On the Structure of Pāṇini’s System

  • George Cardona
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5402)


Pāṇini accounts for utterances through a derivational procedure that starts from meaning conditions involving actions, participants in actions, and other things that are related to each other. His derivational system thereby serves to form utterances of which words are a part, not isolated words that are then strung together to form utterances. Pāṇini’s system is a continuum that starts from meaning and cooccurrence conditions that determine the introduction of affixes to bases in order to form initial strings and subsequently applies additional affixation and replacement rules to produce final strings. The system does not isolate morphology as a distinct component absolutely independent of syntax. Declensional and conjugational morphology are part of syntactic derivation, and derivational morphology is generally incorporated in the syntactic machinery. Primary derivational affixes are introduced in the course of syntactic derivation. In addition, secondary derivation affixes are regularly introduced after padas–terms that contain endings introduced in syntactic derivation–and not after mere bases in a separate morphological component. Further, composition takes place within the context of syntactic derivation; compounds are formed from related padas of initial strings, which involve number distinctions. Even the formation of certain items with feminine suffixes takes place within the syntactic machinery and not in a totally separate lexicon. Thus Pāṇini’s derivational system is an integrated system accounting for utterances of Sanskrit; it lacks a sharp dichotomy between what western grammarians call syntax and morphology.


Grammatical theory syntax morphology organization of grammar Indian grammatical theory Pāṇini Kātyāyana Patan̄jali Bhartṛhari 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Cardona
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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