Chapter 1: Introduction
Historical Perspective of Linguistic Studies in India
Linguistic Studies in Indian Universities
Linguistic Progress in India
The discovery of the Sanskrit language by European scholars at the end of the eighteenth century was the stalling point from which developed the study of the Comparative Philology of the Indo-1 European languages and eventually the whole science of modern linguistics. The discovery was made independently by several scholars. Of these the most influential was the British orientalist William Jones (1746-1794) who declared in 1786 that Sanskrit bore to Greek, Latin 'a stronger affinity both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar than could possibly have been produced by accident: so strong indeed that no philologer could examine them all three without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which perhaps no longer exists'. This truly seminal and prophetic statement reinforced further by the transportation of Sanskrit in Europe, particularly in France and Germany, ultimately led to the formulation of the ‘Indo-European’ i.e., the ‘common source’ which Jones rightly surmised 'perhaps no longer exists’.
With the discovery of
Sanskrit through the epoch-making translations and studies undertaken by
Charles Wilkins and William Jones and their immediate successors during the
last two decades of the eighteenth century, Sanskrit at once came to the
forefront of linguistic studies in
From the beginning of
Indo-European studies, interest was not confined to the languages alone, but
was extended also to the culture of their speakers. One of the most important
investigators of those studies was Friedrich Von Schlegel (1772-1829). Alter
study of Sanskrit text in Paris, he published his treatise On the Language and
Wisdom of the Indians (Uber die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier, 1808), wherein
he stressed the importance of studying the ‘inner structures’ of languages
(i.e., their morphology) for the light that could be shed on their genetic
relationship.2 The term Vergleichende Grammatik (Comparative
Grammar) was originated by him. His book was also instrumental in prompting
Franz Bopp (1791-1867) to go to
In 1816 was published Franz Bopp's pioneering work on the conjugation system of the Sanskrit language compared with the conjugation systems of the Greek, Latin, Persian and Germanic languages (Uber das Conjugations system der Sanskrit sprache in Vergleichung mit jenem der gnechischen, latcinischen, persischen und gemianisehen Sprache: Frankfurt). His work included translations of selected Sanskrit literary documents. Then, between 1833 and 1852, there appeared his fuller comparative grammar of these languages-stocks, with the addition of Lithuanian; in later versions Armenian and Slavic were included (Vergleichende Grammatik des Sanskrit. Zend, Griechisehen. Lateinschen, Lithuanischen, Gothischen und Deutschen).
Two of the scholars best known in the linguistic science of the early nineteenth century were the Dane Rasmus Kristian Rask (1787-1832) and the German Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) and it is with Rask and Grimm that the comparative and historical study of the Indo-European family can be properly said to begin. Rask wrote the first systematic grammars of Old Norse and Old English (Vejledning til det islandske eller gamle nordiske sprog; Copenhagen 1811). Grimm was well informed about his predecessors, but he was most singularly impressed by the work of Rask on Icelandic which he reviewed in 1812 and which led him to undertake his historical work on the Germanic languages (Deutsche Grammalik, 1819).
After some progress was achieved in the study of classical languages of the Indo-European family, the modern ones of the same family in their different branches were taken up. Thus the nineteenth century saw the development of two aspects of linguistics: comparative grammar of genetically related languages and historical grammar of each individual member.
While these developments
were taking place outside
The modern Indian languages are studied for the first time in some detail by John Beames (1837-1902) in his A Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of India in three volumes : the first volume discussed Sounds (1872), the second Nouns and Pronouns (1875) and the third Verbs (1879). Though the study was mainly limited to the seven languages enumerated in the title of the book (Hindi, Panjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya and Bengali) there were occasional references to Assamese, Kashmiri, Nepali and the Gypsy languages, all of which have a common progenitor in Sanskrit. The relationship existing between Sanskrit and Indo-Aryan languages had been likened by him to the relationship that holds between Latin and the Romance languages. He wrote:
'Sanskrit is to Hindi and its brethren, what Latin is to Italian and Spanish.10
Beames, a young member of
the Bengal Civil Service, arrived in
‘. ...it immediately occurred to me that a similar book was much wanted for the Aryan group’.12
Beames' Comparative Grammar was the first systematic attempt to reconstruct the histories of New Indo-Aryan languages based on extensive citations and data from a number of related languages. I-'or the first time, it used the methodology of comparative reconstruction to determine the family taxonomy of Indo-Aryan languages. Beames may be considered to be the 'founder of Modern Indo-Aryan Linguistics'. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, in his forwarding note to Beames’ work, said:
'Just as Franz Bopp laid
the foundation of a comparative study uf the ancient Indo-European languages in
1816, and just as Heltenstein. Zeuss and other scholars did the same thing for
the Germanic and the Celtic and other branches of the same family, Beames in
his work laid down the great principles to be followed in making comparative
study of the modern Aryan languages of
This pioneer work of Beames
was ably followed up by a galaxy of scholars, The year 1872 witnessed the
simultaneous appearance of four accounts of the growth of the modern Aryan
Rev. Ernest Trumpp's (1828-1885) first contribution to Sindhi was A Sindhi Reading Book in Sanskrit and Arabic Characters published in 1858 at London.14 In 1872 he published Grammar of the Sindhi Language compared with the Sanskrit, Prakrit and the cognate Indian Vernaculars. Trumpp's Sindhi Grammar and Platt's Grammar of the Hindostani or Urdu Language—both of them share honours with Beames' Comparative Grammar as pioneer works in the etymological study of the forms of New Indo-Aryan, confining themselves to individual languages.
