January 16, 2023
Rishi Rajpopat, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge in the UK, has managed to solve a Sanskrit grammar puzzle that had left scholars confused since the 5th century BC. The 27-year-old decoded a grammar rule taught by Sanskrit grammarian Panini, who lived around 2,500 years ago. Panini’s grammar includes a complex set of rules for the formation of words. This system creates conflicts as often, many of his rules apply at the same time and for this he taught a ‘metarule’. The metarule was misunderstood by scholars for years, giving rise to grammatically incorrect results. Rajpopat interpreted the rule differently, managing to produce words that are grammatically correct. His discovery will make it possible for Panini’s grammar to be taught to computers for the first time.