Etymology of 'tanU'

Palaniappa at Palaniappa at
Sun Jul 13 15:50:10 UTC 1997

In a message dated 97-07-12 11:27:15 EDT, mahadevasiva at (S
Krishna) writes:

<<  I would also like to point out that there were borrowings/lendings
 etc in TWO DIFFERENT HISTORICAL STAGES.  The first is the classical 
 period i.e. in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. This is the period that we 
 have in mind when naarangam-naaranga-naaranja is being discussed. This 
 is also the period that we have in mind when we discuss tukki-togai etc. 
 It is because of the fallacy between this historical stage and the 
 Spanish Moor interaction with India ( 12th century or later)I believe 
 that the derivation of Sp. naranja from any of the Indian languages is 
 not that convincing.
   The second stage of borrowing of Indian words into European languages 
 is much later; we are talking about the 17th/18th century A.D. when the 
 Westerners came to India to stay, as opposed to trade. If one were to 
 examine the history of this period, one would discover any number of 
 words being borrowed into the European languages from the Indian 
 languages. The example of "jungle" from Hindi belongs to this period. 
 Likewise, I've been told that the word "loot" comes from >>I 

I mentioned jungle as just one instance. At least according to Webster's
Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary 'sugar' is from Sanskrit carkara through
Arabic, Medieval Latin, etc. Mandarin is supposed to be from Sanskrit
'mantrin'. I am sure the learned Sanskritists on the list can provide better
chronology for these borrowings. The earlier you go in north Indian history,
the chances of borrowing from a more Sanskritic language increases.
Especially, in the time period you are talking about, there may be more
material from literary Sanskrit than from the every day spoken language. So
the borrowing will have to be linked to Sanskrit as the modern north Indian
languages did not have their current identities then.

By the way, in case of 'tuki' we are talking about a period at least 1000
years earlier than the time you had mentioned. The Kerala region seems to
have had a long documented history of Jewish settlement going back  to at
least 2nd century AD. The trading relationship probably is much older.

As for the issue at hand, the Sanskrit word 'tanu', Southworth says in his
article that Dravidian and Indo-aryan speakers must have been in contact
before the composition of the Rgveda. He also says, "Assuming the position
that it was composed in the period 1500-1000 B.C., then the period of contact
must be placed around the middle of the second millennium B.C. at the latest.
One of the examples given above (OIA tanU-, Drav. tAn2/tan2 [C-10]) strongly
suggests a much earlier period of contact."

Southworth's article is from 1979. The archaelogical works on which Asko
Parpola bases many of the statements I quoted in my posting are from more
recent years and show even more acculturation between Aryan speakers and
Dravidian speakers. My hypothesis fits well with these chronological and
cultural findings. Of course, if there are researchers out there with
contradictory facts, I would like to know and revise my hypothesis. 

By the way in his posting, Devarakonda Venkata Narayana Sarma said that in
telugu <the reflexive pronuon forms are different from the forms of tanU(=

tanu, tAnu (=oneself) - nominative case
tananu, tannu - accusative
tana (=of one's ownself) - possessive

tanuvu (=body) - nominative
tanuvunu - accusative>

To me, based on my hypothesis regarding 'tanu', it looks like Telugu 'tanuvu'
looks like borrowing from Sanskrit. 


S. Palaniappan

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