A Malayalam and English dictionary/Preface

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A Malayalam and English dictionary

രചന:ഹെർമൻ ഗുണ്ടർട്ട് (1872)

[ 7 ] PREFACE.

The materials for this work have been collected during more
than twenty-five years' study of the language. The words have been
taken from all available sources, from the lips of speakers of all ranks,
castes and occupations, from the letters and records of many different
districts, and from the writers in prose and poetry of every age. A
list necessarily imperfect of the literature which has been ransacked
for contributions, will be subjoined under the head of Abbreviations.

2. It has been found difficult to draw the line of demarcation
between Malayālam and Tamil words. These two languages of old
differed rather as dialects of the same member of the Dravidian family,
than as separate languages; in consequence many Tamil words occur
still in local usage (e.g. അച്ചം അട in some of its senses) or in time-
honored phrases and formulas (e.g. അനുപ്പുക, അമെയുക, പുരാൻ),
which have long ceased to be used in colloquial speech. A consider-
able number of such have been received and marked as a M. (ancient
Malayālam). They cannot be dispensed with, if the Dictionary is to
give a true representation of the history of the language. This history
commences for us (if we except a few inscriptions on copper and
stone) with the Rāma Charitam, in which we probably have the oldest
Malayālam poem still in existence, composed as it was before the intro-
duction of the Sanscrit alphabet and deserving of the particular
attention of the scholar, as it exhibits the earliest phase of the language,
perhaps centuries before the arrival of the Portuguese. For several
antiquated words (such as അഴുക, അറം, II. അങ്കി) this poem is the only
authority. The bulk of the other great poems, the Bhāratam, Rāmāya[ 8 ] nam, and the versions of the Purānas were composed within the two
or three last centuries. As these constitute the popular literature of
all Malayālam readers, no Dravidian word found in them has been
excluded. On the other hand there are many Malayālam composi-
tions of later date, especially such as are current among the Vēdāntists,
which evidently affect Tamil modes of expression. These have been
excluded if not supported by other evidence.

3. To determine the amount of Sanscrit words to be received
into a Malayalam Dictionary has been a task of even greater difficulty.
As this Dictionary is not intended for the use of Sanscrit students, the
rule followed in compiling it has been to include only those words
and meanings that were found in bonâfide Malayālam productions; to
sift and reduce the enormous mass of mythological and botanical names
and synonyms, many of which are confessedly very doubtful; to record
merely the principal signification of words confined to poetical usage;
and to devote particular attention only to those terms which are gene-
rally accepted as fairly "domiciled" in Malayālam and which have
in the course of naturalization received various applications not to
be met with in pure Sanscrit (e. g. അന്യായം, അവസരം).

4. The idioms and significations peculiar to Southern Kerala or
Travancore, have been carefully collected both from the productions
of the Cottayam Press, and from the very valuable Dictionaries com-
piled by the Portuguese and Italian Missionaries of Verapoli; works
which, although completed in 1746, rest upon materials accumulated
in the 17th, perhaps even 16th century, and rank as the oldest monu-
ment extant of the study of Indian languages by Europeans. (They
are marked in the Dictionary V1. & V2.). Still greater care has been
bestowed upon the language of Northern Kerala or Malabar proper
(with the Bēkal Talook of Canara); and explanations of the histori-
cal names, castes and dynasties (comp. അകത്തൂടു, അടിയോടി, അമ്മാമൻ,
അല്ലൂർ, അവരോധം, അസ്ഥിക്കുറെച്ചി) and of the institutions, usages
and traditions, by which this province differs so singularly from the
surrounding countries (see for instance, അങ്കം, അടിമ, അനുഭവം, അപ
രാധം) have been drawn from every trustworthy source. Amongst [ 9 ] the sources for this kind of information I would particularly point
out the old Tellicherry Records (TR.) as conveying a mass of instruc-
tion in the best prose of the language.

5. The object being to present a faithful picture of the whole
Malayālam tongue, the writer has not felt at liberty to exclude the
foreign words which have of necessity crept into the language. The
Arabic, Persian, Hindustani, Portuguese and even English terms,
which the commerce of centuries and the conquest of foreign creeds
and arms with new laws and arts have introduced along this coast,
cannot be proscribed, whatever regret their prevalence may excite
in the purist. They do not, of course, claim the same minute investi-
gation and treatment, which belong to words, whose birthright and
position in the language are indisputable. (See for Ar. അള്ള, അമാ
നം അമീർ, അമ്പർ, അലുവ; for P. അങ്കാമി, അജിമാശി; for H. അമാർ,
അമൽ, അമ്പാരി; for Port. അനനാസ്; for E അഫീൽ).

6. It is for the same reason, that provincialisms and vulgarisms
have not been rejected, though they are pointed out as such (f.i. അം
സരം, അനുവാസം under അവസരം, അനുവാദം). To discard coarse and
even obscene modes of speech, has not been thought advisable, how-
ever much their existence and currency may be regretted. They are
marked "obsc.", as was done by the fathers of Verapoli in their day,
that they may be avoided. Under all these heads (§ 2—6) the student
will of course have room for candid allowance concerning omissions
and superfluities.

7. The writer has throughout endeavoured to trace the origin of
each word; and particular attention has been paid to the comparison
of the cognate Dravidian languages. He has not been successful in
every instance (e.g. അഞ്ഞാറ്); sometimes the unimportance of the
word, as in the case of provincialisms, prevented him from prosecut-
ing his search to the end.

