River Krishna

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Thu Mar 18 20:41:36 UTC 1999

In a message dated 3/18/99 11:28:14 AM Central Standard Time,
witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU writes:

> But what would be the Dravidian etymon here? Certainly not DEDR  4449 pEN
>  'louse'!
>  Hardly  DEDR  4436 pEN 'protection', DEDR 4551 poru 'to unite'... And no
>  palm trees.
>  Any ideas among the Drav. linguists?
>  >In medieval times, it looks "karum peNNai/peNNaar" was rendered as
>  >KrishnaveNi,
>  Note again peNNAi ~ veNi  (perhaps additionally influenced by Skt. veNI)
>  >and later shortened to Krishna.

DEDR 4449 is pEn2 with the alveolar n2. So it does not relate to the river
names with retroflex N.

Traditionally peN (female) is explained as being derived from peL- to desire,
to love, etc. (see DEDR 4436). DEDR entry does not give all the meanings. See
Cologne's On-line Tamil Lexicon for "peTpu".

However, in my opinion DEDR 4194 piL- is the basis for river names and female
names. The items in DEDR 4194 clearly show what the connection is.

As for river Krishna, Vedam Venkataraya Sastry says, "It will be a very
interesting and a surprising pointer to the southern influence that the
original name of the river Krishna  was Pennar and not Krishna. Early records
call it Kanna-Penna, Kanna-Benna, the black Pennar, as against the other two
southern Pennars. Krishna-Venna got Sanskritized as Krishna-Veni  and we have
now dropped the Veni and retained Krishna." ('The Influence of Tamil on
Kannada and Telugu' in the Proceedings of the Vth International Tamil
Conference-Seminar, 1981, p. 8-63)

S. Palaniappan

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