Brendan Gillon – Linguistic theory and classical Sanskrit
When: Monday March 12, 3:00–4:30pm
Where: Linguistics 117

Linguistic theory can be used both to furnish an informal grammar of the language described and to relate the informal theory to a formal grammar. I shall talk about these two uses as applied to the study of classical Sanskrit. I shall touch only briefly on the latter, where the application of formal grammar, or formal language theory, to the study of Panini’s grammar of Sanskrit looks to be beneficial to both areas of study, not unlike the way in which the study of Euclid’s Elements with the aid of formal logic was beneficial both to the study of Euclid’s Elements and to the study of axiomatic mathematical systems. I shall concentrate, however, primarily on the former. In particular, I shall show how derivational morphology and compounding in Classical Sanskrit are nicely handled by left linear grammars. Time permitting, I shall address some compound formation and argument structure.