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Fonetica nell'India antica

Author(s): Luca Busetto

Journal: Studi Linguistici e Filologici Online
ISSN 1724-5230

Volume: 1;
Start page: 191;
Date: 2003;
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The Sanskrit language was fixed in its final form by the famous grammarian Panini through the work Astadhyayi, written entirely in form of aphorisms. This grammar is not directly understandable and requires specific concepts that can be (re-)found in the Vedic auxiliary disciplines, then they become autonomous sciences at last. One of these was the Phonetics, fundamental base for the Vedic studies and grammar, and that had reached a precise level of description of articulatory phenomena of the language. This fact might appear not clear because, in general, ancient idioms do not own a stratified vocabulary with particular terms. For instance the basic mean of kantha is ‘throat, neck’ but its technical meaning is ‘glottis’. In the Pratisakhya’s precise descriptions that remind the modern phonetic treatises can be found. For the various sounds the type of phonation, the position of the palatal velum, the active articulator shape and the place of articulation are described. In particular the analysis of type of phonation of the voiced aspirates must be emphasized. Through these old phonetic treatises we are successful in the reconstruction not only of phonological system but also of phonetic realization of the Sanskrit Language sounds.
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