1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Indo-Aryan Languages

23115021911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 14 — Indo-Aryan LanguagesGeorge Abraham Grierson

INDO-ARYAN LANGUAGES. “Indo-Aryan” is the name generally adopted for those Aryans who entered India and settled there in prehistoric times, and for their descendants. It distinguishes them from the other Aryans who settled in Persia and elsewhere, just as the name “Aryo-Indian” signifies those inhabitants of India who are Aryans, as distinguished from other Indian races, Dravidians, Mundas and so on. A synonym of “Aryo-Indian” is “Gaudian” or “Gaurian,” based on a Sanskrit word for the non-Dravidian parts of India proper. These two words refer to the people from the point of view of India, while “Indo-Aryan” looks at them from the wider aspect of Indo-European ethnology and philology. The general history of the Aryan languages is treated in the articles Indo-European Languages and Aryan. Here we propose to offer a brief review of the special course of their development in India.

Most of the Indo-Aryans branched off from the common Aryan stock in the highlands of Khokand and Badakshan, and marched south into what is now eastern Afghanistan. Here some of them settled, while others entered the Punjab by the valley of the river Kabul. This last migration was a gradual process extending over several centuries, and at different epochs different tribes came in, speaking different dialects of the common language. The literary records of the latest times of this invasion show us one Indo-Aryan tribe complaining of the unintelligible speech of another, and even denying to it the right of common Aryan-hood.

The Piśāca Languages.—Before proceeding farther, it is advisable to discuss the fate of another small group of languages spoken in the extreme north-west of India. After the great fission which separated the main body of the Indo-Aryans from the Iranians, but before all the special phonetic characteristics of Iranian speech had developed, another horde of invaders crossed the Hindū Kush from the Pāmirs, journeying directly south. They occupied the submontane tract, including the country round Chitral and Gilgit, Kashmir and Kafiristan. Some even followed the course of the Indus as far as Sind, and formed colonies there and in the western Punjab. Here they mingled with the Indo-Aryans who had come down the Kabul valley, and to a certain extent infected the local dialect with their idioms. How far their influence extended over the rest of India is undecided, and will probably never be known, but traces of it have been detected by some inquirers even in the dialects of modern Marathi. Those who remained behind in the hill country, the whole of which is popularly known as Dardistan, were isolated by the inhospitable nature of their home and by their own savage character. They seem to have had customs allied to cannibalism, and in later Indian literature legends grew around them as a race of demons called Piśācas, ὠμοφάγοι, who spoke a barbaric tongue called Paiśācī. This language appears now and then in the Sanskrit drama, and Sanskrit philologists wrote still-extant grammatical notices of its peculiarities. These show that it possessed an extremely archaic character, and the same fact is prominent in the Piśāca languages of the present day. Some words which were spoken in the oldest time are preserved with hardly a change of letter, while in India proper the corresponding forms have either disappeared altogether or have been so changed as to be hardly recognizable at first sight. The principal modern Piśāca languages are three or four spoken in Kafiristan, Khōwar of Chitral, Shīnā of Gilgit, Kāshmīrī, and Kōhistānī. The last two are border tongues, much mixed with the neighbouring languages of India proper. The only one which has any literature is Kashmiri (q.v.). The rest are entirely uncultivated. Their general character may be described as partly Indian and partly Iranian, although they have in their isolated position developed some phonetic laws of their own.

Indo-Aryan Classification.—The oldest specimens of Indo-Aryan speech which we possess very closely resemble the oldest Iranian (see Persia: Language). There are passages in the Iranian Avesta which can be turned into good Vedic Sanskrit by the application of a few simple phonetic laws. It is sufficient for our present purposes to note that after the separation the development of the two old forms of speech went on independently and followed somewhat different lines. This is most marked in the treatment of a nexus of two consonants. While modern Iranian often retains the nexus with little or no alteration, modern Indo-Aryan prefers to simplify it. For instance, while the old Aryan sth becomes sit or ist in modern Persian, it becomes tth or th in modern Indo-Aryan. Similarly bhr becomes bir in the former, but bbh or bh in the latter. Thus:—

Old Indo-Aryan.  Old Iranian.  Modern Persian.  Hindī.
 sthāna-  stāna-  sitān or istān  thānā, a place.
 bhrātar-  brātar-  birādar  bhāī, a brother. 

