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Indian Lexicon: An introduction

[For footnotes related to this text, see the pdf version of the document.]

Discovering the language of India circa 3000 B.C.

This is a comparative study of lexemes of all the languages of India (which may also be referred to, in a geographical/historical phrase, as the Indian linguistic area).

This lexicon seeks to establish a semantic concordance, across the languages or numraire facile of the Indian linguistic area: from Brahui to Santali to Bengali, from Kashmiri to Mundarica to Sinhalese, from Marathi to Hindi to Nepali, from Sindhi or Punjabi or Urdu to Tamil. A semantic structure binds the languages of India, which may have diverged morphologically or phonologically as evidenced in the oral tradition of Vedic texts, or epigraphy, literary works or lexicons of the historical periods. This lexicon, therefore, goes beyond, the commonly held belief of an Indo-European language and is anchored on proto-Indian sememes.

The work covers over 8,000 semantic clusters which span and bind the Indian languages. The basic finding is that thousands of terms of the Vedas, the Munda languages (e.g., Santali, Mundarica, Sora), the so-called Dravidian languages and the so-called Indo-Aryan languages have common roots. This belies the received wisdom of cleavage between, for example, the Dravidian or Munda and the Aryan languages.

The lexicon seeks to establish an areal 'Indian' language type, by establishing semantic concordance among the so-called Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Munda languages. The area spanned is a geographical region bounded by the Indian ocean on the south and the mountain ranges which insulate it from other regions of the Asian continent on the north, east and west.

This lexicon is a tribute to the brilliant work done by etymologists and scholars of Indian linguistics, and to a number of scholars who have contributed to unravelling the enigma of the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) Script and to the study of ancient Indian science and technology.

The author believes that the work can contribute to/strengthen the unifying elements of Indian common cultural heritage and counter divisive forces which occasionally hold sway. The author also realizes that language is an extraordinarily emotional issue and is subject to a variety of possible interpretations. Language is also a philosophical problem par excellence.

The justification for this comparative lexicon of languages currently spoken by over a billion people of the world can be provided at a number of levels:

(1) to bring people closer to the ancient heritage of a Indian language family of which the extant Indian languages (Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Munda language streams) are but dialectical forms;

(2) to generate further studies in the disciplines of (i) Indian archaeology, (ii) general semantics and comparative linguistics; (iii) design of fifth-generation computer systems; and

(3) to provide a basis for further studies in grammatical philosophy and neurosciences on the formation of semantic patterns or structures in the human brain -- neurosciences related to the study of linguistic competence which seems to set apart the humans from other living beings.

The urgent warrant for this work is the difficulty faced by scholars in collating different lexicons and in obtaining classical works such as CDIAL (A Comparative Dictionary of Indo-Aryan Languages) even in eminent libraries.

In tracing the etyma (lit. truth in Greek) of the Indian languages, it is adequate to indicate the word forms which can be traced into the mists of history.

Hypotheses on Indian vocabulary

The following hypotheses govern the semantic clustering attempted in this lexicon.

I. It is possible to re-construct a proto-Indian idiom or lingua franca of circa the centuries traversed by the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab civilization (c. 2500 to 1700 B.C.).

II. India is a linguistic area nurtured in the cradle of the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab civilization.


The hypotheses reject two earlier linguistic assertions: (i) Sir William Jones's assertion in 1786 of an Indo-European linguistic family and (ii) Francis Whyte Ellis's assertion in 1816 of a southern Indian family of languages. These two assertions have resulted in two comparative or etymological lexicons of the so-called 'Indo-Aryan' and 'Dravidian' languages. This cleavage between the two language families is rejected. The exclusion of the so-called Austro-Asiatic or Munda (or Kherwa_ri) languages is also rejected. Instead, it is proposed that there was a proto-Indian linguistic area (c. 2500 B.C.) which included these three language groups. The underlying assumption is that the so-called Dravidian, Munda and Aryan languages can be traced to an ancient Indian family by establishing the unifying elements, in semantic terms. This echoes Pope's observations made in a different context: '... that between the languages of Southern India and those of the Aryan family there are many deeply seated and radical affinities; that the differences between the Dravidian tongues and the Aryan are not so great as between the Celtic (for instance) and the Sanskrit; and that, by consequence, the doctrine that the place of the Dravidian dialects is rather with the Aryan than with the Turanian family of languages is still capable of defence... the resemblances (appeared) most frequently in the more uncultivated Dravidian dialects... the identity (was) most striking in the names of instruments, places, and acts connected with a simple life...' (G.U.Pope, Indian Antiquary; loc. cit. R. Swaminatha Aiyar, Dravidian Theories, 1922-23, repr., Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1987, pp.11-12).

Methodology and limitations of the work

The methodology to test the hypotheses will be based on the design of a vocabulary super-set (in semantic terms). The governing principle of this lexicon is that phonetic and grammatical laws are subordinate to semantic laws within a language family. Cognates do not have to be concordant in phonetic and morphological forms; cognates have to be concordant in phonetic and semantic forms to suggest linguistic affinity among dialects of a language family. To quote, Tolka_ppiyam, "ella_c collum porul. kur-ittan-ave_" (Tol. Col. Peya. 1), i.e. all words are semantic indicators.

The compounded forms of sememes of the lingua franca of the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab civilization have been reconstructed from the following sources:

* lexical entries of Indian languages found in the comparative, etymological lexicons: CDIAL (A Comparative Dictionary of Indo-Aryan Languages) and DEDR (A Dravidian Etymological Lexicon);

(a) lists of ancient verb forms such as those found in the

dha_tupa_t.ha, Niruktam, Whitney's lexicon and Vedic lexicon;

(b) lists of ancient noun forms, such as materia medica found in nighan.t.u's and medical works, annotated with insights from botanical works, pharmacopoeia and works on pharmacognosy ;

(c) epigraphical records of many languages of the region which mainly record economic transactions; and

(d) language lexicons of Indian languages.

This lexicon is organized primarily on a comparative basis and secondarily on a historical basis (and not on a genealogical basis, i.e. not trying to trace the changes in phonetic forms of a sememe). Given the limitations of this organization, it has not been considered essential in this lexicon, to reformulate the old Indian phonetic form with an *.

