Imatges de pÓgina

predominant in the South, decreases as one approaches Britain and Germany.

The Singhalese is unquestionably an Indian dialect; and looking merely to the geographical position of Ceylon, it is but natural to conclude that the Singhalese owe their origin to the inhabitants of Southern India, and that their language belongs to the Southern family of languages. To trace therefore the Singhalese to one of the Northern family of languages, and to call it a dialect of Sanscrit, is apparently far more difficult than to assign it an origin common with the Telingu, Tamil, and Malayalim, the Southern family.

But in view of all the arguments pro and con, the Singhalese appears to us to be either a kindred language of the Sanscrit, or one of those tongues (as indeed the Singhalese Alphabet, as old as the language itself, testifies, vide infra), which falls under the head of the Southern class. Yet upon the whole, we incline to the opinion, that it is the former. For, although Ceylon is on the South of India, yet it may have been peopled by a northern tribe: and although our alphabet is different from that which is regarded as the most appropriate to the Sanscrit, the Nagari, it must nevertheless not be forgotten, that the Nagari is to be met with on ancient monuments in different parts of this island. Furthermore, all our investigations to exhibit the difference between the Sanscrit and Singhalese both in their grammatical forms, and in the structure of the two languages, only furnish us with evidence to negative the particular relation ascribed to the Singhalese; viz. that it is derived from the Sanscrit. Still, the similarity in the general frame-work of these two languages (compare the Grammar and the notes); and, above all, the resemblances which the prepositions and numerous particles present (see Appendix C.) are so palpable and striking, that we are compelled to assign them a common origin. *

And the same reasons preclude the supposition that the Singhalese falls under the denomination of "those languages, which in the interval

On the valuable authority of Professor Bopp we learn that there is a remarkable concurrence of nearly all the individuals of the Sanscrit family of languages in expressing the idea 'to go' by the root i. Now the Singhalese, besides its similarity in this respect,* also possesses what Bopp terms “the one-syllableness of fundamental ideas;" | for the Singhalese for “go” is also cb. Yet we have the high authority of the learned writer of the Sidath' Sangarawa, that though the latter word bears an affinity to, it is nevertheless not derived from, the Sanscrit (see Grammar $ 6.) Numerous instances of this kind prove therefore, that the Singhalese “stands in fraternal connection with the Sanscrit, not in the relation of descent from it; that it is not begotten by it, but sprung from the same source with it."

Apart from these considerations, the utter absence of all traces of the Singhalese in India, and the existence in it of many characteristics common to all primitive languages, prove it to have been a very ancient one; and it is, therefore, not without reason that we believe it to be an off-shoot of the



of thousands of years in which they have been separated from the sources whence they arose, have, in a great measure, so altered the forms of words, that it is no longer practicable to refer them to the mother dialect, if it be still existing and knou n." Bopp, II. p. 712.

e. g. 900165, 59'unable to go': vide infra, the continuation of the Inscriptiou found at Mihintala, clause Second.

+ Our readers will perceive the existence in the Singhalese language of a great number of words of one syllable. Indeed all the mono-syllabic Bounds in the language are full of meaning: e. 8. 1. O thou, as longevity, & arrow, 69 be, eg that, she, qu etcetera, a9 earth, sad said, eaten, ගයාන් where, 099 stanza,

verse, excrement, col house, as gweat, serpent,



an hour, & root, & daughter, wer effulgence, or feet,


earth, 3 this one, a this, cshe, wo go, og lust, of night, cr form Or adze, ci insert, & wood, e blood, paddy, C3 world, co way,

Əg wind, as branches, lion, og broth, and shadow, 603 eat, Ovi thee, thee, (fem.) Do thou, as arm, od much, an. cannot, que patronymic, ou colour, 3 l no, Ou this female, WI and, po horns, baving druuk, &c. See particles in Appendix C.

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same source from whence the Sanscrit and Pali are derived. A resemblance in words and in grammatical structure is indeed common to all languages: but the formation of words from roots is in one of three ways. That by the addition of formative syllables to the root is the system to which Humboldt, Bopp, and Adam Smith have given the precedence in point of date. This it will be perceived is the prevailing ingredient in the Singhalese (vide Chapter VIII.) In this respect, as in that of innumerable objects being expressed by descriptive terms (see note (*) at p. 12] the Singhalese has a claim to be considered a primitive language.

