at risk again

Klaus Karttunen Klaus.Karttunen at HELSINKI.FI
Mon Feb 10 10:53:00 UTC 2003

Dear Colleagues,
be always very careful with Monier Williams' identifications of animals
and plants and especially with the names he used. These were often badly
antiquated even when he compiled his dictionary in the 19th century and
sometimes quite much taxonomic knowledge is needed to understand his meaning.

There is no easy available reliable source, the information is scattered
in many places and often unavailable. Dave's books on birds in Sanskrit
is nice as a material collection, but his way of equating Sanskrit words
with zoological taxons is often erroneous.

For Vedas Macdonell's and Keith's index contains sometimes useful
information and textual references. Mayrhofer's dictionaries are also
useful. But the whole thing is often difficult and needs special study.


Klaus Karttunen, Ph.D.
Docent of Indology and Classical Ethnography
Institute of Asian and African Studies
PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38 B), 00014 University of Helsinki, FINLAND
phone 358-0-19122188, fax 358-0-19122094

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