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May 12, 2011


Doug Henning

אַ שפּראַך איז אַ דיאַלעקט מיט אַן אַרמיי און פֿלאָט
A shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot.
A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
- Max Weinreich, Yiddish linguist commenting specifically on the marginalization of Yiddish as a mere "dialect".

Yiddish is, of course, a written creole language.

N J Krishnan

I found this post rather interesting.

May I add that the oral tradition and the necessity of passing on the contents accurately adds an additional wrinkle.

Almost all vedic literature is chanted to specific rhythm and beat. Any error or omission destroys the rhythm and the beat and allows the individual to discover, and correct, the error.

Doug M.

Nobody started to write down anything about Buddhism until several centuries after Guatama had left the building. As a result, Buddhism has no single central text. Despite the best efforts of various later organizers and proselytizers, there's no single group of writings that you can point to and say "this is the stuff, the bit that's absolutely crucial". This goes a long way to explain the subsequent evolution of Buddhism, including its relative doctrinal squashiness (or, looked at another way, adaptability) compared to other major world religions.

But anyway: if you're going to argue that sandhi shows that in Sanskrit "writing bends to speech, instead of the other way around", what then do you make of Chinese? The vast majority of written Chinese consists of ideograms that have no relationship whatsoever to the spoken word.

Doug M.

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