Talk:Magadhi Prakrit

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"with the decline of Sanskrit"[edit]

This phrase from the intro is quite misleading I think. I can't work on it, but Sheldon Pollock's "The Language of the Gods in the World of Men" might be a good basis. Flounderer (talk) 08:11, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Magadhi, Pali, and Ardhamagadhi[edit]

The article currently says:

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 the Buddha and the Jain Mahavira preached in ancient Magadha ).

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.

This appears to be at odds with what Thomas Oberlies writes in Pāli: A Grammar of the Language of the Theravāda Tipiṭaka. "Pāli, however, as we have it, is basically a language of western India, as the edicts of Aśoka clearly show." And then he goes on to substantiate that point. The dialect spoken in Māgadha in the Buddha's time was pretty much by definition an eastern one. Since Ardhamagadhi is similar to Pali, this implies that the article's description of Ardhamagadhi as "an old form of Magadhi Prakrit" is incorrect. If that is the case, furthermore, all this discussion of the similarities between Pali and Ardhamagadhi are irrelevant to the topic of Magadhi.

Unless ... is "Magadhi Prakrit", the subject of this article, something different the "Old Māgadhi" that was spoken at the time of the Buddha? Perhaps so-called "Magadhi Prakrit" is a different language, and also a western dialect? In that case, other elements of the article would be incorrect.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 17:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not expert on the historical reconstruction of Middle Indic languages, but I can say this. Magadhi Prakrit is undoubtedly an Eastern Indic language, and Pali is quite likely (but not for sure) a Western Indic language. But it's important to remember that at the time that it was spoken, these east-west differences weren't all that huge. The phonological changes that occurred in Pali also occurred in the ancestor languages of Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, and other eastern Indic languages. It really seems as though, even if Pali was western and Magadhi Prakrit was eastern, they really did share a lot of similarities. Anyhow, regarding the comment on "Ardhamagadhi", we can just note that there is controversy as to whether Ardhamagadhi was more directly related to Magadhi Prakrit or to Pali. --SameerKhan (talk) 19:39, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. Can you recommend a source where I can read more about these phonological changes in Pali, and the ancestors of the eastern dialects, and about the Ardhamagadhi issue?—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 21:56, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I don't know of any sources on this sort of thing. What I've learned is just basically what I've picked up from random articles and data sets I've found in various books while looking for data on the modern languages, and I don't know where to look to find them again. I agree that we need a real expert in this area to help with this article. --SameerKhan (talk) 03:57, 3 February 2008 (UTC)