Sanskrit - Why is it called the mother of European Languages

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by geek, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. geek Registered Member

    Sanskrit is a very ancient Indian language. Its ancester was the paali language.
    It was so advanced that the Spritual , Mathematical,Medicinal,astronomical,Physics, biology, Chemistry, Scientific-Music Epics that came with it are countless and time less.

    "Sanskrit language is composed of 50 sounds and letters in its alphabet. It has 11,000 roots from which to make words. The English language has 500,000 words. Sanskrit language has 1700 Dhatu (root verbs), 80 Upasargas (suffixes, prefixes), and 20 Pratyaya (declensions). It is believed that Sanskrit has roughly 74,000,000 words. In fact, using these rules and by adding prefixes and suffixes, Sanskrit can provide an infinite number of words whose meaning is completely determined by the grammatical process.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that Pali is either descended from Sanskrit or evolved alongside it from a similar source. Sanskrit is probably derived from some little known Indo-Iranian language (perhaps closely related to Avestan) spoken in what is now Afghanistan, and that was carried down into the Indus valley.

    The language of the early Vedas appears to have been spoken Sanskrit. So the language of the Brahmins who kept that religious knowledge alive was Sanskrit, which to the Hindus became kind of a sacred language. The Brahmins became a hereditary class of scholars and many of their other intellectual products were composed in Sanskrit as well. But the Sanskrit of today may not be identical with the language of early India, it's the product of a slow evolution and the work of various grammarians who tried to systematize it. Meanwhile, the language as spoken by regular people evolved as the Aryans spread through northern India. So the ancestor of Sanskrit developed regional dialects called Prakrits and eventually daughter languages, one of which was perhaps Pali. In the early centuries CE, the Gupta dynasty promoted a big Sanskrit revival when an evolved classical Sanskrit was adopted as their court language and its use spread. Then, especially during the period of Muslim domination of India, use of the language in everyday use declined again and it went back to being the closely-guarded sacred language of the Hindu Brahmins.

    Because when British linguists like William 'Oriental' Jones and other European scholars first learned Sanskrit (which the Brahmins had been reluctant to teach to non-Brahmins, especially foreigners) in the late 18th century, they quickly realized that its grammar and vocabulary was related to Greek, Latin and the modern European languages. That gave rise to the idea of an 'Indo-European' language family. Some of these early linguistic scholars, perhaps influenced by the Brahmins belief in the antiquity of their own traditions, were of the opinion that Sanskrit was the oldest of these IE languages and that the others were descended from it. That was the prevailing view in the early 19th century. Today it's believed that both Sanskrit and the European languages (as well as some others like Tocharian in what is now China) are separately descended from a now-extinct Proto-Indo-European language.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
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  5. geek Registered Member

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  7. geek Registered Member

    If sanskrit was derived, which ever language or geographical area, then the area or mother language should atleast remotely show some signs of the following :

    "Sanskrit language is composed of 50 sounds and letters in its alphabet. It has 11,000 roots from which to make words.Sanskrit language has 1700 Dhatu (root verbs), 80 Upasargas (suffixes, prefixes), and 20 Pratyaya (declensions). It is believed that Sanskrit has roughly 74,000,000 words. In fact, using these rules and by adding prefixes and suffixes, Sanskrit can provide an infinite number of words whose meaning is completely determined by the grammatical process.

    Have you ever checked that, before making that observation?

    Even the most advanced languages today would find it hard to match sanskrit in its advancement, at the dawn of human story.

    If Modern Science classifies those times of prehistoric humans at the start of human evolution chart, with limited intellectual capacity in mathematics,science, scientific music notations etc.

    Then sanskrit definitely challenges every single notion of evolution theory of modern science, in having in depth insights on sprituality ,litrature, poetry, relations of astronomy: How much the planets, sun and stars determines not just controlling the ocean -river tides ,weather,seasons, flora and fauna - but how they control a human body.

    Sanskrit is relentlessly huge and bluffs the theory of evolution of Modern science.
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    So this is an attempt to show that mankind his "devolved" since "the beginning"?
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Sanskrit came along thousands of years after the dawn of the human story -

    That's more or less true of many - even most - languages that form new words in that manner (there are hundreds of them).
    Cultural evolution is not controlled by Darwinian processes. Whether human intellectual capacity has changed much in the past 50,000 years is an open question, but very few Modern Scientists would claim it has changed much in the time since Sanskrit was developed - that's very recent, in evolutionary terms.
  10. geek Registered Member

    Iceaura said :"Sanskrit came along thousands of years after the dawn of the human story -"

    Your link is about carbon dating - estimating ancientness of languages from OBJECTS (cuniforms, tablets etc).
    Thts just one method used in science.
    Depending solely on that one method may be useful for OBJECTS(substances) in last 50 to 500 years perhaps.
    For those ,where OBJECTS are unavailable, ie like a cultural phenomena- Multiple methods should be used to arrive a reasonable derivation, or else the the assesment itself could get highly erroneous.

