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

IffTBODTTCTION.                                                                28
AUTHORITIES—
A*—EARLY REFERENCES TO THE LANGUAGE,
The earliest known instance of the use in Europe of the word 'Bengala5 (i.e.,
Bengali5), not however in the sense of the language, but meaning 'a man of Bengal'
occurs in the Decades of Joao de Barros, the first three of which were published in
Lisbon, 1552 and 1563.   The passage is quoted in Yule's Sobsan-Jobson, s,v. Bengalee,
and is as follows :—
* 1552.   " In the defence of the bridge died three of the king's captains and Tnam Bandam, to whose charge it WAS
committed, a Bengali*(Bengala) by nation, and a mau sagacious aad crafty in stratagems rather than a soldier '(cavaJheiro),"
—Barm, II., vi., iii:'
The earliest mention of the language with which I am acquainted is in a letter from
David "Wilkins to LaCroze of Berlin in November 1714.1 He is describing a collection
of translations of the Lord's Prayer into various languages, which he was preparing with
the aid of John Ohamberlayne. He states that in publishing this Sylloge, he intends to
give, for the first time, specimens of the Singhalese, Javan, and Bengali languages/
Chamberlayne's Sylloge duly appeared in the year 1715, and did contain a plate
purporting to represent a translation of the Lord's Prayer and headed 'Bengalica/
The plate is, however, quite unintelligible, and this is explained by Wilkins5 confession
in the preface to the work that he had been unable to obtain a Bengali rendering, but that
as the Bengali language was dying out, and was being superseded by Malay (I), he had
written a Malay version in the Bengali character. The translation so written shows
that WiUdns was ignorant of the rudiments of the Bengali alphabet.3 Imperfect
as the specimen was, it attracted the notice of the famous Theophilus Bayer, who
obtained further examples of the alphabet, and was misled into suggesting a possible
connexion between it and Tangut* The first Bengali grammar and dictionary were in
Portuguese. The title of the work is Focabtdario em Idioma Bengali® e Portuguez
dividido em dws Partes dedicado ao Excellent e Sever. Senhor D. F. Miguel de Tavora
Arcebispo de Hvora do Concelho de Sua Magestade Foy Delegenda do Padre Fr. Manoel
da J.$wn>pfam EeUgwso Eremita de Santo Agostinho da Congregacao da India Orien*
tal Zisboa, 1743. Bengali grammar, pp. 1—40; Vocabulary Bengali-Portuguese,
pp. 47—306; Portuguese-Bengali, pp, 307-577. The whole is in the Roman charac-
ter, the words being spelt according to the rules of Portuguese pronunciation. In 1748
was published at Leipzig tha Orientatiach-und-occidentalischer Sprachmeister, compiled
by Johann Friedrich Fritz, and dedicated by him to the great Indian Missionary Schultz,,
the author of the first Hindostani grammar. The Sprachmeister contains accounts of
over a hundred alphabets from all parts of the world, followed by some two hundred
translations of the Lord's Prayer* On page 84 the Bengali alphabet is given. It is
correct enough, and is said to be taken from the J.wenck Szett, apparently a life of
Aurangzeb, of Georg Jacob Kehr, a work which I have been unable to trace. The table
is headed 'ALPEABETUM BENGAUCUM s. JENTIVICUM.' On a subsequent
page, Fritz reprints Wilkins* absurd Bengali-Malay version of the Lord's Prayer. The
Sprachmeister held the field as an authority on Oriental Languages till 1771, when there
appeared from the Press of the Gongregatio de propaganda Fide, a Latin pamphlet by
Cassiano Beligatti entitled Alphabetim brammhanicim $eu indostawm Umversiiati*
*  Thewuri epittoKci ZoCroziani, i, 369.  Leipzig, 1742.
1 ' Alphabets 8ing»laetim, lauanioum, et Bengalionm/
1 See Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, Vol. ilii, 1898, pp. 42 and ff., and Crowding* of the tame Society for
M*ylS95.
4 Tfa.Ep. LaOroz* i, pp. 10 and 23,