Indic across the Millennia: From the Rigveda to Modern Indo-Aryan. 14th World Sanskrit Conference, Kyoto, Japan, September lst-5th, 2009. Proceedings of the Linguistic Section.

Author:Lundquist, Jesse
Position:Book review
 
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Indic across the Millennia: From the Rigveda to Modern Indo-Aryan. 14th World Sanskrit Conference, Kyoto, Japan, September lst-5th, 2009. Proceedings of the Linguistic Section. Edited by JARED S. KLEIN AND KAZUHIKO YOSHIDA. BREMEN: HEMPEN VERLAG, 2012. PP. VIII + 249.

Readers familiar with the often less than expeditious rate with which proceedings of the World Sanskrit Conference are published will thank the diligence and industry of the editors Jared Klein and Kazuhiko Yoshida in getting this volume published quickly and to a high standard of publication. The volume represents the papers of the linguistics sections (and one from the Vedic section) presented at the 14th World Sanskrit Conference held in Kyoto, Japan in 2009. The papers encompass a wide range of Indie linguistics, living up to the title's promise "Across the Millennia": treated herein are topics ranging from the developments of the Proto-Indo-European laryngeals in Indo-Iranian, to synchronic studies of Vedic poetry and prose, to studies of Parsi and Buddhist Sanskrit, and linguistic ergativity in Modern and Middle Indo-Aryan. In this review I can neither comment on all papers, nor do justice to this breadth. Of the sixteen papers included I will focus on those seven papers that contribute to Vedic linguistics.

Dahl's "Evidence for Evidentiality in Late Vedic" continues the author's earlier work on time, tense, and aspect in Vedic. Here the focus is on late Vedic (later Brahmanas, early Upanisads). He seeks to show that the semantic dimension of "evidentiality," the information source on which the evidence for a given statement is based, is relevant to the description of the late Vedic verbal system. Specifically he argues that the perfect marked an indirect evidential category (where the speaker does not have firsthand knowledge of the state of affairs), against the underspecified imperfect (and possibly aorist). As rightly emphasized, evidentiality is grammatically expressed in some languages and so could be a relevant dimension to the Vedic verbal system, and in the case of late Vedic such a semantic distinction would chime nicely with Panini's analysis of the perfect. However, the data do not divide as cleanly as Dahl would like, i.e., the imperfect, aorist, and perfect are interchangeable in certain clause types and in some kinds of narrative (pp. 18-19). His paper is more interesting and suggestive than conclusive (echoing Dahl's own sentiments, p. 20), and we may...

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