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England. If according to the second, a great portion of Dr. Louth and Murray must now be obsolete. But if according to the third, that is, in consonance with the genius of a language, and its original purity, every ancient grammar is not only of great utility to the learner, but its study will be an effectual check upon the degeneracy of literature.

For we should bear in mind, that whatever change a language may undergo from time to time, owing to a diversity of circumstances, the principal rules by which that language is spoken or written cannot altogether be changed. Indeed we cannot ascertain that change without knowing the original state from whence the difference has resulted. And those Europeans who now compile so-called Singhalese Grammars, deriving their authority from the uncertain, incorrect, and vulgar use of the language of the present day, and coining new expressions, terminations, and words, according to the accidents of Grammar which they find in their own language (a language as different in idiom, construction, &c. from the Singhalese, as any two things can possibly be) are, we feel convinced, committing a grievous injury on our language.

To neglect the study of the Sidath' Sangarawa therefore, for the attainment of a "colloquial dialect," is to reduce the learned to the level of the ignorant. But this is unjust; since to raise the ignorant to the level of the learned is not only easier, but more desirable. Easier, because in the words of Dr. Kenrick," the ignorant understand the learned better than the learned do the ignorant,"-and more desirable, because the whole of the standard works in the Singhalese language will, in that case, be easily accessible to the nation. Again, it is a mistake to suppose that the so-called "colloquial" dialect, which is a language produced by the misapplication of terms by the vulgar, and therefore never uniform in its use,—will ever continue to be of any authority or weight. Dr. Campbell says, "The tattle of

children has a currency, but however universal their manner of using words may be among themselves, it can never establish what is accounted use in language. What children are to men, that precisely the ignorant are to the knowing." Such language, moreover, as that which is denominated "the colloquial dialect," unless the same be redeemed by a strict attention to the national use of the Singhalese, will be altogether set apart for something like what is now springing up in the West Indies, called the Talkee-talkee.

For, such language, the result of ignorance, in the words of Dr. Johnson, "cannot be regarded as any part of the durable materials of a language, and therefore must be suffered to perish, with other things unworthy of preservation."

But supposing the Sidath' Sangarawa to be in a different dialect, is it not a notorious fact, that for several centuries past the natives have acquired a grammatical knowledge of their language by means of the only aid within their reach -the Sidath' Sangarawa? Is it not equally a fact, that the natives at the present day, wishing to acquire a grammatical knowledge of their language, commence with no other Grammar but the Sidath' Sangarawa? What then can be the objection to its being placed in the hands of the beginner? Can the objectors refer us to even a dozen rules, which are inapplicable to "the present usage of the language"? Indeed, nothing can be easier than to convey by its means a grammatical knowledge of Singhalese as we find it now. If slight changes have taken place in the usage of the language, the same may be noticed by the teacher. But the real difficulty complained of as attending the study of the Sidath Sangarawa, (to use the language of Professor Willams, see his Sanscrit Grammar, p. vii.), "may be traced to the labour imposed of thoroughly mastering a number of rules on Permutation, Combination, &c., on the first entrance upon the study of the language. They form, as it were, a mountain of difficulty to be passed at the very commencement of the journey, and the learner

cannot be convinced that, when once surmounted, the ground beyond may be more smooth than in other languages, the ingress to which is comparatively easy."

And in order to shew our readers that the Grammarian himself intended this manual for none but the beginner, we quote the words of our author-"O Pandits! although this little Sidathà, except to the beginner, has nothing original in it to recommend itself to the erudite; rejoice ye, however, with me in my labours."

"A Grammar of any language," says Dr. Forbes, the author of a Persian Grammar, "adapted for a beginner, ought to be brief and perspicuous, containing only the general and more useful principles of such language. It ought to be accompanied with easy extracts for practice, as well as a copious vocabulary. At the same time, the shortest Grammar is too long for a beginner: therefore, those parts absolutely necessary for the first reading, ought to be rendered more prominent, by the use of a larger type. Lastly, the work ought to be confined entirely to its legitimate purpose, the instructing of beginners; not deviating into ingenious metaphysical and etymological discussions, however interesting in their proper place: nor should it be overcrowded with superfluous paradigms of verbs, &c. so as to swell up the volume to an undue extent.”