It is also a fact, that the Singhalese language, as we find it at the present day, contains three primary elements, one bearing a relation to the Pali, another to the Sanscrit, and a third, in all probability, to that tongue from whence the Pali and Sanscrit are themselves derived. To the first belong terms connected with the national religion of the Singhalese; to the second terms of arts and sciences; and to the third native terms expressive of the common wants of mankind before the refined organization of society. And no person can study the Singhalese with any thing like attention, without perceiving that nearly three-fourths of the same may be now traced to the two first sources, leaving but a quarter which is the basis of the Singhalese. Be this, however, as it may; a careful examination of the oldest compositions furnishes us with sufficient evidence to confirm us in the opinion, that the present structure of the Singhalese language is in a great measure the result of a modern refinement.

Pridham in his compilation on Ceylon vol: 1. p 273, says—" The language employed in Singhalese books is not identical with that usually spoken, nor is it generally understood; it is properly called Elu, or more commonly High Singhalese, and according to the author of the Singhalese Dictionary, was the language of Lanka prior to the Sioghalese conquest, the common Singhalese being supposed to have been introdaced by the Singha conqueror. Elu does not bear so near an allinity to Sanscrit, as the colloquial language,

We may here notice the inquiry which has been frequently made—“Why is it that the Singhalese draw so largely from the Sanscrit rather than from the Pali, the language in which the religious works of the Singhalese are written, and probably the language of the Wijayan dynasty?”

We cannot indeed affirm that the Pali has ever been neglected by the Singhalese. * Our own belief is, that both Pali

, and Sanscrit were anciently used alike. The existence in the Singhalese alphabet of Pali and Sanscrit characters, added to the fact that natives of the Island have from time to time composed works in both those languages, furnishes us with proof presumptive in support of that belief. But we must observe, that the Singhalese have latterly manifested a greater partiality to the Sanscrit than to the Pali. This perhaps may

be explained. Of the two languages the Sanscrit is more euphonious, and as the name itself signifies, more “polished":t than the Pali. The poets and commentators, who composed the majority of the Singhalese literati, at least after the general destruction of the native records, have, it is believed, with a view to "embellish” their language, borrowed freely

of which nine out of every ten words are derived from Sanscrit or Pali” The reader will perceive, that although we cannot pronounce every part of the above passage to be correct; yet that the latter part of Mr. Pridham's opinion is borne out by the specimens of the oldest writings we have already laid before bim.

• The Rev. S. Hardy, in his late publication entitled Eastern Monachism, bears tes to this fact in the following terms: The high state of cultivation to which the Pali language was carried, and the great attention that has been paid to it in Ceylon, may be inferred from the fact, that a list of works in the possession of the Singhalese that I formed during my residence in that Island, includes thirty-five works or Pali Grammar, some of them being of considerable extent.-P. p. 191-2.

+ Sanscrit is the passive participle of a compound verb, formed by prefixing the preposition Sam to the crude verb cre, and by interposing the letter 1 when this compound is used in the sense of embellishment. Its literal meaning then is adorned ;' and when applied to a language it signibes polished." - Colebrooke's Essays, vol. II. p. 2.


from that which was more congenial to their views, the Sanscrit; and have thus laid a foundation for a mixed dialect, which is the one now in use. Even prose writers of a comparatively modern date (of whom there are few, if any at all, deserving of notice), have closely followed the example of the poets and coinmentators, by whom alone they could beguided in the absence of the ancient literature of the Singhalese, which had already suffered with their Scriptures. One other reason exists, which accounts for the partiality manifested by the Singhalese towards the Sanscrit. It is, that almost all the arts and sciences known amongst the Singhalese were borrowed from Sanscrit writers. To the above, perhaps, we may add another, contained in a passage translated by Mr. Colebrooke, and which, being furnished by the Brahmins, probably did not fail to give to the Sanscrit a greater claim upon the Singhalese. The passage referred to is the following:

“Language, again, the virtuous have declared to be fourfold, Sanscrita (or the polished dialect,] Pracrita (or the vul

• We cannot help remarking, that the Commentators have been the instruments by which a mixed Elu-Sanscrit style has been introduced to this Island. For it will be perceived, that with a view to pedantic exhibition of their learning, and also to make themselves intelligible to the Brah • mins from India, ancient commentators invariably adopted a mised, even wbere the Singhalese afforded them ample scope for a purely Elu style. All subsequent writers, with their deep veneration for all that had been handed down by their forelathers, have continued in this practice, and the result has been, an adherence to the same style with an unscrupulous tebacity. by the ignorant as well as the learned. As an illustration of this, we may select the very opening address in the Sidatb'Sangarawa, and its paraphrase. The Terl @cçoe BEOO WEosicmançow:

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