Globibo Blog

Who Is Panini?

was an ancient Sanskrit grammarian, often identified as the Father of
Linguistics. He theorized phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Sanskrit is the
oldest documented language in our world, and Panini is said to have found it.

seminal work Astadhyayi distinguishes between the language of sacred texts and
the language used for everyday communication. It lays down the rules for
Sanskrit grammar such as for compound nouns, construction of sentences, and so
on, much like modern linguistic theory.
it wouldn’t be correct to attribute the title of Father of Linguistics to him.
It’s because, even Astadhyayi, the oldest survival grammar manual we have today
references works of other scholars.
wrongly deem Panini to be the Father of Linguistics because the works by these
authors did not survive. Modern linguists like Ferdinand de Saussure and more
recently, Noam Chomsky have cited Panini to be an inspiration for their
studies. For this reason, we can assume that most of modern linguistics came
from Panini’s contributions to language and grammar. So, then is Panini the
Father of Linguistics?
the event that his predecessor’s work didn’t survive and couldn’t really have
an impact on language as it shaped up, Panini, for all reasons and concerns,
can be called the Father of Linguistics.

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