(1841-1918) Comparative Grammar of the Gaudian Languages with special reference
to Eastern Hindi appeared from
The investigations of Trumpp. Hoernle and Rev. S.H.Kellog (Hindi Grammar, 1876) and his own continued labours in this field, enabled Beames to work up the latter part of his Comparative Grammar.
These scholars proceed, quite independently, on similar lines. All of them emphasised the importance of the Prakrits in the development of the modern languages. Thus nearly two decades before a historical grammar of Sanskrit appeared (cf. Wackernagel, 1896) modern languages derived from Sanskrit were studied as members of the Aryan family in India, establishing what is more commonly known as the New Indo-Aryan family of languages.
During the nineteenth century, the University of Bombay founded the Wilson Philological Lectures to commemorate the pioneering services of Rev. John Wilson to the field of the study of language and arranged annual series of lectures on four specialised branches: Sanskritic; Semitic, Greek and Latin; and English. This lectureship provided for delivering a series of lectures each year over a cycle of four years, the order of the subjects being: Sanskrit, Prakrits and languages derived from it; Semitic languages; Greek and Latin; and English.
In 1877, Ramakrishna Gopal
Bhandarkar (1837-1925), the doyen of Sanskritists in
'My subject was the Sanskrit and the Prakrit languages derived from it. I understood the word Prakrit in a comprehensive sense, so as to include modern vernaculars of Northern India also; and thus delivered a course of seven lectures of Sanskrit in its several forms, the Pali and the Dialects of the period; the Prakrits and the Apabhramsa; Phonology of the Vernaculars; Remnants of the older Grammatical forms in the Vernaculars; new Grammatical Formations to supply the place of the forms that had disappeared and General Questions as to the relation between these several languages'.16
As regards the approach, Bhandarkar remarked:
‘The method I followed is strictly historical, tracing the modern vernaculars from the original Sanskrit through all the different stages of development of which we have evidence and assigning the different transformations to their causes, natural or physical, racial and historicaf .17
This clarification of the
aim, method and the plan of study was carried out by him with conspicuous
success. It served as a model for all his successors in the field with an
inevitable change in terminology where we speak of Old Indo-Aryan for Sanskrit
and its various forms, Middle Indo-Aryan for Pali and Prakrits up to Apabhrumsa
and New Indo-Aryan for the vernaculars of
In his First lecture
['General Laws guiding the Development of Language; the different stages in the
Development of Sanskrit'] Bhandarkar pointed out that
'It is usually known in two forms, the Vedic Sanskrit, which is the older phase of the language and the classical Sanskrit, in which most of the Sanskrit literature of later days is composed. Bhandarkar finds it necessary to recognise a third form of Sanskrit which he calls the Middle Sanskrit, which is at the basis of Panini's grammar, is characterised by the use of verbal forms and is found in later vedic works.18
In the Lectures two and three [Second lecture:'Pali and the Dialects of the period,' Third Lecture: 'The Prakrits and the Apabhramsa') Bhandarkar traced the linguistic history further through Pali, the literary Prakrits and the Apabhramsa. In his opinion where Pali has developed out of Middle Sanskrit, the Prakrit arose from Classical Sanskrit.
The next three lectures [Fourth Lecture; 'Phonology of the Vernaculars of Northern India', Fifth Lecture: 'Remnants of the older Grammatical forms in the Northern Vernaculars,' Sixth lecture: 'New Grammatical Formations in the Northern Vernaculars'] were devoted to the study of the modern Indian languages which Bhandarkar called by the name of Vernaculars. In these lectures, he discussed the rise of the phonological and morphological systems of the major New Indo-Aryan languages with the help of specimens from seven languages, viz. Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Panjabi, Hindi (Vraj), Oriya and Bengali. He left out Kashmiri and Nepali, since no descriptions of these languages were then available. In the morphological system, Bhandarkar made special reference to the rise of the oblique forms (except in Bengali and Oriya) and the use of case terminations. His aim was to show that these modern languages were the linear developments of the Middle Indo-Aryan dialects. He has convincingly shown it by tracing all their words to the Prakrits with the use of additional phonetic changes which have occurred in the mean time and which constitute the peculiarities of the New Indo-Aryan stage. These changes include the simplification of conjunct consonants, changes in the vowel due to compensatory lengthening, the development of nasalised vowels caused by the nasals before consonants, the rise of the new diphthongs out of cluster of vowels caused by the loss of intervocalic consonants, development of new sounds in some languages like the open mid-vowels of Gujarati, or the implosives of Sindhi, the dental affricates of Marathi and Oriya, the rounding of a in Bengali, and above all, the numerous effects produced by the stress accent which developed in these languages. All these are explained by him with numerous examples, and his treatment showed a decided improvement over that was found in the first volume of Beames.
