Imatges de pàgina
PDF

doubtless be impatient of the space devoted to the explanation of the alphabet. Let him understand at the outset, that a minute and accurate adjustment of the mutual relationship of letters is the very hinge of the whole subject of Sanskrit grammar. It is the point which distinguishes the grammar of this language from that of every other. In fact, Sanskrit, in its whole structure, is an elaborate process of combining letters according to prescribed rules. Its entire grammatical system, the regular formation of its nouns and verbs from crude roots, its theory of declension and conjugation, and the arrangement of its sentences, all turn on the reciprocal relationship and interchangeableness of letters, and the laws which regulate their euphonic combination. These laws, moreover, are the key to the influence which this language has exercised on the study of comparative philology. Such being the case, it is scarcely possible for a Sanskrit grammar to be too full, luminous, and explicit in treating of the letters, their pronunciation, classification, and mutual affinities.

With regard to the second chapter, which contains the rules of Sandhi or euphonic combination, I have endeavoured as far as possible to simplify a part of the grammar which is the great impediment to the progress of beginners. There can be little doubt that the necessity imposed on early students of conquering these rules at the commencement of the grammar, is the cause why so many who address themselves energetically to the study of the language are compelled after the first onset to retire from the field dispirited, if not totally discomfited. The rules for the combination and permutation of letters form, as it were, a mountain of difficulty to be passed at the very beginning of the journey; and the learner cannot be convinced that, when once surmounted, the ground beyond may be more smooth than in other languages, the ingress to which is comparatively easy. My aim has been to facilitate tho comprehension of these rules, not indeed by omission or abbreviation, but by a perspicuous method of arrangement, and by the exhibition of every Sanskrit word with its equivalent English letters. The student must understand that there are two distinct classes of rules of Sandhi, viz. those which affect the final or initial letters of complete words in a sentence, and those which relate to the euphonic junction of roots or crude bases with affixes and terminations. Many of the latter class come first into operation in the conjugation of the more difficult verbs. In order, therefore, that the student may not be embarrassed with these rules, until they are required, the consideration of them is reserved to the middle of the volume. (See p. 147.)

As to the chapter on Sanskrit roots and the formation of nominal bases, the place which it occupies before the chapter on declension, although unusual, scarcely calls for explanation; depending as it does on the theory that nouns as well as verbs are derived from roots, and that the formation of a nominal base must precede the declension of a noun, just as the formation of a verbal base must be anterior to the conjugation of a verb. Consistency and clearness of arrangement certainly require that an enumeration of the affixes by which the bases of nouns are formed should precede their inflection. The early student, however, may satisfy himself by a cursory observation of the eight classes under which these affixes are distributed. Some of the most uncommon, which are only applicable to single words, have been omitted. Moreover, in accordance with the practical character of the present Grammar, the servile and indicatory letters of Indian grammarians, under which the true affix is often concealed, if not altogether lost, have been discarded. For example, the adjective dhana-vat,' rich,' is considered in the following pages to be formed by the affix vat, and not, as in native Grammars, by maiup; and the substantive bhoj-ana, 'food,' is cousidered to be formed with the affix ana, and not, as in native Grammars, by tyu(.

In my explanation of the inflection of the base of both nouns and verbs, I have, as before, treated both declension and conjugation as a process of Sandhi; that is to say, junction of the crude base, (as previously formed from the root,) with the terminations. But in the present Grammar I have thought it expedient to lay more stress on the general scheme of terminations propounded by native grammarians; and in the application of this scheme to the base, I have referred more systematically to the rules of euphonic combination, as essential to a sound acquaintance with the principles of nominal and verbal inflection. On the other hand, I have in the present work deviated from the Indian system by retaining w s as a final in the declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs, for the practical reason of its being more tangible and easy to apprehend than the symbol Visarga or h, which is less perceptible in pronunciation. (See the observations under changes of final s, p. 40.) Even in native Grammars those terminations, the finals of which are afterwards changed to Visarga, are always regarded as originally ending in us; and the subsequent resolution of s into h, when the termination is connected with the base, is a source of confusion and uncertainty. Thus s is said to be the termination of the nominative case; but the nominative of *rffcr agni,' fire,' would according to the Indian system be written ^rffcn agnih, which an Englishman would scarcely distinguish in pronunciation from the base agni. In the following pages, therefore, the nominative is given again; and the liability of agnis to become again and again is explained under the head of changes of final s (at pp. 40, 41). This plan has also the advantage of exhibiting the resemblance between the system of inflection in Sanskrit and Latin and Greek.

The difficulty experienced in comprehending the subject

of Sanskrit conjugation has led me to give abundant examples of verbs conjugated at full. I have of course deviated from the Indian plan of placing the third person first. I have, moreover, deemed it advisable to exhibit the English equivalents of Sanskrit words in the principal examples under each declension and conjugation, knowing by experience the thankfulness with which this aid is received by early students, not thoroughly familiar with the Devanagari character. The numerous examples of verbs, primitive and derivative, will be found to include all the most useful in the language. In previous Grammars it has been usual to follow the native method of giving only the 3d pers. sing, of each tense, with an occasional indication of any peculiarities in the other persons. The present Grammar, on the other hand, exhibits the more difficult tenses of every verb in full, referring at the same time for the explanation of every peculiar formation to the rule, in the preceding pages, on which it depends. This is especially true of the 2d and 3d preterite (or perfect and aorist), as these constitute the chief difficulty of the Sanskrit verb; and I have constantly found that even advanced students, if required to write out these tenses, will be guilty of inaccuracies, notwithstanding one or two of the persons may have been given for their guidance.

In the chapter on compound words I have again endeavoured, without ignoring the Indian arrangement, to disembarrass it of many elements of perplexity, and to treat the whole subject in a manner more in unison with European ideas. The explanations I have given rest on actual examples selected by myself from 'the Hitopadesa' and other standard works in ordinary use. Indeed this chapter and that on syntax constitute the most original part of the present volume. In composing the syntax, the literature as it exists has been my only guide. All the examples are taken from classical authors, so as to serve the purpose of an easy delectus, in which the learner may exercise himself before passing to continuous translation. The deficiency of native Grammars on this important subject is only to be accounted for on the supposition that their aim was to furnish an elaborate analysis of the philosophical structure of the language, rather than a practical guide to the study of the literature.

The exercises in translation and parsing, in the last chapter of this volume, will, it is hoped, facilitate the early student's first effort at translation.

In regard to the general scope of the book, it remains to state that my aim has been to minister to the wants of the earliest as well as the more advanced student. I have therefore employed types of two different sizes; the larger of which is, of course, intended to attract the eye to those parts of the subject to which the attention of the beginner may advantageously be confined. The smaller, however, often contains important matter which is by no means to be overlooked on a second perusal.

Under the conviction that the study of Sanskrit ought to possess charms for the classical scholar, independently of its wonderful literature, I have taken pains to introduce in small type the most striking comparisons between this language and Latin and Greek. I am bound to acknowledge that I have drawn nearly all the materials for this important addition to the book from the English translation of Bopp's'Comparative Grammar,' by my friend and colleague Professor Eastwick.

One point more remains to be noticed. The want of an Index was felt to be a serious defect in my first Grammar. This omission is now supplied. Two full Indices have been appended to the present work, the one English, and the other Sanskrit. The latter will enable the student to turn at once to any noun, verb, affix, idiom or peculiar formation explained in the foregoing pages.

« AnteriorContinua »