Imatges de pàgina

og and @, are confined to the Singhalese. And it is remarkable, that the Nagari possesses the long af and & ,

alone, which, although omitted in the Singhalese alphabet for the reasons mentioned by us elsewhere (see note at p. 15), are yet included in the Sidath’Sangarawa. Professor Bopp in his Comparative Grammar, p. 3, says with reference to these letters, “Among the simple vowels the old Indian alphabet is deficient in the designation of the Greek epsilon and omicron (e and o), whose sounds, if they existed when the Sanscrit was a living language, yet could only have evolved themselves, subsequently to the fixing of its written character, out of the short a; for an alphabet which lends itself to the subtlest gradations of sound would assuredly not have neglected the difference between ă ě and >, if the sounds had been forthcoming."

€, is used only in Elu and Pali. According to Professor Wilson, a similar character is found in the ancient Vedas, to which it is peculiar; and this itwould seem partaker of 'l' and 'r.'

O, is formed of and , as mo kalu 'black.'

There is one other consonant, which, though producing a compound sound, is yet unknown to the Sanscrit. It is

ç, exclusively Elu, compounded of on and ę; as coç handa 'moon.'

The consonants w, a, and , are common to the Sanscrit, Pali, and Elu; and are respectively formed by a union of two of the characters already given.

w in Elu is sounded differently from Pali and Sanscrit. Thus ww.anga, 'horn,' Elu, is more soft than cow gangá, ‘river,' Pali and Sanscrit. This letter is formed in the Elu by a union of o and co; and in Pali and Sanscrit by that of the sounds @ and . It is, however, supposed that its

m formation in the former is precisely in the same manner as in the latter languages; but this is a mistake, since @ in foreign to the Singhalese. Vide Appendix C.

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• Pide BCO E çu. Elu Prosody, p. 1.


@ is formed of bo and @; as w@ handa, sound, Elu; maganda, ‘fruit,' Pali and Sanscrit. Like the rest of the union-letters here mentioned, the two sounds of which each is a compound, are more fully uttered in Sanscrit and Pali, whilst in the Elu they are so blended together that the first affords but a very faint sound.

@ is a compound of and . In the Elu it has a soft sound as q@ amba, ‘mango'; in the Pali and Sanscrit & hard and full, as ça ambu, 'water.'

The last three, as well as ę, are susceptible of the same inflections and variations to which we have directed attention; and thus we get the (4x 12=48,+241.48=) 290 sounds for which we have distinct symbols in the Singhalese language.

It must not be forgotten, that some of the consonants have different forms producing corresponding aspirate sounds, They are not used in the Elu, except in expressing words of a foreign origin, and are therefore omitted in the Sidath' Sangarawa. But, since they are essential to a correct expression of the Pali and Sanscrit, (languages which the Singhalese anciently used in common with the Elu), these aspirate letters, with several others which we shall hereafter enumerate, are inserted in the Singhalese Hõdia. *

The aspirate letters or sounds are the 10 following: , , , , , , , , 9, and

The Singhalese alphabet also contains 7 Sanscrit vowels, va camioda and the unchangeable (Visarga)

ප expressed with the 1st vowel, thus—8. It is by their

. Ooo Hodia is a noup in the feminine gender, derived from the root &; and an inseparable preposition, meaning 'well'. The se being changed into ows by the rule at $ 14. a,, and the ow) into OGS by the rule at § 22. a., we obtain 608, to which usage has added the expletive , under the principles which are laid down at p. 88. The root a means 'dying in the air,' and has reference to sound,' which is conveyed įn the air upon the utterance of the letters which the Hodia embodies,

assistance that the Singhalese consonants, which are.common to both Pali and Sanscrit, are changed into sa, 0-22, *n, m, 90, 90009, 0508, &c. &c.

To the above seventeen characters we may add the 13 following, which do not occur in the Singhalese; viz. m, O, ę, R,res, ,@, , Sanscrit and Pali; ca, , , and na Sanscrit; and a Pali.

® is a guttural nasal. Professor Bopp says that it “is pronounced like the German n before gutturals, as in the words sinken, enge."

, corresponds with the ch in "church.' mę is the nasal which belongs to the palatal class of letters in Sanscrit, just as the other four divisions of gutturals, cerebrals, dentals, and labials have each a nasal sound in Wę, son, on, and respectively (see Appendix C.)