'What strikes one most in this study is Bhandarkar's sensitiveness to dialectal differences in a language or peculiar developments of different vernaculars which he brings out with particular care, and for which approach he had no scope in the study of the earlier periods.'19
In the final lecture ['Relation between Sanskrit, Pali and the Prakrits and the Modem Vernaculars' j Bhandarkar pointed to the genealogical relationship of Sanskrit, Pali and the Prakrits and modern vernaculars.
The first two lectures and
the seventh were published in the Journal of the
Bhandarkar was 'one of those high priests of oriental learning who initiated research on western methods.'20 His numerous pupils, followers and admirers commemorated his eightieth birthday in 1917 by the inauguration of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute at Poona. On the occasion of the opening of the Series of Lectures arranged by the Institute, Bhandarkar said in his inaugural address :
The object of this Institute is to promote, among its members. a spirit of inquiry into the history of our country—literary, social and political—and also to afford facilities to outsiders engaged in me same pursuit. The idea is to get scholars to deliver lectures and read papers before the members of the institute and to publish these in the form of a journal.....'
In 1919 die All India Oriental Conference was inaugurated by the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. R.G. Bhandarkar presided over the first oriental conference. The conference was opened by George Lloyd as Governor and he was described as 'an ancient Rsi incarnate, a man of pure convictions and courage, an example of purity of life, purity of thought and purity of action'.21 His Presidential Address, read in his absence, was an enlightening survey of the field of study, closing with a note of congratulation upon the growth of critical scholarship in India and of firm confidence in its future.22 The second sitting of the conference was held in Calcutta under the guidance of Asutosh Mookherjee and the third sitting was held in Madras (1924) under the presidentship of Ganganath Jha.23 It may also be mentioned here that in the year 1908 during the Vice-Chancellorship of Asutosh Mookherjee, the University of Calcutta conferred on him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.24
The last quarter of the
nineteenth century saw the beginning of a scientific attempt at the comparative
study of the Indo-Aryan family of languages in
The Nee-grammarians recognised the importance of living languages for the purpose of linguistics. In fact, on the part of Indian scholars, there was a lamentable lack of interest in the study of modern vernaculars. Bhandarkar, in his Wilson Philological Lectures, wrote:
The Modern Vernaculars have not yet succeeded in attracting the attention of the learned in Europe.....But upon the whole it must be acknowledged that vernacular philology is still in a state of infancy and a great deal of what has been written is unsatisfactory '.25
In the Bulletin of the
'There is every reason to hope that this curious altitude will be abandoned and that in the future the Indians will take a larger share in the scientific investigation of their own national languages.....26
At the conference of the
Orientalists27 held at Simla in July 1911, under the auspices of the
Government of India, a scheme was proposed by Denison Ross for an Oriental
Research Institute to be established in
Charles James Lyall
(1845-1920) took an active interest in the work of the Royal Asiatic Society of
Great Britain. At a meeting of the Society on
'.....the only remedy
seems to be the establishment of a school of research for Europeans at some
centre of Sanskrit learning, preferably Benaras, like the School of Classical
Archaeology at Athens or the French School at Hanoi in Indo-China. It will be a
reproach to this country if we cannot establish something of this kind in
Professor Macdonelf s proposal was warmly welcomed not only by British Sanskritists but also by Sanskrit scholars from other countries. Shortly afterwards a committee was appointed including Charles J. Lyall, Macdonell and Thomas (the Librarian of the India office), to consider the question, but even after two or three meetings, as the war was on, the committee did not formulate any definite proposals.
Lyall took an active
interest in the oriental studies carried on in the
With the publication of George Abraham Grierson's (1851-1941) Linguistic Survey of India, Indo-Aryan dialectology took a new turn. For the first time, a huge body of linguistic data of spoken vernaculars and texts involving extensive field-work was compiled and used to elicit the language history and taxonomy of the Indo-Aryan. Almost all the work in South-Asian dialectology published since Grierson, has been based on his work, with only a very meagre amount of original investigation and Grierson's volumes remain by far the most important source of data for the social scientist concerned with the distribution and dialect-diversity of South Asian languages.
His great achievement in
the Survey (1003-1928) owed directly to the inspiration of Beames and his
immediate successors in the subject. The plan of the work was set forth by
Grierson, a civil servant, in the international Congress of the Orientalists at
The Linguistic Survey of
India remains one of the world's major productions of linguistic scholarship.
