A grammar of the Telugu language/BOOK FIFTH

వికీసోర్స్ నుండి
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Optimi ad vulgus hi sunt concionatores, qui pueriliter, trivialiter, populariter et simplicissiine docent.

Luxheb. Nobis prima sit virtus perspicuitas. Qcikctilian. VIII. 2.

The Syntax uses an arrangement of words which is common to the Peninsular languages (as Tamil and Canarese) but entirely different from that of Sanscrit and that of Hindustani.

The Telugus are a people quite as highly civilized as any in Europe: occasionally their modes of speech resemble those of Italy. Thus instead of * Sir you told me to do so' the phrase is &,& ^cx£»&p (s^otvoo **>& txuO^oo (this do saying lordships order gave) My lords (plural) gave me directions to do this.

When the Telugus or Tamils speak 'English, the syntax they use is strange, because they think in their own language : and in like manner in speaking their language we cannot without taking much pains use the correct syntax. The Hindus, even those who are uneducated, are generally quite correct in speaking their own language; and certainly never err in number and gender, as the English often do in talking English. The dialect used in Telugu towns is somewhat corrupted: that used in the town of Madras is objectionable: for Madras is a Tamil town: but in retired hamlets the language isspoken very purely: and the style used in Vemana, the Lila, the'Tales of Nala, Hariscbandra, and Abhimanya ought to furnish a complete key to those niceties of Syntax which daily occur in speaking and writing.

Sentences or paragraphs run into one another as is the custom in English Acts of Parliament: being linked by past participies (having so done) or gerunds (by so doing) instead of verba and conjunctions: thus instead of he arose and went the phrase is "^C^oMi^afc having arisen, he went: or else &S)£]4osSbp5$_&j& by (his) calling (me) I came, that is, he called me and I came. Thus resembles the Latin Gerund.

When a long paragraph is composed of several smaller portions* it is often requisite to reverse their order. Indeed in a long intricate paragraph I have often been obliged to read the first line or member, and place the translation low down the page; the next line over it; the third above that; and so on until I reached the final member, and placed it as the commencement of the English paragraph.

Numerous instances of this may be seen in the Telugu Reader, and in theWars of the Rajas.

From the peculiarities of the southern languages it is hard to translate into them from Sanscrit, or English, without a very great change of arrangement.

In poetry and in ordinary talking (as happens in English) the order of words is sometimes reversed : and the arrangement used in the poetry of the one language is used in the prose of the other. Thus instead of <3-°Sfn>^cx»a^i6a the lady gave (it to me) we hear Qft±$S"6irp she gave (it me,) the lady. For TfS^ojfe sSa^fyJSb my brother is come ^?^'?^>^>FT> tSs^ifo he is come, my brother: S"fiT>4aa& !f_;6 tie him up, the dog : which would correctly be So§" frte^kn.


Telugu like Tamil and Cannadi is as laconic as English and we collect the meaning from circumstances: thus s^fk "Give say" means tell (him) to give (it to the man.) Or it may mean desire (them) to give (you the things.) "Cp^^^&jd 'come let Baid they,' that is, they said' permit him to come.' 0 adj. cold i. e.

  • See LanghorneB observations in his preface to Plutarch: on that author's lengthened periods It is very cold.' B£S 3» fever i. e. he has got a fever. fo[p horse! may mean, I want my horse; or the horse is come. ^e>sr» leave? that is will you permit me ? or may I go ? to which the reply may be f 6jl§ yes. tsabxPif Js» Error! i. e. pardon me. s>r»e^?5o^^'«S» your favour! meaning thank you, OT»^)regii'0 I entreat you: thus a single noun or a short phrase is often used in speaking to convey a sentence. In the ordinary language used in letters, the style is not difficult; but the spoken language is often obscure, because the natives often use a single word or a short phrase, perhaps aided by " suiting the action to the word" a motion of the hand, head or eye; which are not easily understood by a foreigner. Indeed silent motions or (fc?$;ScSi!&:) gestures often convey the phrases "I will come;" "quite impossible;" "I do not know" "he is gone" admirable" " shocking," " tall and thin" "large and fat" "he is gone to eat his dinner." These and many other phrases are conveyed in a manner perfectly intelligible to natives. With peculiar gestures the single word aSossSx" t a feast'

denotes To-day is a feast day and I request permission to go home.*

But in writing Telugu letters and statements such brevity is not used: indeed the style is often verbose and lengthy. A prisoner or witness often gives his statements very briefly: which the clerk will write down in a diffuse style supplying dates, hours, ages and numbers according to his own knowledge.