The vocabulary is presented in groups of etyma taken from CDIAL, DEDR, Tamil and other language lexicons of Dravidian, Aryan and Munda languages. The etymological groups are put together as semantic cognates and it will be left for future research work to determine the nature of the interactions (or what linguists call, using a pecuniary term: 'borrowing') between and among the languages which constituted the proto-Indian linguistic area. The results of the research are restricted to the identification, in a comparative lexicon, of comparative sememes and morphemes, including many allomorphs (i.e. two or more forms of a morpheme). An attempt to conjecture or decipher the possible proto-Indian 'phonetic' forms will require further studies and research work. The results of these studies will help for e.g. (1) to eliminate duplicate semantic clusters included in this lexicon and (2) to re-group the clusters in a true syllabic sequence.

For 'alphabetical` indexing or 'areal` (i.e. by geographical regions) sequencing, Turner's A Comparative Dictionary of Indo-Aryan Languages (CDIAL), Burrow and Emeneau's A Dravidian Etymological Lexicon (DEDR), Pali, Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil, Munda, Santali and other lexicons of Indian languages are unsurpassed sources. DEDR solves the problem of sequencing by using Tamil morphemes as the reference base for the entire group in Tamil syllabic order. In effect, the vocabulary of this lexicon, include many CDIAL and DEDR entries as sub-sets and constitute a semantic index to both CDIAL and DEDR which will continue to provide the basic references to areal etyma.

The primary justification for choosing a simple sequencing based on a limited number of initial vowels/consonants and consonantal combinations (with intervening vowels or nasals) is that each semantic cluster can be treated as a distinct monograph which may provide material for further study of the Indian language family in which there has apparently been an extraordinary semantic affinity between and among related languages.

One substantive problem in organizing the semantic clusters was the problem of 'alphabetical' or 'syllabic' sequencing. It has been difficult to follow a strict alphabetical ordering in this work. This is due to the author's inability to pin down the ancient 'phonetics' of a sememe or to construct a proto-Indian form. This limitation has resulted in some duplication of terms in more than one semantic cluster. The idiosyncratic sequencing is due to the limits of knowledge of the author; the result has been a number of semantic clusters included in the lexicon containing phonetic forms which may not always correspond with the etymological grouping.

Samuel Johnson refers to a lexicographer as an harmless drudge. What a pleasant and glorious drudge! An etymologist is also a drudge but may provoke, hopefully lively, linguistic disputes among the proponents of dialects of a language family, on issues such as 'true inheritance' or 'great antiquity'! The disputes (or positive creative tensions), may also draw inspiration and guidance from the past linguistic studies of great scholars who have provided valuable insights into the phonological, grammatical and lexical aspects of a proto-Indian language family.

An English semantic index has been included. The index is composed of (i) English meanings, and (ii) flora (names of botanical species in Latin terms), plants and products of plants (in English and vernacular terms which have entered the English lexicon). As in DEDR, no attempt has been made to state the equivalence of Latin flora terms; DEDR entries in a group of etyma record the equivalence found in Hooker at the end of the numbered etymological group.

The index is primarily based on the elegantly designed index of A Dravidian Etymological Lexicon (DEDR). To quote from DEDR: (p.773) "This is an index of the more important meanings recorded for words in the Dravidian languages. No attempt has been made to list all the English meanings given in the entries, since such a procedure would have swollen this index beyond all reason. In fact, in any attempt to keep it within bounds, usually only one of a group of synonyms or near-synonyms has been listed: e.g. resemble is listed, but not similar and like... The derivational system of English words, since it does not coincide with that of Dravidian, has in general been ignored..."

Organization of the work

The dominance of economic activities in the lives of ancient Indians will be apparent from the semantic clusters compiled in this lexicon. Semantic clusters include words expressing cognate 'thoughts'.

The ancient economic court was dominated by plant products such as fragrances, incenses and exudations which were highly valued and in great demand. For example, the ancient Egyptian civilization records trans-continental expeditions to pw'nt (or punt) in search of such plant products which may be designated as Kube_ra's nava-nidhi or nine treasures of Kube_ra, in the yaks.a tradition of great antiquity.

The inclusion of names of many plants and plant products in the lexicon, has a strong justification in terms of ancient life-styles. The etyma related to plants have been elaborated with cross-references on therapeutic effects described in works dealing with the subject of pharmacognosy and, in some instances, the references in pharmacopoeia of various countries have also been provided.

Plants and plant products (gums, gum-resins, fragrances, incenses, plant exudations, bark, in particular) had an extraordinary place in the cultural processes of ancient civilizations (particularly in the Indian linguistic area, in the ancient Egyptian civilization and in the Biblical areas), including for example, the depiction of the so-called nine treasures of Kube_ra, all of which may relate to plant products. (i) The existence of many principally devoted to materia medica of the ancient medical systems and (ii) the archaeological finds of viha_ras such as the Ajanta and Ellora caves which might have been used by medicine-men and to stock plant products justify further studies on the economic importance of plant products in cultural history.

Vedic soma was comparable in economic importance to the plants and plant products. In an extraordinary process described eloquently in Vedic chants, soma was purchased, and went through a process kept secret from the seller. Soma was washed in water (yad-adbhih paris.ichyase mr.jyama_no gabhastyoh- : RV. ix.65.6), then pounded either with stone or in a mortar (RV. 1.83.6; RV. 1.28.4); it had am.s'u (RV. ix.67.28); it yielded andhas, rasa, pitu, pi_yu_s.a or amr.ta; it was purifed through a strainer (antah- pavitra a_hitah- : RV. ix.12.5). It was not 'drunk' by mortals. Soma was the product of an activity using intense fire, and involving the participation of the entire household for days and nights. Soma was wealth.

The dawn of urbanization and transition from agrarian economy to an economy dominated by artisans, are vividly reconstructed from the archaeological finds of the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab civilization which may also be called the Sarasvati_ civilization. A pen picture with exquisite photographs is provided in the Age of God-Kings:

