Gandhari language

GandhariGāndhārīGāndhārī languageGandhari PrakritGāndhārī PrakritGandhāripgdPrakrit
Gāndhārī is the modern name, coined by scholar Harold Walter Bailey (in 1946), for a Prakrit language found mainly in texts dated between the 3rd century BCE and 4th century CE in the northwestern region of Gandhāra.wikipedia
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Prakrit

Jain PrakritPrakritsPrakrit language
Gāndhārī is the modern name, coined by scholar Harold Walter Bailey (in 1946), for a Prakrit language found mainly in texts dated between the 3rd century BCE and 4th century CE in the northwestern region of Gandhāra.

Gandhāran Buddhist texts

Gandharan Buddhist textsearliest known Buddhist manuscriptsGandharan texts
It appears on coins, inscriptions and texts, notably the Gandhāran Buddhist texts.
They represent the literature of Gandharan Buddhism from present-day northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, and are written in Gāndhārī.

Kharosthi

KharoshthiKharoṣṭhīKharoshti
It is notable among the Prakrits for having some archaic phonology (some being characteristic of the Dardic languages of the modern region), for its relative isolation and independence, for being partially within the influence of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean and for its use of the Kharoṣṭhī script, a unique sister to the Brahmic scripts used by other Prakrits.
The Kharosthi script, also spelled Kharoshthi or Kharoṣṭhī (Kharosthi: 𐨑𐨪𐨆𐨮𐨿𐨛𐨁𐨌), formerly called "Arian-Pali", was an ancient Indian script used in Gandhara (now Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan) to write Gandhari Prakrit and Sanskrit.

Indo-Aryan languages

Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan languageIndic
There is also evidence of the loss of a distinction between aspirates and plain stops as well, which is unusual in the Indo-Aryan languages.

Gandhara

GandhāraGandharanGandahara
Gāndhārī is the modern name, coined by scholar Harold Walter Bailey (in 1946), for a Prakrit language found mainly in texts dated between the 3rd century BCE and 4th century CE in the northwestern region of Gandhāra.
Panini has mentioned both the Vedic form of Sanskrit as well as what seems to be Gandhari, a later form of Sanskrit, in his Ashtadhyayi.

Āgama (Buddhism)

ĀgamasĀgamaAgamas
Initial identification of a distinct language occurred through study of one of the Buddhist āgamas, the Dīrghāgama, which had been translated into Chinese by Buddhayaśas and Zhu Fonian.
In Buddhism, the term āgama is used to refer to a collection of discourses (Sanskrit: sutra; Pali: sutta) of the early Buddhist schools, which were preserved primarily in Chinese translation, with substantial material also surviving in Prakrit/Sanskrit and lesser but still significant amounts surviving in Gāndhārī and in Tibetan translation.

Birch bark manuscript

birch bark documentbirch barkbirch bark scrolls
Until 1994, the only Gāndhāri manuscript available to the scholars was a birch bark manuscript of a Buddhist text, the Dharmapāda, discovered at Kohmāri Mazār near Hotan in Xinjiang in 1893 CE.
Buddhist manuscripts written in the Gāndhārī language are likely the oldest extant Indic texts, dating to approximately the 1st century CE.

Dhammapada

DharmapadaDhpThe Dhammapada
Until 1994, the only Gāndhāri manuscript available to the scholars was a birch bark manuscript of a Buddhist text, the Dharmapāda, discovered at Kohmāri Mazār near Hotan in Xinjiang in 1893 CE.

Rhinoceros Sutra

Rhinoceros SūtraKhaggavisana SuttaKhaggavisāṇa Sutta
In fact, it is possible this sutra is one identified in the Chinese translation of the Mahāsāṃghika vinaya and thus was also referred to with a Gāndhārī name similar to Pracegabudha-sutra.

Buddhist texts

Buddhist scripturesBuddhist literatureBuddhist text
Mahayana Buddhist Pure Land sūtras were brought from Gandhāra to China as early as 147 CE, when the Kushan monk Lokakṣema began translating the first Buddhist sutras into Chinese.
The earliest Buddhist texts were passed down orally in Middle Indo-Aryan languages called Prakrits, including Gāndhārī language, the early Magadhan language and Pali through the use of repetition, communal recitation and mnemonic devices.

