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Related to Prakrit: Brahmi, Prakrit literature


(prä`krĭt), any of a number of languages belonging to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Indo-IranianIndo-Iranian,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by more than a billion people, chiefly in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (see The Indo-European Family of Languages, table).
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). The Prakrits are usually classified as Middle Indic languages that followed the Old Indic stage of Sanskrit and Vedic but preceded the Modern Indic period. Some scholars, however, use the term Prakrit to include the Modern Indic vernaculars as well as those of the Middle Indic period—in short, to designate all Indic languages other than Sanskrit and Vedic. Other authorities say that the Modern Indic languages, which began to take form between 1000 and 1200, developed from the various medieval Prakrits. The oldest written records of the Prakrits are inscriptions of the 3d cent. B.C., but the languages were in use as vernaculars by the 6th cent. B.C. The Prakrits have been described as regional or vernacular dialects of classical SanskritSanskrit
, language belonging to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Indo-Iranian). Sanskrit was the classical standard language of ancient India, and some of the oldest surviving Indo-European documents are written in
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. They were popular forms of speech, but a few of them developed into literary languages. Some estimates put the number of Prakrits at 38. In the ancient Indian drama, upper-class male (and sometimes female) characters use Sanskrit, while the characters (both male and female) of the lower classes speak various Prakrits. It can therefore be inferred that in this early period the Prakrits as popular forms of speech were used side by side with Sanskrit, the language of the priests and the nobility. PaliPali
, language belonging to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Some scholars classify it as a Prakrit, or vernacular dialect of classical Sanskrit.
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, a Middle Indic language that became the language of the Buddhists and their sacred literature, is considered a Prakrit by some scholars, though not by all. There are important phonetic and grammatical differences between the Old Indic and Middle Indic languages. For example, the Prakrits were much simpler grammatically than classical Sanskrit, having discarded the dual number for noun and verb, reduced the eight-case system of Sanskrit for the noun, and generally simplified the verb. On the whole, the vocabulary of Prakrit is of Old Indic origin.


See A. C. Woolner, Introduction to Prakrit (2d ed. 1928, repr. 1986).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Sanskrit and Prakrit elements were studied together since the language (Urdu-Hindi) was unified at that time.
The Austrian Indologist Moriz Winternitz, writing in 1936, called it "still the most important grammar of the Prakrit dialects we possess", adding that "it is due to him (Hemachandra) that Gujarat became the main stronghold of the Shwetambar Jains and has remained so for centuries.
The effects of the rain conjure up the romantic yearning of the monsoon season, a theme that dominates Indic poetry (in Hindi and other Prakrit languages, as well as in Urdu).
This usage sometimes reflects the Prakrit language of ancient Jain praxis, and sometimes a later Sanskritization of the Prakrit terms.
It also appears in somewhat different versions in Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Chinese, and there are translations in other languages.
next candidates thereafter--probably Prakrit documents from the Kingdom
78) In contrast, Pali or Prakrit was the main language used in Buddhist canonical inscriptions in early mainland Southeast Asia.
Now certainly a female audience educated according to the conventions of classical dramaturgy would be able to "respond" and feel in tune with these conventions--which include a particular kind of humor women share with children, specific kinds of gestures, gazes and movements, the use of Prakrit rather than Sanskrit (in general) for female characters, the belonging to characters of low nature (prakrti) within a classification into high, middling, and low rank, and so forth.
According to Maldonado (2013)9 the new vocabulary of Urdu is derived mainly from Persian Arabic and Sanskrit although also from Prakrit with a minimum influence from other languages.
Certainly, the Chakma language has close similarities to the ancient Prakrit and Pali languages, which were the fore-runners of the present Bengali language.
Sutradhara (the Stage Manager) then calls out for Nati (the Stage Manageress) in Sanskrit; at which the Stage Manageress enters the stage but replies in Prakrit.
V, VII, IX and XIII are composed in Prakrit Language