is taught that refinement of Sanskrit (to reverse much of middle-Indic influence from the standard language) was a process spanning many generations (traditionally more than a thousand years) until it was considered complete and perfect. The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is an old Indo-Aryan language from the Indian Subcontinent, the classical literary language of the Hindus of India[1], a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


Some scholars restrict the Prakrits to the languages used by Hindu and Jain writers; others include the Buddhist languages, such as Pali and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, and the inscriptional Prakrits. Other Prakrits include the Gāndhārī, and Paisaci, which is known through grammarians' statements. The modern languages of India developed from the Prakrits, after the intermediary stage of the Apabhramsa language. This article discusses the adherents of Hinduism. ... JAIN is an activity within the Java Community Process, developing APIs for the creation of telephony (voice and data) services. ... Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (BHS) is a modern linguistic category applied to some of the Mahāyāna Buddhist Sutras, such as the Perfection of Wisdom. ... GāndhārÄ« was a north-western prakrit spoken in Gāndhāra. ... The term Apabhramsha refers to the dialects of North India before the rise of modern North Indian languages. ...


External links

  • Jain Scriptures

Bibliography

  • Pischel, Prakrit Grammar
  • Woolner, Introduction to Prakrit

  Results from FactBites:
 
Prakrit (173 words)
Prakrits are the Indic languages and dialects spoken in ancient India.
The Prakrits were vernacular languages, often used for ordinary speech, and may be contrasted with Sanskrit, which continued to be used as a literary language and quickly developed such features as written grammars.
Perhaps the most important Prakrit today is Pali, which has survived as the language in which the Theravada Buddhism records the Buddhist scriptures.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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