Brevity in pānini

Journal of Indian Philosophy 20 (1):133-147 (1992)
In the preceding we have argued that brevity in the form of Generalizing Brevity is an important theoretical principle underlying Panini's grammar. It applies blindly at the metalevel, when the grammar is being chosen. Generalization is a concern at one remove: A device for the metalanguage is only chosen such that its use in accord with the maximum brevity leads to some generalization. Many potential brevity increasing devices are not chosen for this reason. But at the metalanguage level brevity is paramount. To prove this we have shown that Panini maximizes brevity in many cases at the cost of other possible theoretical principles. We have also shown that many features of the grammar flow from the brevity criterion. We have concluded that logical organization, generality, and other aspects of explanation largely follow from brevity and that this can be regarded as a substantial aspect of the explanatory power of the theory behind the grammar. Generalization should follow on the heels of maximum brevity. And, considering Panini's domain of data this is a perfectly reasonable expectation
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DOI 10.1007/BF00157342
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Paul Kiparsky (1968). Linguistic Universals and Linguistic Change. In Emmon Bach & R. Harms (eds.), Universals in Linguistic Theory. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston 170--202.

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