This little book is the outcome of a course of postgraduate lectures that I delivered in 1916-17 at the Bombay University. In its attempt at organizing the teaching side, the Senate had instituted a course of post-graduate lectures in Indian Classical Languages, Philosophy, Indian History and Economics. I was invited to deliver twenty-four lectures on Comparative Philology and the Nirukta. The eighteen lectures which I devoted to the former subject form the basis of the present volume. I had to rearrange and partly rewrite the whole thing in order to suit the book form.
I believe I need offer no apology for writing this book. The University has introduced Philology amongst the subjects to be studied by candidates for the M.A. who offered languages. There are already some excellent introductions to Comparative Philology, but unfortunately they are not available to our students as they are written in the French, German and Russian languages. Secondly they are of a general character and, as a rule, written with reference to the European classical and modern languages. Giles' Manual of Comparative Philology is the only useful book in English, but it has reference to the Teutonic and Classical languages. A book, therefore, which combined principles of the Science of Language with practical illustrations from the Indian branch of the Indo-Germanic family was wanted; and I have tried to supply the need.
I have divided the book into five parts. The first part deals at some length with the principles of the Science. In this I have drawn the illustrations from the Indian languages along with others. The second part is a small one, but it was necessary in order to show the relationship between the European and the Indian Aryan languages. I have called it 'Families of Languages.' The third part treats of the Avesta and ancient Sanskrit and is intended to present a comparative picture of the two old languages. The fourth part deals with the next stage in the development of Indian languages and is called 'Pali and the Inscriptional Prakrits'. The last part bears the title 'the literary Prakrits and the modern Vernaculars'. The latter portion of this part has been necessarily brief and at some places suggestive only, as most of the modern vernaculars lack well written historical grammars. A detailed and scientific comparison of these will be possible only after such grammars become available. However valuable in other respects, I must say that the 'Linguistic Survey' cannot form the basis of comparison, because it is necessarily of a sketchy character and deals with specimens of the vernaculars in their latest phase only.
For convenience of printing, I have followed the Greek method in marking accent of Sanskrit words, and marked udatta only.
I have acknowledged the help of my literary predecessors in the list of books consulted. The deepest debt of gratitude that I owe is to professors Brugmann and Windisch of the Leipzig University, who initiated me into Comparative Philology and Pali Inscriptology respectively.
Before closing, I must thank my colleagues Prof. K.N. Dravid and Mr. N.B. Utgikar M.A., for having kindly gone through part of the proofs, and Professors G. C. Bhate and G. H. Kelkar for having gone through the whole for correction of such mistakes as might have still remained. The credit of the index at the end is entirely due to my friend Mr. Utgikar. Lastly I must express my obligation to the Manager of the Aryabhushan Press, for having struck new types for some Greek, Gothic, and Avesta words, and generally deferring to my convenience and time. To Dr. Sardesai of the Oriental Book-supplying Agency is due the entire credit of the publication of the book itself, for had he not undertaken to do so, my wish to publish the book would have remained a wish only.
P. D. Gune
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