Magadhi Prakrit


Magadhi Prakrit

Magadhi Prakrit is of one of the three Dramatic Prakrits, the written languages of Ancient India following the decline of Pali and Sanskrit. Magadhi Prakrit was spoken in the eastern Indian subcontinent, in a region spanning what is now eastern India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It is believed to be the language spoken by Gautama Buddha, and the language of the ancient kingdom of Magadha. It was the official language of the Mauryan court which may have been in Patna, and the edicts of Ashoka were composed in it.[1]

Magadhi Prakrit later evolved into the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Oriya and the Bihari languages (Bhojpuri, Maithili, and Magahi, among others). [2]

Contents

Pali and Ardha-Magadhi

Theravada Buddhist tradition has long held that the Pāli language was synonymous with the ancient Magadha language; and indeed, there are many remarkable analogies between Pāli and an old form of Magadhi Prakrit known as Ardhamagadhi ("Half Magadhi"), which is preserved in ancient Jain texts. (Both Gautama Buddha and the Jainism Tirthankara Mahavira preached in ancient Magadha ).

The most archaic of the Middle Indo-Aryan languages are the inscriptional Aśokan Prakrit on the one hand and Pāli and Ardhamāgadhī on the other, both literary languages.

The Indo-Aryan languages are commonly assigned to three major groups - Old, Middle and New Indo-Aryan -, a linguistic and not strictly chronological classification as the MIA languages ar not younger than ('Classical') Sanskrit. And a number of their morphophonological and lexical features betray the fact that they are not direct continuations of Ṛgvedic Sanskrit, the main base of 'Classical' Sanskrit; rather they descend from dialects which, despite many similarities, were different from Ṛgvedic and in some regards even more archaic.

MIA languages, though individually distinct, share features of phonology and morphology which characterize them as parallel descendants of Old Indo-Aryan. Various sound changes are typical of the MIA phonology:

(1) The vocalic liquids 'ṛ' and 'ḷ' are replaced by 'a', 'i' or 'u'; (2) the diphthongs 'ai' and 'au' are monophthongized to 'e' and 'o'; (3) long vowels before two or more consonants are shortened; (4) the three sibilants of OIA are reduced to one, either 'ś' or 's'; (5) the often complex consonant clusters of OIA are reduced to more readily pronounceable forms, either by assimilation or by splitting; (6) single intervocalic stops are progressively weakened; (7) dentals are palatalized by a following '-y-'; (8) all final consonants except '-ṃ' are dropped unless they are retained in 'sandhi' junctions.

The most conspicuous features of the morphological system of these languages are: loss of the dual; thematicization of consonantal stems; merger of the f. 'i-/u-' and 'ī-/ū-' in one 'ī-/ū-' inflexion, elimination of the dative, whose functions are taken over by the genitive, simultaneous use of different case-endings in one paradigm; employment of 'mahyaṃ' and 'tubhyaṃ' as genitives and 'me' and 'te' as instrumentals; gradual disappearance of the middle voice; coexistence of historical and new verbal forms based on the present stem; and use of active endings for the passive. In the vocabulary, the MIA languages are mostly dependent on Old Indo-Aryan, with addition of a few so-called 'deśī' words of (often) uncertain origin.

Ardhamagadhi differs from later Magadhi Prakrit on similar points as Pāli. For example, Ardhamagadhi preserves historical l, unlike later Magadhi Prakrit, where l changed into r. Additionally, in the noun inflection, Ardhamagadhi shows the ending -o instead of Magadhi Prakrit -e at least in many metrical places.

Pāli Dhammapada verse 103:

Yo sahassaṃ sahassena, saṅgāme mānuse jine; Ekañca jeyyamattānaṃ, sa ve saṅgāmajuttamo.

Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one — himself.

Jain Samana sutta 125:

Jo sahassam sahassanam, samgame dujjae jine. Egam jinejja appanam, esa se paramo jao. (125)

One may conquer thousands and thousands of enemies in an invincible battle; but the supreme victory consists in conquest over one's self.

References and footnotes

  1. ^ Bashan A.L., The Wonder that was India, Picador, 2004, pp.394
  2. ^ South Asian folklore: an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, By Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills, Routledge, 2003, p. 203

See also

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prakrit — Geographic distribution: Linguistic classification: Indo European Indo Iranian Indo Aryan Prakrit …   Wikipedia

  • Prakrit — (Sanskrit, प्राकृत, n., prākṛta) (auch mittelindische Sprachen genannt) ist die Bezeichnung für diejenigen indoarischen Sprachen, die in der sprachgeschichtlichen Entwicklung auf das Altindische folgen. Sie wurden etwa in der Zeit vom 6. Jhd. v.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • prâkrit — [ prakri ] n. m. • 1842; sanskr. prâkr(i)ta « dénué d apprêt, usuel », opposé à samskr(i)ta « parfait » ♦ Ling. Ensemble des langues et dialectes de l Inde ancienne issus du sanskrit ou développés parallèlement à lui. ● prakrit nom masculin… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Magâdhi — Le magâdhi, langue souvent confondue avec le pali, est un prakrit, langage écrit et parlé autrefois à l est du sous continent indien. La différence est que le terme pâli est réservé au canon bouddhique, les trois corbeilles. Le magâdhi moderne… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Prâkrit — Prâkrit, allgemeiner Name der ältern indischen Volkssprachen, soviel wie »naturwüchsig, vulgär«, im Gegensatz zum klassischen Sanskrit (»ausgearbeitet, vollendet«), der Hochsprache. Die Prâkritsprachen sind Töchter des alten oder vedischen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • magadhi — ● magadhi nom masculin Prakrit voisin du maharashtri, et dont sont issus le bihari, l oriya, le bengali et l assamais …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Magadhi —   [Sanskrit], eine der unter Prakrit zusammengefassten mittelindoarabischen Sprachen; dem Ardhamagadhi verwandt. (Bihari) …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Prakrit — Pra|krit auch: Prak|rit 〈n.; s; unz.; Sammelbez. für〉 mehrere mittelind. Dialekte zw. 500 v. Chr. u. 1000 n. Chr., die (neben dem Sanskrit als Hochsprache) auch in der Literatur verwendet wurden [<Sanskrit prakrita „gemein, gewöhnlich“] * * *… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Magadhi — Le magādhi, langue souvent confondue avec le pāli, est un prākrit, langage écrit et parlé autrefois à l est du sous continent indien (régions correspondant aujourd hui à l est de l Inde, au Bangladesh, et au Népal). On pense que c était la langue …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Prākrit languages —       (Sanskrit prākṛta: “natural, usual, vulgar”), Middle Indo Aryan languages that began as vernacular dialects and eventually developed distinct literary styles. These dialects were often distinguished by regional names, e.g., Śaurasenī,… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.