Descriptive Grammar of Buddhist Sanskrit – The Language of the Textual
Tradition of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottoravādins
General Introduction • Sound Patterns • Sandhi Patterns
Monograph No. 64 by Boris Oguibénine
This book is the first detailed description of the phonetics of Buddhist Sanskrit as shown in the textual tradition of the Buddhist sect known as Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottoravādins. The texts use the language which undoubtedly bears the marks of Middle Indian influence, mostly of Pāli. However, as widely recognized, this language is not identical with Pāli or any other Middle Indian dialect. F. Edgerton's pioneer grammar of this language (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953), which he called "Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit” allows only a limited space to its phonetics. The present book contains an analysis of the phonetic evidence of all available texts of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottoravādins. Several of them have been published after Edgerton's demise, and their data had necessarily to be incorporated in our analysis.
Special emphasis is made on the fact that this language does not owe its shape to either Middle Indian dialect, but is a language on its own, with its own special structural constraints and features.
Particularly, to account for its mixed nature, all occurrences of sound and their sequences are thoroughly examined with a special attention to the alternations taking place within the texts and their layers, probably pointing to the language habits of the speakers of different Middle Indian dialects, which contributed to the production of the textual tradition that stood in the midway between Hinavāna’s and Mahāyāna’s texts.
The intricate problem of sandi patterns is also given much attention as it is generally believed that these patterns were subject to no constraints whatsoever.
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