"About 2500 BC, a people of unknown origin started constructing a series of cities as remarkable as any the world had yet seen. Artisans set to work, trade flourished and a system of writing evolved. At its apogee, the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) civilization encompassed nearly 1.3 million square kilometers; its boundaries stretched from the foothills of the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea and from the Ganges watershed to the Gulf of Bombay, just to the north of what is now Bombay. It was the largest cultural domain of its era... This people also perfected the art of casting objects in bronze, a breakthrough in technology that ranks among humankind's greatest early achievements... The pictographic script of the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) people has not yet been successfully deciphered. The Southeast Asian rice farmers seem not to have developed a system of writing... the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) people... built grand cities, centers of production and trade... One of these cities... Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu)... around 2300 BC, Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu) was home to 35,000 people... Another great city took shape 550 kilometers to the south, on the lower Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu)... Mohenjo-Daro -- 'Hill of the Dead' in Sindhi... Two gateways provided access through the wall. Within the citadel were assembly halls, administrative offices and a number of residences for various officials and functionaries. Only an enormous collective effort could have created these two great urban centers of the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) culture... The huge complexes at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu) that are believed to be municipal granaries covered thousand upon thousand of square meters. They had raised brick floors... and strong, timbered roofs to protect against the weather. The apparent threshing areas nearby were paved in brick and included circular pits where workers pounded the kernels with wooden staves to remove the husks from the grain... The harvest was probably a state monopoly, and the granaries served, in effect, as state treasuries... They were the world's first people to grow cotton and to weave its fibre into textiles... Trading posts were established far beyond the valley's fringes. The Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) people founded a settlement at Sutkagen Dor, west of Baluchistan and within reach of the Persian Gulf. To the south of the valley, a large seaport took shape at Lothal on the Gulf of Cambay... From Lothal, high-prowed, double-ended sailing vessels carried the gold, gems and timber products of southern India along the coast to the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab and beyond. The richest trade route from the valley lay to the west, through the Persian Gulf to Mesopotamia. Starting about 2350 BC, traffic with the urban centers of Sumer and Akkad expanded to become a prime source of revenue... Merchants used sets of cubical stone weights that never varied in value throughout the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) region. The basic unit was 16, equal to 14 grams. The larger weights were multiples of 16 -- 32,64,128, and so on up to 12,800 (11 kilograms); the smaller ones were all fractions of 16... The Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) merchants, like their Sumerian counterparts, developed a method of record keeping and used carved stone seals to stamp their property. Every mercantile family had its own device, and probably every important citizen did also. More than 2,000 examples have been found in the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) cities, and others have turned up in Mesopotamia, left there by overseas traders... One popular motif appears to have been a unicorn sniffing at an incense burner. The unicorn is probably a bull in profile, so that one horn hides the other. But why the creature has been offered incense is a puzzlement. In a seal from Mohenjo-Daro, both the unicorn and the incense brazier are being carried aloft in some kind of procession... the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) tongue is lost in antiquity and none of the signs (on seals) corresponds to any used by the Egyptians or Sumerians. The seal inscriptions are brief -- one or two lines... The Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) people left no surviving histories, no religious texts, no literary epics... (Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu)n merchants used the seals as a kind of trademark impressing them on clay tags to label their goods)... after each catastrophe (earthquake or flood), the citizens picked up their lives again. Some sections of Mohenjo-Daro were rebuilt as many as eight times. In each reconstruction, the architects re-created the previous construction virtually brick for brick... Sometime during the nineteenth century BC, however, the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) cities began to slip into permanent decline... Scribes in Mesopotamia recorded rich shipments from the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab until around 1800 BC, when they suddenly ceased... The urban heritage was passed on to the east... somber notes of Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu)n ideology would continue to reverberate through the coming centuries." (The Age of God-kings, 3000-1500 B.C., Amsterdam, Time-Life Books, 1991, pp. 129-141).

Archaeology and Language

One approach suggested by Colin Renfrew is a correlation, however hypothetically, of language changes with demographic and social changes recorded by archaeology. Decipherment of the script is important to bring the civilization within the bounds of history, and to establish that the civilization should not remain categorized as 'prehistoric'. For, 'pre-historic' would mean 'prior to the use of writing.' (cf. Colin Renfrew, Archaeology and Language: the Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, Penguin Books, 1987, p.2). If this lexicon has established that the Indian language family had closely related members, it should be reasonable to hypothesize that the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) Script was related to one or more dialects of this language, though there is no direct evidence to prove precisely which language was spoken between 2500 to 1700 B.C. in the region traversed by this civilization.

"... (Archaeology) is beginning to interest itself in the ideology of early communities: their religions, the way they expressed rank, status and group identity. The question of language is important here... modern linguistics and current processual archaeology offer the opportunity for a new synthesis... (Sarasvati-Sindhu doab Civilization) was a literate civilization... some four hundred signs were found, fifty-three of them used commonly... this suggests that it must be a mixed hieroglyphic and syllabic script rather than a pure syllabic script like Minoan Linear B... not enough (signs) for a true pictographic script like that of the Egyptian hieroglyphs or the Chinese script... are the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab sealstone inscriptions in an early form of Indo-European?... there is no inherent reason why the people of the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab Civilization should not already have been speaking an Indo-European language, the ancestor of the Rigveda... Hypothesis A, then, would carry the history of the Indo-European languages in north India and Iran back to the early neolithic period in those areas... (Hypothesis B) outlines an alternative... which accepts the likelihood of local farming origins... (and) a process of lite dominance... by well-organized and mobile tribal groups, with a chiefdom organization... while we cannot expect to find direct evidence in the archaeological record for a specific prehistoric language or language group, we can indeed study processes or demographic and social change. It is these processes of change which we may seek, however hypothetically, to correlate with language change in those areas... it is perfectly possible that the languages used in the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab civilization as early as 3000 BC were already Indo-European... We are talking here of simple peasant farmers, with a restricted range of domestic plants and animals and a limited range of crafts. These may generally have included weaving and pottery-making and other farming skills, but theirs were egalitarian societies... 'segmentary societies,' laying stress on the almost autonomous nature of individual village or neighborhood communities. Naturally there were links and marriage exchanges between these... three issues now remain that we should look at: language origins, language dispersals, and the relationship between archaeology and linguistic studies... " (Colin Renfrew, op cit., pp. 5,7, 183-185, 190-191, 197, 205, 264. 271, 273).

One approach to study changes in languages is to cluster the dialects of a language together. Such a clustering is attempted in this lexicon. These clusters provide the basis for further studies to correlate the changes in languages with the socio-economic changes established through archaeology.

Language and Script

An attempt to link the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) Script to the Indian etyma, is a search for Indian linguistic roots. It is, in effect, a search for words which are 'as old as time`.

Many scripts of the current Indian languages are syllabic in structure. It is notable that Tamil, in particular, utilizes a remarkably compact alphabet (syllabary derived via grantha forms from the Bra_hmi_ script); for example, the script symbol for the syllable, ka connotes a phonetic spectrum of ka, kha, ga and gha. The use of a limited number of script symbols for syllables is perhaps an indication that, even if the phoneme (for a given morpheme) had a ka, kha, ga or gha, the semantic content remained unaltered. This extraordinary economy (yet, diversity) in script form is, therefore, an indication that for effective linguistic communication of a message, phonetic formants are subordinate to the semantic structure of morphemes.

