Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

the 20 consonants, in the order and method in which they are given by me in the Introduction, p. lviii. (See also Appendix C. p. 142, and plate III.) These he may, with ordinary attention, master in one day. He should then write out the characters on a slate, and continue to do so until he can accurately read and write each letter. He will then do well to ascertain how consonants are inflected with vowels, by means of symbols. See. p. p. lviii, 142. This learnt, he may direct his attention to the symbols of foreign sounds, which are given in the Hòdia.* Lastly, he should notice the double or joint characters, and ascertain the peculiarity of their sounds and formation. A few remarks on this subject will be found drawn up in the Introduction. †

If such a method be adopted, I have no doubt but that a European will learn the alphabet in less than a week. Indeed, without any such method, a European acquaintance of my own, mastered the confused alphabet, consisting as it is said, of 50 characters, in less than a fortnight.

Whilst thus engaged, the student ought to pick up the language to some extent, by frequently conversing with the natives, and with his teacher, who is to be preferred, if he happens to be ignorant of English. And although recent

See Plate No. III. + In studying the Singhalese Alphabet, Europeans meet with a sound which they find difficult, if not impossible, to utter. It is Ql; see our remarks thereon at p. lix. It is not a little amusing to the native to observe the different sounds given to it by Europeans. I have once heard a European pronounce the word DOLO besides' leaving off”; 000 'female thief.' How would a native understand if alo) be pronounced oo, or eat; if Qlwo be sounded 400; or if quos be uttered 0.33 or 098.? It is therefore, desirable, that the student should, in the earliest stage of his studies, use his best endeavours to acquire the correct sound of this letter.

I was once peculiarly interested in observing a young European speak the Singhalese with facility and Auency. This being somewhat unusual, I found on inquiry, that he had picked up the language in a comparatively short time by continually speaking with the natives, of whom the itinerant basket-women between the market and the Cotta bridge, formed experience proves that it is unnecessary, as a general rule, to commit to memory the meaning of words, yetitis apprehended that, with a view to lay the foundation for a course of study which can hardly be pursued without frequently conversing with the natives in their own language, the student may with great advantage, commit a few hundreds of words to memory; and frequently consult Mr. Clough's Dictionary, * which he will find of the greatest utility and help as he advances in his studies. At the same time he will do weil to attend to the spelling of words, which he will find no difficulty in mastering, owing to the excellence of the alphabet, which points out the different sounds by their certain and definite symbols. It is not enough that he should merely learn words; but he should also correctly ascertain the various modes in which they are applied to express different sentiments of the mind.

I would here recommend him to consult Mr. Lambrick's School Vocabulary; and to go through a little work entitled “Exercises in English and Singhalese, explanatory of the elements of English Grammar,” published in 1846, as I understand, by the Rev. C. Senanayaka of the Cotta Church Mission. The latter work contains very good exercises for the student; and they will doubtless prove exceedingly useful in acquiring both the language, and, to a limited extent, its Grammar.

At this stage I would recommened the student to read with attention the translation of the Sidath-Sangarawa, here presented to the public. He need not commit any portion the majority. I would, however, warn the student against confining his intercourse to the lower classes, since by so doing he is almost sure to acquire a great deal of the low slang which is highly offensive when uttered in the presence of the higher classes.

* In the language of Sir William Jones the student is cautioned “ against condemning a work as defective, because he cannot find in it every word which he hears ; for sounds in general are caught imperfectly by the ear, and many words are spelled and pronounced very differently."

of it to memory, except it be the inflexions of nouns: it is sufficient to peruse it with the professed object of ascertaining the difference between his own grammar (with which he is presumed to be already acquainted) and that of the Singhalese. Having strongly impressed his mind with the peculiarities of the Singhalese language,as distinguished from his own, he may proceed to read an easy work, such as the Singhalese version of the Bible, the LankaNidhana, or any of the little publications which have lately emanated from the School Commission. As the bee extracts honey even from the humblest flowers, the student may

derive much benefit from these works, by applying to the passages which he may select from them the Rules of Grammar; by examining how far they are correct according to those rules; by correcting the errors found in them according to the standard of the Sidath Sangardwa; and by analysing them, with the assistance of his living instructor, in the manner pointed out in the exercise offered at p. p. 210-212. Let him also proceed to write and re-write each sentence in different forms, varying the constructions of words and clauses whilst retaining the sense intended to be conveyed by them. “Practice of this kind,” says Arnold in his English Grammar, p. iii., “ will be found to give the pupil a mastery over the idioms and laws of construction of his own language; to which he will soon learn to refer, for comparison, those of any foreign language he may happen to be studying.” In the meantime the student is recommended to converse with his teacher, and to get him to illustrate the rules of the Gramınar by other and more familiar examples selected from common discourse. This continued for some time, the learner will acquire a stock of knowledge sufficient to enable him to read some of our standard writers.

