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:[snip]
>> 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).
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.
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760