Many ancient scripts were evolved on the principle of 'ideographs', i.e. depicting a word as an image (logo, on a seal, for example) using a homophone (i.e. a similar sounding word). The importance of 'images' in formulating 'meaning' (in neuronal structures) or for designing 'scripts', is paralleled by a distinct semantic structural feature of Santali language in which words are not uniquely marked for specific functions such as noun or verb but most stems of words are multifunctional. There is no grammatical gender for nouns which may be lexically marked (using for example, herel for male; maejiu for female). There are no formal marks for grammatical class, a word can perform various functions: as noun, as adjective or as verb. In Santali, every stem or root (sememe) is potentially a verb. Qualifiers can be constructed by simply adding -n for e.g. kad.awa.n hor. a man who has buffaloes. (George L. Campbell, Compendium of the World's Languages, Routledge, London, 1991, p. 1199). "In Santali, any word may (in theory at least) be used as a verb simply by adding a, which is the verbal sign, and other signs to signify tense, mood etc. The a alone signifies the general or future tense in the active voice -- used to make general statements, or statements referring to the future... The verb generally comes at the end of a sentence or phrase... (Santali language) consists of root-words and various infixes, suffixes and particles, joined together or agglutinated in such a way as to form phrases and sentences... dalgot'kedeae... dal the root word, meaning to strike or striking; got' an adverbial particle giving the sense of quickly or suddenly; ked the sign ket', denoting the past tense of the active voice, modified to ked... e ... signifying an animate object -- him, or her... a the verbal sign, showing that the idea of striking is used verbally; e the short form of the 3rd personal pronoun, singular... denoting the subject -- he, or she." (R.M. Macphail, An Introduction to Santali, 1953, p.2). Taking into account, this historical factor which governed the evolution of alphabets and the important part played by 'root word' in Santali (a member of the ancient Indian family of languages) this lexicon attempts to identify 'sememes' and also provide an aid to epigraphists or scholars interested in deciphering the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) script. For this purpose (and based on the assumption that the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) script may be related to the Indian language family), many semantic clusters in this lexicon include, what are titled as, 'image' words, i.e. word forms which could have been represented graphically, as in the symbols and signs used in the as-yet undeciphered Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) script. Such 'image' clusters are sequenced close to the other substantive clusters which are related to life-activities of ancient civilizations as evidenced by archaeological finds and artifacts. The titles provided to many semantic clusters with the prefix 'image' refer to a number of images provided by the pictographs and signs of the seals and tablets containing Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) script. Such pictographs and signs will be clustered to aid those interested in deciphering the script. At this stage of the author's knowledge, it has not been possible to include some thoughts on 'alternative interpretations' of these 'ideographs' of the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) script. A separate monograph will be presented providing an approach to breaking the deadlock of the decipherment problem. A start can be made assuming that each pictograph is a homonym (i.e. an image of a similar sounding 'substantive' word). Many 'substantives' are indeed based on the economic activities of an evolving civilization.

‘Rosetta Stone’ of the Script: Umma seal

On the problem of the Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) Script, it is important to refer to one message on a sealing from Umma, since no bilingual script messages have so far been found: " imprint of (Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu)) seal upon the fragment of a clay label from a bale of cloth had also been published by Father Scheil (Revue d'Assyriologie, Vol. 22: 56), and this was said to come from the site of Umma, the neighbor city of Lagash...No.1. First among the seals discovered at Ur (in 1923) is the unique object the British Museum...On the face stands, below, the figure of a bull with head bent down...the in archaic cuneiform writing...of a period before 2500 B.C. There are three signs and very probably traces of a fourth, almost obliterated; the three preserved are themselves scratchy and rather worn, though not ill-formed. Hence their reading is doubtful--the choices are, for the first SAG(K) or KA, for the second KU or possibly LU, while the third is almost certainly S'I, and the fourth, it existed at all, is quite uncertain...using the commonest values of the signs, sak-ku-s'i--(with possible loss of something at the end) may be pronounced the best provisional reading...It does not, at least, seem to be any Sumerian or Akkadian name...(the seal is) probably, a product of some place under the influence both of Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) and of the Sumerian civilizations." (Gadd, 1932, pp.3-32.)

Hunter noted that three round seals with Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu)n characters found in Mesopotamia may not be in Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu)n language since there were marked differences in the sequence of letters. (Hunter, 1932, p.469.) Analogously, an Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu)-type seal (squarish with a perforated button on the ridged back) with cuneiform characters may be surmised to relate to a non-Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu)n language. The non-Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu)n origin is surmised for a glazed steatite cylinder seal found at Tell Asmar, which shows an Indus (Sarasvati-Sindhu) motif: procession of an elephant, a rhinoceros and a crocodile. (Frankfort, 1933, pp.50-53; Asthana, 1979, p.40.) Ur III texts indicate the need for interpreters to translate the Meluhhan language.

These are tentative interpretations which will have to be further validated by an evaluation of the entire (though, very limited -- only a few thousands) sample of messages without committing what Gilbert Ryle calls a 'category mistake.' An approach to a resolution of the decipherment problem will be attempted in a separate monograph, using, mainly, the semantic and image clusters of this lexicon.

Semantics and Poets' search for the supreme language

To aid researchers in linguistics and neuro-scientists interested in the study of brain functions related to linguistic competence, some principal sememes of ancient speech are listed in separate annexes of this lexicon. This is consistent with the principal focus of this lexicon which is to: cluster together word forms with comparable semantic content and establish the essential semantic unity among the Indian languages. In this process of semantic clustering, attention is paid to concordant phonetic forms.

In evaluating the development of pronunciation and sense of words of the languages of the Indian linguistic area, an effort has been made to avoid duplicating the functions of lexicography. The focus is on 'meaning' of words, extensions of meaning and on phonetic transforms cognate with the basic words.

Lexicographers have attempted to define the phonetic structure of a morpheme in a language, with care and integrity, given the constraints of the phonetic symbols used for the script of the chosen language. This lexicon proceeds on the assumption that the language lexicons which are its source books, are based on painstaking social surveys and provide a commonly accepted form (i.e. through social contract) of the phonetic variants of various dialects of any one language. Since the focus is on semantics, the author has exercised a degree of freedom to coalesce the phonetic variations and as necessary, repeated some etyma in more than one semantic cluster. Speakers of every language and poets, in particular, of every language do possess enormous degrees of freedom for verbal creativity to anchor life experiences, but subject to the social contract on sememes or the 'meaning' of morphemes used in inter-personal verbal or written communication.

