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Innovations in the Telugu Verbal System


· Victor D'Avella Universität Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany)


07/27 | 13:50-14:10 UTC+2/CEST


The traditional grammarians of Telugu took as a given that their language derived, in one way or another, from Sanskrit, which was the prakṛti original'' whereas Telugu was the vikṛti modification.'' While this assumption extended deep into the structure of the language as well as the technical, metalinguistic terminology, it did not, in every case, hamper a creative and even accurate analysis of the Telugu language, which possesses a number of features partially or entirely foreign to Sanskrit such as auxiliary verbs (dhātupallavamu), relative participles (dhātujaviśeṣaṇamu), and habitual (taddharma) verbal forms. My presentation will focus on the Telugu verbal system as described in the Āṃdhraśabdacintāmaṇi of Nannayabhaṭṭa with the commentary of Ahobalapati (both composed in Sanskrit) and in what ways these new concepts were treated in an extended framework of Sanskrit grammar. After an introduction to how Telugu verbs were classified into three categories (upakṛti, pariṇati, and saṃvṛti), I will offer an overview of the tense and modal systems as explained by Ahobalapati and with additional insights from the last great traditional grammarian, Chinnayasuri, as well as his commentators. I will concentrate on the Telugu auxiliary verbs and the new “tense” category of taddharma. In close, I will draw conceptual parallels with (but also note divergences from) the linguistic mode of analysis found in Prakrit grammars.