8. The arrangement chosen has been, to point out as far as possi-
ble the root and origin of each word, to give first its primitive sense
and to add the figurative and free senses in a rational order; lastly
to illustrate them by examples taken from reliable authorities. The [ 10 ] different constructions in which the same word occurs (e.g. അലങ്ക
രിക്ക), its various applications (e. g. അടങ്ങുക), allusions to the tra-
ditions and superstitions of the people (അട്ട, അരണ), standing phrases
(അടക്കം, അവസ്ഥ) and proverbial expressions (അട്ടം, അതിബുദ്ധി, അ
ത്യാശ, അൻപു, അമ്പാഴം, അശ്വിനി, അള), these points have been es-
pecially considered in selecting the illustrations. The Compounds
and Derivatives are arranged under each leading word in alphabetical
order, but are not treated at the length that appeared necessary in the
case of the parent words.

9. The orthography of each word is fixed at the head of the article
which treats of it, but in the illustrations deviations are allowed, when
they exhibit a current pronunciation (e.g. അടെപ്പു, അടപ്പു), or are
borne out by the constant usage of some locality or caste (അമൃതു, അമ
രേത്തു), or when, as in the case of the numerous Tadbhavams, it is
caused by the inequalities of the Sanscrit and Dravidian alphabets
(e.g. അത്തം, അത്തി).

10. It cannot be expected that the work should be compressed
within the same compass as the Rev. Mr. Bailey's Dictionary. Not
that the latter will always be found the more concise of the two. It
is one of the chief defects of that, otherwise valuable, work, that it
does not discriminate between Malayālam and Sanscrit terms and
leaves the student completely in the dark, both as regards the ety-
mology and the proportional importance of words. For it concedes
to unknown and useless words (e.g. അജശൃംഗി, അമൃണാളം) as well as
to those that are comparatively unimportant (as ഇതി, ച) more space,
than to words of the genuine native stock that occur frequently in idi-
oms of daily current use (e.g. (അടുക്കുന്നു, അല്ല). In consequence it
will be found, that the Sanscrit part of the present work (see for
instance the compounds with അനു, അപ, അഭി) occupies less space
than was the case in the former Dictionary, and this without any
detriment to the subject matter. The progress made in the study
of Sanscrit subsequent to the appearance of Dr. Wilson's Dictionary
(on which the Sanscrit portion of Mr. Bailey's work is based) has
enabled the writer to throw new light even on this part of his task. [ 11 ] On the other hand he has endeavored to condense the matter present-
ed into the shortest possible space. What is obvious has been omitted,
many secondary words are but slightly noticed and a liberal use has
been made of abbreviations. By these means it is possible to publish
the whole work in one portable volume; smaller than Rottler's Tamil
or Reeve's Canarese Dictionary.

11. The student may at the beginning be embarassed by some of
the abbreviations adopted (for instance √ for root; + plus as in അവൻ,
which is composed of അ+അൻ; the figures (2)(3) which point to that
signification of the parent word from which the derivative is deducible,
(as അകക്കരൾ (3) to അകം 3., the mind). Also the absence of the
common signs s., adj. may startle him at first sight. They have been
deliberately abandoned. What, for instance, is the use of calling (അച
രം an adj., which indeed it is in Sanscrit, when the example subjoined
ചരാചരങ്ങൾ shows that in Malayālam it is used as a noun? Or why
should അകൃതം be called an adj. and അകൃത്യം a subst, whilst in S.
both are equally adjectives and in Malayālam strictly speaking both
are nouns, though poetical usage may treat them more or less as
adjectives. Can the indefinite Numerals, such as അനേകം, അസാരം
be called adjectives, or have composition-cases like അകത്തേ a claim
to that name? It seems to be of more moment to show by examples,
how the words are applied, than to pretend to classify them by the
utterly incongruous nomenclature of the grammar of European
languages. Where doubts might arise, the gender, which in most
cases is recognizable by the termination, will be found marked, as
അമ്പലവാസി m.,— സിനി f.; അഴകൻ m., അഴകി f. Butsince Malayālam
grammar acknowledges only the distinctions of Nouns, Verbs and In-
declinables, the Verb seems to be the only part of speech which re-
quires specifying marks. This has been amply done by the abbrevi-
ations a. v.=active verb, n. v.= neuter verb, CV.= Causal Verb, den V.=
denominative Verb, defV.= defective Verb, (for instance ഉള്ളു), adj. V.=
adjectival Verb (as അരു, ഇള), aux. V.= auxiliary Verb (f.i. ഇടുക), as
also by marking its parts (past, 1st and 2nd fut., inf., conditional, adj.
and adv. participle, VN.=Verbal Noun, etc.). [ 12 ] 12. An undertaking of this magnitude cannot lay claim to any-
thing like perfection as regards either completeness or correctness.
But the writer conceives, that a publication of the kind is a desider-
atum in Malabar, and that this attempt at supplying it will be found
serviceable to the cause of education in that province. Should it
one day be superseded by a work approaching nearer to the standard
he has had in view, he hopes that he will be found to have at least
furnished a stock of valuable materials, that will under all circum-
stances render to his successors a not unwelcome assistance in their
toilsome task, in the same way that he in his has received aid from
the accumulated labours of his predecessors.

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