Take for instance, the rules of Sanskrit language, codified by the linguistic genius, Pa_n.ini and obeyed through literary media for over a millennium. Pa_n.ini's phonological and morphological canons are hypostatized (attributed real identities to a concept) aphorisms. Pa_n.ini was held in such awe that later linguists would not refer to what Pa_n.ini 'says' but use the verb 'pas'yati' referring to his aphorisms [i.e. referring to what Pa_n.ini 'sees', as a r.s.i or seer]. Pa_n.ini opposes the bha_s.a_, defined by him in an archaic chandah- (cf. S. Lvi, J.A., 1891, II, p. 549; Mmoires de la Socite de Linguistic de Paris, XVI, p.278-279; loc. cit. Bloch, The Formation of the Mara_t.hi_ Language, 1914, p.3). "... in the enumeration of Bharata (XVII, 48): ma_gadhyavantija_ pra_cya_ su_ryasenyardhama_gadhi_ ba_hli_ka_ ca sapta bha_s.a_h- praki_rtita_h-" six out of seven are geographically determinable and three out of these four (ma_gadhi, s'auraseni_, maha_ra_s.t.ri) are mentioned by Vararuci. Later on adds to these three La_t.i_ 'and similar other ones' (Ka_vya_dars'a, I,35)... Later on Vararuci situates the Pais'a_ci_ on the same level as the three great Pra_krts with a geographical name... the language of braj is used for the cycle of Kr.s.n.a, that of Bundelkhand for that of A_lha_-u_dal, that of Avadha for that of Ra_ma and generally speaking for the Epic... No region of India has imposed its language on the entire country... within each dialect there is a large quantity of words or series of words which have had a history independent of the dialects where they have been found in use. This history, which can be established with some difficulty even in the case of well-known languages as those of Europe, is altogether impossible, at least provisionally, in India... " (Bloch, op cit., pp. 11-12; p.45). In making bold to attempt this 'impossible' task through semantics, one dominant structural characteristic of the Indian language family can be noted with confidence: the use of 'echo words' identified as such in this lexicon. (Pa_n.ini calls such words a_mred.ita or repeated : Bk. VIII. Ch. 1.2). The tendency to repeat words or with fine initial consonantal variations is a characteristic that runs across the entire family of languages, a characteristic that was also noted by Vararuci. The ancient linguists tried to delineate this 'refined' language as the 'perfect' language (whether divinely inspired smr.ti remembered or s'ruti heard); yet, the spoken word was governed by the inexorable laws of neurosciences and social contract -- as evidenced by the Pra_kr.ts (original or natural forms) which did not obey these 'rules' of the grammarian though adored by the linguists. The Pra_kr.ts (including Pali) continued to diverge from the 'perfection' of Sanskrit and were socio-linguistically accepted in Sanskrit drama in the early centuries of the Christian era, though not spoken by gods or heroes in the dramas, but only by the proletariat! Women sang in Maha_ra_s.t.ri_ pra_kr.t, spoke in S'auraseni pra_kr.t and people in the lower rungs of the social ladder spoke ma_gadhi_ pra_kr.t. Many pra_kr.ts were written in Kharo_s.t.hi script. Buddha (c. sixth century B.C.) perhaps preached in ardhama_gadhi_ pra_kr.t (Pali), written in Bra_hmi_ script. Mun.d.a_ri_ and Santali (grouped as Kherwari or Austro-Asiatic) perhaps ante-date the Indo-European or the so-called Dravidian linguistic presence in India. The Indian language family also includes Gypsy (Romany; gypsy ~~ Egyptian; ethonym: roma). Gypsies popularly believed to have come from Egypt, emigrated from India towards the end of the first millennium A.D. via Iran into Anatolia, South Russia, and the Balkans, to reach western Europe by the fifteenth century, Britain by the sixteenth; via Iran, Syria and the Mediterranean into north Africa and the Iberian peninsula. (George L. Campbell, Compendium of the World's Languages, Routledge, London, 1991, p.1164).

Ya_ska (6th-4th c. B.C.), Pa_n.ini (5th c. B.C.), Ka_tya_yana (3rd c. B.C.), Patajali (c. 150 B.C.) have laid the foundations of Sanskrit etymology and grammar. The su_tras of Pa_n.ini analyze Sanskrit into a system of roots, stems and suffixes. Ka_tya_yana's va_rttikas explain, criticize and supplement these rules. Patajali's bha_s.ya explains the rules of Pa_n.ini and Ka_tya_yana and is often severely critical of the latter. Kaiyat.a commends Patajali of the three since he has observed more numbers of actual forms : (II.4.26) munidvaya_c ca bha_s.ayaka_rah- prama_n.ataram adhikalaks.yadars'itva_t : the author of the commentary (i.e. Patajali) has greater authority than the other two sages because he has observed more linguistic usage. Grammatical rules were formulated, perhaps, for the benefit of 'immigrants' or as teaching aids to students of a language. In this process of delineating grammatical rules, the phonetic and morphological structures of each of the Indian languages were codified and frozen as 'rules' of the language. (cf. the example of Tolka_ppiyam for Tamil or As.t.a_dhya_yi for Sanskrit). Pa_n.ini also called Gonadri_ya/ Gonika_putra) is perhaps the oldest grammarian of the world. His As.t.a_dhya_yi (lit. 8 chapters with 3,996 mnemonic su_tras) and later critical evaluation/defence by Patajali (also called, Da_ks.i_putra in his Maha_bha_s.ya or Great Prose Work) countering Ka_tya_yana's criticism in the Va_rttika_s (explanatory tracts of words) are unsurpassed ancient linguistic explorations into the etyma of and rules governing the Sanskrit language. Pa_n.ini traces with stunning precision and scholarly excellence, the individual phonetic and morphological changes throughout the language which may be called a language that spanned both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit. (For a good survey of works on Pa_n.ini cf. George Cardona, Pa_n.ini : A Survey of Research, 1976; for an excellent reader on the Sanskrit grammarians, cf. Stall, J.F. (ed.), A Reader on the Sanskrit Grammarians, Cambridge, M.I.T. Press, 1972). It would be inappropriate to call Pa_n.ini's Sanskrit brahminical or Aryan; for he notes (Ch. VI, 62,58) that there were non-Aryan brahmins as well! The contributions made by ancient Indian linguists are echoes of the oral tradition of padapa_t.has (i.e. the word texts which give every word of the sam.hita_ free from euphonic combinations and analyze compounds into their component morphemes) of the Vedic chants which are as old as civilization. There are other linguistic tracts, in particular in the so-called Dravidian family of languages and in the so-called Austro-Asiatic family of languages (exemplified in India by Mundarica and Santali languages), which preserve the echoes of the ancient speech which sustained ancient civilizations such as the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab civilization.