However, Grierson himself was fully aware of the inevitable limitations of his
Grierson recognised seventeen languages in all under the Indo-Aryan family, of which seven are in the outer sub-branch, nine in the inner and one in the mediate, as follows:
A. Outer sub-branch:
1. North-Western : Lahnda, Sindhi
2. Southern : Marathi
3. Eastern : Oriya, Bihari. Bengali, Assamese
B. Mediate Sub-branch :
4. Mediate : Eastern Hindi
C. Inner Sub-branch :
5. Central: Western Hindi, Panjabi. Gujarati, Bhili, Khandeshi, Rajasthani.
6. Pāhārī : Hastern
Grierson, however, partially modified his classification of the Indo-Aryan languages in 1931 where he proposed only three groups for the earlier six.
A. Outer :
1. North-West : Lahnda, Sindhi
2. Southern : Marathi
3. Eastern : Bihari, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese
B. Midland :
4. Western Hindi
Close to Western : Panjabi, Rajasthani, Hindi. Gujarati, Pāhārī (Eastern, Western, Central) Close to Outer : Eastern Hindi.
His The Modern Indo-Aryan
'.....but his unrivalled knowledge of Indian languages, his strong intuitive sense and the long years of patient toil have collected here a wealth of material which will serve as a mine for many future scholars'.33
On his eighty-fifth birth-anniversary, his fellow-workers in many fields, paid a glowing tribute thus :
'You are worthier than any Englishman of this age have upheld the great tradition of Sir William Jones.....The long list of your publications extending over nearly sixty years of devoted labour, bears witness to the boundless energy and enthusiasm and to the firmness of spirit which, held undeviating on the path you have chosen, has triumphed over every difficulty of circumstance....In your 77th year you completed the last of the twenty volumes of the Linguistic Survey of India and in your 82nd year of the fourth and last part of your great dictionary of Kashmiri. You, author in early manhood of the Bihar Peasant life, creator of the linguistic Survey, compiler of so many grammars of known and unknown languages, editor and translator of so many Middle and Modern Indo-Aryan texts, have more than any other contributed to our knowledge of the innumerable languages and dialects of India. Your work, beyond that of all others, has stimulated in Indians themselves a just pride in their own vernaculars and a deep and enduring interest in the long history that lies behind them.'-34
The Italian Scholar Luigi
Pio Tessitory wrote an article in the Indian Antiquary,
'.....I am the first
European who has ever dared to treat an important subject of Neo-Indian
Philology, without having been in
Tessitory also worked on some other aspects of the Old Western Rajasthani, the common source of modern Rajasthani and Gujarati. His is a pioneering attempt to give a historical development of the language. His observations on phonetic changes in the post-Apabhramśa period have been very highly spoken of by Suniti Kumar Chatterji, who has termed this attempt as the very base of all further linguistic studies.
The Tradition of
Indo-Aryan studies in
‘....it is flattering.....to find in one who is the greatest writer in the language, and a great poet and seer for all time, a keen philologist as well, distinguished alike by an assiduous enquiry into the facts of the language and by a scholarly appreciation of the methods and findings of the modern western philologist.'37
All through his life he kept up his interest in Bengali linguistics and related problems which were full of striking ideas. His writings were on Bengali phonetics, Bengali onomatopoetics and on Bengali noun and on other topics, the earliest of which appeared in 1885. He wrote an appreciative criticism of the Bengali Grammar by John Beames (first published in 1891). 38 His criticism of Beames' account of the pronunciation of Bengali showed that the analysis of spoken Bengali
'will still repay the efforts of inquires who arc trained to the task by comparative studies.39
His S'abdatattva or 'Science of Words' (first published in 1909) a collection of articles of the grammar and phonetics of his native language contains many most suggestive and interesting remarks, which
'.....coming from the acknowledged chief of Bengali letters, must be read with respect and difference by all and especially by foreign students to his language.' 40
What is valuable in the essays of Śabdatattva is that
'.....the sound beginnings and the correct orientation which lie to the credit of Rabindranath.' 41
In 1938, he published his later studies and papers on the Bengali language in collected form in u book called Bānglā Bhāsā Paricay or 'Introduction to the Bengali Language.' He began this book with this statement:
'I have commenced this book with a view to explain the strange mystery, which overpowers my mind with its wonder, the mystery which concerns the world of language that is born in the mind of man.42
He had thus 'both the
sense of wonder for the mystery of speech on the one hand, and the conscious
desire and attempt to explain that mystery.' 43 He has in this book,
'with the true humility of the scholar who actually knows the science and of
the poet who has an intuitive sense of the language, described himself as 'a
traveler who is doing his journey on foot.' 44 As he has said in
this book, 'he has been wandering in the highways and by-ways of language and
recording his observations, only with a view to create a similar Wanderlust in
the domain of language-study among his readers.' Tagore was one of the greatest
artists in language and he drew out from Bengali, which before his advent was
just a provincial language of
One of the greatest intellectual personages of Bengal, who as contemporaries of Rabindranath, the scholar of Sanskrit as well as literature in Bengali, Haraprasad Sastri (1853-1931), tried in his essays and observations to introduce a rational approach to the study of Bengali as a language. He wrote a number of articles which were much ahead of their time mainly based on Indian grammatical tradition. Ramendra Sundar Trivedi (1864-1919) was deeply interested in the study of our ancient religion, culture, philosophy and also in the Bengali language and literature. He is one of the best known essayists in the language and his writings are remarkable for deep and varied scholarship and for clear and adequate expression. Jogeshchandra Ray Vidyanidhi (1859-1956) was another science professor deeply interested in our old culture and in the Bengali language. He tried to simplify the Bengali orthography and typography, and his attempts pave the way for the adoption of the linotype in Bengali. Under the auspices of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, since its very inception in 1894, studies were undertaken in the field of Bengali language and Bengali linguistics. And texts, monographs and lexicons were published by the journal of the Parishad.46
During the nineteenth
century no special attempt was made by any
'Our efforts in this direction have been successful, for the first time in the history of the University, one of our graduates, a Mohamedan, I am glad to say, took the M.A. degree in Comparative Philology in 1912 and he has been followed by other successful candidates.' 48 [September, 1913]
A full Post-Graduate
Course in Comparative Philology formed part of the Post-Graduate instruction in
this University which was the only one in
In 1917 Post-Graduate studies were placed on a new position and on that occasion the vacant professorship of Comparative Philology was filled by the appointment of I. J. S. Taraporewala and the Comparative Philology was made a separate department under the control of the council of the Post-Graduate Training in Arts.51 The selection of such eminent scholars as Taraporewala, Suniti Kumar Chatterji and others resulted in an upsurge of interest in linguistic studies.