    History is the soild background in this case, getting references echoes of the same thing from times, tales, folk lores and epics from distant lands,cultures can only be the solid background.

    Sure there, brilliant languages existant before sanskrit at the dawn of human culture, social setup and civilization.
    But they so untraceable today. From those times immemorial, what ever is left for mankind to dwell today is sanskrit.
    To understand this part of history, the only way is reading atleast a dozen books originally written in sanskrit.

    In your link's assesment , sanskrit is brought closest to oldest available language form. "An oral tradition of epic poetry may typically bridge a few centuries, and in rare cases, over a millennium. An extreme case is the VEDIC SANSKRIT OF RIGVEDA: the earliest parts of this text MAY date to c. 1500 BC,[1] while the oldest known manuscript dates to the 11th century AD, a gap of over 2,500 years. Similarly the oldest Avestan texts, the Gathas, are believed to have been composed before 1000 BC, but the oldest Avestan manuscripts date from the 13th century AD."

    Iceaura said "Cultural evolution is not controlled by Darwinian processes."

    Its Difficult to say darwin's Theory of evolution deals only with Bilogical Evolution and intellectual capacity of a living being- which may or may not lead to cultural evolution- has never been part of it.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There is no "method used in science" that dates Sanskrit back even 10k years, let alone the 50k you would need to put it anywhere near the "dawn of the human story".

    The point is that human culture - including language - evolves significantly and rapidly via non-Darwinian processes; Lamarckian evolution, for example, is important in the evolution of human languages.
  12. geek Registered Member

    Albert Einstein, American scientist: "We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made."

    Will Durant, American historian: "India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics".

    Mark Twain, American author: " Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only."

    Henry David Thoreau, American Thinker & Author:" Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climbs, and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I read it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night."

    R.W. emerson, American Author:" In the great books of India, an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise us."

    William James, American Author: "From the Vedas we learn a practical art of surgery, medicine, music, house building under which mechanized art is included. They are encyclopedia of every aspect of life, culture, religion, science, ethics, law, cosmology and meteorology."

    I think they are Americans.

    And MORE:

    Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA: "India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border."


    The Vedas and Upanishads Books:

    Max Muller, German Scholar: "There is no book in the world that is so thrilling, stirring and inspiring as the Upanishads." ('Sacred Books of the East')

    Emmelin Plunret: "They were very advanced Hindu astronomers in 6000 because. Vedas contain an account of the dimension of Earth, Sun, Moon, Planets and Galaxies." ('Calendars and Constellations')

    Schopenhauer: "Vedas are the most rewarding and the most elevating book which can be possible in the world." (Works VI P.427)

    Wheeler Wilcox: "India - The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas."

    B.G. rele: "Our present knowledge of the nervous system fits in so accurately with the internal description of the human body given in the Vedas (5000 years ago). Then the question arises whether the Vedas are really religious books or books on anatomy of the nervous system and medicine." ('The Vedic Gods')


    Sir William Jones, British Orientalist: "The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either."
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    When the thread began, Geek seemed to be asking a question - "Why is it [Sanskrit] called the mother of European languages?" I answered that in post #2.

    But as the thread has evolved, Geek has revealed himself as having an agenda. The question in the subject line was seemingly just rhetorical and he apparently wants to preach the widespread Hindu conviction that Sanskrit is the oldest and most perfect of humanity's languages.

    This thread isn't about linguistics at all. It's about Geek's Hindu faith. The thread should be moved to 'Eastern Philosophy'.
    C C likes this.
  14. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    2 heidelberg men walk into a bar and the first one says:...........................?

    Did heidelbergensis have language?
    We may have bits and pieces of one or more neanderthal languages.
    We once thought them extinct.
    Now we know better.
    One wonders of the same is true of their language(s?).

    Did denisovans have the foxP2(Forkhead box protein P2)?
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    IMO, the first meaningful spoken language consisted of certain grunts and clicks, which to day can be found everywhere. Humans just developed abstract language, but the first "tale" began with very few words and mostly gestures. I would guess each family had its own "language", but with the advancement of trade a more standardized language developed, similar to the evolution of mathematics from 2 shells = 2 coconuts, to modern accounting as we know it today.

    I believe that we may find the real origin of language by following the trade routes.
    ajanta likes this.
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Being from Holland, I use the dictionary quite often to find the "appropriate" term which fits the definition of my argument.

    I have noticed that the *oldest* words, such as *home*, *food*, *danger* have the most varied associated definitions.
    Home-base in baseball, Food for thought, etc.