Ya_ska is perhaps the first etymologist of the world. His Nirukta treats etymology as a complement of grammar (tad idam vidya_-stha_nam vya_karan.asya ka_rtsnyam : N. i.15) and is a principal aid to understanding Vedic texts. According to Ya_ska, grammatical rules are not universal; too much importance should not be attached to the grammatical form because, the complex formations (vr.ttayah-) have many exceptions; he is a bold etymologist who derives is.t.i (sacrifice) from yaj (to sacrifice) based on the meanings of words in the context of their use. His principal rule is direct: 'If their meanings are the same, their etymologies should be the same, if the meanings are different, the etymologies should also be different (N. ii.7); 'words are used to designate objects with regard to everyday affairs in the world, on account of their comprehensiveness and minuteness (N. i.2)[Durga, the commentator, explains 'comprehensiveness' as a psychological process (manifest and unmanifest states of consciousness) to apprehend meaning through the instrumentality of the spoken word; the process is elaborated: manifest consciousness is expressed through an effort of exhalation of breath, modification of speech-organs to produce the word; the word pervades the unmanifest consciousness of the hearer, makes it manifest and the meaning is apprehended. Durga also comments on the term 'minuteness': movements of hands and the winking of the eyes etc. are also comprehensive; they will express the meaning and in this manner there will be no need to study grammar and the Vedic texts! But these are not minute, i.e. these communication modes are not definitive (or accurate) and are not economical in the effort in production.] Ya_ska notes the four word-classes, noun, verb, preposition and particle and adds: ... S'a_kat.a_yana holds that nouns are derived from verbs. This, too, is the doctrine of the etymologists. 'Not at all,' says Gargya and some of the grammarians, 'but only those, the accent and grammatical form of which are regular and which are accompanied by an explanatory radical modification.' Those (nouns), such as cow, horse, man, elephant etc. are conventional (terms, and hence are underivable)(Ni. 1.12). Pa_n.ini combines particles (avyaya, 195 in number) and prepositions into one category, nipa_ta (Bk. I, Ch. IV, 56). According to Ya_ska, particles are of three types: (i) of comparison (upama), (ii) of adding or putting together of the senses or ideas (karmopasam.graha or semantic sub-clusters), (iii) of expletives which do not express any meaning (kam, i_m, id, u and iva). Ya_ska notes that the verb has 'becoming' as its fundamental notion; and that the noun has 'being' as its fundamental notion and recalls that according to Audumbara_yan.a speech is permanent in the organs only. This statement of Audumbara_yan.a is fundamental in understanding the neural bases of linguistic competence.

Tamil (a primary member of the so-called Dravidian languages) is an ancient language. This lexicon contains a number of references from Tamil works, acknowledging the antiquity of the language and its importance as a dominant member of the Indian language family. Similar references are provided from Vedic texts in many etyma groups. The rich ancient Tamil literature (which dates back to the San:gam age of c. the first millennium A.D.) includes Tolka_ppiyam (?c. 5th century A.D.), a grammar and socio-linguistic tract; the fifth-century work, Tiruval.l.uvar's Tirukkural., s'aiva religious works such as Tiruva_cakam and Tirumantiram; existential expositions such as Pur-ana_n-u_ru, Akana_n-u_ru (400 poems each on social and family lives); Pattuppa_t.t.u (ten songs) and Et.t.uttokai (eight anthologies) delineating love and war as facets of life. To quote Caldwell who relates a study of this language to the comparative grammatical structures of a family of the so-called Dravidian languages: "Does there not seem to be reason for regarding the Dravidian family of languages, not only as a link of connection between the Indo-European and Scythian groups, but -- in some particulars, especially in relation to the pronouns -- as the best surviving representative of a period in the history of human speech older than the Indo-European stage, older than the Scythian and older than the separation of the one from the other... The orientalists who supposed the Dravidian languages to be derived from Sanskrit were not aware of the existence of uncultivated languages of the Dravidian family, in which Sanskrit words are not at all, or but very rarely, employed... Another evidence consists in the extraordinary copiousness of the Tamil vocabulary, and the number and variety of the grammatical forms of Shen-Tamil. The Shen-Tamil grammar is a crowded museum of obsolete forms, cast-off inflexions, and curious anomalies... It is a different question whether some of the Dravidian forms and roots may not have formed a portion of the linguistic inheritance, which appears to have descended to the earliest Dravidian from the fathers of the human race." (Caldwell's Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Family of Languages, p.x, p.45, p.82). In Tolka_ppiyam, Tamil does include the so-called vat.acol (or northern words): vat.acor- kil.avi vat.a tori_i er..uttot.u pun.arnta colla_kumme : Tol. Col. 395, i.e. 'northern' words are those words which shed their scripts and are adapted; this is distinguished from 'dialectical' words (centamir.. ... ticai-c-cor- kil.avi) in vogue in the twelve territories of the Tamil land with regional variations and two other kinds of words: iyar--col, tiri-col (primitives and derivatives) used in poetry (ceyyul.).