Even in written Telugu the brevity of the dialect often makes it obscure: thus e ^j^^r* &i-fr>^rt&-&> 'Let come if say

anger: go if say anger:' that is, 'If we call (you, you) are angry; if told to go you are equally displeased.' Sl^sSb^Hoeupo GP tr" o3&a «now day full, night little :' i. e. At present the day is longer than the night: This brevity often renders it hard to translate with precision.

In the comedies, the following phrase is common f^iSbTPsa •Oo|_«5io"^5S>fS>'*"F°c5,!^> (Sugriva Vija) Then Ramachandra spoke

and the final «S» is not reckoned in the order of words. This word therefore is not placed along with the Telugu word ssb(6si» manamu 'we.'


The following remarks on Druta and Kala are needless to beginners.

Grammarians have given the name [«fce$;£jo Drutamu to the letter N when it is used to prevent elision.

In Greek Grammar we frequently see N added to the dative plural or to some persons in the verb: and a similar interposition of N is common in Telugu poetry.

Drutamu denotes the N which has no meaning. The letter N has a meaning when it is the sign of the accusative, as bidda • a child' accusative ;or the locative case as ojo4_,;5>'in

the house,' or the verb; as i£'fD§8p < I spoke.' 'he went.'

But when it has no meaning, and is merely used to prevent elision (like an for a in English) it is called Drutam, (or the Extra N,) and the words to which it may be grammatically attached are called ls£&lj6^S5'!S»eu druta pracriticamulu, or, words of the N class

Examples. "SSS" adv. behind, "3i$g'-f &oSa may become "SiSS" ffco&8 they were behind. ts^,rr" atlanS? is it so? Here atla ending in A' is followed by A', denoting interrogation, 'atlas + 5;' and between these letters N is inserted, atla-na. fcsapTS&jSSftoce atani cheta-n-adiginchiri, they asked it through his hands. Here cheta, ends in a vowel; and adiginchiri begins with a vowel: to prevent elision, N is inserted. Again; tr»"^'Ss& ran-c-ledu he really did not come. Here ri 'come'is followed by the intensive and to prevent elision N is inserted; 'range' because tr0 ra the infinitive is a druta word.


There are particular words which are not allowed to add N in this manner, and these are called S'lT'3'jjriKto Calasabdamulu or Cala words.

All nominative cases are included in this rule. Thus ■sfjfc&o am vadu-undenu, 'he was' may by elision become ■snt&o'&jSa vadundenu; but not snSoi&o'Sffc vadunundenu.

Should however the N be inserted as here shewn, ■sr°s6fko"3j& vadu-n-undenu, the letter N would signify 'AND:' thus 'and he was,' or 'he also was:' because fl» or fcj. (nu or nnu) may be the conjunction. Thus N may be inserted if it has a meaning: but cannot be inserted (as in the Greek words already noticed) for the purpose of preventing elision.

Further rules regarding Druta and Cala will be placed in another Chapter: because they may be required by the advanced student; though unintelligible to the beginner.

The principles of Druta and Cala have been supposed peculiarly obscure: but we may observe that the Telugus, even the most illiterate, who never heard of the Grammatical terms 'Druta' and 'Cala' find the distinction easy. Hence we may fairly conclude that the difficulty has arisen from the mode in which the subject has been treated in Grammars. There evidently are two parts of the subject, one is quite easy and has now been explained: the other being more refined can only be understood after we become acquainted with the Syntax and Prosody.

In some grammars it is asserted that all nominatives are Kala except l^fr nenu, 'I' and ^i$> tanu 'self.' In poetry these words may become "^ ne and V td. But long final vowels, (e and a in he and ta) never can suffer elision: it would therefore be needless to add N to prevent elision. We therefore do not require any such rule. It is sufficient to know that these words have each two forms.

The learner need not even peruse the rules concerning Druta and Cala. Native tutors insist greatly on them: but they are unnecessary.