Page:EB1911 - Volume 03.djvu/755

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735
BENGALI

and a past (kar-iyā), and from these there are formed periphrastic tenses by suffixing auxiliary verbs. Thus, karite-chi (colloquial, kỏrci or kỏcci), I am doing; karitē-chilām (coll. korcilum or kỏccilum), I was doing; kariyā-chi (coll., korsi), I have done; kariyā-chilām (coll., korsilum), I had done. A past conditional is formed by adding pronominal suffixes to the present participle; thus, karitām (coll., kortum or kottum), (if) I had done. Similar tenses are formed in O. and A., but the periphrastic tenses are formed with verbal nouns and not with participles. Thus, O. karu-achī, A. kari-chõ, I am a-doing, I am doing. O. and A. have each a very complete series of gerunds or verbal nouns which are fully declined. In Bg. only one gerund, that of the genitive, is in common use.

In order to illustrate the conjugation of the verb, we here give that of the root kar, do, in its present, past and future tenses.


Oriyā. Literary
  Bengali.  
Colloquial
Bengali.
  Assamese.  
  I do
  Thou doest
  He (non-honorific) does
  He (honorific) does
  I did
  Thou didst
  He (non-honorific) did
  He (honorific) did
  I shall do
  Thou wilt do
  He (non-honorific) will do
  He (honorific) will do
  karñ
  kara
  karē
  karanti  
  karilū
  karila
  karilā
  karilē
  karibū
  kariba
  kariba
  karibē
  kari
  kara
  karē
  karen
  karilām  
  karilē
  karila
  karilen
  kariba
  karibē
  karibë
  kariben
  kỏri
  kỏrō
  kỏrē
  kỏren
  kỏllum, kỏrlum  
  kỏllē, kỏrlē
  kỏllō, kỏrlō
  kỏllen, kỏrlen
  kỏrbō
  kỏrbē
  kỏrbē
  kỏrben
  karõ
  karā
  kare
  kare
  kårilõ
  kårilā
  kårile
  kårile
  kårim
  kåribā
  kåriba
  kåriba


All the three languages have negative forms of the verb substantive, and A. has a complete negative conjugation for all verbs, made by prefixing the negative syllable na under certain euphonic rules.

Bengali Literature.—The oldest recognized writer in Bengali is the Vaishnava poet Caṇḍī Dās, who flourished about the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century. His language does not differ much from the Literature. Bengali of to-day. He founded a school of poets who wrote hymns in honour of Krishna, many of whom, in later times, became connected with the religious revival instituted by Caitanya in the early part of the 16th century. In the 15th century Kāśī Rām translated the Mahābhārata, and Krttibās Ojhā the Rāmāyaṇa into the vernacular. The principal figure of the 17th century was Mukunda Rām who has left us two really admirable poems entitled Caṇḍī and Śrīmanta Saudāgar. Parts of the former have been translated by Professor Cowell into English verse, and both well deserve putting into an English dress. With Bhārat Candra, whose much admired but artificial Bidyā Sundar appeared in the 18th century, the list of old Bengali authors may be considered as closed. They wrote in genuine nervous Bengali, and the conspicuous success of many of them shows how baseless is the contention of some native writers of the present day that modern literary Bengali needs the help of its huge imported Sanskrit vocabulary to express anything but the simplest ideas. This modern literary Bengali arose early in the 19th century, as a child of the revival of Sanskrit learning in Calcutta, under the influence of the college founded by the English in Fort William. Each decade it has become more and more the slave of Sanskrit. It has had some excellent writers, notably the late Bankim Candra, whose novels have received the honour of being translated into several languages, including English. Even he, however, sometimes laboured under the fetters imposed upon him by a strange vocabulary, and all competent European scholars are agreed that no work of first-class originality has much chance of arising in Bengal till some great genius purges the language of its pseudo-classical element.

Oriya Literature does not go back beyond the 16th century, though examples of the language are found in inscriptions of the 13th century. Nearly all the works are connected with the history of Krishna, and the translation of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa into Oriya in the first half of the 16th century still exercises great influence on the masses. Dīna Kŗṣṇa Dās (17th century) was the author of another popular work entitled Rasa Kallola, or “The Waves of Sentiment,” which deals with the early life of Krishna. Every verse in it begins with the letter k. It is not always decent, but is immensely popular. Upēndra Bhañja, Rājā of Gumsur, a petty hill state, is the most famous of Oriya poets, and was the most prolific. His work is insipid to a European taste, and when not unintelligible is often obscene. Oriya poetry, from first to last, has been an artificial production, the work of paṇḍits, who clung to the rules of Sanskrit rhetoric, and loaded their verses with so many ideas and words borrowed from that language that it is rarely understood, except by the learned. The whole literature is, in fact, overshadowed by the great temple of Jagannāth (a name of Krishna) at Puri in Orissa.