This lexicon establishes the possibility of tracing the etyma for both the agglutinative and inflexional types of languages. The inflexional languages such as Sanskrit and languages influenced significantly by Sanskrit show a myriad morphological variants. Unlike CDIAL which breaks out the inflexional variants under 'head words' based on assumed 'root words' with an *, this lexicon clusters the variants under semantic clusters. [Thus, for example, vij (move suddenly) can be clustered with ve_ga speed and vi_j or vyaj fan and vizun to sift, winnow (K.) As far as practicable, only words listed in the language lexicons are included in the semantic clusters of this lexicon, without making any attempt to derive the ancient phonetic form of the Indian sememe or a proto-Indian reconstruction of a morpheme with an *.] This lexicon, as does R.L. Turner's A Comparative Dictionary of Indo-Aryan languages (CDIAL), includes a number of words from the Vedic texts, attesting to the great antiquity of many semantic clusters which are also concordant with the archaeological artifacts unearthed from the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab civilization and other Indian archaeological explorations. An early attempt to trace the 'sememes' was made in works such as the Dha_tupa_t.ha for Sanskrit and in the brilliant work of the Vedic scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (following the tradition of Sa_yan.a in the R.gvedabha_s.yabhu_mika_ of an earlier century) who have successfully established the semantic contents of the Vedic texts, proving Ya_ska right: "Vedic stanzas are significant, because (their) words are identical (with those of the spoken language)..." (Nirukta 1.16). Sa_yan.a makes a similar comment in his preface to the R.gveda: va_kya_rtho_ lo_kave_dayo_ravis'is.t.ah- (the meaning of expressions of the Vedic Sanskrit and of the popular speech is not different) and also notes: 'abhidha_ne_rthava_dah- there is a figurative description in such expressions... this is very frequently employed in poetical compositions. For instance, a river is described as having a pair of cakrava_ka birds for her breasts, a row of swans for her teeth, a ka_sa plant for her garment, and moss for her hair. Similarly, the Vedic texts invoking inanimate objects should be construed as implying praise...' It can be hypothesized that soma was a similar 'figurative description'.

Grammatical philosophy

Some leads are available to explore further the concept of 'meaning' in philosophical and linguistic terms. "homo foneticus indicus was no mere cross-sectioned larynx sited under an empty cranium... on the contrary, the whole man, belly, heart and head, produced voice" (J.E.B. Gray 1959, "An Analysis of Nambudiri R.gvedic Recitation and the Nature of the Vedic Accent", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 22, pp. 499-530) A word points to an external object, as a semantic indicator; it also refers to the intention of the speaker. One technical term is 'artha' which may be a synonym of 'meaning'. "For the grammarian, 'artha' does not mean the external reality but whatever the word brings to the mind. Artha does not mean vastvarttha but s'abda_rtha, not reality, but, the meaning of words. Individual words bring something to the mind and the sentence as a whole also brings something to the mind. But these things are included in the expression 's'abda_rtha'. Grammar studies both these things in order to evolve notions which will explain the forms of the language. Grammar is satisfied if these notions conform to what we understand from words, no matter whether they conform to reality or not. Grammar does not look at reality directly in the face. As Hela_ra_ja puts it: s'abdaprama_n.aka_na_m. hi s'abda eva hi yatha_rtham abhidhatte tathaiva tasya_bhidha_nam upapannam; na tu vastumukhapraks.ataya_ : for to those whose authority is the word, the word designates what it corresponds to, and its designation is accordingly appropriate; but it is not for looking reality directly in the face (Hela_ra_ja on Va_kyapadi_ya III. Sam.. verse 66)... Thus while explaining the different conceptions of Time mentioned by Bharttr.hari in the Ka_lasamuddes'a such as that it is an entity which exists apart from the mind or that it is a mere construction of the human mind, Hela_ra_ja says that Bharttr.hari is not really concerned with what time is philosophically, but that he is anxious to examine and analyze that something which is responsible for our putting the Sanskrit verb in different tenses as in abhu_t (was), asti (is) and bhavis.yat (will be). That something may not be able to stand close philosophical scrutiny, but if it serves the purpose of explaining the different tenses, one would have to accept it (Hela_ra_ja on Va_kyapadi_ya. III. Ka_. 58). Similarly in the kriya_samuddes'a, the question is: What is action? The answer given by Bharttr.hari on the basis of the Bha_s.ya passages is that it is a process, something having parts arranged in a temporal sequence. It is not directly perceptible, but it is to be inferred... These parts may be further subdivided and the smaller parts will also be actions. There will come a time when the part cannot be further sub-divided. It cannot then be called action at all. Only that can be called action which has parts arranged in a temporal sequence. After having clearly explained all this, Hela_ra_ja adds that for grammarians the real question is not whether an action has actually parts or not, but whether the verb presents it as such. The answer is that verbs do present action, however momentary, in nature, as something having parts which cannot co-exist but are arranged in a temporal sequence. And go by what the words present to us. (Hela_ra_ja on Va_kyapadi_ya. III. Kri. 10)." (Subramania Iyer, K.A., "The Point of View of the", Journal of Oriental Research, 18, pp.84-96, 1948).

