Dramatic Prakrit

Dramatic Prakrits were those standard forms of Prakrit dialects that were used in dramas and other literature in medieval India. They may have once been spoken languages or were based on spoken languages, but continued to be used as literary languages long after they ceased to be spoken.[1] Dramatic Prakrits are important for the study of the development of Indo-Aryan languages, because their usage plays and literature is always accompanied by a translation in Sanskrit.[2]

The phrase "Dramatic Prakrits" often refers to three most prominent of them: Sauraseni, Magadhi, and Maharashtri. However, there were a slew of other less commonly used Prakrits that also fall into this category. These include Pracya, Bahliki, Daksinatya, Sakari, Candali, Sabari, Abhiri, Dramili, and Odri. There was an astoundingly strict structure to the use of these different Prakrits in dramas. Characters each spoke a different Prakrit based on their role and background; for example, Dramili was the language of "forest-dwellers", Sauraseni was spoken by "the heroine and her female friends", and Avanti was spoken by "cheats and rogues".[3]

Maharashtri, the root of modern Marathi, is a particularly interesting case. Maharashtri was often used for poetry and as such, diverged from proper Sanskrit grammar mainly to fit the language to the meter of different styles of poetry. The new grammar stuck which leads to the unique flexibility of vowels lengths, amongst other anomalies, in Marathi.[4]

The three principal Dramatic Prakrits and some of their descendant languages:

Maharashtri Prakrit
Maharashtri was used in the southwestern regions of Ancient India, later evolving into the Southern Indo-Aryan languages, including Marathi, Konkani, Sinhala, and Dhivehi.
Shauraseni language
Shauraseni was used in north-central India, later evolving into the Hindi languages,viz. the varieties of Hindi, the Central Zone of modern Indic, including the Khariboli dialect, of which two standard registers are Hindi-Urdu, and the Punjabi language.
Magadhi Prakrit
Magadhi was used in eastern India, later evolving into the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, including Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, and the Bihari languages (Bhojpuri, modern Magahi, Maithili, etc.), among others.

References

  • Woolner, Alfred C. Introduction to Prakrit. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, India, 1999.
  • The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica: Sanskrit
  • Banerjee, Satya Ranjan. The Eastern School of Prakrit Grammarians : a linguistic study. Calcutta: Vidyasagar Pustak Mandir, 1977.

Notes

  1. ^ 1911 Enc. Brit., "As regards these dialectic varieties..."
  2. ^ Woolner, pg. v.
  3. ^ Banerjee, pg. 19-21
  4. ^ Deshpande, pg. 36-37

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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

  • 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 …   Wikipedia

  • Maharashtri — Spoken in India Extinct developed into Marathi, Konkani, Maldivian and Sinhalese Language family Indo European …   Wikipedia

  • Linguistic history of India — Originating over 5,000 years ago, the linguistic history of India describes the evolution and transformation of early human communications techniques from pictures, pictorial scripts and engravings to the modern Indian languages that belong to… …   Wikipedia

  • Sauraseni — A Dramatic Prakrit, Sauraseni was the chief language of northern medieval India, evolving into the Hindi language complex, Punjabi and Konkani. All the Jainacharya belong to Digambara Jain sect had written their epics in Sauraseni, like… …   Wikipedia

  • South Asian arts — Literary, performing, and visual arts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Myths of the popular gods, Vishnu and Shiva, in the Puranas (ancient tales) and the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, supply material for representational and… …   Universalium

  • India — /in dee euh/, n. 1. Hindi, Bharat. a republic in S Asia: a union comprising 25 states and 7 union territories; formerly a British colony; gained independence Aug. 15, 1947; became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations Jan. 26, 1950.… …   Universalium

  • Pali — For other uses, see Pali (disambiguation). Pali Pronunciation [paːli] Spoken in …   Wikipedia

  • Maithili language — Maithili मैथिली, মৈথিলী ,maithilī Spoken in India, Nepal Region Bihar, Jharkhand, parts of West Bengal in India, Terai Region in Nepal Nativ …   Wikipedia

  • Assamese language — Assamese অসমীয়া Ôxômiya Spoken in India, Bhutan US (Delaware, New Jersey New York) Region Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland (Assamese or a dialogue variant of Assamese …   Wikipedia


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.