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Full text of "Linguistic Survey Of India Vol V Part I Indo Aryan Family Eastern Group"

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4                             r                                  EASTEBN GROUP,

form of speech is spoken. On this principle, the maps illustrating the relative position
of the various languages which- form the Eastern Group of Indo-Aryan vernaculars
have been drawn up, and they should be accepted subject to the above explanation;

Aryan languages do not merge into non-Aryan languages m this way. A language
of one family may occasionally borrow words of grammatical forms from a language of
another, and this is all. Sometimes the necessity of intercourse has evolved a kind of
c pigeon ' language, a jargon unworthy of the name of dialect, but even in this case its
speakers talk their own language amongst their own people.

I have said that natural obstacles may prevent one Aryan language from merging
into another. There are some interesting examples of this fact in the Eastern Group.
The language of the Ohota Nagpur plateau is Bihari, while that of thp district below the
plateau, and immediately to its east, Hanbhum, is Bengali. Here there is no merging,
Bihari and Bengali live side by side as independent languages. Nay, there are even
immigrants from the plateau who have settled in Manbhum, and who still speak Bihari
in the midst of their Bengali-speaking neighbours. So, also, there are Bihari-speaking
immigrants in Singbhum, an Oriya district, who retain their original language as
strangers in a strange land* On the other hand, where Bengali and Bihari meet north
of the Ganges in a level plain, with little or no natural barrier between them, the
languages so merge into each other that it would be impossible to draw a definite boundary
line; A feeble barrier, it is true, does exist in the river Mahananda, and that has some
slight influence in separating the two forms of speech.

We have seen that speakers of an Aryan language when living as strangers in a
country in which another Aryan language, even a nearly related one, is spoken, retain
the use of their ancestral tongue. This is, as might be expected, still more prominently
the case where they have settled among an aboriginal population speaking non-
Aryan languages, as is the case in Ohota Nagpur* This is a peculiarity of Aryan
speakers as distinct from the aboriginal tribes. It will be noted in future volumes
of this Survey, how willingly an aboriginal tribe allows its own proper language
to be corrupted by those of its more civilised Aryan neighbours, and how, in some cases,
it bas even abandoned its own /language altogether, and has adopted in its stead one
whose speakers claim, and are allowed, all the prestige that attaches in India to the
caste-system. There are even instances in which an aboriginal tribe has abandoned
its language for that of another non-Aryan family,1

The earliest specimens of the Aryan vernaculars with which we are acquainted
T. r f ^                      are the older hymns of the Rig- veda. These hymns probably

The Eastern Gr oup represents                 ,    ,,            -,.,*         * ?t_    t                    *               ^

and ancient Prakrit form  of   represent the condition of the language spoken m North*

Western Hindostan at the time that they were composed,

yet even they show several signs of dialectic differences. As a literary language, the
form of speech preserved by them gradually developed into what is known as classical
Sanskrit On the other hand, as & group of cognate vernaculars, it took a different
course in the mouths of the people, and branched out into different streams of
living tongues as the Aryans spread and gradually Advanced down the Gangetic valley,
next stage at which we find these speeches is in the time of the celebrated

* A *** etomple ig afo'&a ky tbe Kh*r& tribe, who fcave alaoguagerftWr own wbioh belong* to the Mupdt
. Yet fee pages of & Swey wffl skow that tfce KhajiS* who .live in tbe Bengdiipoakiug dUfric* ef Maobham
A corrupt Bengali, >Kfc ttoie rf BamWfcw s^