New lessons on traditional grammar (vyākaraṇa)

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Learn Sanskrit

Oct 3, 2021, 12:48:49 PM10/3/21
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This series describes the fundamentals of traditional Sanskrit grammar (vyākaraṇa) as defined by the Pāṇinian system. The Pāṇinian system has wide appeal, so we've written this series for a general audience and assume little to no prior knowledge of Sanskrit.

The heart of the system, which was created sometime around the 5th century BCE, is a list of around 4000 rules composed in a special metalanguage. Together, these rules define a formal system that decides whether Sanskrit words and expressions are grammatically valid.

Our series takes a concrete and pragmatic view of this system. We first explain the rules that define the system's formal structure. Then, we use that structure to derive a variety of Sanskrit words and expressions. Although we hide some minor details, we expose the core of the system and explain why it has the design it does.

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