    The more basic the term, the greater the number of its abstractions. Most newer words are progressively more defined, but even in the new word *interface* we are already applying it's abstract meaning to various arguments, other than computer connectivity.
  17. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

    Einstein was born in Germany in 1879. He worked on his famous theories while living in Switzerland. It was 1932 when he moved to the USA, at the age of 53 (if I calculated correct). You might want to rethink the "american scientist" part of your message.

    My personal opinion is, that our ancestors surely have developed languages, even those who did not have such a well grown throat as we do. The question is, from what point on a mix of guestures and noises will be counted as language. Gesture languages are quite powerful, so the lack of the ability to speak, does not mean one cannot have a language. Some cultures also whistled messages. Sometimes "noiseless" languages like guestures have a big advantage, e.g. while hunting.

    So from me you get a "yes" to this question, even if I'm just guessing. I feel confident enough that they had some sort of languge to say "yes" here, even if they did not have a spoken language.
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages from which ancient written material is available. It was a standardized dialect of Old Indo-Aryan, which is the ancestor of most of the languages of the Indian subcontinent.

    The Indo-Aryan languages are closely related to the Iranian languages (Farsi, Pashto, etc.), and together they form the Indo-Iranian language subfamily, which, along with the Baltic languages (Latvian and Lithuanian) and the Slavic languages (Russian, Polish, Czech Ukrainian, etc.), form the eastern branch of the Indo-European family.

    The western branch includes almost all of the Western European languages, except for a few unrelated languages such as Finnish, Hungarian, Basque and Turkish.

    In the distant past there was a third branch of Indo-European, including Anatolian and Tocharian, which have been extinct for more than 2,000 years.

    European linguists were startled to discover that Sanskrit is so closely related to the other Indo-European languages. Since it was the oldest Indo-European language that had been studied, they believed that it was the ancestor of the entire family.

    But over the past two centuries, especially recent times, it has been acknowledged that Sanskrit is just one language in the Indo-European family, not the ancestor of all of them.

    The technology of writing is very recent, so it's very difficult, if not impossible, to trace the ancestry of ancient or modern languages past that point in time. Scholars have carefully recreated common, important words in Proto-Indo-European, such as "dog" or "sun," but we surely haven't got the pronunciation very accurate.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
    Yazata likes this.
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Sanskrit is actually fairly recent, if we judge by earliest written samples that still physically exist. Earlier samples of many languages are available, including several of the Indo-European languages (Hittite, Mycenean Greek, Latin etc.) That doesn't necessarily contradict what Fraggle wrote, since Sanskrit might be a very old language for which written samples are all from a later date.

    Part of the belief in Sanskrit's great age is based on it being the language of the Vedas, which devout Hindus believe are timeless and of tremendous antiquity. That's why many Hindus still argue today that the language of the Indus valley civilization was Sanskrit and that the Aryans and the Indo-European languages originated in and are indigenous to India. These seemingly dry and academic issues can become very heated and passionate. It's very controversial in India, associated as it is with religion and nationalism.

    But early transmission of the Vedas, Brahmanas and first Upanishads apparently was oral. While the work of grammarians like Panini suggest that Sanskrit was a written language by the vicinity of 500BCE, no physical examples of text from that early date survive. The grammarians mark the conventional division between the period of Vedic Sanskrit and the classical Sanskrit period, contemporary with Greece and Rome in the West. The Gupta dynasty made Sanskrit their court language in the first centuries CE and our earliest surviving written examples date from this time. This was the time when the Mahabharata took its final form.

    Which raises questions about the relationship of Sanskrit to the Prakrits (presumably including Pali, the language of the early Buddhist tradition). Are the latter descendents of Sanskrit, derived from regional dialects perhaps? Or were they present all along, derived from more popular forms of the ancestral Indian IE language, while Sanskrit was always a sacred form of the language reserved for the ancestors of the Brahmins and for Vedic sacrificial uses? (Liturgical and incantational uses where every syllable had to be right might have preserved Sanskrit in a more original state than popular forms of speech that evolved over time in the course of everyday usage.)

    I believe that apart from very short examples of the undeciphered Indus Valley heiroglyphs, the earliest surviving physical writing samples from India were Ashoka's edicts, carved in Brahmi script in stone in varieties of Prakrit (two examples had Greek text as well, and one Aramaic) dating from the third century BCE.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  20. geek Registered Member

  21. geek Registered Member

    I dont think Any of the ABOVE had a hindu conviction.
    I think some of them are Pillars of Modern American society who all thought, and talked about sanskrit - being in one way or other - ultimate, different, from all other existant and extinct languages from time immemorial, to their times, and to the times that are coming.
  22. geek Registered Member

    You are right to the point : Since the language of the Vedas , oral transmitted for centuries is Ancient Sanskrit, the age of Vedas is the age of sanskrit.

    What would be the age of the vedas
  23. geek Registered Member

    You are absolutely right.

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