The earliest extant literary record of Indo-Aryan languages is the collection of hymns known as the Rig-Veda. As we have it now, we may take it as representing, on the whole, the particular vernacular dialect spoken in the east of the Punjab and in the upper portion of the Gangetic Doab where it was compiled. The tribe which spoke this dialect spread east and south, and their habitat, as so extended, between the Punjab and the modern Allahabad and reaching from the Himalaya to the Vindhya Hills in the south, became known to Sanskrit geographers as the Madhyadēśa or “Midland,” also called Āryāvarta, or the “home of the Aryans.” The language spoken here received constant literary culture, and a refined form of its archaic dialect became fixed by the labours of grammarians about the year 300 B.C., receiving the name of Saṁskr̥ta (Sanskrit) or “purified,” in contradistinction to the folk-speech of the same tract and to the many Indo-Aryan dialects of other parts of India, all of which were grouped together under the title of Prākr̥ta (Prakrit) or “natural,” “unpurified.” Sanskrit (q.v.) became the language of religion and polite literature, and thus the Midland, the native land of its mother dialect, became accepted as the true pure home of the Indo-Aryan people, the rest being, from the point of view of educated India, more or less barbarous. In later times, the great lingua franca of India, Hindostani, also took its origin in this tract.

Round the Midland, on three sides—west, south and east—lay a country inhabited, even in Vedic times, by other Indo-Aryan tribes. This tract included the modern Punjab, Sind, Gujarat, Rajputana with the country to its east, Oudh and Behar. Rajputana belongs geographically to the Midland, but it was a late conquest, and for our present purposes may be considered as belonging to the Outer Band. The various Indo-Aryan dialects spoken over this band were all more closely related to each other than was any of them to the language of the Midland. In fact, at an early period of the linguistic history of India there must have been two sets of Indo-Aryan dialects,—one the language of the Midland and the other that of the Outer Band.[1] Hoernle was the first to suggest that the dialects of the Outer Band represent on the whole the language of the earlier Indo-Aryan immigrants, while the language of the Midland was that of the latest comers, who entered the Punjab like a wedge and thrust the others outwards in three directions.

As time went on, the population of the Midland expanded and forced the Outer Band into a still wider circuit. The Midland conquered the eastern Punjab, Rajputana with Gujarat (where it reached the sea) and Oudh. With its armies and its settlers it carried its language, and hence in all these territories we now find mixed forms of speech. The basis of each is that of the Outer Band, but the body is that of the Midland. Moreover, as we leave the Midland and approach the external borders of this tract, the influence of the Midland language grows weaker and weaker, and traces of the original Outer language become more and more prominent. In the same way the languages of the Outer Band were forced farther and farther afield. There was no room for expansion to the west, but to the south it flowed over the Maratha country, and to the east into Orissa, into Bengal and, last of all, into Assam.

The state of affairs at the present day is therefore as follows: There is a Midland Indo-Aryan language (Western Hindi) occupying the Gangetic Doab and the country immediately to its north and south. Round it, on three sides, is a band of mixed languages, Panjabi (of the central Punjab), Gujarati, Rajasthani (of Rajputana and its neighbourhood), and Eastern Hindi (of Oudh and the country to its south). Beyond these again, there is the band of Outer Languages (Kashmiri, with its Pisaca basis), Lahnda (of the western Punjab), Sindhi (here the band is broken by Gujarati), Marathi, Oriya (of Orissa), Bihari, Bengali and Assamese. There are also, at the present day, Indo-Aryan languages in the Himalaya, north of the Midland. These belong to the Intermediate Band, being recent importations from Rajputana. The Midland language is therefore now enclosed within a ring fence of Intermediate forms of speech.

