Sanskrit and Evolution of Human Speech, Based on Sri Aurobindo's Linguistic Theory.

Author:Coudry, Anuradha
Position:Book review


Dr. Samapadananda Mishra: Published by Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences, Pondicherry; 171 pp., Rs 125

Can you imagine a world without language? Without speech?

Yet both language and speech are iso familiar a feature of daily life that one rarely pauses to observe the cognizance of iti says the author, Dr. Sampadananada Mishra, in the introduction to his book Sanskrit and the Evolution of Human Speech. A reputed American scholar Vyas Houston once said, "Of all the discoveries that have occurred and developed in the course of human history, language is the most significant." Then more emphatically, "Without language, civilization could obviously not exist."

From ancient times scholars and philosophers the world over have attempted to arrive at a science of language, to understand its evolution and processes. Records show that the discovery of Sanskrit in Europe gave a new impetus and direction to the study of language. Indian scholars and grammarians had for centuries recognized the potential of Sanskrit as a means to unravel the mystery of the formation of language.

This book is a tribute to Sri Aurobindo as a linguist par excellence. It seeks to bring forth his yet unrecognized contribution in the evolving field of linguistics. Sri Aurobindo declared categorically, "my subject is the origin, growth and development of human language as it is shown to us by the embryology of the language ordinarily called Sanskrit. I base my conclusions on the evidence of the Sanskrit language helped out by those parts of the Greek, Latin and Tamil tongues which are cognate to the word-families of Sanskrit, and by the origins of Aryan speech I mean, properly, the origin of human speech as used and developed by those who fashioned these word-families and their stocks and off-shoots."

The book is divided into seven parts. The first chapter outlines the development of language as traced by various scholars through the centuries. It ends with Sri Aurobindo's analysis of the arbitrary and conjectural nature of comparative philology and his questioning of bold claims to establish it as an authoritative science. In the second, the reader is introduced to contemporary theories of the origin of language, with special reference to Sri Aurobindo's research on the Origins of Aryan Speech and the methodology applied by him for its study. According to him the letters of...

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