Page:Sanskrit Grammar by Whitney p1.djvu/14

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still in service there as such; and yet later and more altered tongues forming the transition to the languages of modern India. And, on the other hand, it is distinguished, but very much less sharply and widely, from the older dialects or forms of speech presented in the canonical literature, the Veda and Brāhmaṇa.

This fact, of the fixation by learned treatment of an authorized mode of expression, which should thenceforth be used according to rule in the intercourse of the educated, is the cardinal one in Indian linguistic history; and as the native grammatical literature has determined the form of the language, so it has also to a large extent determined the grammatical treatment of the language by European scholars.

Much in the history of the learned movement is still obscure, and opinions are at variance even as to points of prime consequence. Only the concluding works in the development of the grammatical science has been preserved to us; and though they are evidently the perfected fruits of a long series of learned labors, the records of the latter are lost beyond recovery. The time and the place of the creation of Sanskrit are unknown; and as to its occasion, we have only our inferences and conjectures to rely upon. It seems, however, altogether likely that the grammatical sense of the ancient Hindus was awakened in great measure by their study of the traditional sacred texts, and by their comparison of its different language with that of contemporary use. It is certain that the grammatical study of those texts (çākhās, lit’ly branches), phonetic and other, was zealously and effectively followed in the Brahmanic schools; this is attested by our possession of a number of phonetico-grammatical treatises, prātiçākhyas (prati çākhām belonging to each several text), each having for subject one principal Vedic text, and noting all its peculiarities of form; these, both by the depth and exactness of their own researches and by the number of authorities which they quote, speak plainly of a lively scientific activity continued during a long time. What part, on the other hand, the notice of differ-