I want to study between two languages. In that one is classical language and other is tongue language. How can I compare that two category? Which criteria is used for comparative study? I want to study between Sanskrit and Ahirani language. In that two languages Sanskrit is classical language (written text source is available) and Ahirani is tongue language written source is not available or rarely available. In that case how can we compare that languages?

I observe some similarity between Ahirani and Sanskrit. ex. Shakha (sans) ==== shak (ahirani) [vegetable food] par (sans) === paar (Ahirani) [Very long]

  • By "classical" I assume you mean one that is not spoken anymore, like Sanskrit, and by "tongue", I assume you mean "language which is the mother tongue of some people", like Hindi or Telugu. "Comparative" usually refers to genetic historical relations, and refers to looking at two languages which descended from a common ancestor, seeking the original form. In the case of Sanskrit and Telugu, the languages are not genetically related. Hindi and Sanskrit are, but the relation is more parent-child, like Ancient Greek and Modern Greek, or Latin and French. Perhaps you can clarify your interest.
    – user6726
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 17:58
  • yes! Sanskrit! But tongue language means a language not have any or rare written materials. Ex. Ahirani Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:03
  • 3
    Languages evolve the same way regardless of whether they are written down, with a few marginal exceptions. I think you're headed off in a strange direction.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:34
  • @GregLee I agree with you I am now on a strange path. For compare between that two languages.. I don't know what is result it produce or not? I also not know is I am right or wrong? Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:42
  • Just so long as you know you're going against conventional wisdom in pursuing this idea.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:57

3 Answers 3


The explanation for the similarities that you observe is due to the fact that Ahirani derives from something like Sanskrit (a dialect of, or sister language). The Prakrits are probably well-enough attested that you would be better of comparing Ahirani and one of the intermediate languages like the Apabhraṃśas, in the same way that one could compare Latin and French (knowing that French descends from Latin -- so this isn't standard comparative linguistics where one compares the known Algonkian languages and hypothesizes what the original language looked like). However, before you can compare two Ahirani and anything else, you would need to have some materials on the language. Ahirani-shabdkosh seems to be large enough that you might actually be able to put words of the language next to words of some older language.

It might be useful to first read some of The Indo-Aryan Languages edited by Cardona and Jain, which would put the development of the languages into perspective (it would tell you what is already known).

[EDIT] One problem in understanding the development of any modern especially Indo-Aryan language is that languages can freely borrow from each other. Prakrits borrowed from Sanskrit as well as retaining original words which went through centuries of language change; Apabhraṃśas did likewise, and modern languages can borrow from earlier (literary) languages as well as modern languages such as Hindi and Gujurati. Romance languages often have words that descended in the normal way from Latin (for example Spanish leche "milk"), as well as words borrowed later from Latin (such as lactar "to lactate"). In order to know whether you are dealing with borrowing or direct descent, you have to know the regular historical rules. If a language has a word like ishwar for "god", that is almost certainly a later borrowing from Sanskrit, because shw was simplified millenia ago.

  • One curiosity born in my mind... many times generally said that one language derived from another language. And second language is Apabhraṃśas of another. But many times that kind of languages have Some very identical words that nothing show anywhere and not in any language. (Is it )possible languages are developed independent and they borrow words from each other.? Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 19:37
  • @MadhavNikam Yes languages are constantly borrowing from each other. It looks like you might be helped by getting an introductory book on the topics of language change and contact.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 23:41
  • @curiousdannii can you suggest any previous work for overview of comparative study of language? Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 5:36

Your first task is to document the spoken language and to collect the already available documentation on it. The results of your documentation will be a dictionary, a grammar and sample texts or conversations in Ahirani (maybe with translations into a better known language). Even amateurs can do a lot of valuable work in the documentation of a language.

When you have enough material you can start comparing whatever you want to compare: sounds, word forms, conjugations and declensions, syntax, special topics (like names of plants or animals), really whatever you want.


That what you mean are not comparative (historical) studies with correspondand methodology but contrastive studies with different methodology. Cf. answers above.

  • 1
    Can you explain in details? Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 5:56

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