SarasvatI (Semantics)

S. Kalyanaraman kalyan97 at YAHOO.COM
Sun May 31 17:33:23 UTC 1998


This posting is intended to focus on the semantics of selected lexemes
(excluding: rasa 'juice, sap') and not an etymological excursus:

"Dominique.Thillaud" <thillaud at UNICE.FR> wrote:

>  *sel- is known by Greek "hals", currently (salt) but earlier
(sea)>and homeric and ritual uses show that the word designates
properly the >water-part of a beach, where the boats can land and the
bath can occur. The >"bath" sense is very clear in an old formula such
that "halade mustai!" >used in Eleusinian initiation. Hence, "saras"
could be simply a bathing >place, able to give a common name for a
river (the Greek hydronymy shows
>many hal- for sweet waters).

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal <mcv at WXS.NL>

>*Sal- is also one of Krahe's "Alteuropaeische" hydronyms, giving
river names from Scandinavia (Sala) to Spain (Jal�n) and from Wales
(Hail) to the Ukraine (Solja), passing through the Saumur, the Saale
and the Szala.

Raoul Martens <raoul at MARTENS.PP.SE>

>Mayrhofer has "saravati" & "sarah" = Eng. "reed"; a hint at that they
may be related? Also Monier-Willams & Walde seem to relate Skt
"saras-" to "sarah" =
"reed". Cfr Skt "sararih" = Eng. "heron" a bird thriving in shallow or
swampy water. Analogous names abound in Bahlow's "Deutschlands

Michael Witzel had in another context noted:

>Mayrhofer (new Etym. Dict.) now divides it from IE *sar "to jump" /
"to start running, run, flow". [snip]... the link with ponds (IE
*seles, Greek helos 'swampy depression, bog', etc.

saras, sa_ras (Dm.); saru_s (Kho.) meaning 'juniper'. See also: sallo
pine tree (Ku.); sarala pinus longifolia (MBh.)(CDIAL 13253)ci_li_
cypress; juniper (Sh.); ci_l pine (K.); ci_l, ci_l (P.)(CDIAL 4837).
calli  a reed (Ma.Tu.) (DEDR 2382).

The following lexemes are cognate:

salila water, sea (RV.); sarira (VS.); salila water (Pali.Pkt.);
salila_ large river (Pkt.); silil-a water (Si.); sal move (Skt.)(CDIAL
13288). zar, zari fountain (Kon.lex.) sele spring, fountain=-head
(Ka.); sela, selaye_r-u waterfall, cascade; jela a spring of water
(Te.)(DEDR 2785). jallu rain, a shower, spray of rainwater etc.; v.i.
= callu (Te.); sall- to sprinkle (Nk.); cal- (rain) falls in a shower
(Pa.); jall- to sow seed, scatter (Ga.); jal- to strain water from
boiled rice; jall- to swill with water; all- to sprinkle (water)(Go.);
jallinai to scatter; jal- (-it-) to throw out liquids (Kuwi)(DEDR
2384). calacala a noise in wading through water (Tu.); rippling of a
current or streamlet (Te.)(DEDR 2366). chara flood (S.); chalakka
splashingly (N.); chal.ko splash (G.); chall overflowing of water,
very heavy rain (L.P.); chala_r wave (Ku.); cha_l wave (N.); wave,
spray (H.); alla waterfall, rapids (Si.); cha_lak wave (G.); chalko
shower of rain (S.)(CDIAL 5002). jaru water (S.); jal (WPah.N.B.H.);
jal. (G.M.); zal (A.); jal.a (Or.); jal-thal flood (N.); jala_-ta_l
flood (N.); jala_ marshy, marsh (B.);jala water (Pali.Pkt.MBh.); jad.a
(BHSkt.); jal.a_ watery, moist (Or.); jala_ mass of water, tank, lake
(H.); zali_ya_ river-bank (A.); jal.ia_ watery (Or.); jalua_ (B.);
jala_ro blight due to too much rain (WPah.); jaladhara sea
(Pali)(CDIAL 5155-7). jalthal broad sheed of water (P.); flood (N.);
jalthal, jal.thal sheet of water (H.)(CDIAL 5159). zala_h broad
expanse of water (A.)(CDIAL 5160). cilucilu (-pp-, -tt-) to rain
gently (Ta.); cilk ir.- to drizzle (Ko.); cilbi to splash water with
the finger (Kor.); silka small river (Go.); cilva brook, rivulet
(Pa.); s'ilka river (Kol.); silk- (-it-) to splash (Kuwi); cilicilia_
a shower; cilicilla wet (Pkt.)(DEDR 2569). ciluppu to churn (Ta.);
cilku cilku noise of milk in churning (Ka.); ciluku to churn
(Te.)(DEDR 2570). chalnu to churn (e.g. whey)(WPah.)(CDIAL 5002).
al.akam water (Ta.)(DEDR 305). all- to sprinkle (water)(Go.); jallinai
to scatter (Kuwi); callu to sprinkle, scatter (Te.)(DEDR 2384).

This cluster of lexemes help postulate a semantic classification of
the sememe: -sala. The classifiers are: water, churn, wave, spring,
cascade/overflow, and (perhaps, juniper).

It is also notable that another river originating from Pin.d.a_i
glacier gets names sarayu.

*sar, *seles is perhaps very close to a proto-Indian (also
IE)hypothetical form. (See also  the Skt. sememes: car move; sr. flow).


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