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EVIDENCES OF THE
OF THE DRAVIDIAN LANGUAGES,
CONDENSED AND ARRANGED FROM
Rev. R. CALDWELL'S COMPARATIVE DRAVIDIAN GRAMMAR.
BY REV. EDWARD WEBB,
Presented to the Society October 16th, 1861.
Extract from Mr. Webb's Letter accompanying the following Article.
Indian Ocean, May 21st, 1861. ... "The remarks you make on the affiliation of the Dravidian languages have led me to examine somewhat more attentively the arguments and proofs adduced by Mr. Caldwell, in his Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Languages, in confirmation of the Scythian affinities of those idioms. As a result of that investigation, I became better satisfied with their general correctness, and assured that, were they collected and presented in combination, their weight and importance would be acknowledged by those interested in these investigations. The force of Mr. Caldwell's proofs is greatly diminished by their being thinly scattered through his entire work. His first object being, not to prove a Scythian affinity, but to compare the idioms one with another, the notices of an extra-Dravidian relationship occur, as it were, incidentally.
My work, in this paper, has been to collect, combine, and condense the proofs rather lavishly strewn over the treatise. I have generally, though not uniformly, used the words of the author; yet my plan of epitomizing and condensing as much as possible would seldom allow me to quote more than a sentence or two in a place word for word. Only here and there have I introduced a suggestion from other sources, and always either in confirmation or in amplification of the author's thought. When a paragraph of considerable length has been introduced verbatim, it has been included within quotation marks; in other cases it has not been thought necessary to encumber the page with them."...
properly dery are called anskrit lexiconhatriya. It was a
The term Drâvida has been adopted from the Sanskrit. It properly denotes the Tamil country only. The Brahmans of that country are called “ Drâvida Brahmans.” Its original meaning, according to Sanskrit lexicons, is 'a man of an outcast tribe, descended from a degraded Kshatriya.' It was applied by the Sanskrit geographers to the aborigines of the extreme south, prior to the introduction among them of Brabmanical civilization. It has recently been employed to designate the cluster of idioms spoken by more than thirty millions of people inhabiting the southern portion of the Indian peninsula. In this little group of dialects, the author of the treatise from which the present abstract is made enumerates nine, which are distinct and well defined. Among these, five have written characters and a cultivated literature: they are the Tamil, Telugu, Canarese, Mala. yalam, and Tulu. These idioms differ one from another in their written characters, in their vocables and inflectional forms, and in their literary culture. They differ so essentially that a person acquainted with but one is unable to understand either of the others. They cannot, therefore, be regarded as provincial dia. lects of a single language, but are to be considered and treated as distinct, though affiliated. They are said to be affiliated because of the large number of roots of primary importance, and the essential and distinctive grammatical characteristics, which they all possess in common. They are on this account regarded as having had a common origin, and as forming a distinct family of tongues.
The term "Scythian” was first employed by Professor Rask to designate that group of tongues which comprises the Finnish, Turkish, Mongolian, Tungusian, and Samoïedic families. This great kingdom of speech, as it has been termed, includes all those languages spoken in Asia or Europe (excepting only the Chinese) which are not embraced in the other two great divisions, the Aryan and Semitic. They have by some been designated the "Tartar," by others the “ F'innish," « Ural-Altaic,” “Mongolian," and “Turanian.” The objection to these terms is that, having been often used to designate one or more species, to the exclusion of the rest, they cannot properly be employed as common designations of the genus. But the term “Scythian," having been used in the classics in a vague, undefined sense, to denote generally the barbarous tribes of unknown origin that inhabited the northern part of Europe and Asia, seems to be appropriate, convenient, and available.
Mr. Caldwell claims, for the Dravidian idioms, "not merely a general relationship to the whole Scythian group, but also a position in that group which is independent of its other members, as a distinct family or genus; or, at least, as a distinct sub-genus of tongues." He regards it as most nearly allied to