[INDOLOGY] N. Ganesan's Dravidian etymologies for Indo-Aryan and Dravidian words meaning 'crocodile'

palaniappa at aol.com palaniappa at aol.com
Fri Jan 9 05:35:37 UTC 2015

Sorry,all the diacritics in my earlier two posts did not come through right. So I amresending the post again.  Iapologize for the length of this post. I summarize its contents first. Thosewho are interested in the details can read further.
Inmultiple Internet posts N. Ganesan has mentioned an article of his entitled, "A Dravidian Etymology for Makara - Crocodile," published by the International School of Dravidian Linguistics in2011.  (See Attachment 1 for the article.) In this article, Ganesan offersnew etymologies for words meaning crocodile such as Sanskrit makara, Sanskrit nakra/nākra,Tamil mutalai, and Tamil viá¹­aá¹
kar. As far as I can see,the article seems to have serious flaws from the viewpoints of linguistics andphilology. While usually an article of such a nature might not receive any seriousattention from scholars, the fact that it is said to be published byInternational School of Dravidian Linguistics suggests that it undergo scrutinyby scholars. 
In thediscussion below, I point out some of the problems I see in the article and Iwould appreciate any comments from the members of this list. 
Etymologyfor Sanskrit makara
Dravidian EtymologicalDictionary (Revised edition, abbreviated as DEDR) entry 4952 gives thefollowing words for crocodile.
4952 Ta.mutalai, mutaḷai, mucali crocodile. Ma. mutala. Ko. mocaḷ.Ka. mosaḷe, masaḷe. Koḍ. mosale. Tu. mosaḷè, mudalè, mudaḷè,mūdalè. Te. mosali. Kol. (Kin.) moseli. Pa. mōca. Konḍa(BB) mōdi, mūdi. Kur. (BB) bōca. Malt. boce. / Cf.Skt. (lex.) mācala- crocodile; (lex.) musali-house-lizard; alligator; Pkt. muduga- = grāhaviśesa-.
Based onthe above entry, Bh. Krishnamurti has given  * mōc- / *moc-Vḷ as the Proto-Dravidian form for the wordfor crocodile.  (Dravidian Languages, 2003, p. 13). 
However,on p.7 of his article, Ganesan states, "The Proto-Dravidian root formakara is *mokaray- a verbal nounfrom the verb, *mok-/*moá¹
ku- 'to eat greedily in largemouthfuls, eat voraciously, devour, gobble, swallow' (DEDR 5127+4897)." 
DEDRentries 4897 and 5127 are given below.
4897 Ta.mukku (mukki-) to eat in large mouthfuls; mokku (mokki-), mokki-ttiṉ-to eat greedily in large mouthfuls. Ka. mukku to eat in a certainmanner, put any dry grain, etc., into the mouth with the hollowed hand andgobble; mukkuḷ, mukkuḷe mouthful of water for rinsing the mouth, rinsingthe mouth, cleaning the teeth; mukkuḷisu to rinse the mouth, spit out,abandon, reject. Tu. mukkuni to gobble, swallow, devour; mukkāvunito over-feed (tr.); mukkele voracious man; mukkuli, mukkuḷimouthful of any liquid; mukkuliyuni, mukkuḷiyuni to gargle or rinse themouth. Te. bokku to eat greedily, stuff the mouth and eatvoraciously, gobble. Kui muka (muki-) to cast food into the mouthwith the hand; mukal mouthful; mukal giva to rinse out the mouth,take a mouthful, gargle. Kuwi (Isr.) buk- (-it-) togobble, swallow. Cf. 5127 Ma. mōkuka. 
5127 Ma.mōkuka, mōntuka to drink, sip; mōyikka to give to sip; mōvala gulp. Kur. mōxnā to eat (anything except cooked rice); pass.or refl. mōxrnā; mōxta'ānā to cause or allow someone to eat. Malt.móqe to eat (as meat or fruit). ? Ta. moci (-pp-, -tt-) toeat; māntu (mānti-) to eat, drink, experience, enjoy Cf. 4897 Ta. mukku. 
I do notunderstand how Ganesan could get the Proto-Dravidian 'root' *moṇku- fromthese entries.
Havingpostulated *mok-/*moá¹
ku- from DEDR 5127 and 4897, Ganesanstates:
"The Dravidian verb, mok-/moá¹
k- transformsto moc-/moñc- in south Dravidian languages." 
As far asI know, there has been no basis for such a context-free transformationmentioned in any work on comparative Dravidian phonology. (Moreover, as one cansee above in DEDR 4592, the words for 'crocodile' in north Dravidian languages,Kurukh and Malto, also have -c- and not -k- in DEDR 4952.)