Of these, the first book that I would put into his hands is the Sulu Ràja Ratnakara, a little abridgement of the Ràja Ratnàkara, on the history of Ceylon. He may then, with a view to his examination for admittance to the public service, read the Rajāwalia, Kusajatake, Meeripenne's Miscellaneous Poems (see p. ccxlvi.), and the Pansiapanasjàtaka. The last-named work is of sufficient bulk to engage the student for a considerable time; and its style, which is correct and elegant, is such as may safely be recommended to the learner. The more than probable fact that the Sidath' Sangaràwa was composed at the time when the Jàtakes were translated into Singhalese (see p. cxxx.), must furnish the student with an additional reason to induce him thoroughly to master the former at this time.

Whilst engaged in reading the Jàtakes, it would be desirable that the student should translate passages selected from that work (we here adopt the language of Sir W. Jones) “ into his native language (English) with the utmost exactness. Let him then lay aside the original, and after a proper interval, let him turn the same chapter (or passage) back into Singhalese by the assistance of the Grammar and Dictionary; let him afterwards compare his second translation with the original, and correct its faults according to that model. This is the exercise so often recommended by the old rhetoricians, by which a student will gradually acquire the style and manner of any author whom he desires to imitate, and by which almost any language may be learned in six months with ease and pleasure.” *

The student will doubtless now be prepared to read some of our classics; and if he be desirous of distinguishing himself as a Singhalese scholar, I would advise him to read Attanagalu-wanse, (see p. clxxxv.) Amàwatura, (see p. clvii.) Půjàwalia, (see p. clxxii.) and Pradeepikàwa (see p. clx.) works which are both elegant and correct. He might also read with advantage some of our poets in connexion with the above prose writers. I need hardly say that Guttille and Kaviasekara are the best which he could undertake not only to translate, but also to render into colloquial prose, with which the learner's studies, carried on with the assistance of his teacher, must have now made him familiar.

* See Sir W. Jones's works, II. p. 130.

I would also recommend the study of Sanscrit, which cannot fail to improve the Singhalese student, just in the same way that a knowledge of Latin and Greek serves to improve our knowledge of English. The models of composition furnished by the Sanscrit cannot be too much recommended; nor can the grace and ornament of its style be sufficiently admired. And an additional reason why a Singhalese scholar ought to be familiar with Sanscrit, is, that the modern Singhalese is nearly the same as Sanscrit both in construction and words—a great portion of the latter language being substituted for the Singhalese, which has fallen into disuse. We may illustrate this by the following passages, shewing the connexion between the Sanscrit and Singhalese.

Sanscrit -අතිගෞඩදශ ක සාක්බිමනහරී., සෞභෞවනදාසානමවනිත්මහාධනොනිවසහි,තෙනවපත්වේ

මෙවයසවර්තමානකාමාදිහයිතවතසාධනද ලිලාවතී නාමවණි පුත්‍රීපරිණීතාව මකරගකගතාඓජයතිව යෙනවනවනීබව, සවට ඔපනිකංසයඃ සතොෂායනාවත් -Hitópadesa, p. 22.

Singhalese-හෙඩදේශයෙහිකොසඹනනුවර අැති, එහිවදනදාසගම්මහධන ඇති වෙලඳෙවෙයි, පස්මව යසෙහි පවත්නා කාමාදිෂ් ඨිතසිඇති ඔහු විසින් ධනය ලිලාවතින්නම් වලඳදුවක් පණයනය කරනු ලැබි, ආදමුව රදදාගේ වෛජයතීනම් ධවජයසේයෙවණවත් වූවාය, මහ එපතිගතද ඇස සයනොවි.

“In the province of Gowda there is a city called Kosambe. In it dwells an opulent merchant named Chandanadása. Being in the last stage of life, with his mind swayed by sensual desires, in the pride of his wealth he married a

« AnteriorContinua »