Irach Jehangir Sorabji
Taraporewala (1884-1956) was awarded the Government of India scholarship for
scientific study of Sanskrit in
Pandurang Damodar Gune
(1884-1922) was awarded the Government of India scholarship for scientific
study of Sanskrit in
'Professor Gune's book...has remained for Indian students, and even for students of Indian Linguistics abroad, the most convenient short work in a single volume giving the rudiments of general principles which form the basis or background of all specialised study of a particular linguistic group or family, together with a sufficiently full narrative history elucidated by a wealth of illustrative examples of the Aryan speech in India through the centuries in its three stages of Old, Middle and New Indo-Aryan.... In fact Professor Gune's work in the treatment of Middle and New Indo-Aryan frequently reminds us of the great R. G. Bhandarkar. But with his knowledge of the Indo-European background, Professor Gune had a wider vision. Subsequently Indian scholars have come forward to meet the need for works on general linguistics and on the linguistics of Indo-Aryan...’ 60
Another impetus was given
In 1919 the
'We should take a proper pride in our vernaculars1.62
Taraporewala remarked :
'Recent years have seen a
renaissance of every literary vernacular of
Shahidullah wrote in 1920 :
‘Whether in ancient limes
or modern, whether in
In an address at the
Annual Convocation on 1939, the Vice-Chancellor of the
'The Department of
Comparative Philology is now a growing Department and the introduction of
Indian languages as a subject for the M.A. Examination has created a new and
added interest in works on Comparative Philology. The close connection between
studies in Comparative Philology and the higher language studies of Sanskrit,
Arabic, Persian, Pali and Indian languages generally cannot be over-estimated.
This Department has been gradually forming itself into a school of modern Indian
Philology and studies and research in this Department are opening up a new
chapter in the history of
Although outside of
'The society is almost exclusively an Indian one, indeed, its only European member appears to be our member Mr. A.C. Woolner; but it has accepted without question the advantages of modern European linguistic methods, and has set before itself the ideal of combining the best of those models with the best of the methods of the great Indian grammatical school founded by PaninT.66
The Society was later followed by the publication of its journal, Indian Linguistics.
‘The first number of its Bulletin contains three scientific articles : 'A new viewpoint for Vernacular Grammars' by the Society's first President, Dr. I.J.S. Taraporewala; 'Recursives in New Indo-Aryan' by Professor Suniti Kumar Chatterji; and 'The Dravidian Uf by L. V. Ramaswamy Aiyer, which are a good earnest of the society's practical attachment to its ideals.
It includes also a copy of the graceful covering letter from the society which accompanied the commemoration volume to Sir George Grierson'.67
After the death of
Woolner, the head-quarter of the Society moved over to
'The lamented death of Dr.
A. C. Woolner has been a very great set-back for the activities of the Linguistic
Society of India. The work of the society from the very nature of the case (the
membership being extremely limited and scattered in a few Universities over the
Fortunately for the
development of linguistic study in
The first and one of the
most important contributions came from the Paris School of Linguistics. Jules
Bloch (1880-1953) was a student in
His research and
publications, mainly on Indian languages, were wide ranging. Most of his writings must be regarded as
fundamental corner-stones, investigating the relationship between Indo-Aryan
and Dravidian in
'.....which has become of classic in the historical study of a modern Indian language and has been a source of inspiration and an object of imitation and emulation by a good number of Indian scholars working in their own languages.' 71
His formation is the starting point of the modern scientific study of Indo-Aryan. 1915 R.L.. Turner wrote in the journal of the Royal Asiatic Society :
'Since writing this article [The Indo-Aryan Nasals in Gujarati'] I have had the privileged of reading M.J. Bloch's excellent book La formation de la langue marathe which all students of Indian languages in particular and of Comparative Philology in general will welcome as one of the first scientific attempts to explain the .....history of a modern Indian language.' 72
In the Lingustic Survey of
Apart from his special work on Marathi and on Sanskrit as well as Prakrit Bloch brought out two works of general survey, one on Indo-Aryan (1934) and the other on Dravidian (1946).