Pre-Islamic scripts in Afghanistan

*Pre-Islamic scripts in Afghanistan
In what was Gandhara (Eastern Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan), scholars have found a large quantity of Buddhist scrolls, written in the Gandhari language (a dialect of Sanskrit) with the Kharosthi script.

Harold Walter Bailey

H. W. BaileyHarold BaileyBailey, H. W.
Gāndhārī is the modern name, coined by scholar Harold Walter Bailey (in 1946), for a Prakrit language found mainly in texts dated between the 3rd century BCE and 4th century CE in the northwestern region of Gandhāra.

3rd century BC

3rd3rd century BCE3rd century B.C.
Gāndhārī is the modern name, coined by scholar Harold Walter Bailey (in 1946), for a Prakrit language found mainly in texts dated between the 3rd century BCE and 4th century CE in the northwestern region of Gandhāra.

4th century

4thfourth century4th-century
Gāndhārī is the modern name, coined by scholar Harold Walter Bailey (in 1946), for a Prakrit language found mainly in texts dated between the 3rd century BCE and 4th century CE in the northwestern region of Gandhāra.

Buddhism in Central Asia

BuddhismCentral AsiaBuddhism in Kyrgyzstan
The language was heavily used by the former Buddhist cultures of Central Asia and has been found as far away as eastern China, in inscriptions at Luoyang and Anyang.

Luoyang

ChengzhouLuoyang CityLuoyang, China
The language was heavily used by the former Buddhist cultures of Central Asia and has been found as far away as eastern China, in inscriptions at Luoyang and Anyang.

Anyang

Anyang, ChinaAnyang CityAnyang, Henan
The language was heavily used by the former Buddhist cultures of Central Asia and has been found as far away as eastern China, in inscriptions at Luoyang and Anyang.

Vedic Sanskrit

VedicSanskritRigvedic Sanskrit
Gāndhārī Prakrit appears to be descended from, or heavily influenced by, Vedic Sanskrit or a closely related language, although there is an ongoing debate about the question of whether some Prakrits were originally non-prestige contemporaries and/or antecedents of Sanskrit.

Prestige (sociolinguistics)

prestige dialectprestigeprestige variety
Gāndhārī Prakrit appears to be descended from, or heavily influenced by, Vedic Sanskrit or a closely related language, although there is an ongoing debate about the question of whether some Prakrits were originally non-prestige contemporaries and/or antecedents of Sanskrit.

Dardic languages

DardicDardic languageKohistani
It is notable among the Prakrits for having some archaic phonology (some being characteristic of the Dardic languages of the modern region), for its relative isolation and independence, for being partially within the influence of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean and for its use of the Kharoṣṭhī script, a unique sister to the Brahmic scripts used by other Prakrits.

Ancient Near East

ancient MesopotamiaNear EastAncient Near Eastern
It is notable among the Prakrits for having some archaic phonology (some being characteristic of the Dardic languages of the modern region), for its relative isolation and independence, for being partially within the influence of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean and for its use of the Kharoṣṭhī script, a unique sister to the Brahmic scripts used by other Prakrits.

Mediterranean Basin

Mediterranean regionMediterraneanMediterranean area
It is notable among the Prakrits for having some archaic phonology (some being characteristic of the Dardic languages of the modern region), for its relative isolation and independence, for being partially within the influence of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean and for its use of the Kharoṣṭhī script, a unique sister to the Brahmic scripts used by other Prakrits.

Brahmic scripts

Indic scriptsBrahmicBrahmic family
It is notable among the Prakrits for having some archaic phonology (some being characteristic of the Dardic languages of the modern region), for its relative isolation and independence, for being partially within the influence of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean and for its use of the Kharoṣṭhī script, a unique sister to the Brahmic scripts used by other Prakrits.

Sibilant

sibilantssibilancesibilant consonant
Phonetically, it maintained all three Old Indo-Aryan sibilants - s, ś and ṣ - as distinct sounds where they fell together as [s] in other Prakrits, a change that is considered one of the earliest Middle Indo-Aryan shifts.

Voiced dental fricative

dental approximantðvoiced interdental fricative
Gāndhārī also preserves certain Old Indo-Aryan consonant clusters, mostly those involving v and r. In addition, intervocalic Old Indo-Aryan th and dh are written early on with a special letter (noted by scholars as an underlined s, [s]), which later is used interchangeably with s, suggesting an early change to a sound, likely the voiced dental fricative ð, and a later shift to z and then a plain s.