Who is Panini?
Who is Panini? What his significance in the language history?
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Panini was an ancient Gandharan grammarian (approximately 5th century BC, but estimates range from the 7th to the 3rd centuries) who is most famous for formulating the 3,959 rules of Sanskrit morphology.Panini's grammar of Sanskrit is highly systematised and technical. Inherent in its analytic approach are the concepts of the phoneme, the morpheme and the root, only recognized by Western linguists some two millennia later. His rules have a reputation of perfection — that is, they are claimed to fully describe Sanskrit morphology, without any redundance. A consequence of his grammar's focus on brevity is its highly unintuitive structure, reminiscent of contemporary "machine language" (as opposed to "human readable" programming languages).Panini uses metarules, transformations, and recursion. In this sense he may be considered the father of computing machines. The Backus-Naur Form or BNF grammars used to describe modern programming languages have significant similarities to Panini's grammar rules.An important hint for the dating of Panini is the occurrence of yavan- "Greek" in 4.1.49, where the formation of the word yavanānī (either "Greek woman", or "Greek script") is discussed. There would have been no first-hand knowledge of Greeks in India before the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 330s BC, but it is likely that the name was known via Old Persian yauna, so that Pāṇini may well have lived as early as the time of Darius the Great. It is not known whether Pāṇini himself used writing for the composition of his work. Some people argue that a work of such complexity would have been impossible to compile without written notes, while others allow for the possibility that he might have composed it with the help of a group of students whose memories served him as 'notepads'. Writing only appears in South Asia in the form of the Kharoṣṭhī script in the 3rd century BC, so that for some (late) estimates of his lifetime, he could have known and used a writing system.