Wednesday, January 14, 2009

166.Tulu Onomastics

Onomastics (Nama Vijnana) means ‘study of names in all aspects – personal, place, pet, nicknames, brand, etc. Onomasticians try to answer following questions about given names:
What they mean – their etymology or origin
How they are used in various cultures
Why some are chosen by parents more often than others

‘What is in a name?’ is a Shakespearean quote in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which is a tragic tale of “star-cross’d lovers”, named Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, belonging two warring families. Juliet says,
“What‘s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”

Here what Juliet emphasizes is that name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and that she loves the person who is called ’Montague’, not the Montague name and not the Montague family. When Romeo drops his family name ‘Montague’, she asks him to deny (his) father and in stead be baptized anew as “Juliet’s lover”. Thus, Shakespeare proves the limitation of the term ‘name’ by suggesting that regardless of what we call it, a rose would smell sweet.

Yet, there is something else to names. It is ‘some quality that makes names the brocade of that apparel.’ It is a kind of language propriety – one of distinction and differentiation. It is chosen, conferred and announced. Names have meanings instead of definitions.

The study of Personal names is called Anthroponomastics. In Tulunadu, until the close of the last Century one has come across odd personal names. Meaning of most of them is funny, contemptuous, and inscrutable. It is a challenging job to decipher the mystery of it, as can be seen in Ancient Proper Names (Post No 127) in this Blog.

Toponymy or Topomastics or the study of Place-names, is one of the principal branches of Onomastics. There are no historical records to understand the meanings of Place-names in Tulunadu. We do not have a glimmer of an idea of their actual history. So we are trying to explore the origin of odd names prevalent in Tulunadu based on fossils of words, spoken by many tribes - known and unknown. Keeping this in mind, Posts No 111 to 152, especially 141.Village Name suffixes and 162.Evolution of Tulu language were written but feed-backs from readers are not forthcoming.

George R. Stewart
The man, who humanized ‘onomastics’ is George R. Stewart. He was an American toponymist, a novelist, and a Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a founding Member of American Name Society (ANS), a non-profit Association founded in1951 to promote onomastics both in United States and abroad. It seeks to find out what really is in a name, and to investigate cultural insights, settlement history and linguistic characteristics revealed in names. The Society provides members with several vehicles for the discussion and publication of onomastic theory, view and concepts. There is another Organization, called ‘International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS), represented by scholars. It is a name-research organization on international level and in an inter-disciplinary context.

Tulu Onomastics
Writings on this subject are negligible in Tulu. To enrich Tulu Onomastics, a Society like ANS is desirable, nay required, for collective efforts. It will help our posterity to improve it further. Readers to this Blog are being invited to contribute their knowledge about place names in Tulunadu. But feed-backs are not to the level expected.
Active participation by the readers would greatly invigorate our modest efforts in updating the Tulu Typonyms.

-Hosabettu Viswanath

1 comment:

  1. It is fascinating to read about this, I wish I had something to contribute. Alas, I can only read and learn.


Blog Archive

Books for Reference

  • A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
  • Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
  • Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
  • Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
  • Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
  • Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
  • Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
  • Studies in Tuluva History and Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
  • Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
  • TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
  • TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
  • Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
  • TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
  • Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

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