Chapter

Kāraka

Jonardon Ganeri

in Artha

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780198074137
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082131 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198074137.003.0003

Series: Foundations of Philosophy in India

Kāraka

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This chapter presents a discussion on kāraka. An important feature of Pāṇinian grammatical theory is the distinction it draws between the superficial grammatical form of a sentence, and a deeper level of structure, known as the kāraka level. A kāraka is a semantic relation between the verb and a noun. It closely resembles the participant roles or thematic roles of modern case grammar. The Instrument, Target, and Donor are the three thematic roles distinguished by the Indians. The Nyāya analysis of an Instrument is the most problematic of all the kārakas. Udayana is an important transitional figure in the history of Indian philosophy. He wants the primitive terms in his semantic theory to correspond with the basic entities in his ontology, and attempts to ensure the correspondence by having a semantic criterion for something to be a basic entity.

Keywords: karaka; Pāṇinian grammatical theory; Instrument; Target; Donor; Udayana; Indian philosophy; semantic theory

Chapter.  7839 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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