Now, the Sidath' Sangarawa is peculiarly marked by the above essential characteristics of " a good elementary Grammar." In the first place, it is "brief; "-the text extending to but twenty octavo pages;-secondly, although perhaps "perspicuity" is no characteristic of Asiatic grammarians, the Sidath Sangarawa "contains only the general and more useful principles" of the Singhalese language. Now that it appears in an English garb, the European at least will not, it is hoped, complain of a want, which the ignorant natives of the nineteenth century, generally unaccustomed to the ancient blank verse, have not felt-"perspicuity;"-thirdly,

it is, "accompanied with easy extracts;" and where there have been any deficiencies, the translator has supplied them to the best of his ability;-fourthly, the paraphrase or the commentary to the Sidath' Sangarawa furnishes the student with the "copious vocabulary," which Dr. Forbes considers a desideratum ;-fifthly, the absence of those facilities for printing, which are found in other countries must alone plead an excuse for not rendering "those parts which are absolutely necessary for beginners by the use of a larger type." We have however in our translation drawn a distinction between the " primary" rules, and some of the nicer refinements of language, by translating and printing the latter as Notes to the general laws;-Sixthly, it will be observed, that the Sidath' Sangarawa is confined to what it professes to illustrate, "first principles" or general maxims "for beginners; "—and lastly, it is free from, what even the work of Mr. Lambrick is hardly kept clear of "superfluous paradigms of verbs." If however, the translator's notes, which can scarcely be regarded as "metaphysical and etymological discussions," be considered a deviation from the rule laid down by Dr. Forbes, I beg merely to remark that I am justified in introducing them "in their proper places," in order to assist the more advanced student, who alone can read them to any advantage.

For these and many other reasons, and to guard against errors to which a vulgar use of the Singhalese leads Europeans, and also to the end that we may acquire a good classical style, it is of paramount importance that we study the Sidath' Sangarawa.

Nor have Europeans who find fault with the Sidath' Sangarawa, been able to produce any competent Grammar of the Singhalese language. I shall here notice the three works which have emanated from Europeans, and offer a few remarks on Mr. Tolfrey's attempt at translation in another place.

1. The Dutch-Singhalese Grammar, published in 1669, hardly deserves the name. Mr. Chater, in allusion to this work, says,—" At that period, little, compared with what is now known, had been ascertained concerning Eastern languages. So that, merely on account of its antiquity, a person who wishes to learn Singhalese now, can expect but little advantage from that work.”

The following is a specimen from this Grammar.


Pronouns are substantive or adjective-they are unvarying (indeclinable) and are the following; o, 'these' or this; ,'that' 8, 'some.'

The pronouns-substantive vary in their terminations according to number, and case; and they are definite or indefinite, like nouns-substantive, definite being those which refer to definite persons, as I; 3 you; he; &c.

Indefinite are those which do not relate to any definite person as which, e who, &c.

Some are simple, and others are compound. The simple are I, this.

The compounds are those compounded of two words, as ∞ any, and

any one; from cs

-කොයි කෙනෙක්, from

person.-p. 57.

∞ person; කොයි which, and කෙනෙක්


he, are

The 2d and 3d person, thou and he, are expressed in Singhalese in several ways, according to the quality of the addressed or spoken of. The words thou, and not used except towards slaves and very low people. ☎ thou, che, are used by a superior to his inferior, as by a father to a son, and a master to his scholar. in thou, and con he, are used by them when speaking of their equals. තමුසේ thou, උන්නැස්සේ he, are also used to– wards equals; but are a little more respectful than the former. නමුන් වහන්ස thou, ඔහු වහන්ථ he, are used by an

• Compare these sections with our remarks in Appendix C.

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