We have seen that the word “Prakrit” means “natural” or “vernacular,” as opposed to the “purified” literary Sanskrit. From this point of view every vernacular of India, from the earliest times, is a Prakrit. The Rig-Veda itself, composed long before the birth of “purified” Sanskrit, can only be considered as written in an old vernacular, and its language, together with the other contemporary Indo-Aryan dialects which never attained to the honour of “purification,” may be called the Primary Prakrits of India. If we compare literary Sanskrit with classical Latin (see Brandreth, “The Gaurian compared with the Romance Languages,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society xi. (1879), 287; xii. (1880), 335), then these Primary Prakrits correspond to the old Italic dialects contemporary with and related to the literary language of Rome. They were synthetic languages with fairly complicated grammars, no objection to harsh combinations of consonants, and several grammatical forms strange to the classical speech. In the course of centuries (while literary Sanskrit remained stereotyped) they decayed into Secondary Prakrits. These still remained synthetic, and still retained the non-classical forms of grammar, but diphthongs and harsh combinations of consonants were eschewed. They now corresponded to the post-classical Italic dialects. Just as Sanskrit (and the Primary Prakrits) knew of a city called Kauśāmbī, which was known as Kōsambī to the Secondary Prakrits, so the real Umbrian name of the poet known to literature as Plautus was Plot(u)s. Again, as the Latin lactuca became lattuca, so the Primary Prakrit bhakta- became the Secondary bhatta-. In India, the dislike to harsh consonantal sounds, a sort of glottic laziness, finally led to a condition of almost absolute fluidity, each word of the Secondary Prakrits ultimately becoming an emasculated collection of vowels hanging on to an occasional consonant. This weakness brought its own Nemesis and from, say, A.D. 1000 we find in existence the series of modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars, or, as they may be called, Tertiary Prakrits, closely corresponding to the modern Romance languages. Here we find the hiatus between contiguous vowels abolished by the creation of new diphthongs, declensional and conjugational terminations consisting merely of vowels becoming worn away, and new languages appearing, no longer synthetic, but analytic, and again reverting to combinations of consonants under new forms, which had existed three thousand years ago, but which two thousand years of attrition had caused to vanish.

It is impossible to fix any approximate date for the change from the Primary to the Secondary Prakrits. We see sporadic traces of the secondary stage already occurring in the Rig-Veda itself, of which the canon was closed about 1000 B.C. At any rate Secondary Prakrits were the current vernacular at the time of the emperor Asoka (250 B.C.). Their earliest stage was that of what is now called Pāli, the sacred language of the Buddhists, which forms the subject of a separate article (see Pali). A still later and more abraded stage is also discussed under the head of Prakrit. This stage is known as that of the Prakrit par excellence. When we talk of Prakrit without any qualifying epithet, we usually mean this later stage of the Secondary Prakrits, when they had developed beyond the stage of Pāli, but before they had reached the analytic stage of the modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars. The next, and final, stage of the Secondary Prakrits was that of the Apabhraṁśas. The word Apabhraṁśa means “corrupt” or “decayed,” and was applied to the vernaculars in contrast to the Prakrit par excellence, which had in its turn (like Sanskrit and Pali) become stereotyped by being employed for literature. It is these Apabhraṁśas which are the direct parents of the modern vernacular. The following is a list of the Indo-Aryan vernaculars, showing, when known, the names of the Apabhraṁśas from which they are sprung, and the number of speakers of each in the year 1901:—

Apabhraṁśa. Modern Language.  Number of 
A. Language of the Midland.
 Śaurasēna  Western Hindī 40,714,925 
B. Intermediate Languages.
 Āvanta  Rājasthānī 10,917,712 
 Āvanta  Pahārī Languages 3,124,681 
 Gaurjara  Gujarātī 9,439,925 
 Śaurasēna  Pañjābī 17,070,961 
 Ardhamāgadha   Eastern Hindī 22,136,358 
C. Outer Languages.
  (a) North-Western Group.
 Unknown  Kāshmīrī (with a Piśāca basis) 1,007,957 
 Unknown  Kōhistānī (with a Piśāca basis)  (unknown) 
 Unknown  Lahndā or Western Pañjābī 3,337,917 
 Vrācaḍa  Sindhī 3,494,971 
  (b) Southern Language.
 Māhārāṣṭra  Marāṭhī 18,237,899 
  (c) Eastern Group.
 Māgadha  Bihārī 34,579,844 
 Māgadha  Oṛiyā 9,687,429 
 Māgadha  Bengali 44,624,048 
 Māgadha  Assamese 1,350,846 

   Total     More than  219,725,473 

Of these, the Pahāṛī languages are offshoots of Rājasthānī imported into the Himalaya. Kōhistānī includes the mixed dialects of the Swat and Indus Kohistans. The census of 1901 did not extend to these tracts. A full account of the Apabhraṁśas will be found in the article Prakrit.

