Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
156
SAN SEVERO—SANSKRIT

Ancona and the other through Tolentinum to Urbs Salvia and Firmum. No ruins of the old town exist, but a considerable number of inscriptions have been found, from which it may be gathered that it was a colonia.

SAN SEVERO, a city in Apulia, Italy, in the province of Foggia, from which it is 17 m. N.N.W. by rail. Pop. (1901) 28,550. San Severo lies at the foot of the spurs of Monte Gargano, 292 ft. above sea-level. It is the see of a bishop (since 1580), and has some remains of its old fortifications. San Severo dates from the middle ages. It was laid in ruins by Frederick II., and in 1053 was the scene of a victory by Robert Guiscard over the papal troops under Leo IX. In 1799 the town was taken by the French and again almost entirely destroyed. The overlordship was held in succession by the Benedictines of the abbey of Torre Maggiore, the Knights Templars, the crown of Naples and the Sangro family (commendatories of Torre Maggiore). In 1627, 1828 and 1851 the town suffered from earthquakes.

SAN-SHUI, a treaty port in the province of Kwang-tung, China, on the left bank of the West river, 99 m. from Canton, opened to foreign trade in 1897. Pop. about 5000. Its position is at the junction of the North and West rivers, and it is favourably situated as a distributing centre for foreign goods. Two lines of steamers converge at San-shui, from Canton and Hong-Kong respectively. The town is surrounded by a handsome wall built in the 16th century, but within this rampart the houses are mean. The foreign trade shows little signs of expansion. In 1902 the net foreign imports amounted in value to £474,175, and in 1904 to only £380,000, while the exports during the same two years amounted to £225,000 and £317,000 respectively. The direct foreign trade in 1908 was £507,827. There is a large junk traffic, and the local likin station is one of the richest in the province.

SANSKRIT, the name applied by Hindu scholars to the ancient literary language of India. The word saṃskṛita is the past participle of the verb kar(kṛ), “to make” (cognate with Latin creo), with the preposition sam, “together” (cog. ἅμα, ὁμός, Eng. “same”), and has probably to be taken here in the sense of “completely formed” or “ accurately made, polished, refined”—some noun meaning “speech” (esp. bhāshā) being either expressed or understood with it. The term was, doubtless, originally adopted by native grammarians to distinguish the literary language from the uncultivated popular dialects—the forerunners of the modern vernaculars of northern India—which had developed side by side with it, and which were called (from the same root kar, but with a different preposition) Prākṛita, i.e. either “derived” or “natural, common” forms of speech. This designation of the literary idiom, being intended to imply a language regulated by conventional rules, also involves a distinction between the grammatically fixed language of Brāhmanical India and an earlier, less settled, phase of the same language exhibited in the Vedic writings. For convenience the Vedic language is, however, usually included in the term, and scholars generally distinguish between the Vedic and the classical Sanskrit.

I. Sanskrit Language

The Sanskrit language, with its old and modern descendants, represents the easternmost branch of the great Indo-Germanic, or Aryan, stock of speech. Philological research has clearly established the fact that the Indo-Aryans must originally have immigrated into India from the north-west. In the oldest literary documents handed down by them their gradual advance can indeed be traced from the slopes of eastern Kabulistan down to the land of the five rivers (Punjab), and thence to the plains of the Yamunā (Jumna) and Gangā (Ganges). Numerous special coincidences, both of language and mythology, between the Vedic Aryans and the peoples of Iran also show that these two members of the Indo-Germanic family must have remained in closing connexion for some considerable period after the others had separated from them.

