BOOK REVIEW

Saurashtra dictionary

SETHURAMAN TRILINGUAL SAURASHTRA DICTIONARY: Saurashtram-Tamil-English and transliteration in Roman script: K. R. Sethuraman; Published by K. S. Meera, New No. 138, Vanniar Street, Choolaimedu, Chennai-600094. Rs. 200.

THE BOOK under review is based upon the modern use of Saurashtra language, a language spoken and written by Saurashtrians, who have settled in South India. The main sources of the work are Venkatasuri's Samgita Ramayana, Rama Rai's Niti Sambu and Natanagopala Nayaki Swami's Kirthanas.

The author has taken pains to collect words from the oral tradition of various dialects in the community, especially from Madurai and neighbouring districts.

Though this Prakrit language has been influenced by other languages, mention has been made of special consonants peculiar to this language. Eg-rha — to stay, mha mhakhi — fly, lho-lhovo — red and nha nhannho — small. The author has included annotations of the words, wherever necessary.

The social customs and habits have been explained in the appropriate context. Commenting on the word "Bovlas" (Bhogulvas) he says that this custom is observed by the community at the time of betrothal when the elders of the bride and bridegroom sit face to face and observe question and answer session about the migration of their families from Saurashtra till their settlement in Madurai and neighbouring areas.

The transliteration of the words in Roman script and translation in English will be useful in reaching a wider audience.

The first language dictionary was brought out by T.M. Rama Rai, the author of Vachana Ramayana, in 1908. It was printed in Saurashtra script and was in the form of slokas.

The second dictionary was published in 1991 in Roman script by Japanese research scholar Uchida (Norihiko). This Saurashtra-English Dictionary was printed in Germany. Uchida, a linguist, stayed for two years in Madurai and brought out also the Oral Literature of Saurashtras.

The author has included in the appendix a list of herbal names, anken (ordinal numbers), fractions, community temples and distinguished leaders and a chart of Saurashtra script. He has brought out the book in Tamil script to reach a wider audience.

The publication will be of great help to all those interested in the study and development of the Saurashtra language and scholars of comparative study.

R. V. SOWLEE

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