Although the modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars are not derived from Sanskrit, and though all, or nearly all, are not derived from the language of the Rig-Veda, nevertheless, as these are almost the only sources of our information as to what the Primary Prakrits of India were, and as all Primary Prakrits were related to these two and were in approximately the same stage of phonetic development, they afford a convenient means for carrying out historical investigation into the origin of all the modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars to its legitimate conclusion. At the same time they are not always trustworthy guides, and sometimes fail to explain forms derived from other ancient contemporary dialects, the originals of which were unknown to the Vedic and classical literature. A striking example is the origin of the very common locative suffix -ē. This can be traced through the Apabhraṁśa -hi to the Pali -dhi. There all Indian clues cease, and it is not till we recognize its relationship to the Greek -θι that we understand that it is an ancient Indo-European termination kept alive in India by some of the Primary Prakrits, but ignored both by the dialect of the Rig-Veda and by literary Sanskrit. With this reservation, a short comparison of Sanskrit with the Secondary and Tertiary Prakrit developments will be of interest. As the Pali and Prakrit stages are fully treated under their proper heads, very brief references to them will be sufficient.

A. Vocabulary.—The ground of all the vocabularies of the modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars is, of course, the vocabulary of Aryan India in the Vedic period. Thousands of words have descended from the earliest times and are still in existence, after passing through certain changes subject to well-known phonetic laws. As many of these laws are the same for every language, it follows that a large stock of words, which principally differ in inflection, is common to all these modern forms of speech. These words, which natives believe to be derived from Sanskrit itself, are called by them tadbhava, i.e. “having ’that’ (sc. Sanskrit, or, more correctly, the Primary Prakrit) for its origin.” As the language of the Midland is derived from the old dialect of which Sanskrit is the “polished” form, it is approximately true to say that it is derived from that form of speech, and its native vocabulary (allowing for phonetic development) may be said to be the same as that of Sanskrit. But the farther we go from the Midland, the more examples we meet of a new class of words which natives of India call dēśya or “country-born.” Most of these are really also tadbhavas, descendants of the old Primary Prakrit dialects spoken outside the Midland, of whose existence native scholars took no account. Finally, owing to the ever-present influence of literary Sanskrit, words are, and have been for many generations, borrowed direct from that language. Some of these borrowed words are due to the existence of Sanskrit as the language of religion. Their use is paralleled by the employment of Greek and Latin words for religious technical terms in all the languages of Europe. Others are technical terms of arts and sciences, but most of those which we meet are simply employed for the sake of fine language, much as if some purist were to insist on employing hlāford instead of “lord” in writing English. These Sanskrit words are known as tatsama or “the same as ‘that’ (sc. Sanskrit).” The number of tatsamas employed varies much. In languages such as Panjabi which have little or no literature, and in the speech of the peasantry all over India, they are few in number. In the modern literary Bengali a false standard of literary taste has led to their employment in overwhelming numbers, and the homely vigorous home-speech, which is itself capable of expressing every idea that the mind of man can conceive, flounders about awkwardly enough under the weight of its borrowed plumes. The native vocabulary of the modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars is thus made up of tadbhavas, dēśyas and tatsamas.

The Dravidian languages of southern India have also contributed a small quota to the Indo-Aryan vocabulary. Most of the words have been given a colour of contempt in the process of borrowing. Thus the word pillā, a cub, is really the Dravidian pillai, a son. But the most important accretion from outside comes from Persian, and (through Persian) from Arabic. This is due to Mahommedan influence. In the Mogul courts Persian was for long the language of politeness and literature, and words belonging to it filtered into all stages of society. The proportion of these Persian words varies greatly in the different languages. In some forms of Western Hindī they have almost monopolized the vocabulary, while in others, such as Bengali and Marathi, the number is very few. Instances of borrowing from other languages are of small importance.