Vya_d.i (Sarvadars'ana-sam.graha, Bibliographica Indica, pp. 140-4) notes that since letters by themselves cannot convey meaning, a unifying factor can be hypothesized; the factor (sphot.a) which is all-pervading and exists independent of letters. sphot.a is the idea which bursts out or flashes on the mind when a sound is uttered, the impression produced on the mind at hearing a sound: budhairvaiya_karan.ah- pradha_na bhu_ta sphot.a ru_pavyan:gyajakasya s'abdasya dhaviniriti vyavaha_rah kr.tah (Ka_vyapraka_s'a. 1; it is also the eternal sound recognized by the Mi_ma_m.sakas or inquirers (Skt. lex.) It connotes the relationship between sounds and meaningful words. sphut.ati praka_s'ate'rtho' sma_d iti sphot.o va_caka iti ya_vat (Kon.d.abhat.t.a, (Bombay, 1915, p. 236); Na_ges'abhat.t.a, Sphot.ava_da (Adyar Library, 1946), p.5). Ma_dhava, Sarvadars'anasam.graha (ed. Abhyankar, p. 300), gives the double explanation that the sphot.a is revealed by the letters, and itself reveals the meaning: sphut.yate vyajyate varn.air iti sphot.o varn.a_bhivyan:gyah-, sphut.ati sphut.i_bhavaty asma_d artha iti sphot.o' rthapratya_yakah-. "The sphot.a then is simply the linguistic sign in its aspect of meaning-bearer (bedeutungstrager). The term sphot.a occurs first in the Maha_bha_s.ya, Na_ges'a ascribed the doctrine to Sphot.a_yana, who is quoted by Pa_n.ini (vi.1.123) on a point of morphology... the sphot.a (the unchanging substratum) is the word, the sound is merely an attribute of the word. How? Like a drum-beat. When a drum is struck, one drum-beat may travel twenty feet, another thirty, another forty. But the sphot.a is of precisely such and such a size, the increase in length is caused by the sound... Patajali's sphot.a (except in so far as it is for him the meaning-bearer) is really comparable to Bharttr.hari's pra_kr.ta-dhvani. The commentators, being acquainted with the later theory, naturally point out that the speed of utterance belongs to the vaikr.ta-dhvani... Bharttr.hari (Va_kya-padi_ya i.44 : dva_v upa_da_nas'abdes.u s'abdau s'abdavido viduh- eko nimittam. s'abda_na_m aparo'rthe prayujyate : in meaningful language, linguists recognize two (entites which can be called) words: one is the underlying cause of words, the other is attached to the meaning... The Nya_ya philosophers for example, held that the meaning of a word was presented to the mind by the last sound, aided by the memory-impression of the preceding sounds... Va_kyapadi_ya i. 75-8: sphot.asya_bhinnaka_lasya dhvanika_la_nupa_tinah- grahan.opa_dhibhedena vr.ttibhedam. pracaks.ate; svabha_vabheda_n nityatve hrasva-di_rgha-pluta_dis.u pra_kr.tasya dhvaneh- ka_lah- s'abdasyety upacaryate; varn.asya grahan.e hetuh- dhvanir is.yate vr.ttibhede nimittatvam. vaikr.tah- pratipadyate; s'abdasyordhvam abhivyakter vr.ttibhede tu vaikr.ta_h- dhvnayah- samupohante sphot.a_tma_ tair na bhidyate: According to the differences in the specific cause of its comprehension (in individual instances), men attribute differences in speed of utterance (vr.tti) to the sphot.a which is not divided in time, and merely reflects the time of the sound. Similarly, in the case of the short, long, and prolate vowels-- since, on the view that these are permanent, they are intrinsically distinct-- it is the time-pattern of the primary sound which is metaphorically attributed to the word (the sphot.a) itself. The 'primary sound' (pra_kr.ta-dhvani) is defined as the cause of the perception of the letters (phonemes), the 'secondary sound' (vaikr.ta-dhvani, literally 'modified') is the causal factor underlying differences of diction. But it is only after the word has been revealed that the secondary sounds are presented to the mind as differences of diction; hence (a fortiori) the essential nature of the sphot.a is not disrupted by these... Ma_dhava's statement : varn.a_tirikto varn.a_bhivyan:gyo' rthapratya_yako nityah- s'abdah- sphot.a iti tadvido vadanti may be translated as 'the abiding word which is the conveyor of the meaning... is called the sphot.a by the grammarians'..." (Brough, John "Theories of General Linguistics in the Sanskrit Grammarians", Transactions of the Philological Society, pp. 27-46, 1951). The padapa_t.has break down the sam.hita_ into its constituent words; Ya_ska's Nirukta studies the meaning of some of such words. Thus the phonetics of a word and its meaning are integral components of Vedic studies. Va_rttika defines a grammatical sentence as eka-tin. i.e. possessing one verb. (Va_kyapadi_ya ii.3). "The Bha_t.t.a school (of the later on the whole seems to preserve the more primitive attitude. According to them words have in themselves meanings, and as the words are uttered in a sentence, each word performs its task of expressing its meaning, and the sentence is the summation of these meanings. The Pra_bha_kara school, on the other hand, held the more sophisticated theory that the individual words did not express any meaning until they were united together into a sentence. This was upheld by an appeal to the method whereby a child learns its own mother tongue.

They pointed out that it was by hearing sentences 'fetch the cow', 'fetch the horse', and so forth, that the child came gradually to understand that the animal which he saw on each several occasion was, in fact, either a cow or a horse and that the action performed by his elders was the act of fetching. These two views were named respectively abhihita_nvaya-va_da and anvita_bhidha_na-va_da, terms which are troublesome to translate by concise English expressions. Roughly speaking, the first is the theory that the sentence is 'a series of expressed word-meanings', and the second is that the sentence is 'the expressed meaning of a series (of words)' ... At the beginning of the second book of the Va_kyapadi_ya, Bharttr.hari gives a list of definitions and quasi-definitions of a sentence. Five of these are grouped by the commentator under the traditional Mima_m.sa_ designations. Thus the view that the sentence is a unified collection (sam.gha_ta) and the view that it is an ordered series (krama) are aspects of the abhihita_nvaya-va_da; while the other three belong to the anvita_bhidha_na-va_da. These are, that the sentence is defined by a verbal expression (a_khya_ta-s'abda) or by the first word (padam a_dyam) or by all the words taken separately with the feature of mutual requirement or expectancy superadded (pr.thak sarvapadam. All these views, of course, imply the feature of expectancy, and the first and second are to be explained with reference to this feature, since the verb or the first word is only what it is in view of its ties with the other words in its own sentence. All these theories are adversely criticized by Bharttr.hari... The occurrence of homophones in a language has always provided grammarians with an interesting problem... Bharttr.hari gives a list of such factors, of which the most important are va_kya, sentence-context, and prakaran.a, situational context... historical and comparative studies frequently enable us to glean from texts in related languages useful hints towards this understanding (of meaning)... In the end the utmost that can be said of the meaning of a sentence according to Bharttr.hari is that it is grasped by an instantaneous flash of insight (pratibha_)(Va_kyapadi_ya, ii.119,145)... And when we have understood a sentence, we cannot explain to another the nature of this understanding. (Va_kyapadi_ya, ii.146: idam. tad iti ana_khyeya_ katham.cana : pratya_tmavr.ttisiddha_ sa_ kartra_pi na niru_pyate : This (pratibha_) cannot in any way be explained to others in terms such as 'it is this'; its existence is ratified only in the individual's experience of it, and the experiencer himself cannot describe it)." (Brough, John, "Some Indian Theories of Meaning", Transactions of the Philological Society, 1953, pp. 161-176).

There is no supreme language; all languages are personal and social experiences of a community.

Yet, every language is governed by an extraordinary phonetic repertoire orchestrated by 'neuronal laws' of the human brain.

The neuronal structures in which verbal creativity is embedded are the common substratum; they are language-neutral. This means, that irrespective of the language used by a speaker, or the language heard by a listener, the neurons and neuronal networks pulsate, governed by the as-yet undefined semantic laws of neurosciences. Man can create poetry; if the poem has to convey meaning to the audience, the poet has to abandon his search for the 'perfect' language and bow to the superior wisdom of the common parlance which is, in effect, the linguistic social contract for which words are but social memory-markers, or 'numraire facile.' The private memory-markers in the private language of a speaker's or listener's brain are the product of his life-history which can be 'emotionally' or 'neuronally' experienced.

No scientific technique is relevant, no language is adequate and no poet is competent to communicate the emotions of the 'private language' of the brain.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

Fremont, CA. 15 May 1998.

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