Linguistics, Psycholinguistics and Semantics

Language, in other words the storehouse of all human Knowledge is represented by words and meanings. Language by itself has an Ontological structure, Epistemological underpinnings and Grammar. Across languages, even though words /usages differ, the concept of meanings remain the same in respective communications. Yet the "Meanings" are understood by human beings based on Contextual, Relative, Tonal and Gestural basis. The dictionary meanings or 'as it is' meanings are taken rarely into consideration, thus human language is ambigious in one sense and flexible in other.

Computers on the other hand are hard-coded to go by the dictionary meanings. Thus teaching (programming) Computers to understand natural language (human language) has been the biggest challange haunting Scientists ever since the idea of Artificial Intelligence (AI) came into existance. In addition this has lead to the obvious question of "What is intelligence" from a Computation perspective. Defining intelligence precisely being impossible, this field of study has taken many shapes such as Computational Linguistics, Natural Language Processing and "
Machine Learning" etc. Artificial Intelligence instead of being used as a blanket term, is now being used increasingly as "Analytics" in many critical applications.

Sanskrit being the oldest is also the most Scientific and Structured language. Sanskrit has many hidden Algorithms built into it as part of its vast scientific treatises, for analysing "Meanings" or "Word sense" from many perspectives since time immemorial. "It is perhaps our job to discover and convert the scientific methods inherent in Sanskrit into usable Computational models and Tools for Natural Language Processing rather than reinventing the wheel" - as some Scientists put it. This blog's purpose is to expose some of the hidden intricate tools and methodolgies used in Sanskrit for centuries to derive precise meanings of human language, to a larger audiance particularly Computational Linguists for futher study, analysis and deployment in Natural Language Processing.

In addition, Sanskrit even though being flexible as a human language, is the least ambigious as the structure of the language is precisely difined from a semantical and syntactical point of view. From a Psycholinguistic perspective this blog could also give us a glimpse of the advanced linguistic capabilities of our forefathers as well their highly disciplined approach towards the structure and usage.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

National Sanskrit TV Channel

India wants a dedicated National Sanskrit TV Channel

Over 120 million first time voters (out of the 550 million total voters) have cast their votes in this election 2014. What is the significance of this number and what it has to do with Sanskrit TV.

First, the number: The 120 million+ first time (young) voters is far more than UK (63.7 million) population and Canada (34.8 million) population put together. Vast majority of these people are the new breed of Young and resurgent educated Indians who are well connected with each other. These people are now slowly coming to understand the depths of scientific underpinnings of Indian culture.

Second, the connection to Sanskrit: As the core of the Indian culture is intertwined with the ancient language Sanskrit, this Young India wants to revive its connection with the roots through Sanskrit.

Evidence of this claim:

Hypothetically, if one concludes that
- 5% of the 120 million young voters, and
- 5% of total voters of 550 million people and
- 1% of India's total population (of a Billion+) wants Sanskrit then
Collectively 60 million people would desire Sanskrit to be revived - for this, one of an important way forward is to start a National Sanskrit TV Channel. 

Third, specific number of audiences for this TV Channel are:
- Over 40 million middle school students have chosen Sanskrit as the elective second language in the school curriculum.
- 25,000+ Sanskrit university students from 25+ Sanskrit university campuses
- 60,000 students of Ayurveda medicine collages
- 2,50,000 college students who have chosen Sanskrit in their studies from 93 Sanskrit departments in colleges across the nation
- 50,000+ Sanskrit paatashaala students from over 5,000 Paatashaalas
- 300,000 students from Oriental schools across the nation who are studying Sanskrit
- 12 million+ adults who are trained in spoken Sanskrit by Samskrita Bharati
- 3 million+ people who had undergone certificate courses conducted by Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and many other such organisations.
-  In January 2012, during the Vishwa Samskrita Pustaka mela in Bangalore, within a span of 4 days over 6 million Sanskrit books (only Sanskrit) worth 70 million Rupees got sold from over 60 publishers.
- Every single Sanskrit teaching Video /Audio clips in YouTube and other online media have been registering 1000s of hits with multiple repeated hits during the past 5 years !
- A search in Google for the word "Sanskrit" or "Samskrit" returns with over 43 million page results - even some of the European languages themselves don't have these many pages in the Web.
- Anyone who speaks chaste Hindi can understand Sanskrit as almost 90% of the Hindi words are infact Sanskrit words (truncated at "Praatipadika" level - with out the nominal affix /suffix fully inflected). Thus a large number of audience readily exists for a National Sanskrit TV Channel.
- Thus the total number over 50 million potential audience for Sanskrit TV is almost equivalent to a State population in India. 

Forth, in addition to all these people becoming viewers of the National Sanskrit TV channel, the school /college students who will be directly benefited by the scientific underpinnings of Sanskrit language.

However this National Sanskrit TV channel should be professionally managed with innovative programmings and packaging, so that it can not only help to spread the language but also be commercially viable. However in this channel all content including Advertisements should only be in Sanskrit.

Currently about 5 minutes Sanskrit news is shown once /twice a day in the National Television channel - this is insufficient to promote Sanskrit - which is the objective of first Sanskrit Commission formed in 1956-57 by the Prime Minister Sri. Nehru. Till date many of the objectives of the commission reports are yet to be implemented. However a National Television channel will help not only to promote Sanskrit, but also the recommendations of the Sanskrit commission can be deliberated.
[The Oath taking ceremony in Sanskrit by Union ministers and Parliamentarians were witnessed with great enthusiasm by Indian public]

This National Sanskrit TV channel can telecast - Simple spoken Sanskrit lessons, Ayurveda /Jyotisha/ Vastu/ Yoga/ Vedic Maths classes, UGC coaching classes for Sanskrit including NET, Sanskrit classes for Children's and school students, Sanskrit News, Sanskrit Dramas, Cultural Quiz programs, Classes for Vyakaranam (Linguistics) & Nyaya (Epistemology), Maths and Spiritual discourses like Bhavadgita in simple Sanskrit, etc.

When there is a TV channel for every single official language of India including for Urdu - why can't there be one for Sanskrit.

PS.: Note that the picture is Copyright of Doordarshan of India, and is graphically altered to make a visual appeal and not for any commercial purpose. Currently DD-Sanskrit doesn't exist !, Let us hope it will soon become a reality !!.