Assamese Literature.—The Assamese are justly proud of their national literature. It has an independent growth, and its strength lies in history, a branch of letters in which other Indian languages are almost entirely wanting. They have chronicles going back for the past 600 years, and a knowledge of their contents is a necessary part of the education of the upper classes of the country. In poetry, the Vaishnava reformer, Sankar Deb, who flourished some 450 years ago, was a voluminous writer. His best known work is a translation of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. About the same time Ananta Kandali translated the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa into his native tongue. Medicine was a science much studied, and there are translations of all the principal Sanskrit works on the subject. Forty or fifty dramatic works in the vernacular are known and are still acted. Some of them date back to the time of Śankar Dēb.

Authorities.—There is no work dealing with the three languages as a group. Both the Comparative Grammars of Beames and Hoernle (see Indo-Aryan Languages) are silent about Assamese. The fullest details concerning them all will be found in vol. v. of the Linguistic Survey of India, parts i. and ii. (Calcutta, 1903). In this each dialect and subdialect is treated with great minuteness and with copious examples.

The first Bengali grammar and dictionary in a European language was the Vocabulario em Idioma Bengalla e Portuguez of Manoel da Assumpçam (Lisbon, 1743). N. B. Halhed wrote the first Bengali grammar in the English language (Hooghly, 1778), but the real father of Bengali philology was the great missionary, William Carey (Grammar, Serampore, 1801; Dictionary, ib., 1825). W. Yates’s Grammar, as edited and improved by T. Wenger (Calcutta, 1847) and others, is still on sale. It is entirely confined to the literary Bengali of the paṇḍits. Its great rival has been Śyāmā Caraṇ Sarkār’s Grammar (Calcutta, 1850), of which there have been numerous reprints. In 1894 J. Beames published his Grammar (Oxford), now the standard work on the subject. It is largely based on Śyāmā Caraṇ’s work, but with much new material, especially that dealing with the colloquial side of the language. G. F. Nicholl’s Grammar (London, 1885) is an independent study of the language, in which the vernacular works of the best native grammarians have been freely utilized. There is no good Bengali dictionary. G. C. Haughton’s Dictionary (London, 1833) is perhaps still the best, but J. Mendies’ (Calcutta, about 1870) is also well known, and is the parent of countless others which have issued from the Calcutta presses. A Small Dictionary of Colloquial Bengali Words, by J. M. C. and G. A. C. (Calcutta, 1904), may also be studied with advantage. Cf. also Śyāmā-caraṇ Gāṇguli, Bengali Spoken and Written (Calcutta, 1906). For Bengali literature, see R. C. Dutt, The Literature of Bengal (Calcutta and London, 1895), and Hara Prasād Śāstrī, The Vernacular Literature of Bengal before the Introduction of English Education (Calcutta, n.d.). The most complete work is Bangabhāsā o Sāhitya by Dīnēś Candra Sēn (2nd ed., Calcutta, 1901) in the Bengali language.

For Oriya there are E. Hallam’s (Calcutta, 1874), T. Maltby’s (Calcutta, 1874) and J. Browne’s (London, 1882) Grammars. The last two are in the Roman character. They are all mere sketches of the language. Sutton’s (Cuttack, 1841) is still the only Dictionary which the present writer has found of any practical use. For Oriya literature, see App. IX. of Hunter’s Orissa (London, 1872), and Monmohan Chakravarti’s “Notes on the Language and Literature of Orissa” in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. lxvi. (1897), part i. pp. 317 ff., and vol. lxvii. (1898), part i. pp. 332 ff.

The first Assamese Grammar was Nathan Brown’s (Sibsagar, 1848, 3rd ed. 1893), and it is still the one usually studied. G. F. Nicholl gives an Assamese grammar as a supplement to his Bengali Grammar already quoted. Like that work, it is quite independent, and is not a revised edition of Brown. M. Bronson’s Dictionary (Sibsagar, 1867) was for long the only vocabulary available, and a very useful and practical work it was. It is now superseded by Hem Candra Baŗuā’s Hema-koṣa (Shillong, 1900). For Assamese literature, see Ananda Rām Dhekiāl Phukan’s A Few Remarks on the Assamese