A. Villarroel's query

s. kalyanaraman s._kalyanaraman at mail.asiandevbank.org
Wed Feb 15 08:03:43 UTC 1995

Mr. Lance Cousins raises a very valid point that lexical sources may derive from
vernacular languages (this evokes the 'bhaaSaa' reference attributed to 
PaaNini!). I agree that it will certainly be useful to give Pkt. and Skt. 
references. Let me attempt to present some cognate etyma and references which I 
can readily lay my hands on. A semantic cluster may be presented with the 
following examples: 

kaal = irrigation channel; streamlet; cf. carayuvum palakaalinOTiyum 
(Kampa-raamaayaNam. NaaTTup. 60; Tamil); kaalaankarai = inlet to lands, lakes 
etc. (Tamil. local usage); kaalaaRu = rivulet, stream (tEvaaram. 1227,3; Tamil);
kaLan = natural reservoir of water (Tamil); gaLati, galati (Pali.Skt.) = to 
drip, flow, trickle (Vinaya. I.204); to drop down, to fall (DhammapadaAnguttara 
II.146: suriyo majjhaTThaanato galito; gaLayati = to drip, to drop: assukaani 
gaLayati, to shed tears (Suttanipaata 691); cf. quellan = to well up (Old High 
German); galdaa = trickling, channel, stream, brook (Rigveda viii.1.20 : maa 
tvaa somasya galdayaa 'gaalanenaasraavaNena' = Taittiriiya Samhita iii.1.11.7; 
kros~ati gardaa 'channel', brook; maa vis~antvindava aa galdaa dhamaneenaam 
'channels'; cf. galaa = throat (Atharva veda vi.83.3; kalinga vaariyam (South 
Indian Temple Inscriptions) = Tamil, committee looking after the sluice; gardaa 
= water-course, brook, channel (Taittiriiya Samhitaa iii.1.11.8); cf. Turner, 
CDIAL 3849 khalla trench, creek, canal etc.; khaala inlet (Oriya); khaaL 
channel, gutter (MaraaThi) and links with karta = hole (Rigveda); gaDDA = hole 
(Praakrt). duni gaDa, nali gaDa = a water channel; gaDa, khana = trench; khandha
= fire trench (Santali); khaNi, khaNye = channel in the fields; trench; khandok,
khandokaa = deep trench; but, cf. daryaakuL, daryaakuLaa = mouth of a river, 
estuary (an apparent refernce to a pool of water from which the stream 
emanates?) (KonkaNi); kallola = large wave, billow; kallolinii = a river: 
svarloka kallolini tvam paapam tirayaadhunaa mama bhavavyaalaa valiiDhaatmanah 
(Gangaa Laharii, 50). cf. Rgveda ii.28.5: khaa = fountain, well; sa 
raayaskhaamupa srjaa grNaanah 'nadiinaamaitat'; khaamrtasya 'nadeem'.

Lexemes of South Asian languages are an important source of information on 
patterns of semantic evolution in many spoken tongues (bhaaSaa) across the 
sub-continent. It may also be reasonable to assume that many of these lexemes 
are authenticated by lexicographers by linguistic surveys and texts. It is, of 
course, arguable that some information may be lost by translations: e.g., the 
English 'meaning' for the technical term: 'trench' may evoke variant 'images' in
an English-speaker and in a Tamil-speaker (say as a trench around a fort or as a
dug inlet to a field). 

The common phonemic-strand across the kaal etc. morphemes in many tongues, can 
be discerned: the core phonemic consonants may be : kh, l In the neural networks
formed by the south asian-semantic-social-contract, the phonemes are likely to 
evoke the 'picture or image' of a flowing body of water. It is an axiom in 
general semantics that 'meaning' is a deep language structure of the brain, 
linked to phonemes and images, re-inforced (and evolved or expanded) by a 
semantic-social-contract, i.e., by life-experiences, by use and common 
acceptance in the lingua franca. There are enormous pit-falls when linguists try
to 'date' a morpheme and its semantics based exclusively on 'written 
texts'(particularly in situations, when the dates of texts are also doubtful). 
Perhaps, the sign > used in lexicons (to connote 'derived from') should be 
sparingly used; to complement text-based semantic analyses, it may be 
appropriate to draw upon discernible, common, comparative, phonemic and semantic
strands/structures/clusters across languages. 
s._kalyanaraman at ctlmail.asiandevbank.org


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: A. Villarroel's query
Author:  indology at liverpool.ac.uk at INTERNET
Date:    14/02/1995 10:23 AM

s._kalyanaraman writes:

>     I read with interest George Cordona's comment re: the earliest
>     Sanskrit term for canal/trench.

There may well have been a number of terms.

In Pali:
At Dhs-a 269 mahaamaatikaa seems to be used (in a simile) to mean a 'great
irrigation channel'.
According to CPD udaka-magga means: 'a canal; the inlet and outlet of a tank'.

> What are the other possible ancient terms for canal/trench?
>     Pkt. khalla, khAla = canal, creek, trench; Skt. khalla id.; kAl, kAlve
>     = water-course, channel, brook (Kannada); kAva = gutter; kAl-vA =
>     river mouth, irrigation channel (MalayALam); kAl, kAl-vAy = irrigation
>     channel (Tamil); kaZHi = ebbing brook (MalayALam), backwater (Tamil);
>     kaRna = canal (KonDa); karna = irrigation channel (Kuwi)

Have you references to confirm khalla in Skt and Pkt ? Or do they only
occur in lexical sources which may derive from the vernacular languages?

Lance Cousins.

Telephone (UK): 0161 434 3646



More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list