B. Phonetics.—The alphabet of the Indo-Aryan languages is, on the whole, the same as that of Sanskrit (q.v.), and the system of transliteration adopted for that language is also followed for them.[2] Some new sounds have, however, developed in the Secondary and Tertiary Prakrits. New signs will be used for them, and will be explained in the proper places. Sanskrit knew only long ē and ō, but already in the Secondary Prakrits we find a corresponding short pair, e and o, of which the use is considerably extended in the tertiary stage. The Sanskrit diphthongs āi and āu disappeared in the secondary stage, ē and ō being substituted for them respectively. On the other hand, in the same stage, we frequently come across pairs of vowels, such as , , with a hiatus between the two members. In the tertiary stage, these pairs have been combined into new diphthongs ai and au, shorter in pronunciation than āi and āu. The pronunciation of āi and ai may be compared with that of the English “aye” and “I” respectively. In the languages of the Outer Band, there is again a tendency to weaken this new ai to ē, and the new au to ō. All the tertiary languages weaken a short final vowel. In most it is elided altogether in prose, but in some of those of the Outer Band (Kashmiri, Sindhi and Bihari) it is half pronounced. Some of the Outer languages have also developed a new a-sound, corresponding to that of a in the German Mann. The stress-accent of classical Sanskrit has as a rule been preserved throughout. In the tertiary stage it generally resolves itself into falling on the ante-penultimate, if the penultimate is short. If the latter is long it takes the accent. In the eastern-languages there is a tendency to throw the accent even farther back. There is also everywhere a tendency to lighten the pronunciation of a short vowel after an accented syllable, so that it is barely audible. Thus, cála for cálatā. In some dialects, e.g. the Urdu form of Western Hindi, this “imperfect” vowel has altogether disappeared, as in cáltā.

The tertiary languages have on the whole preserved the consonantal system of the secondary stage, preferring, however, as a rule, to simplify double consonants, with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel. Thus, for Sanskrit hasta-, a hand, we have Secondary Prakrit hattha-, Tertiary hāth. Some tertiary languages have both hatth and hāth: others (like Gujarati) have only hāth: while others (like Panjabi) have only hatth. In the extreme north-west, Sindhi and Lahnda, under the influence of the Pisaca languages, simplify the double consonant without compensatory lengthening, so that we have hath. Again, many languages of the Outer Band show a tendency to avoid aspiration, so that Kashmiri, Marathi, Bengali and others have hāt. It is well known that the Iranian languages change s to h. The Tertiary Prakrits of the Outer Band find analogous difficulty in pronouncing a sibilant. The north-western languages change it to h as in Persian. Marathi changes s to ś before palatal sounds, and the same change occurs in Bengali in the case of every uncompounded sibilant. Eastern Bengali and Assamese go farther. Here s is again sounded almost like h. On the other hand, in the Midland, s rarely becomes h and then only when medial. In the Outer languages the palatal consonants are also liable to change; j and jh approach the sound of z, and c and ch often become ts, or, in the East, a simple s. Thus, the Midland cākar. a servant, is pronounced tsākar in Marathi, and the Midland māch, a fish, is sounded mās in Marathi, Bengali and Assamese.

C. Declension.—In the latest stage of the Secondary Prakrits the neuter gender begins to disappear, and in the tertiary stage, except in Gujarati and Marathi, it is nearly altogether wanting. Elsewhere we only come across occasional relics of its employment. In some of the tertiary languages grammatical gender, as distinct from sexual gender, has disappeared as entirely as it has in English. The dual number had already fallen into disuse in the Secondary Prakrits. In the secondary stage we see a gradual simplification of grammatical form and a disappearance of case endings. The complicated Sanskrit system is more and more superseded by the simple uniformity of the declension of a-bases. One by one the case endings were discarded, and cases were confounded with one another till at length in Apabhramśa only one or two forms remained for each number. In the tertiary stage there remain in most languages only two cases, which we may call the nominative and the oblique. The latter can be employed for any case except the nominative, but the sense is usually defined by the aid of help-words called postpositions.[3] It is a linguistic rule that languages in which the genitive precedes the governing noun prefer suffixes to prefixes and vice versa;[4] and, as the genius of the Indo-Aryan languages does require the genitive to be prefixed, these help-words take the form of suffixes. In the Midland they are still separate words, but in the Outer Band each has in general become incorporated with the main word to which it is attached. Thus, the Midland ghōṛā, a horse, has its oblique form ghōṛē, genitive ghōṛē ker, but Bengali has oblique form ghōṛā, genitive gkōṛār contracted from ghōṛā + (k)ar. The ground principles of declension in all tertiary languages are the same, but as each employs different postpositions the systems of declension vary considerably. Marathi is the only true Indo-Aryan language which has preserved anything more than sporadic relics of the old system of case terminations.

