Semantic clustering technique in South Asian dictionary

s. kalyanaraman s._kalyanaraman at
Mon Feb 27 07:51:05 UTC 1995

     Re: Semantic clustering technique in South Asian comparative, etymological 
     dictionary of S. Kalyanaraman

     I have been asked to give an example of 'semantic clustering' which I claim
     to be a unique method of compiling comparative etyma for South Asian       
     The etyma related to mukha = mouth, face (Rgveda) will continue to be a    
     bone of contention among the proponents of the so-called Indo-Aryan,       
     Austro-Asiatic (Munda) and Dravidian language streams, each claiming       
     'ancient' status. 
     Burrow and Emeneau's Dravidian etyma include: muukku nose (Tamil); 
     mukku nose (Telugu); muucuucu to smell (Telugu); muka- id. (Tamil); 
     mukam face, mouth (Tamil); mogamu id. (Telugu); muum face (Pengo); 
     muun~ci face (Tamil); muuti mouth (Telugu); mu.ti mouth, beak 
     (Kolami); mudra face (Maltese); muun~ju to suck (penis) (KoDagu); 
     mokku bow, obeisance (Kannada); moqtre to bend (head)(Maltese); moqe 
     to eat (Maltese); mOvaay chin, beard (Tamil)
     Turner's Indo-Aryan etyma include: mukha entrance (Skt.); mouth, face 
     (Skt.Pali); muha id. (Prakrt); muy, mui face (Gypsy); muh, mu~h 
     (Hindi); mucha mustache (Sindhi); mo~-ch hair on face (Awadhi); 
     muhanaa river mouth (Bengali); mukhya pertaining to face of mouth 
     (Atharva veda); chief (Taittiriiya samhitaa); mukhiyaa village headman 
     (Nepali); muuka dumb (Vaajasneyi samhitaa); muuga id. (Pali)
     Is it really possible to isolate the substratum phoneme: (m-k) from its    
     inherent 'meaning' or 'image' related to: 

                     beak, nose, mouth, chin, mustache, face. 

     moco goco = mustache (goco = beard); moca, mukha = mouth; mocon = mouth    
     of animal; moToc = watering mouth; dumukhia = having two mouths; paRak     
     moca = foul mouthed; mu~ = nose; mu~ get = to cut off nose; samuk = before 
     one's face; mukha mukhi, mu~ha~ mu~hi~ = face to face; modabila =          
     to face, to bring; cha=mua~u = to show one's face; mukhia = a leader       
     Munda languages provide the firm foundation to link the linguistic 
     unity of South Asia in such substantive 'images' as I have tried to 
     demonstrate in my dictionary. An excellent treatise is FBJ Kuiper's        
     Pro-Munda words in Sanskrit, excerpts of which I have appended in the      

     I think I have proved that Burrow and Emeneau's work is an aberrant,       
     erroneous construct of a artificial family; most of their etyma (over 4,000
     out of 5,000) really belong with the rest of the family of languages of    
     South Asia.
     If artists contend that the most distinguishing feature of a person 
     that strikes a beholder is the nose, the phoneme (m-k) seems to be an 
     adequate sound representation of the asscciated image or face of a 
     person. If this is so, Burrow and Emeneau may be proved right. 

     I believe, that it is not necessary to establish 'ancestry' for a word. If 
     it is found across scores of languages spread across vast distances, and   
     authenticated in very, very ancient literary texts and epigraphs, it does  
     not really matter which phonetic variant came first, despite Mayrhoffer and
     Burrow/Emeneau disagreeing. What is more important are the 'images'        
     associated with or evoked by the phonemic variants of a language-family.   
     Philologists who, presently, agree with Mayrhoffer (who traces it to muh,  
     muha of Afghan, Caucasusian) or Burrow/Emeneau may will find in the South  
     Asian comparative, dictionary thousands of such 'imageable' words, and see 
     the contours of the face of a South Asian lingua franca, bhaashaa, that 
     dates back to great antiquity [rather than trying to split-hairs 
     (mustache) on surface-level, superficial grammatical divergences 
     between the so-called Indo-Aryan, so-called Munda and so-called 
     Dravidian tongues].          

     Dr. S. Kalyanaraman 20/7 Warren Road, Mylapore, Madras 600-004, India
     Tel. 91-44-493-6288; Fax. 91-44-499-6380.


> From s._kalyanaraman at n Feb 25 07:57:25 95
Date:  n 25 Feb 95 07:57:25 MNL
From: "s. kalyanaraman" <s._kalyanaraman at>
Subject: Re[4]: "kaumudii"

     Mr. Jakub; most of the nighaNTus are explanations of materia medica of 
     the ayurvedic tradition. Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Re[2]: "kaumudii"
Author:  indology at at INTERNET
Date:    24/02/1995 9:40 PM

Dear members.
In connection with the kumuda-discussion and several other postings
concerned with plant-topics I would like to ask for any references to
literature about the flowers/plants occuring in Sanskrit (Prakrit)
poetry, what are the poetical/mythological connotations of various plants in
Indian literature. Also, is there any attempt of botanical Sanskrit-Latin
(or whatever) dictionary which put more light on which plant is which than
the classical Skt dictionaries do? 
   To put it simply, any bibliography on plants in Skt liter. whether
general intro or specific monografies is wanted.

Thanks in advance again (not to post "thanks"messages after)
cejka at


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