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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an Indo-Aryan language found in the Rig-Veda and the Atharva-Veda, ancient manuscripts of Indian literature. An early form of the Vedic language (11 and tenth centuries B.C.) is used in the second to eighth mandalas (books) of the Rig-Veda, and a later form (tenth-eighth centuries B.C.) in the tenth mandala and elsewhere in the Rig-Veda and Atharva-Veda.

The difference between the early and late periods of Vedic are not only chronological but also dialectal. The early Vedic language, based on the northwestern dialect with traces of different dialectal influences, is characterized by the presence of hiatus in medial positions and across word boundaries, lax observance of sandhi, the presence in the vocabulary of many words associated with priestly rituals, the presence of alternate case forms, great diversity of absolute and infinitive forms, and the presence of compounded words consisting primarily of two, and rarely three, components. In the late Vedic language sandhi is more strictly observed; old words associated with ritual sacrifice became obsolete, a tendancy to eliminate alternate case forms appeared, and many old absolute and infinitive forms became obsolete.


MacDonnell, A. A. A Vedic Grammar. Strasbourg, 1910.
Grassmann, H. Wörterbuch zum Rig-Veda. Leipzig, 1873-75.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.