Then Ganesangoes on to say:
"HenceKannada and Telugu have mosale or mosali (< *mokaray), and Tamil andMalayalam derives its mosale> motalai > mutalai from thesame verbal root, mok- with -r- > -l- alternation in theSouth." 
Ganesanhas not presented any evidence of -oka- transforming to -oca- or-osa- in south Dravidian languages.So, in my opinion, Ganesan has not provided an acceptable Dravidian etymology thatsupposedly explains Sanskrit 'makara' as well as Tamil mutalai. 
Etymologyfor nakra/nākra
Ganesanalso has given an etymology for Indo-Aryan words for gharial, the long-snoutedcrocodile. 
On p. 4 ofhis paper, Ganesan says, " The god Åšiva in Tamil bhakti texts of the firstmillennium, is extolled as either nakkar or viá¹­aá¹
kar indicating Åšiva’snudity and his virile lingam in particular. These epithets for Åšiva andhis lingam have origin in the names for gharial crocodile (Section 3.0). When viá¹­aá¹
kuis used, it indicates the naked bhikṣāṭana youth going rounds in thestreets and attracting women: maṉaikaḷ tōṟum talai kai Ä“nti viá¹­aá¹
karākittirivatu eṉṉē? (Tevaram 7.6.1)." 
Theinterpretation of Tamil viá¹­aá¹
kar as indicating a naked Åšiva issimply not valid according to Tamil philology.  Indeed thetext quoted by Ganesan is translated by V. M. Subramanya Iyer in the Digital TÄ“vāramedition (from EFEO, Pondicherry) as "what is the reason for wandering from house to house,assuming a beauteous form and asking alms, " where he translates viá¹­aá¹
kar as'beauteous form” (http://tinyurl.com/p7vg2wl).  That viá¹­aá¹
karis not naked is shown by TÄ“vāram 7.36.3, another verse by Cuntarar, the sameperson who authored the verse quoted by Ganesan too. In this verse translatedby V. M. Subramanya Iyer, Viá¹­aá¹
kar is explicitly described as wearing aloin-cloth as given below (http://tinyurl.com/nbns4gt).
You are pure in your eyes, mouth andbody, you wear a sewn loin-cloth, give up dancing along with pÄ“y in thecremation-ground, areyou a mad person? Ourmaster! Civaṉ,who is known by the name of Ä€raṇiya viá¹­aá¹
kar in Paiññīli surrounded by averdant garden which has mast wood trees, cool and green delight of the woods,and lotus flowers growing in the moats into which water flows.
So thereis no connection between nudity and viá¹­aá¹
kar as claimed by Ganesan. 
On pp. 7-8of his paper, Ganesan says, "In East India (Nepali, Bihari, Bengali) (3) nakar is the nameof gharial [13], directly derivable from the Tamil verb, nakar- ‘tocreep, to crawl slowly’. Compared to muggers (< makara), gharialshave much smaller, weak legs and cannot do ‘high walk’ as muggers can (Figures7, 8). When gharials come to the shore for sun bathing orfor laying eggs, they creep on the banks awkwardly pushing their huge bodiesforward. From this Dravidian nakar, Sanskrit gets nakra-/nākra- andMiddle Indo-Aryan nakka-. In Tamil Tevaram texts, Śiva is called nakkar/nakkaṉdue to his nudity traceable to thephallus shape of the gharial snout and its ancient name."
WhileGanesan easily moves from Tamil nakar to Dravidian nakar, DEDRdoes not include an entry that includes Tamil nakar 'to creep, to crawlslowly'. There seem to be no cognates of nakar in anyother Dravidian language including Telugu and Kannada. (nakar is notincluded in Emeneau and Burrow's  "Dravidian Borrowings fromIndo-Aryan" either.) So Tamil nakar'to creep slowly, crawl slowly' being the source of Indo-Aryan nakra/nākra is not very convincing tome.  Asa result, tracing nakkar/nakkaṉ (referring to Śiva) "to the phallusshape of the gharial snout and its ancient name" also seems to beimpossible.
However,there is another possibility, as Burrow and Emeneau seem to think.
DEDR3732 entry is given below.
3732 Ka.negar̤, negar̤e alligator. Tu. negaḷů id.; negarů asea-animal, the vehicle of Varuṇa. Te. (B.) negaḍu apolypus or marine animal supposed to entangle swimmers. / Cf. Skt. nakra-crocodile; nākra- a kind of aquatic animal; Turner, CDIAL, no.7038. 
