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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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
79), and Mahadevan makes it clear that even in the inscriptional record, Prakrit is the interface.
Note that Ratnapariksa in this compilation is the Prakrit Rayanaparikkha translated by Sreeramula Rajeswara Sarma.
Terms and vocabulary in matters of religious practices and administration were borrowed from Arabic which with the passage of time became integral part of Punjab's Prakrit.
Historically, Sanskrit had developed into the Prakrit languages such as Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya, Bengali and Khari Boli, a branch of Western Hindi and Hindvi from which Urdu as well as Hindi had developed.12 Prakrit was later replaced by some of the dialects as early as the 11th century.13
Prakrit the language of the indigenous people was associated with Buddhism in ancient times.
A native, it is believed, of Darabghird in the Yezd Province, he always preferred to style himself El-Hichmakani, a facetious "lackab" or surname, meaning "Of No-hall, Nowhere." He had travelled far and wide with his eyes open; as appears by his "couplets." To a natural facility, a knack of language learning, he added a store of desultory various reading; scraps of Chinese and old Egyptian; of Hebrew and Syriac; of Sanskrit and Prakrit; of Slav, especially Lithuanian; of Latin and Greek, including Romaic; of Berber, the Nubian dialect, and of Zend and Akkadian, besides Persian, his mother-tongue, and Arabic, the classic of the schools.
The language of the people of Sindh, after coming in contact with the Aryan peoples, became Indo-Aryan (Prakrit).
Tuesday's session consisted of readings from erotic passages from a wide range of Penguin publications, which included Tamil Sangam poetry, a Prakrit anthology and contemporary fiction.
He referred to another language, as an historical comparison: In India women spoke the vulgar language 'Prakrit', while men spoke the colourful 'Sanskrit'.
Over 1,250 signatures are reproduced in such categories as monograms, common surnames, symbols, Arabic, Cyrillic, and Prakrit from India.
During the ceremony at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple in Watford, prayers were chanted in Sanskrit, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Punjabi, Tibetan and Prakrit.