Improved DEDR Search

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan palaniappa at AOL.COM
Tue Dec 25 23:43:23 EST 2012

Dear Suresh, 

I also join George  in congratulating you and wish you the very best for Proto-Dravidian reconstructions in collaboration with Periannan Chandrasekaran. 

In this connection, I remember something which happened in August when I gave a lecture in a place in Tamil Nadu. The lecture involved the discussion of Proto-Dravidian reconstructions. During the Q&A session, one person in the audience who was supposed to be a research scholar in linguistics at a university said that Proto-Dravidian was nothing but Old Tamil. I was shocked that a researcher in linguistics was saying that. When I said no linguist would say so, she said Caldwell and Emeneau had said so!  At that time I remembered what Prof. Emeneau wrote to me in December 2001. Here is what Prof. Emeneau said:

"As you know, I have no competence at all in Tamilian philology-my only knowledge of Tamil is what can be got from the Tamil Lexicon. My colleague Burrow had more, but it was only a superficial reading knowledge (he died in 1986). My excuse for not having learned more is that I intended to work on non-literate Dravidian languages, and I was afraid that any extensive knowledge of Tamil would cause me to find that they were just imperfect Tamil (which of course they were not)."

After the lecture, I did not have time to talk to her to find out how she came to have that opinion despite being a linguist. I have long felt that over the years Tamils have not gone into the study of historical/comparative Dravidian as much as Telugus. Given this situation, this collaborative effort is very promising from the viewpoint of the badly-needed combined philological expertise it brings to the effort. 

By the way, here is something that may be of interest to you. Consider the following DEDR entry. 
4066 Ta. pāṭṭāṉ grandfather, ancestor; pāṭṭi grandmother, aged woman. Ma. pāṭṭan grandfather (among Pulayars); pāṭṭi wife of a tailor, midwife. DED 3349

Here "pāṭṭi wife of a tailor" should not have been included in #4066. If you check Gundert's dictionary, you will find that it refers to the female of pāṇaṉ (see pp. 641-642) and should have been included in #4068. (Pāṇar in Tamil Nadu had given up music and taken up tailoring as their profession for quite some time.)

4068 Ta. pāṇ song, melody; Pāṇar caste; praise, flattery; pāṇaṉ an ancient class of Tamil bards and minstrels; pāṇi song, melody, music; pāṇu song; paṇ music; paṇṇu (paṇṇi-) to sing in an instrument (as a tune), tune musical instruments; paṇṇal tuning the lute strings according to the required melody; paṇṇumai quality of a melody; paṇṇiyam musical instrument; paṇṇavaṉ bard;paṇṭar bards. Ma. pāṇan a caste of musicians, actors and players. ? To. pa·ṇ festival (any except funeral). Ka. pāṇbe (DCV, no. 1218) dancing girl, (Kitt.) whore, adultress; (K.2) pāṇa an expert in singing and dancing. Tu. (pada) paṇpini to recite a verse, sing a song. Go. (Ch. W. Ph. Mand.) pānā̆l a Pardhan man; fem. pāne (Voc. 2184). Manḍ. peṇmi song. Kuwi (Mah.) paṇbu, (Isr.)pāṇbu id. / Cf. BHS pāṇa- a cāṇḍāla, untouchable; Pkt. pāṇa- id.; Or. pāno name of the Ḍomb caste in Ganjam. DED(S) 3351.

pāṭṭi has the same relationship to pāṇaṉ that umaṭṭi has to umaṇaṉ (DEDR 2674 does not show umaṭṭi but it occurs in Classical Tamil and the plural form umaṭṭiyar is included in the Tamil Lexicon).


-----Original Message-----
From: George Thompson <gthomgt at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thu, Dec 20, 2012 1:29 pm
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Improved DEDR Search

Dear Suresh,

Thanks for the good work!



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