The Bulletin of the
'As they [Lectures] are only in part new or personal; as there is a want of proportion between the different parts, which would not be admissible otherwise; and mainly because they arc at bottom more of a hortative than of an epideictic character, 1 have thought best to publish them as nearly as possible in the actual form in which they are delivered.' 73
His F Indo-Aryan de Veda aux Temps moderness (
‘.....The whole book is informed with so personal an insight into the problems, so critical a linguistic scene, so just an appreciation of the different factors of development and throughout so scientific a spirit, that no linguist, whatever his particular field, can fail to profit by its reading, no Indianist, whether comparativist or not, can afford to be without it.....the great contribution which Professor Bloch makes is that amidst all this detail much of which is uncertain and must remain so till far more workers have entered the field, he has produced a clear picture of the main line of development undergone by the Indo-Aryan languages and has displayed wherever possible the system of that development. This is equally true of the section of morphology, in which Professor Bloch has made even greater personal contributions.'74
In a sense, it is the
fulfillment of Bhandarkar's lectures. The entire group of Himalayan dialects,
some of the minor dialects of Hindi and in particular Apabhrams'a,
are additions to the meager stock of languages treated by Bhandarkar and his
successors. Similarly me Gypsy and the Dardic group, the frontier languages of
If Bloch started the
scientific study of modern Indo-Aryan, Ralph Lilley Turner J-1983) furthered
the movement by his individual contributions. Turner first became interested in
Indian languages while still a pupil at the
Along with Jules Bloch he
was the first scholar to apply the principles of the Junggrammatiker, which he
had acquired at
During the First World War Turner served with the Queen Alexandra's Third Gurkha Rifles and acquired an abiding affection for the Nepali people and their language. This led to his great Nepali Dictionary, wherein he gave to the world for first time, with great scientific accuracy the comparative etymology of some 6000 Indo-Aryan words found in Nepali. His mastery of the different Indo-Aryan languages has also placed him in the position of editing the most exhaustive comparative etymological dictionary of Indo-Aryan languages. A review of his A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies with this remark :
'... a splendid reference
source for the student of the languages of
His Phonetic Analysis offered exhaustive lists of occurrences of particular sequences in the parent vocabulary.
'... the historical phonology of each dialect can thus be deduced, as far as this material permits, with maximum convenience and certainty. Few can have used the Dictionary since its appearance without feeling the need for a catalogue of phonetic and morphological phenomena such as is here provided.'76
The Bulletin of the
'In an age of dynamic change you have most worthily upheld the great tradition of a long line of British scholars, administrators, men who from Sir William Jones to Sir Grierson have studied the languages and life of India.-.. Building on the foundations of Sir Grierson's Linguistic Survey of India, searching the dictionaries and vocabularies of forty or fifty languages to discover parallels to your 26000 entries, your Dictionary gave for the first time in a scientifically accurate form the etymologies of an Indo-Aryan language as a whole. By so doing you elevated Nepali in the world of scholarship for ever since it has become the custom for scholars working on the etymology of modern Indo-Aryan languages/77
In recognition of the signal contributions which Turner had made towards Indian Linguistics by his many-sided researches and for the regeneration of linguistic studies through examples and leaching, the Linguistic Society of India elected him as one of its First I honorary Members.78 A special volume of Indian Linguistics was presented to Turner on the occasion of his seventieth birthday 'expressing their admiration and affection for him, both as a scholar and a teacher.’79
These scholars were the real gurus of the first generation of Indian linguists making their personal contributions to the development of Indo-Aryan linguistics. The result was that during the second decade of the century we have a series of attempts to trace the historical development of Indian languages.
The first half of the
twentieth century may be regarded as the period of renaissance in the history
of Indological studies. A general resurgence of the spirit of nationalism
became evident in
Mention may be made of some of these works.
(1885-1969) was one of the early band of scholars who were trained in the newly
developed science. After getting his M.A. in Comparative Philology he was appointed
as a Research Assistant in Bengali Philology at the
"The whole work is careful and thorough and informed with a just linguistic theory, as might be expected from one who was a pupil of Jules Bloch..."
In 1926 Suniti Kumar Chatterji (1890-1977) published his monumental work on The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language which made a further progress in Indian linguistics possible by including phonetics as part and parcel of a linguistician's equipment. He was the first scholar to trace the full history and development of the Bengali language following the pattern of his teacher Jules Bloch's Formation. Bloch commented :
'...the most important Indian contribution is Professor Chatterji's The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language, a book too well known for me to characterise it and give it here the praise it deserves.'80
(1897-1978), an M.A. in Sanskrit from
TrimbakJal N. Dave (1897-
) submitted his thesis — 'A Study of the Gujarati Language in the 16th Century
(VS.), with special reference to the Ms. Balavabodha to
Upadeśamālā' under the guidance of R. L. Turner for the Ph. D.
