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Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples$
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Nicholas Sims-Williams

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262856

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262856.001.0001

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The vocabulary of Buddhist Sanskrit: Problems and perspectives

The vocabulary of Buddhist Sanskrit: Problems and perspectives

(p.151) The vocabulary of Buddhist Sanskrit: Problems and perspectives
Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples

O.Von Hinüber

British Academy

This chapter analyses the problems associated with Buddhist Sanskrit vocabulary. The obvious reason for these problems is the well-known linguistic diversity that prevailed in the vast area of India in ancient times as it does today. The first to experience them were most likely the early Buddhist monks, when they propagated their faith and tried to make themselves understood beyond Magadha, the original home of Buddhism, and then in the course of time even beyond India. These problems were gradually exported from India, as Buddhists in Central Asia and finally in China started to struggle with strange Sanskrit — or even worse Gāndhārī — words in their attempt to translate new and alien concepts into Chinese and other languages.

Keywords:   Buddhist Sanskrit vocabulary, Buddhist texts, linguistic diversity, India, Sanskrit, Gāndhārī

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