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Dravidian Studies IV

  • T. Burrow


Bishop caldwell, the founder of the comparative study of the Dravidian languages, was interested not only in the relationship of those languages among themselves, but also in the question of their connection with other families of languages outside India. His investigations in this direction led him to believe that the Dravidian languages are connected with what he called the “Scythian” family of languages. By the term “Scẏthian” Caldwell referred mainly to the Ural-Altaic languages, though occasionally using the word in a rather wider sense than that. Within the “Scythian” family he held that it was possible to define the position of Dravidian even more closely, by attaching it to the Finno-ugrian group in particular. The evidence which Caldwell offered in support of this theory consisted partly of grammatical features which he held to be common to the languages concerned, and partly of comparisons of vocabulary. The former are to be found scattered through the body of his work, and the latter are collected together in an appendix entitled “Glossarial Affinities”. In presenting this theory Caldwell was quite modest in his claims; he admitted the possibility of being misled by accidental assonances, and claimed rather to have pointed the way to the possibilities of future research than to have demonstrated the relationship with any finality.



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page 328 note 1 Caldwell, 3 p. 68. “The Scythian family to which, on the whole, the Dravidian languages may be regarded as most nearly allied, is the Finnish or Ugrian⃛”.

page 328 note 2 ibid., pp. 610–624.

page 328 note 3 Letter on the Classification of the Turanian Languages, published in Bunsen's Outlines of the Philosophy of Universal History, vol. I, pp. 263521. London, 1854. Caldwell's first edition was published in 1856, but his work was independent of Max Müller's and vice versa.

page 328 note 4 Compte rendu de la première session, II, pp. 348 ff. Paris, 1873.

page 328 note 5 Transactions of the Second Session of the International Congress of Orientalists, pp. 6497. London, 1874.

page 329 note 1 Müller, Max, Lectures on the Science of Language,6 I, p. 334.

page 329 note 2 Loc. cit., p. 89.

page 329 note 3 Atti del IV Congresso Internazionale degli Orientalisti tenuto in Firenze nel settembre 1878. Tom. II, p. 231. Firenze, 1881.

page 329 note 4 Vol. IV, p. 282 (1906)

page 330 note 1 Zeitschrift für Indologie und Iranistik, III, pp. 81112.

page 330 note 2 Op. eit., p. 83.

page 330 note 3 In the course of a review of Schmidt's, W.Sprachfamilien und Sprachenkreise der Erde in Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung, lVI (1928), pp. 142159.

page 331 note 1 Finnisch-ugrisches aus Indien, Wien, 1932. See the review by B. L. Turner, JRAS., 1934, pp. 799 ff.

page 331 note 2 BSOS., VIII., 751762

page 333 note 3 Op. cit., p. 762.

page 342 note 1 “Drav. St. I,” BSOS., IX (1938), p. 720.. This aspect of the matter is only touched on briefly there; it is hoped to deal with the question exhaustively in a later article in this series.

page 348 note 1 Note that va and o frequently alternate dialectally in Dravidian. Skt. tvak (n.s., at. tvac-) has no satisfactory Indo-european etymology. The current etymology, Skt. tvak: Gk. aákos “shield”, is in any case uncertain on account of the meaning, and the total absence of the word in any other IE. languages is sufficient to confirm the doubts raised by the etymology itself.

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Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
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