How Formal Concept Lattices Solve a Problem of Ancient Linguistics

  • Wiebke Petersen
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3596)


In his grammar of ancient Sanskrit, Pāṅini represents the phonological classes as intervals of a list. This representation method and especially the actual list constructed by Pāṅini, which is called the Śivasū tras, earns universal admiration. The legend says that god Śiva revealed the Śivasū tras to Pāṅini in order to let him start developing his grammar of Sanskrit. A question still discussed is whether it is possible to shorten the Śivasū tras. In the course of this paper, I am going to prove that this question can be reduced to a question about the graph-theoretical form of a particular formal concept lattice. Furthermore, I show how the Śivasū tras can be reconstructed from Pāṅini’s grammar.


Planar Graph Formal Concept Concept Lattice Minimality Criterion Formal Context 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wiebke Petersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Language and Information, Department of Computational LinguisticsUniversity of Düsseldorf 

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