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The IUP Journal of English Studies :
The Concept of Phoneme in Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka
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The paper presents the concept of phoneme in Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka. In doing so, the paper also discusses some concepts of sound from contemporary linguistics along with a few ancient Indian texts. This combination of the physics and the metaphysics of sound in the paper not only provides an interesting description of the concept of phoneme in Abhinavaguta’s Tantraloka but it also makes the entire discussion more lively and contemporary. Further, the paper also sheds light on the concept of sound as conceived by ancient Indian philosophers. Though their theories are grounded on religion and spiritualism, the paper tries to establish that they still have a scientific basis.

 
 
 

Language is an essence of human beings through which human communication takes place. In certain cultures in Africa, a newborn child is a kintu, a “thing,” not yet a muntu, a “person.” It is only through the act of learning a language that the child becomes a human being (Fromkin and Rodman 1974, 1). Owing to this gift to humankind, Bhartrhari (1971) says that the very Being of everything is the shabdabrahman
“Word-God.” Further, he states that “there is no cognition in the world that is not associated with a word-form” (Bhartrhari 1971). The Rig Veda (Griffith 1896, 1.164.45) informs us that there are four stages of language, and only the last part is manifest and the other three remain invisible.

On the other hand, contemporary linguists, though agree that language is an essence of human beings, focus on the scientific study of language (linguistics) that specifically deals with the form (syntax) and the meaning (semantics) of the language, and they also study language in context (pragmatics). Further, any descriptive linguistic grammar compulsorily includes a description of phonology, morphology, and syntax in it.

 
 

Journal of English Studies ,Abhinavagupta and the Saiva Tradition, The Sound-Producing System,Different Levels of Speech in Tantraloka.