Ancient India's Contribtuion to Modern Civilization

bpj at bpj at
Sat Jun 14 11:00:15 UTC 1997

At 02:23 14.6.1997, Robert Zydenbos wrote:
>Replies to msg 12 Jun 97: indology at
>(sudheer_birodkar at
> sc> It is corroborated
> sc> in the Oxford Dictionary that the English
> sc> Word "Cash" originated from the Sanskrit  term "Karsha".
>"Cash" is from the Tamil kaacu, which is an old Dravidian word. In Kannada it
>is the cognate kaasu, about which Kittel says (vol. 2 of his Kannada-English
>Ditcionary, Madras, 1977, p. 442): "the smallest copper coin, a cash [N.B.!]; a
>coin or money in general", and he mentions that the same word "kaasu" exists in
>Telugu and Tulu too. Marathi has kaa;su (ibid.). That the word means "coin" can
>be seen from an expression like "taamrada kaasu" (a kaasu of copper).

a you sure of this derivation?  SKEAT derives "cash" from French "casse",
in turn from Latin "capsa" 'box'.  MEYER-LUEBKE /romanisches etymol.
woerterbuch/ gives Portuguese "caixa" /kaiSa/ from "capsa", which of course
can have undergone a shift in meaning from denoting the 'cash-box' /cf.
German "kasse"/ to denoting its contents, or had such a shift reinforced,
under influence of the Indic word.  the English "cash" looks like derived
from the Portuguese more than anything else.

>To say that "cash" is derived from Sanskrit (which means a particular
>measure of gold), and to base this statement on the Oxford English Dictionary,
>seems to show that the writer has misread that dictionary.

indeed.  as if India needed to have its greatness confirmed by the OED!
has the writer been sleeping since the twenties?

>If "ancient India's contribution to modern civilization" is to be judged by the
>number of words borrowed into English, then the renowned Hobson-Jobson
>Dictionary can provide many more such instances.

indeed.  I wrote a short story -- or rather a chapter in a series of
stories -- set in an alternative history where the first world war had
ended with German victory.  in the story britain had been conquered and the
prince who in real history was Edward VIII had founded an "empire" in exile
consisting of british India, australia and the former "dutch India".  I
used hobson-jobson to construct a hilarious jargon for some of the
characters -- late twentieth-century 'Englishmen' from that state.

>Does this criterion also imply
>that people who do not speak English do not partake of modern civilization? I
>hope not.

it all hinges on the question if modern civilization exists ;-)

>Robert Zydenbos

Philip Jonsson

/excuse me for not capitalizing properly xcept for such capping that my
abbrev-xpansion utility does automaticly. I'm temporarily deprived of the
use of my left hand -- my better one ;(.../

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