Vedic Sanskrit is basically undeciphered

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MiphamFan
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Vedic Sanskrit is basically undeciphered

Post by MiphamFan » Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:29 am

I came across the work of Karen Thompson.

She has her own site as well as an online primer on Vedic Sanskrit which gives an overview of her arguments.

I find it quite interesting.

I knew before that it's pretty much impossible for all the varying commentaries on the Vedas throughout the millennia to reflect anything close to the original texts, but I didn't know that even some common words have been interpreted under the lens of all these commentaries sometimes in very weird ways.

The whole idea of "soma juice" and even of "sacrificial cakes" is by no means certain from an etymological perspective. "prasavé" is translated as "when the Soma flowed" in one verse and "in attack" in another in a 19th century translation.

She also observed that basically later Classical Sanskrit sandhi rules were read into Vedic, which obscured many words. I'm sure Indians will insist this is the right thing to do but it sounds absurd to me -- like using Attic Greek contractions for a Homeric text.

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Indrajala
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Re: Vedic Sanskrit is basically undeciphered

Post by Indrajala » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:15 pm

Vedic Sanskrit is nowadays normally studied through the lens of reconstructed Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European.
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MiphamFan
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Re: Vedic Sanskrit is basically undeciphered

Post by MiphamFan » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:22 pm

Yep, that's where she is coming from, but she says a lot of it is still undeciphered and Indologists still depend a lot on traditional commentaries.

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Indrajala
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Re: Vedic Sanskrit is basically undeciphered

Post by Indrajala » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:39 pm

I don't think it is fair to say it is "basically undeciphered".

I know colleagues who specialize in Vedic Sanskrit and Indo-European. I am not of the impression that Vedic Sanskrit, according to them, is undeciphered.
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MiphamFan
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Re: Vedic Sanskrit is basically undeciphered

Post by MiphamFan » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:42 pm

OK that was an overstatement for hyperbole on my part.

My point, is that according to Karen Thompson, it seems that even for non-Indian scholars, many generations were unduly influenced by traditional commentaries depicting the Vedas as sacrificial ritual texts.

Thompson says that the Vedas are decipherable with the use of modern linguistics and actually show much conceptual sophistication.

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