Does anyone know of literature on contemporaneous analyses of languages that pre-date or are not influenced by Aristotle's "Categories" and the grammatici? For example, did the Chinese analyze Chinese on its own terms? Re. Sanskrit I've found only: Matilal, Bimal Krishna. The Word and the World: India’s Contribution to the Study of Language. Oxford University Press, 2001. Many thanks!!

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    There are few contemporary analyses predating Aristotle. Very few.
    – Greg Lee
    May 25 '19 at 17:38

The first full linguistic analysis I can think of is Pāṇini's description of Sanskrit, written somewhere in the early fourth century BCE. Pāṇini is sometimes considered the first linguist, because parts of his Aṣṭādhyāyī weren't surpassed until the 20th century: he goes into great detail on phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and more, with surprisingly modern insights.

Perhaps surprisingly, Pāṇini mentions in his work that he wasn't the first person to analyze Sanskrit grammar: he cites earlier work which unfortunately hasn't survived. But early proto-linguistics seems to have flourished on the Indian subcontinent well before Aristotle's time.

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