Man vs Machine.. Learning a complex language

Sujatha R
2 min readAug 31, 2023

Came across this overwhelming but wonderful paper, explaining the semantics of parsing in Sanskrit. It was elaborate and complete, with flowcharts and classification systems. It seemed a machine could crunch the logic and start parsing ancient texts.

And that set me thinking.. How is the human experience of learning a complex language perhaps different from that of machines?

Machines have the power of compute, storage, and retention. They make excellent chefs in taking instructions and churning results.

But then.. There is no emotion.. There is no wonder, no sensation, and curiosity. They remain mere beasts of execution, with their power only growing day by day.

A mind would learn at its own pace. Perhaps pause and wonder at an expression, a word. The ebb of words and sounds generates ripples and sensations and perhaps takes to another world at times.

A mind would perhaps wonder about the marvel of the language itself.

Parsing a phrase in Sanskrit begins with the verb and its actors.. Like the 8 Planets revolving around the Sun, each actor has a certain placement with the verb. The subject, the object, the location of the verb, and so on.

And the verbs phrases are chained and linked forming a galaxy of a line, and a metaverse of words..

What a wonder. A simple grammar construct like ‘object’ is classified into 3 types. Is the object remaining constant? Is it created right now? Is it transforming?

Which makes me wonder what could be the reason for such layering. Adding high definition to imagination and perception?

Geometry celebrates eccentricity.. When lines decide to perfectly turn, there is the family of hyperbolas, parabolas, and ellipses.. Perhaps a similar celebration in languages and constructs..

--

--

Sujatha R

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Music, Linguistics & Patterns