Thursday, 10 December 2009

J.H. da Cunha Rivara's History of the Konkani Language

The XCHR Alto Porvorim has two versions of J.H. da Cunha Rivara's “O Ensaio Historico da Lingua Concani” 1857 and 1858. The former version is part of the introductory matter to da Cunha Rivara's edition of Thomas Stephens' Grammatica da Lingua Concani. The latter version is self-standing. See the details below. The Centre has, of course, also the (incomplete) English translation of the essay by Th. Lobo, contained in A.K. Priolkar's The Printing Press in India.

Unfortunately, da Cunha Rivara says clearly that he has not seen any copies of the first three printed editions of Thomas Stephens' Khristapurana, but only manuscripts. He does not specify which manuscripts, or where they were to be found. However, it is obvious that one of these MS is the one containing the 'addition' or 'interpolation' by Faria. (F 2009 does not seem to contain any indication about this interpolation, which, I think, should be found in the Central Library MS, Panjim. That MS is, interestingly, copied from the 3rd edition of the KP.)

To be noted is that da Cunha Rivara gives the (avasvara) Canto headings in both the original and in Portuguese translation. The translation is done by a Shenvi Brahmin from Ponda, Suriagy Rau; and, wonderfully, it is done in verse!

Again, curiously, da Cunha Rivara lists the KP under his Konkani bibliography. He does note, however, that the KP is missing from the Bibliographia Lusitana.

Yet again, it seems almost certain, though this would bear proper checking, that the MS from which da Cunha Rivara was working were not the Sanskritized ones. His texts contain terms like Pedru rather than Rayanita.

It would seem that both versions say Spiritu Sanctu rather than anything else.

On another note, da Cunha Rivara has some information about Guimaraes and his Purana. He says clearly that Guimaraes' work was originally composed in Portuguese; was very popular, seeing the number of printings it underwent; and was translated into 'Konkani' by an unknown person - probably a missionary who had worked many years in India.

Grammatica da Lingua Concani composta pelo Padre Thomaz Estevão e accrescentada por outros Padres da Companhia de Jesus. Segunda Impressão, correcta e annotada, a que precede como introducção A Memoria sobre a Distribução Geographica das Principaes Linguas da India por Sir Erskine Perry, e o Ensaio Historico da Lingua Concani pelo Editor. Ed. J.H. da Cunha Rivara. Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional. 1857.

Ensaio Historico da Lingua Concani. [2nd ed.] Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1858. [This contains: Introducção: Memoria sobre a Distribução Geographica das Principaes Linguas da India por Sir Erskine Perry, ex-Chief Justice de Bombaim. And also: Observações sobre a Estructura grammatical das linguas vernaculas da India pelo Reverendo Doutor Stevenson. The Ensaio itself contains some additions, and reproductions of documents.]

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