Telugu history

C.R. Selvakumar selvakum at VALLUVAR.UWATERLOO.CA
Thu Apr 30 20:45:24 UTC 1998

@Mr. Ganesan:
@I have no statistical studies on which literary Dravidian language  has been
@more influenced by Sanskrit than others and in what period. Do you have
@these studies? Or is it your personal intuition?  But, MalayaaLam, which was
@the west coasst  dialect of Tamil until the 10th century or so is the most
@influenced by Sanskrit. This is not my intuition. It is a fact. Look at
@Raamacaritam or UNNuniilisandees'am.  Can you clarify why? Sometimes, the
@Sanskrit influence in the pre-CE was subtle on Tamil. Tolkaappiyam used uyir
@and mey which correspond to praaNa and praaNi, veeRRumai is translated from
@vibhakti, tokai from samaasa, and  uvamai is upama; kaappiyam is itself a
@tadbhava of kaavyam whatever Tamil purists may say.

    May I know the arguments why the above are from sanskrit to tamil and
    not from tamil to sanskrit ?

@tadbhava of kaavyam whatever Tamil purists may say. Is there any Tamil
@classic which is devoid of the influence of Sanskrit langauge? Of course
@not, because that was not a political problem then.
@And what about the naming pattern in Tamil Nadu--GaNesan, KaruNaanidhi,
@SaNmukam, etc. How old is this tradition? Most Tamil names, if you look at
@the electoral roles, are of Sanskrit origin as it is true of the other
@literary Dravidian languages. Nativizing Sanskrit names into Tamil, like
@neTunceZiyan, aaRmukam, etc. is a recent trend which has political origins
@and overtones.

    It is possible that some are from skt to tamil or as calque but not all.
    For example I would be quite interested to know why you consider
    aaRumukam as a translation of SaNmukam. It is probably the otherway
    around. I would be surprised if SaNmukam means same as aaRumukam.

@What does it matter which language has more of Sanskrit or less of Sanskrit?
@As a linguist, I see this kind of inquiry itself is political. English, the
@greatest language of the world, has  only 5% of Anglo Saxon native element.
@How are you suddenly interested in the Telugu History and what are you
@driving at? It is true, as JBSHaldane (in the Hindu in the fifties) once
@said, Telugu has greater accommodative power of foreign borrowings without
@creating tadbhavas than the other modern Indian languages and he said it
@deserved to be the official language of India.

    I don't know the metrics for measuring the 'accomodative power
    of foreign borrowings', but Tamil can and does borrow verbs, nouns,
    and adjectives from English with such tremendous ease that it
    seems like a phenomenon. Only adverbs are not so easily borrowed
    except a few like 'fast', 'quick'. What is even more suprising is
    the 'ability' to accomodate whole english sentences or whole/partial
    clause or phrases. The alloy-syntax is interesting and it seems to affect
    even the native syntax.  It is true this 'heavy borrowing'
    is mostly prevalent in urban 'middle-class' 'conversational
    tamil'. I'm not claiming that this 'phenomenon' is somehow
    exclusive to Tamil. Just to show that it has the 'ability' to borrow.

    Borrowing pattern: verb -> verb+'paNNu'.
                               Example: 'drive' paNNu (=drive)

                       noun -> no change but accepts 'vERRumai' endings
                               Example: 'house'ai kaNdu pidiccEn (I found the

                       adjective -> adjective + aa
                                Example: avan 'tall'aa iruntaan ( = He was tall)

                       syntax-alloy -> Many different patterns. Just one
                                       example: 'If he gives two years
                                       guarantee'nna paravayillai
                                       illEnaa vENdaam.
                                       (=If he gives two years guarantee, then
                                        it is allright otherwise we don't
                                        need it )

@Purity of a language is a myth. All languages borrow including Tamil.Do

   No problem here. The problem is some people assert that it is a one-way
   traffic from Sanskrit to Tamil and other indian languages.
   Or even if they don't say it is 'one-way' traffic, they will cite examples
   only or mostly from sanskrit to other languages.
   There are many myths and some are to do with Sanskrit.

@different degrees matter? How? Borrowing is one of the ways of enriching a
@language. Purism of any language is a pathological state of some of its
@speakers who wanted to banish foreign elements from the language for
@political purposes. No languge has benefitted by such attitudes; on the
@contrary such languages have suffered in the long run.

    I've other questions on your posting, but may be I'll raise them later.


@Best regards, Bh. K.
@Bh. Krishnamurti
@H.No. 12-13-1233, "Bhaarati"
@Street No.9, Tarnaka
@Hyderabad 500 017, A.P.
@Telephone (R)(40)701 9665
@E-mail: <bhk at HD1.VSNL.NET.IN>

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