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The Origin And Development Of The Bengali Language Paperback – October 15, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1388 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa & Co. (educabooks) (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8171677843
  • ISBN-13: 978-8171677849
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,274,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By William J. Poser on August 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
Suniti Kumar Chatterji was the founder of the modern study of Bengali. This book, a revised version of his University of London doctoral dissertation, remains the standard work on the history of Bengali. Although it focusses on standard Bengali, it is in many ways a history of the entire Magadhan group of languages, which includes Assamese and Oriya as well as smaller languages sometimes regarded as dialects of Bengali, such as Sylheti and Chakma.

The comprehensiveness of the work is almost overwhelming. It begins with a survey of the linguistic situation in South Asia and the Aryanization of India, moves to the earliest known stages of Sanskrit, and works forward from there. Along the way it discusses foreign influences as they arise, such as that of Persian as a result of the Muslim invasions and later those of Portuguese and English.

Typically for a work of this period, it is confined to phonology and morphology. It discusses syntax only in those few places where a syntactic point arises from the discussion of the morphology. It is also typical of its time in its lack of explicit recognition of the phonemic principle.

In the main text forms cited are given both in the original script (usually Bengali, but occasionally something else, such as Devanagari or Perso-Arabic) and in romanization. The only index, however, is a length index of Bengali words cited, which is only in Bengali script. A very detailed table of contents makes up to some extent for the lack of a topical index.

The book is not for the casual reader as it consists of over 1,000 pages of mostly dense, technical, material, packed with examples, paradigms, and sound changes. Some background in historical linguistics and Indo-Aryan languages is necessary, and even for the reader thus equipped, it is not easy going. For the reader with a serious interest in the history of Bengali, however, it is absolutely essential.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
More than 1,000 pages but with good quality binding and not heavy at all. Very dense and specialised text but it is considered one of the best studies of Bangla phonology and morphology until now.
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