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  • Prakrit in the Language Order of India

    Andrew Ollett

    Chapter from the book: Ollett, A. 2017. Language of the Snakes: Prakrit, Sanskrit, and the Language Order of Premodern India.


    How do we think about Prakrit? This chapter introduces the language, one of India’s “classical” languages that is nevertheless poorly studied, and claims that a better understanding of Prakrit as a literary phenomenon will help us gain insight into the workings and history of literary languages in general in premodern India. I take a “cultural-historical” approach to the language, in contrast to the prevailing “natural-historical” approach, which allows me to focus on practices—the things that people did with Prakrit—and thus on literature and its forms of knowledge. I also frame my investigation in terms of premodern India’s “language orders,” the broadly-shared ways of imagining and representing languages in relation to each other within a culture.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Ollett, A. 2017. Prakrit in the Language Order of India. In: Ollett, A, Language of the Snakes. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.37.a

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    Published on Oct. 10, 2017