Degree at the University of London in 1931. The Royal Asiatic Society and the
James G. Forlong Fund proffered to give the work a permanent shape (
Baburam Saksena (1897- )
submitted his thesis, Evolution of Awadhi (a branch of Hindi), for the Degree
of Letters of the
'... for the first time, the historical treatment of an Indian language has been supported by a description carried out according to the graphic method.'82
(1894-1952) established for the first time the individuality of Assamese,
placing it in the proper perspective of its sister languages (Assamese : Its
Formation and Development.
Sukumar Sen (1900-1992)
was probably the last major linguist in
Investigations have also been undertaken into the phonetic observations of the Indian spoken dialects by some scholars in close succession. The following studies of the phonetics of New Indo- Aryan languages may be mentioned in this connection :
Suniti Kumar Challerj i's keen interest in linguistic study was first exhibited in one of his papers on "Bengali Phonetics' published in the Modern Review in 1981.
H. S. Perera and Daniel Jones published A Colloquial Sinhalese Reader from the Manchester University Press in 1919.
Chatterji's earliest piece
of significant research work, 'A Brief Sketch of Bengali Phonetics' was
published in the Bulletin of the
In 1928 Shahidullah made a
study of the Bengali sounds with artificial palate through palatograms and
kymographs. The dissertation on experimental phonetics, Les sons du Hengalie,
was submitted to the Archive de la Parole, Sorbonne, Paris. He received a
diploma in Phonetics from the
Sayed Mohiuddin Qudri,
Zore (1904-1963) of
Another valuable addition
to the Indian contribution to phonetic studies was from Panjab by Banarasi Das
Jain, entitled, A Phonology of Panjabi as spoken about in
Sumitra Mangesh Katre
published his short study of Konkani Phonetics in the Journal of the Department
Siddheswar Varma (1887-1985) wrote 'The Phonetics of Lahnda1 in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1936.
Subhadra Jha published his 'Maithili Phonetics' in the Indian Linguistics in 1940-1941.
Naturally Indian scholarship found its proper field in the modern Indian languages. From these Indian scholars in whose hands Indian Linguistics, particularly with regard to New Indo-Aryan, took shape, we have received a number of monographs on specialised languages. They include Bengali, Eastern Panjabi, Awadhi, Brajabhasa, Assamese, Konkani, Bhojpuri, some of the dialects of Kashmiri and a few more, which present before the world the first fruit of Indian scientific endeavour in this line. At the tenth All India Oriental Conference held at Tirupati on March 22. 1940, in his Presidential Address [Section of Non-Local Modern Indian Languages] S. K. Chatterji said :
The study of Modern Indian
languages is gradually assuming an importance ...... The number of scientific
workers in the field of Indian Modern languages is slowly on the increase. By
'scientific workers' we are to mean some such investigators as possess the
right historical perspective and the correct sense of linguistic development
combined with the ability to collect facts and to range them in their proper
relation to each other. The scientific mind is the logical mind and the logical
mind in linguistic investigation cannot ignore any of the various factors
visible or invisible which affect language. Language is both a physiological
and a psychological phenomenon and the physiological expression of language in
its phonetics and phonology should form the basis of all linguistic study. This
fact is gradually becoming more and more accepted by the new generation of
workers and students in
FOOT NOTES :
1. 'Warren Hastings (Governor General, 1774-1785) founded
the Calcutta Madrasa in 1781 and Lord Cornwallis (Governor General, 1786-1793)
2. 'The treatise consists of four parts, the first on the language, the second on philosophy, the third on historical ideas and finally translations of Indian literature; excerpts arc given from the Rāmāyaņa, the Laws of Manu and the Māhābhārata, including sections of the Bhagavat Gitā. It may be noted that in 1816 Bopp followed Schlegel in the practice of presenting translations.' Theoretical Bases of Indo-European Linguistics : W. P. Lehmann, 1993. Routledge Reprinted 1995.
3. Ibid. p. 445.
6. William Carey : Sahitya Sadhak Caritmāla, Part I; Bangiya Sahitya parishad; sixth edition, 1383 B.S..
7. Ibid- Kathopakathan was first printed at Serampore. After the second edition in 1806 it was combined with Carey's Bengali Grammar in 1818.
8. Suniti Kumar Chatterji's Forwarding Note to John Beames' Outlines of Indian Philology: Indian Studies : Past and Present; Editor: Debiprasad Chatterjee, 1960.
10. A Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of
11. Outlines of Indian philology: with a Map showing the
Distribution of Indian Languages;
12. A Comparative Grammar of the Modem Aryan Languages of
13. Suniti Kumar Chatterji's Forwarding note to John Beames' Outlines of Indian Philology : Op.cit.
14. Some problems of Historical Linguistics in Indo-Aryan : S. M. Katre ; p.3.
15. John Beames : George Abraham Grierson : Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1902 : pp. 722-725. Reprinted in Outlines of Indian Philology and Other Philological Papers : John Beames : Indian Studies : Past and Present ; Editor ; Debiprasad Chatterjee, 1960.
