Did modern Indo-Aryan languages come from Sanskrit?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by DaveWen, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. DaveWen Member

    Hi all, sorry for the silly question, but can it be said that Hindustani, Punjabi, Nepali, etc, came from Sanskrit the same way Modern English came from Old English? I've heard it said a couple of times, but is it true? If not, what is the relationship between Hindi and Sanskrit like; would it be like the relationship between Modern English and Old Norse, Gothic, or Old High German?
    Thanks in advance
  2. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Hindi and other Modern Indo-Aryan languages evolved from the Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrits, which in turn evolved from Vedic Sanskrit (and other parallel Old Indo-Aryan dialects). So it is similar to the relationship between Modern English and Old English. A better analogy, though, would be Spanish and Latin, since Old English only led to one modern language while Latin (and parallel dialects) gave rise to the many Romance languages.
  3. DaveWen Member

    I see. Thanks.
  4. palomnik Senior Member

    There is an ongoing dispute whether anybody ever really spoke Sanskrit, or it was a literary creation that was never actually a spoken language. It certainly seems that Pali, which was a spoken language, predates at least standard Sanskrit.
  5. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Vedic Sanskrit was likely spoken, at least by a segment of the population. Classical Sanskrit was a later, literary creation that may not have represented a spoken language.
  6. asanga Member

    Although Theravāda Buddhists claim Pali is identical with Magadhi spoken at the time of the Buddha, most modern scholars consider it a literary language. The word pāli itself means "line of scripture", and the language uses many Sanskritisms, like the absolutive suffix -tvā. Jain Ardhamāgadhi and the Māgadhi found in Sanskrit drama also claim to be the original speech of Magadha, and all show signs of being stylized, literary creations.

    Old Indo-Aryan must have had many regional variations from the Hindu Kush to the eastern Gangetic plain, and "Sanskrit" can only be a somewhat artificial standard. But unlike Ancient Greek, where we have several classical literary dialects that can roughly be traced to different regions, it's more difficult to identify OIA regional dialects. I believe some scholars have attempted to tie Vedic schools to particular regions, e.g. the saṃhitā-s of the Black and White Yajurveda only make references to places in the country of the Kuru-pañcālas, the north western Doab.

    In an earlier thread http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2519247&page=2 Lugubert wrote:
    I.e. Sanskrit is the aunt—and not the mother—of the NIA languages. I'm not sure why he thinks Hindi grammar can't originate from Sanskrit. Perhaps Hindi's split-ergative case markings, but these look like Sanskrit instrumental and dative + past passive participle (rameṇa rāvaṇo hato sti, rāmāya sītā prītā sti) to me. Hindi's periphrastic expression of tense/mood/aspect seem to parallel the replacement of inflected verb forms in the Romance and Germanic languages, and New Persian as well. What could Lugubert be referring to?
  7. Lugubert Senior Member

    Sanskrit verbs seem to be fairly free in sentences, compared to Hindi's fairly strict pushing them all towards the end of sentences.
  8. asanga Member

    Word order has become stricter in Romance languages, etc. as well. This is a common phenomenon in languages that lose inflecitonal morphology and become more analytical. And even in early Sanskrit prose, the basic pattern is SOV.

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