R, is compounded of up and as in i wancha (Pali and Sanscrit) 'deceit.'

res, The aspirate form of the last. It is less frequently used in Sanscrit, and is compounded of wą and or, as in qi68 ancha, endeavour.'

rů is formed by a union of O and Ø, as in a regattha, (Pali) "eight.

@, is produced by a union of ę and @, as in q@ Budha, (Pali and Sanscrit) Budha.' ə, is a compound of ç and e, as in o dwi, (Pali and

Ş Sanscrit) 'two.' co and . The equivalent of ca in the Nagari, says

Professor Wilson, “is less decidedly 'sh' than the second, as in our 'ss' in ‘session'; it is a palatal letter: sha (c) is a cerebral, as in “shore’: and (w) is a dental sibilant, as in Sanscrit.o is a compound of o and wą, as in pocę prajnha,

avą 'pundit,' or 'scholar.'

ro is a compound of co and o;* as in arsa anksha, “side.' a is the reduplication of a, as e sabba, 'all.' 0, in Elu as io Pali corresponds with the French a in mon,

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It is perhaps unnecessary to remark, that although they are used by us at present, the Singhalese language recognizes no joint-letters, of which a great number occurs in the Sanscrit and Pali.

A brief elucidation of the so-called “Singhalese alphabet,” leads us to a consideration of the prose writings of the Singhalese, which, as is the case in Sanscrit, are neither so numerous, varied, nor recent as their poetical works. Still, there is, happily, sufficient left in the literature of Ceylon, to redeem it from the undeserved detractions of ignorant criticism.

The Rev. Mr. Clough, speaking of the Singhalesa, says (see preface to his Dictionary), “ This language is copious, and must in former periods have been cultivated to a high degree of perfection; it is regular in its Grammatical construction, and possesses most of the elegancies of style; and from the numerous works which are still extant, it is evident that it is capable of being used in every species of composition.”—Mr. Pridham, in his compilation on Ceylon (vol. I. p. 272) also says: “Such is its variety of expression, and so numerous are its synonymes, that it may

almost be said to contain three distinct vocabularies-one in addressing Majesty, another in addressing the Ministers of Religion, and a third for familiar intercourse.” This picture is not altogether overdrawn; for there are numerous words

, in the Singhalese which are used towards particular classes of people. E. G. Ecdimo 80 proceed,' is a term peculiar in its application to the priesthood; whereas wouloude, of the like signification, is applied to the nobility; and wodę, Demol, ocot,* oecodes, woras, oe to equals, and inferiors of different grades. So likewise, ferodo eat' is applied to priests; 630000 osa to nobles; modo to


020o!, mood are expressions confined to the Kandian Country; and are applied in the same sense that ecuadas, woodes used in the Maritime Provinces.


inferiors; and the last, with different modifications, such as 998,

s.923,00, osotas,, -38cs to equals, and inferiors.

Here we may also observe, that innumerable Singhalese words, without any alteration in their spelling, are susceptible of various meanings for various objects; and such indeed is the difference in their significations, that what the vulgar may regard as rank nonsense, is nothing short of sterling imagery. Illustrative of this, there is an ancient work called Dahamgata, from which we select the following passage:

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cod:49:298: 3,0 @ Scenoneses The plain meaning of the above is," O cousin! Break not Tampala (a pot herb); spread Heenati rice after pounding the same; run in search of oil; and laugh not after breaking the pan.” But the same stanza also signifies—“O wisel destroy the darkness of ignorance; hasten to reflect that ye are a mass of bones (deformities); avoid lusts; engage yourselves in meditations; and be not sorrowful, but destroy the cravings (powers) of the flesh.”

In prose as in poetry, nothing is more to be desired than clearness and elegance of expression. What that clearness and elegance are, in reference to any particular language, can be decided by none but those intimately acquainted with the genius of that language; for that which is elegance in the English is the very opposite in the Singhalese. To enter into a detail of the rules of Composition, would be to write a Commentary on the Sidath' Sangarawa. But since our object is to give the English reader a sketch of the distinguishing features of Singhalese literature; we may call his attention to the sine-qua-non in Singhalese com positions, viz., the necessity for introducing, as much as possible, one's entire thoughts and ideas on a subject into one unbroken sentence. In this respect the Singhalese is as different from, and as much opposed to the English, “whose

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