17. Collected works : R- G. Bhandarkar ; Vol. IV
18. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar : As an Indologist: A. M.
Ghatage : Indo-Aryan Linguistics ; R. N. Dandekar (ed.),
21. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1925. Published by
26. Bulletin of the
27. 'Apart from research institutes ... there also grew, in
this period, what was very necessary, a common forum for the research scholars,
in the form of societies or conferences in which members functioning in different
regional institutions periodically met at a pan-Indian conference for reading
and disusing original papers, surveying the progress in their respective field
and considering plans and proposals for further development. The beginnings of
such a conference in the Indological field go to the Simla Conference of 1911.'
Indological Studies in
28-29. Bulletin of the
30. Bulletin of the
31. Linguistic Science in the Nineteenth Century : Holger Pederson (tr. John Webster Spargo) ; p. 127.
32. Bulletin of the
35. The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language; Suniti Kumar Chatterji, Rupa & Co. 1985. Preface ; p. XVI.
36. Karl Bmgmann was recognised as the greatest of the new generation of philologists. He planned to complete the vast Grundriss der verglei chenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen, in five volumes. The first volume appeared in 1889. The last three were in association with Delhruck and dealt with Comparative Syntax.
37. The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language : Op. cit.
38. Bharati, Paus 1305 B. S.
39. Mr. Rabindranath Tagore's Notes on Bengali Grammar : J. D. Anderson : Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society ; 1913 ; p. 542
41. A Centenary Volume : Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1961);
Sahitya Akademi ;
43. Ibid, p. 126.
45. Ibid, p. 123.
46. The objects for which the Association is established are : a) The cultivation, encouragement, and improvement of the Bengali language and literature by the following and if and when necessary by other means, namely, 1) the compilation and publication of a Grammar and a Dictionary of the Bengali language, 2) the compilation, coinage and publication of scientific, philosophical and other technical terms in Bengali, 3) the collection, acquisition and publication of old Bengali manuscripts, 4) the translation into Bengali of standard books and publications in other languages and the publication of such translations. 5) the study and cultivation of philosophy, history, science, poetry and all other forms of literature and the publication of useful books and pamphlets thereon and 6) the publication of a periodical journal in Bengali lobe entitled The Sahitya Parishad Patrika'. (Parishad Paricay, Kartik, 1346 B.S.. p. 36)
48. C. U. Minutes, 1913.
49. Two Lectures on Linguistics : S. M. Katre; K.. M.
Institute of Hindi Studies and Linguistics ;
50. C. U. Minutes, 1913 ; p. 2611.
51. Hundred Years of the
52. 'He was my Professor in Sanskrit at
53. 'He was my own guru and initiator in the science of Linguistics and it is to him in the first place that I owe my knowledge of and training in the subject.' : Ibid, p.203.
54. 'I used to attend his classes in Persian and Arabic'. Ibid, p. 484.
55. 'He was my revered guru at the
56. 'He was my own revered guru of Iranian Languages at
57. Indian Linguistics, 1957.
58. Bulletin of the
59. Die Altindisehen Absolutiva, Besonders im Rgveda, Aitareya
und satapatha Brahmana; Fin Beilrag Zur Altandischen Syntax: P. D. Gune; Ph.d.
60. Introduction to Comparative Philology : P. D. Gune ; 1918. Introduction.
61. Hundred Years of the
62. C. U. Minutes, 1919.
63. Elements of the Science of Language, Op. cit, p. 519.
64. Outlines of the Historical Grammar of the Bengali Language
65. C. U. Minutes, 1939.
66. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1932 ; p. 445.
67. Ibid. p. 446.
68. Indian Linguistics. 1939.
69. Some Problems of Historical Linguistics in Indo-Aryan: S. M. Katre ; p. 6.
70. Bloch's Formation was 'first issued in 1914, but in
incomplete form owing to the exigencies of the European war. In the present
edition, dated 1920, comprising 430 pages, the 'index etymologique' of the
words quoted in the body of the work has been published in extenso'. Bulletin
71. In Memoriam of Professor Jules Bloch (1880-1953) :Suniti Kumar Chatterji: Indian Linguistics, 1954 ; p. 148.
72. Collected Papers (1912-1973) : R. L. Turner ;
73. Bulletin of the
74. Bulletin of the
75. Collected Papers (1912-1973) : R. L. Turner ; Op. cit.
77. Bulletin of the
78. Indian Linguistics, 1958.
80-81. Evolution of Awadhi :
82. Assamese: Its Formation and Development: A Scientific
Treatise on the History and Philology of the Assamese Language : B. Kakati,
83. Linguistics in
84-85. The Hindu and Muslim Dialects of Bengali:
Alia Dil, Ph. D. Dissertation,
86. Indian Linguistics,