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1 - Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Bhadriraju Krishnamurti
Affiliation:
University of Hyderabad, India
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Summary

The name Dravidian

Robert Caldwell (1856, 3rd edn, repr. 1956: 3–6) was the first to use ‘Dravidian’ as a generic name of the major language family, next to Indo-Aryan (a branch of Indo-European), spoken in the Indian subcontinent. The new name was an adaptation of a Sanskrit term draviḍa- (adj drāviḍa-) which was traditionally used to designate the Tamil language and people, in some contexts, and in others, vaguely the south Indian peoples. Caldwell says:

The word I have chosen is ‘Dravidian’, from Drāviḍa, the adjectival form of Draviḍa. This term, it is true, has sometimes been used, and is still sometimes used, in almost as restricted a sense as that of Tamil itself, so that though on the whole it is the best term I can find, I admit it is not perfectly free from ambiguity. It is a term which has already been used more or less distinctively by Sanskrit philologists, as a generic appellation for the South Indian people and their languages, and it is the only single term they ever seem to have used in this manner. I have, therefore, no doubt of the propriety of adopting it.

(1956: 4)

Caldwell refers to the use of Drāviḍa- as a language name by Kumārilabhaṭṭa's Tantravārttika (seventh century AD) (1956: 4).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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  • Introduction
  • Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, University of Hyderabad, India
  • Book: The Dravidian Languages
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486876.003
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  • Introduction
  • Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, University of Hyderabad, India
  • Book: The Dravidian Languages
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486876.003
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, University of Hyderabad, India
  • Book: The Dravidian Languages
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486876.003
Available formats
×