History and Philosophy of Logic 37 (4):325-346 (2016)

Pāṇini's fourth century BC Sanskrit grammar uses rewrite rules utilizing an explicit formal language defined through a semi-formal metalanguage. The grammar is generative, meaning that it is capable of expressing a potential infinity of well-formed Sanskrit sentences starting from a finite symbolic inventory. The grammar's operational rules involve extensive use of auxiliary markers, in the form of Sanskrit phonemes, to control grammatical derivations. Pāṇini's rules often utilize a generic context-sensitive format to identify terms used in replacement, modification or deletion operations. The context-sensitive rule format is itself defined using Pāṇini's more general method of auxiliary markers, the latter used to define many dozens of linguistic categories and rules controlling derivations of Sanskrit sentences through the manipulation of ‘non-terminal’ and ‘terminal’ symbols. This technique for controlling formal derivations was rediscovered by Emil Post in the 1920s and later shown by him to be ca...
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DOI 10.1080/01445340.2015.1121439
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