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Title: Indian theories of meaning in the Sanskrit grammarians and the philosophic schools
Author: Kunjunni Raja, Kumarapuram
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1954
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In Indian thought we find two main approaches to the study of the problem of meaning. The Mimamseekas and the Naiyayikas consider the word as an autonomous unit of sense, and take the sentence as a colleotion of words. They face many problems that arise in such a naive attitude; what is the exact primary meaning of a word, how can words convey a syntactically related unified sense, what are the conditions of mutual relation of words in a sentence and what exactly is the nature of verbal comprehension. Different theories are enunciated to explain the problems. Mutual expectancy (akanksa), consistency (yogyata) and proximity (sannidhi) are considered as the conditions for syntactic relation. The importance of contextual factors and the speaker's intention is also fully appreciated. Acoording to the abhihitanvaya theory, first we remember the isolated word-meanings, and then a simultaneous collective memory gives us the same as mutually related. The anvitabhaidhana theory makes the words themselves convey the connected sentence-meaning gradually. The problem of the change of meaning is also studied and the conditions for a metaphorical transfer (laksana) discussed - mainly from a synchronistic point of view, Bhartrhari's theory of sphota asserts that the fundamental linguistic fact is the sentence considered as a single integral language-symbol. Words are mere abstractions made from the sentence by linguistic analysis, and have only a pragmatic value. The apoha theory of the Buddhists also considers the words to have no real substance. Anandavardhana includes in meaning the emotive elements and the 'social-cultural' significance of utterances which are suggested with the help of contextual factors, and advocates their importance in literature. The sphota theory gives a welcome corrective to the prevailing tendency of laying undue stress on words.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral