Q: Westerners taking away manuscripts

Peter D Banos pdb1 at columbia.edu
Thu May 16 14:49:27 UTC 1996

On Thu, 16 May 1996, Kishore Krshna wrote:

> >Agehananda Bharati recounts somewhere that an Indian army officer  
> >once claimed that Argentina got its name because Arjuna, the  
> >Pandava, conquered South America!
> I remember leafing through a book that used etymology to make similar
> claims about the incas(?) - the author started with "machu" pichu which
> is the city of steps (machu in tamil refers to steps) and went through
> a whole bunch of words and grammar. I thought this was more wishful thinking
> than anything else - but you never know:-) 

Those interested in or amused by this sort of linguistic analysis should 
consult the volumes  _Santhali: the base of world languages_ and _Santhali: a
universal heritage_, by one Parimala Candra Mitra, who has the
ability to take any name, word, or even complete text in any language in
the world and break it down into a string of meaningful Santali roots.
Well, the roots I take it are meaningful, but their coherence once strung
together is in the eye of the beholder...
Rather like the "French" in the old book _Mots d'heure, gousses,
rames_ in which common English nursery rhymes were respelled as if they
were French: the words were real, the sentences grammatical, but the
meaning of the whole... For example, "Hickory dickory dock" turned into
"Et qui rit des cur'es d'oc?" ("And who laughs at the priests of the
South of France?") and "Hot cross buns" was "H^ate! carosse
bonzes!" ("Hurry, convey the Buddhist priests in a wagon!")
I strongly suspect that with a bit of effort you can turn _anything_ into
_any_ other language you want to. There was a fellow back in the 19th
century who "discovered" that Jesus' last words on the cross, "Eli Eli
lama sabachthani," were not Aramaic at all, but Mayan, and meant "Now,
now, sinking, ink, over my nose."
						-Peter D. Banos
						pdb1 at columbia.edu

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