The origin of comparative philology dates from the time when European scholars became accurately acquainted with the ancient language of India. Before that time classical scholars had been unable to determine the true relations between the then known languages of our stock. This fact alone shows the importance of Sanskrit for comparative research. Though its value in this respect has perhaps at times been overrated, it may still be considered the eldest daughter of the old mother-tongue. Indeed, so far as direct documentary evidence goes, it may be said to be the only surviving daughter; for none of the other six principal members of the family have left any literary monuments, and their original features have to be reproduced, as best they can, from the materials supplied by their own daughter languages: such is the case as regards the Iranic, Hellenic, Italic, Celtic, Teutonic and Letto-Slavic languages. To the Sanskrit the antiquity and extent of its literary documents, the transparency of its grammatical structure, the comparatively primitive state of its accent system, and the thorough grammatical treatment it has early received at the hand of native scholars must ever secure the foremost place in the comparative study of Indo-Germanic speech.

The Sanskrit alphabet consists of the following sounds:— Alphabet.

(a) Fourteen vowels, viz:
Ten simple vowels: a, ā, i, ī, u, ū, , , (); and
Four diphthongs: ē, āi, ō, āu.
(b) Thirty-three consonants, viz.:
Five series of mutes and nasals:
guttural: k kh g gh
palatal: c ch j jh ñ
lingual: ṭh ḍh
dental: t th d dh n
labial: p ph b bh m;
Four semivowels: y r l v (w)
Three sibilants: palatal ś (ç), lingual (sh), dental s; and
A soft aspirate: h.
(c) Three unoriginal sounds, viz.
visarga (), a hard aspirate, standing mostly for original s or r; and
two nasal sounds of less close contact than the mute-nasals, viz. anusvāra () and anunāsika ().

As regards the vowels, a prominent feature of the language Vowels. is the prevalence of a-sounds, these being about twice as frequent as all the others, including diphthongs taken together (Whitney).

The absence of the short vowels ĕ and ŏ from the Sanskrit alphabet, and the fact that Sanskrit shows the a-vowel where other vowels appear in other languages—e.g. bharantam = φέροντα, ferentem; janas = γένος, genus—were formerly considered as strong evidence in favour of the more primitive state of the Sanskrit vowel system as compared with that of the sister languages. Recent research has, however, shown pretty conclusively from certain indications in the Sanskrit language itself that the latter must at one time have possessed the same, or very nearly the same, three vowel-sounds, and that the differentiation of the original a-sound must, therefore, have taken place before the separation of the languages. Thus, Sans. carati, he walks, would seem to require an original kěrĕti (Gr. πέλει = queleti, Lat. colit), as otherwise the guttural k could not have changed to the palatal c (see below); and similarly Sans. jānu, knee, seems to stand for gēnu (Lat. genu, Gr. γόνυ). Not impossibly, however, this prevalence of pure a-sounds in Sanskrit may from the very beginning have been a mere theoretical or graphic feature of the language, the difference of pronunciation having not yet been pronounced enough for the early grammarians to have felt it necessary to clearly distinguish between the different shades of a-sounds.

The vowels ē and ō, though apparently simple sounds, are classed as diphthongs, being contracted from original ăi and ău respectively, and liable to be treated as such in the phonetic modifications they have to undergo before any vowel except ă.

As regards the consonants, two of the five series of Consonants. mutes, the palatal and lingual series, are of secondary (the one of Indo-Iranian, the other of purely Indian) growth.

The palatals are, as a rule, derived from original gutturals, the modification being generally due to the influence of a neighbouring palatal sound i or y, or ĕ (ä). The surd aspirate ch, in words of Indo-Germanic origin, almost invariably goes back to original sk: e.g. chid- (chind-) = scindo, σχίζω: chāyā = σκιά (O.E. scin, shine); Sans. acchati =βάσκει.

The palatal sibilant ś (pronounced sh) likewise originated from a guttural mute k, but one of somewhat different phonetic value from that represented by Sanskrit k or c. The latter, usually designated by k² (or q), is frequently liable to labialization (or dentalization) in Greek, probably owing to an original pronunciation kw (qu): e.g. katara = πότερος, uter; while the former (k¹) shows invariably κin Greek, and a sibilant in the Letto-Slavic and the Indo-Iranian languages: e.g. śvan (śun) = κύων (κυν), canis, Ger. Hund; daśan = δέκα, decem, Goth. taihun.