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Sphoṭa (Devanagari स्फोट{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, the Sanskrit for "bursting, opening", "spurt") is an important concept in the Indian grammatical tradition of Vyakarana, relating to the problem of speech production, how the mind orders linguistic units into coherent discourse and meaning.

The theory of sphoṭa is associated with Bhartṛhari (c. 5th century<ref name="date"> "Bhartrihari was long believed to have lived in the seventh century CE, but according to the testimony of the Chinese pilgrim Yijing [...] he was known to the Buddhist philosopher Dignaga, and this has pushed his date back to the fifth century CE." {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref>), an early figure in Indic linguistic theory, mentioned in the 670s by Chinese traveller Yi-Jing. Bhartṛhari is the author of the Vākyapadīya ("[treatise] on words and sentences"). The work is divided into three books, the Brahma-kāṇḍa, (or Āgama-samuccaya "aggregation of traditions"), the Vākya-kāṇḍa, and the Pada-kāṇḍa (or Prakīrṇaka "miscellaneous").

He theorized the act of speech as being made up of three stages:

  1. Conceptualization by the speaker (Paśyantī "idea")
  2. Performance of speaking (Madhyamā "medium")
  3. Comprehension by the interpreter (Vaikharī "complete utterance").

Bhartṛhari is of the śabda-advaita "speech monistic" school which identifies language and cognition. According to George Cardona, "Vākyapadīya is considered to be the major Indian work of its time on grammar, semantics and philosophy."


Sphoṭa sections
Intro  Origin of the term  [[Sphoṭa?section=V\u0101kyapad\u012bya|V\u0101kyapad\u012bya]]  Reception  Editions of the V\u0101kyapad\u012bya  See also  References  External links  

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