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

BENGALI OR BANGA-BHASHA.
This is the language of Lower Bengal, or the region of the Gangetic Delta and of the
districts immediately above it and to its east.
It is called by those who sneak it Banla or Banga-bhasha,—the language of Banga
or Vanga.   The former is the colloquial title, while the latter
Name of the Language.        ;    .-                    „       i   •     ?«i      ,             T     «      i   »j.    r^      •      i
is the name found m literature,   In Sanskrit, the word
' Tanga* meant Eastern and Central Bengal, but in modern times it is applied to the
whole country in which the Bengali language is spoken. The word f Bengali * is an
English one, framed on the English word 'Bengal/ which may have been learned in
Southern India,1 where the word J^angdlam occurs in an inscription of the great Tanjore
temple, dating from the llth century A.D, From this word arose the word Bangal^ of
the Arabic Geographers.2 From Arabic, it got into Persian, and we find Abu-1-fazl
saying in the AIn-i Akbari/ c the real name of Bangala is Bang.13 Ifrom Persian,
the word Bangala was adopted into Hindustani, and was used by Muhammadan writers
in that language. So far as my reading goes it was not used by any of the classical
Hindu writers, who still adhered to the proper name of the country,—Bang. From
Bangala, Hindustani writers formed the hybrid word bangatt and also the coatraeted
word bangld, both meaning < of or belonging to Bengal,' * Bengali*' The latter word has
entered into English in the word ' bungalow,5 which means a house after the Bengal
fashion. ' Bangall' has been borrowed by some English writers, under a mistaken idea of
correct spelling, and has been used instead of the English word Bengali, which is much
as if an Englishman were to borrow the French word * Allemagne," when he wanted to say
* Germany/4 As this is a work in the English language, 1 shall throughout use the English
word c Bengali} when referring to the form of speech now under consideration. For the
reasons aboTe stated, I shall avoid the form * Bangala/ or, as some write it, * Bengdli/ with
a diacritical accent on the second syllable. The sole advantage of the latter form is that
it prevents ignorant English people frorr pronouncing the word as if it was * Bengalee/
with the second syllable short, and accents on the first and last syllables. The class
of people who use this pronunciation are not likely to trouble themselves with the results
of this Survey. In titles and headings, I shall give, as an alternative name, the word
'Banga.bhasha/ which, as stated above, is the name given in literary works to the
language by the people who speak it.
1 Much of what follows is based upon Tula and Burnett's Hohon-Jolson, t.v, Bengal* I have to thank Mr, Beames for
many kindly criticisms on this introduction.
* In Elliot's Rittory of India as told ly its ow, Historians. 1,72, the Arabic Historian Rashjda-d-din, quoting from
Al BirunI (circ. 1000 A.D,), is shown as speaking off Bangala/ but the reading is yery doubtful. There are, however, other
examples.
1 The original (Blochmann a Edition, Vol. I, p. 388) runs ^ d&s J*>] p nam* a^fae Bangal& Sang. AM-Mqi
adds that the suffi* dl in Bangala means an embankment between two fields! These, he says, were raised by former rulers
throughout the country* Hence its name. The explanation is ingenious if nothing more* Modern pandit* derive the name
from Sahga-alaya, the abode of Banga*
4 The word 5<M$#<W5,occurs in Bengali itself in the sense of the Bengali Language, but it is evidently borrowed in }ate
years from Hindustani. The word does not occur in Sanskrit literature, the nearest approach to it baing the word vangala,
which is, however, the name of a musical mode, and does not mean Bengali. In the later language 'b&nfa also occurs la the
same sense as lahgela, i.e., meaning the Bengali language, and is common in the colloquial dialect. This form shows that it
is taken from Hindustani, either under English influence, or as a relic of the Muhammadan occupation of the country.
Bengali.                                                                                                                                                 c 2