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Re: Devanagari (was Re: sorry Mark Lang...)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Friday, June 18, 2004, 19:44
On Friday, June 18, 2004, at 02:20 , Ph. D. wrote:

> Marcos wrote:
>> are not used except for syllables that contain no consonant. The >> Devanagari script - used by Sanskrit and Hindi, and the ancestor of >> many other Indic writing system - is like this. > > I was under the impression that Devanagari was not the ancestor of > the Indic scripts, but that they had a common ancester (Brahmi Script).
Quite right. The Brahmi script is thought to have been established on the Indian subcontinent before 500 BCE. In the earliest inscriptions it runs from right to left in Semitic fashion and, indeed, was most probably derived from a Semitic source. But by the time of the Asoka edicts of the 3rd cent BCE, the direction is left to right, which has been the direction of all Indic scripts ever since. Brahmi was an abugida, as are all its derivatives. Devangari developed from the northern group of Brahmi derived scripts. The two groups, northern & southern, seem to have emerged somewhere around the beginning of the 1st cent CE. The northern group includes the Gupta script which spread over north India during the Gupta Empire in the 4th & 5th cents CE; this in turn gave rise to the Nagari scripts in the east and the Sarada script in the west; the latter was the forerunner of Takri, Kashmiri and Gurmukhi (tho Gurmukhi also shows Nagari influence). From Nagari was derived the proto-Bengali script and the Devanagari ("Divine Hagari") scripts, which in turn have given rise to other scripts including Nandinagari, Oriya, Gujurati & Maihili. The Tibetan script also can be traced back to Nagari. Devanagari has been known since the 11th cent CE and is the script in which Sanskrit is now written & printed (but other Indic scripts have, in the past, been used for writing Sanskrit). It is also used for writing, inter_alia, Hindi, Marathi, Sindhi & Nepali and, as such, is the most widely used script in India. Another important branch of the northern scripts was Pali, used for Buddhist scriptures and its Mon-Burmese, Cambodian-Siamese annd other offspring in Indo-China and Indonesia. The southern group comprise mostly those used for writing dravidian languages: the ancient Grantha, Kalinga and Kadamba scripts and the modern Kanarese, Telegu, Malayalam and Tamil scripts. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760


Emily Zilch <emily0@...>Devanagari