By Kanai Lal Hazra
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Extra info for Pāli language and literature: A Systematic Survey and historical Study, Volume I
From the Asokan inscriptions it is clear that there was a standard language, which was regarded as a younger form of the standard Kosalan . Keith refers to it. H e describes , l 03 "there is n o reason whatever, t o accept the view that the language of Asoka's Magadhan empire was Kosalan or to accept the suggestion that Kosala became a part of Magadha by the peaceful succession of the Magadhan ruler to the Kosalan throne with the result that the language of Kosala prevailed over the language of Magadha".
At the time when the Buddha preached , its name was simply Aryaka (Aryabhd$a) or Sakabha$d (the language of the people) . By the time Magadha became the predominant country the form in which it was used by the Buddha must have been slightly changed, but it was. no doubt, still the Sabhyabhd$d. or at least the most respected form of the Sabhyabhd$d of the Aryan people. A question then may be asked that if this was the Sabhyabhd$d known to the people of Magadha in the days of the Magadhan empire, why the inscriptions of ASoka should be in somewhat deteriorated form and not exactly in this form.
According to W. Geiger, 1 33 Pali is a kind of Ardhamagadhi H e refers t o Pali a s a form o f Magadhi The Buddha used this language for preaching purpose. W. Geiger1 34 describes, 'This language of Buddha was however surely not purely popular dialect, but a language of the higher and cultured classes which had been brought into being already in pre-Buddhistic times through the needs of inter-communication in India. Such a lingua franca naturally contained elements of all the dialects; but was surely free from the most obstrusive dialectical characteristics.
Pāli language and literature: A Systematic Survey and historical Study, Volume I by Kanai Lal Hazra