D. Conjugation.—Two tenses, the present and the imperative, of the old synthetic system of conjugation have survived in all the Tertiary Prakrits, and in some of them we also find the ancient future. All other tenses are now made periphrastically, mostly with the aid of participles to which auxiliary verbs may or may not be added. The participles employed are all survivals of the old participles of the present, of the past and (in some languages) of the future. The past and future participles are passive in their origin, and hence tenses formed with these participles must be construed passively. Thus, instead of “I struck him” we must say, either “he was struck by me,” or else (impersonally) “it was struck by me with reference to him.” So, for an intransitive verb we have, either “I am gone,” or “it is gone by me.” In the language of the Midland this is quite simple and clear, but in those of the Outer Band the subject (in the instrumental, or as it is usually called “agent” case) is indicated by means of pronominal suffixes attached to the participle or auxiliary verb; thus (Bengali) mārila + am, struck + by-me, becomes mārilām, I struck. In such cases all memory of the passive meaning of the participle is lost by the eastern languages, and it, together with the appropriate pronominal suffixes, becomes in appearance and in practical use an ordinary past tense conjugated as in Latin or in Sanskrit. It is an instance of reversion to the original type; first synthetic, then analytic, and then again a new synthetic conjugation. In the other languages of the Outer Band, the memory of the passive nature of the participle is retained, although the conjugation is as synthetic as in the East, and the subject has to be put into the “agent” case.

Authorities.—No work has yet been published dealing with Indo-Aryan subjects as a whole, although several have been written which treat of one or more stages of their development. For the general question of the Piśāca languages, the reader may consult G. A. Grierson’s The Piśāca Languages of North-Western India (London, 1906). For the different languages of this group, see G. W. Leitner, Dardistan (Lahore, 1877); J. Biddulph, Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh, (Calcutta, 1880); D. J. O’Brien, Grammar and Vocabulary of the Khowār Dialect (Lahore, 1895); J. Davidson, Notes on the Bashgali (Kāfir) Language (Calcutta, 1901). For the linguistic conditions of Vedic times, the Introduction to J. Wackernagel’s Altindische Grammatik (Göttingen, 1896) gives much useful information in a convenient form. For the literature concerning Pāli and Prakrit, see under those heads. The following are the principal works dealing with the general question of the Tertiary Prakrits: J. Beames, Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of India (1872–1879); A. F. R. Hoernle, A Grammar of the Eastern Hindi compared with the other Gaudian Languages (1880); R. G. Bhandarkar, “The Phonology of the Prakrits of Northern India,” in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Bombay Branch), vol. XVII., ii., 99-182 (see also the same author’s series of papers on cognate subjects in vol. XVI. of the same Journal); and G. A. Grierson’s essays “On the Phonology of the Modern Indo-Aryan Vernaculars” in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft, vols. xlix., 1. (1895–1896), 393, 1; “On the Radical and Participial Tenses of the Modern Indo-Aryan Vernaculars” in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. lxiv. (1895), part i., 352; and “On certain Suffixes in the Modern Indo-Aryan Vernaculars” in the Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung (1903), p. 473. The general subject of this article is discussed at greater length in chapter vii. of the Report on the Census of India, 1901 (Calcutta, 1903). The volumes of the Linguistic Survey of India also contain much detailed information, summed up at length in the introductory volume.  (G. A. Gr.) 

  1. Attempts have been made to discover dialectic variations in the Veda itself, and, as originally composed in various parts of the Punjab widely distant from each other, the hymns probably did contain many such. But they have been edited by compilers whose home was in the Midland, and now their language is fairly uniform throughout. In the time of Asōka (250 B.C.) there were at least two dialects, an eastern and a western, as well as another in the extreme north-west. The grammarian Patañjali (150 B.C.) mentions the existence of several dialects.
  2. The Nāgarī (see Sanskrit) and allied alphabets, when employed for modern Indo-Aryan languages or for Prakrit, are transliterated in this work according to the following system:—

    a ā i ī u ū ṛ ṝ e ē ai āī o ō au āū ṁ (anusvāra) ∞ (anunāsika) ḥ (visarga).
    k kh g gh rc
    c (ts) ch (tsh) j (dz) jh (dzh) ñ
    ṭ ṭh ḍ (ṛ) ḍh (ṛh) ḷ ḷh ṇ
    t th d dh n
    p ph b bh m
    y r l v (w)
    ś ṣ s h.

    Special sounds employed by particular languages are described in the articles in which reference is made to them. Here we may mention å, sounded like the aw in “law,” and ä, ö, ü, pronounced as in German.

  3. The origin of the postpositions is discussed in the article Hindostani.
  4. See P. W. Schmidt in Mitteilungen der Wiener Anthropologischen Gesellschaft, xxxiii. 381.