Page images

Tamulic, and Tamulian:* but the word, as pronounced by the natives, is Tamla, or Tamalah; and this seems to indicate a derivation from Tamra, or Tamraparni, a river of note, which waters the southern Mathura, situated within the limits of Dravir. The provincial dialect is written in a character which is greatly corrupted from the parent Devanagari, but which nevertheless is used by the Brahmins of Dravir in writing the Sanscrit language. After carefully inspecting a grammar published by Mr. Drummond at Bombay, and a dictionary by the missionaries at Madras, I can venture to pronounce that the Tamla contains many Sanscrit words, either unaltered or little changed, with others more corrupted, and a still greater number of doubtful origin.

"The Romish and Protestant missionaries, who have published dictionaries and grammars of this dialect, refer to another language, which they denominate Grandam, and Grandonicum. It appears that Sanscrit is meant, and the term thus corrupted by them is, Grant'ha, a volume or book."

"The Maharashtra, or Mahratta, is the language of a nation which has in the present century* greatly enlarged its ancient limits. If any inference may be drawn from the name of the character in which the language is written, the country occupied by this people was formerly called Muru; for the peculiar corruption of the Devanagari, which is employed by the Maharashtras in common transactions, is denominated by them Mur. Their books, it must be remarked, are commonly written in Devanagari. The Mahratta nation was formerly confined to a mountainous tract, situated south of the river Nermada, and extending to the province of Cocan. Their language is now more widely spread, but is not yet become the vernacular dialect of provinces situated far beyond the ancient bounds of their country. Like other Indian tongues, it contains much pure Sanscrit.+

* Meaning the 18th century.

+ See grammar and dictionary of the Mahratta lan

Carnata, or Carnara, is the ancient language of Carnataca, a province which has given name to districts on both coasts of the peninsula. This dialect still prevails in the intermediate mountainous tract, but seems to be superseded by other provincial tongues on the eastern coast. A peculiar character, formed from the Devanagari, but like the Tamla, much corrupted from it through the practice of writing on palmleaves with an iron style, is called by the same name with the language of Carnatic.


Tailanga, Télingah, or Tilanga, is at once the name of a nation, of its language, and of the character in which that language is written. Though the province of Telingana alone retain the name in the published maps of India, yet the adjacent provinces on either bank of Crishna and Godaveri, and those situated on the north-eastern coast of the peninsula, are undoubtedly comprehended within the ancient limits of Tilanga,

guage, published at Serampore in Bengal, by Dr. Carey.

and are inhabited chiefly by people of this tribe. The language too is widely spread : and many circumstances indicate that the Tailangas formerly occupied a very extensive tract, in which they still constitute the principal part of the population. The character, in which they write their own language, is taken from Devanagari, and the Tailanga Brahmins employ it in writing the Sanscrit tongue, from which the Tailanga idiom is said to have borrowed more largely than other dialects used in the south of India. This language appears to have been cultivated by poets, if not by prose writers, for the Tailangas possess many compositions in their own provincial dialect, some of which are said to record the ancient history of the country."

The people of Gurjara, or Guzerat, use a language, named from the country Gurjura, which is nearly allied to the Hindi, while the character in which it is written conforms almost exactly with the vulgar Nagari. The limits of Gurjara, or as it is found named by some European au

[ocr errors]

thors, the kingdom of Guzerat, is supposed anciently to have included Candesh and Malwa.*

In the languages denominated Magadhi and Apabhransa,† are comprehended all those dialects which are generally known by the common appellation of Bhasha, or speech. This term, as employed by all philologists, from Panini down to the present professors of grammar, does, indeed, signify the popular dialect of Sanscrit, in contradistinction to the obsolete dialect of the Veda; but in common acceptation, Bhasha denotes any of the modern vernacular dialects of India, especially such as are corrupted from the Sanscrit: these are very numerous.‡

[ocr errors]

* With respect to the modern geography of India, we have in general adhered to the Map and Memoir of Rennell, except in a few instances where some late surveys differ from him in regard to the exact latitude and longitude, though these differences are not material.

+ See p. 161, of this volume.

† Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 199, et seq. Art. by Mr. H. T. Colebrooke.

« PreviousContinue »