Basedon DEDR 3732 Krishnamurti has given a reconstructed form *nek-Vḷ¸· (Dravidian Languages, 2003, p. 13). This word atleast could be transmitted to Indo-Aryan since Kannada is adjacent toIndo-Aryan linguistic areas. 
Etymologyof Tamil iá¹­aá¹
Asbest as I could figure out Ganesan's chain of reasoning, this is how Ganesanseems to arrive at how Tamil words viá¹­aá¹
kar are interpreted as referring togharial.
 Śiva is naked as Bhikṣāṭana. 
 Gharial's snout has the shape of aphallus.
 Gharial is called nakka in MiddleIndo-Aryan
 So Åšiva is called nakkar becausehe is naked.
 Tamil viá¹­aá¹
ku means 'to beerect (as lingam)' (Ganesan's own interpretation)
 Åšiva is called viá¹­aá¹
 So viá¹­aá¹
kar stands for the male organ. 
 Gharial's snout has the shape of aphallus. 
 So viá¹­aá¹
karin Tamil means gharial. 
Accordingto Ganesan, viá¹­aá¹
kar lost the initial v- and became iá¹­aá¹
Theword viá¹­aá¹
kar referring to a crocodile occurs for the first time in the VaratarācaAiyaá¹
kār Pākavatam, a 16th century text. Earlier literary texts or lexicons donot mention that word. But earlier texts going back to 2nd century CE mention iá¹­aá¹
karin the sense of 'crocodile'.  In several instances in the Kamparāmāyaṇam(ca. 9th or 12th century), iá¹­aá¹
kar is the word used to describe thecrocodile that attacked the elephant in the Gajendra Mokṣa episode. (Forexample, see Kamparāṃāyaṇam
(Infact, contrary to Ganesan’s suggestion of viá¹­aá¹
karbeing the original form, which lost v-to result in iá¹­aá¹
kar, I would arguethat the original form was indeed iá¹­aá¹
karand the form viá¹­aá¹
kar probablyresulted from a reanalysis of a manuscript line such as tuyiṉṟaṉaviá¹­aá¹
kaṭōṟumÄ“ in Kamparāmāyaṇam Kitkintā KāṇṭamKārkālappaá¹­alam published in 1862 as shown in Attachment 2, where –v- is a glide resulting from themorphophonemics of joining tuyiṉṟaṉaending in -a and iá¹­aá¹
kar beginning in i-.When the words in the quoted line are separated, the word in question is takenas iá¹­ankar as can be seen in http://tinyurl.com/kd756qp .)
Even ifone accepts the form viá¹­aá¹
kar to beearlier, in the 16th century text, the word 'viá¹­aá¹
kar' is used inconnection with crocodile-elephant encounter. Since gharials are not known toattack even human beings  (http://crocodilian.com/cnhc/csp_ggan.htm), it is doubtful if they are biologicallyequipped to attack big elephants.   Even in the MaṇimÄ“kalai (6th century CE), themoat around Kānciwas described as having crocodiles indicated by the term iá¹­aá¹
kar, whichmeans that iá¹­aá¹
kar cannot be identified as gharial.  (As gharials do not attack human beings, they would not have beenused in moats, which were designed to ward off attacks by hostile warriors.) So the case of viá¹­aá¹
karrepresenting gharial is not defensible.
In myopinion, Ganesan's etymologies for Sanskrit makara and nakra/nākraare not supported by comparative Dravidian linguistic evidence or Tamilphilology. Also, his etymological interpretation of Tamil viá¹­aá¹
karis not supported by Tamil philology. 
InJanuary 2012 Ganesan stated that the article had been published in "Prof.V. I. Subramonium commemoration volume, ISDL, Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala,2011". Later, in February 2013 he stated that the article had been publishedin "Prof. V. I. Subramonian Memorial Volume, International School ofDravidian Linguistics, 2011, (Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala)". InternationalJournal of Dravidian Linguistics, Volume 39, Issue 2 published in June 2010 wascalled "PROFESSOR V. I. SUBRAMONIAM MEMORIAL VOLUME" as can be seen inAttachment 3. Ganesan's article was not included in that volume. Nor was itpublished in the IJDL issues of 2011. There was no commemoration volumepublished by ISDL in 2011. 
However,there is going to be a separate Professor V. I. Subramoniam CommemorationVolume that will be published in June 2015 during the 43rd annual conference ofDravidian Linguistics Association to be held in Annamalai University in TamilNadu. (For conference details, see http://www.ijdl.org/Html/announcement_43.pdf.) Ganesan’sarticle might be included in Professor V. I. Subramoniam Commemoration Volume.
Iwould appreciate any comments from the list members.
Thankyou in advance.
S. Palaniappan  

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