Talk:Elu

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Accuracy[edit]

  • A definition of the term is needed: Elu is a term introduced around the 11th century CE to signify the style of Sinhala that does not use Sanskrit borrowings on which the so-called mixed Sinhala heavily depends.
  • I have never heard any serious scholar connecting Elu to Vijaya.
  • The "Sanskritic terms" cited in the list in most cases are the sinhalized versions of the according Sanskrit words. It makes much more sense to simply give the Sanskrit terms on which the Sinhala borrowings are based.
  • This page is more a list than an article.

Krankman 09:48, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

"Derivation of Elu words has as yet received but little attention at the hands of scholars. It is a study of much importance and requires great labour and research. The general practice is to derive nearly all the words in the language from Sanskrit, too often over looking the claims of Pali, which flourished almost on the frontiers of the original home of Elu, and consequently has a striking affinity to it. Modern Elu is a development of the language brought over by Vijaya... who made it the vernacular of the land...From time to time persons from the mothercountry visite the Island and many settled here...They acquired the Elu language with the utmost facility, it being then almost identical with their own....The language spoken by Vijaya and his men was undoubtedly Prakrit, of which many dialects were in existence in India at the time they took posession of the Island.... Hence in deriving Elu words, the endeavour should be to find out the corresponding words in the modern Indian vernaculars and, if possible, in original Prakrit and derive from those which present the closest affinity to Elu."
- Abraham Mendis Gunsekara, A Comprehensive Grammar of the Sinhalese Language. Clozapine 10:19, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Firstly, I need to mention here that the book you are quoting from (and which I am using as a reference at times, too) was published in 1891. Since then, a lot of research on the Sinhala language has been done, namely by Wilhelm Geiger whose "Etymological Glossary of the Sinhalese Language", "Grammar of the Sinhalese Language" and various other articles (many of them to be found in the collection "Kleine Schriften") are considered to be authoritative up to today.
"eḷu"/"heḷu" simply means "Sinhala" (cf. Geiger, Etymological Glossary) and used to be used as the name of the language. When literary Sinhala became more and more sankritized, the term took on a different meaning (attested since the 12th century BCE): It is used to signify "pure Sinhala", that is the variety of Sinhala that does not make use of Sanskrit loanwords but only of genuine Sinhala words (cf. Geiger, Linguistic Character of Sinhalese, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon), Vol. XXXIV); this style is the language of Sinhala poetry up to modern times.
The counterpart of eḷu is miśra siṃhala ("mixed Sinhala"), the variety of Sinhala that makes ample use of Sanskrit loanwords.
Elu is the name of that part of the Sinhala lexicon which has phonetically evolved from the Prakrit the first Aryan immigrants spoke. The term is not used to signify Sinhala Prakrit in the academic community. Krankman 11:12, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
What happened to "I have never heard any serious scholar connecting Elu to Vijaya"? And are you now arguing that Elu is NOT Prakritic? Gunsekara seems to regard Northern India as the "original home of Elu" and says that "the language spoken by Vijaya and his men was undoubtedly Prakrit" What do you make of that? You say that Elu popped out in the 11th Century but Gunsekara says "It is important to note in this connection that the very ancient Elu alphabet was deficient in long vowels and pure consonants...This fact will be borne out by the following extract of a Rock Inscription supposed to have been made about 137-76 B.C" Gunasekara also makes a distinction between modern Elu and ancient Elu.Clozapine 11:18, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Let's try to find other people who would like to contribute and please don't remove the disputed-tag unless the community comes to a solution. Krankman 14:46, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I think as a preliminary to the discussion we should avoid refering to myths when discussing the history of languages. Vijaya and his taking possession of Lanka, or Tambapaṇṇi as the island is most often called in ancient Pāli texts, belongs to a series of myths narrated in the Dīpavaṃsa, Mahāvaṃsa and the Samantapāsādikā—to mention only the oldest still existing texts. Don't get me wrong, by myth I understand a story about the past which has some meaning to the present (of the respective author/narrator and reader/listener). This term, as I understand it, does not say anything about "historical truth". The point is that the meaning of the Vijaya myth is part of a contruction of identity of a certain group of Sri Lanka's inhabitants. In modern times it was often used to legitimate Sinhala nationalist claims. Is that what you want to do, Clozapine? If not, then please refer to "the island's first inhabitants" or a similar term.
There are some additional remarks I wish to make:
  • Pāli is not a natural language but more an artificial language like Sanskrit. We don't know where in India a language similar to Pāli might have been spoken. Possibly it was near to the mother tongue of the Buddhist missionaries who brought over the Buddhist scripures to Lanka. As a comparison of Pāli and the language of the Aśoka inscriptions located in the area of ancient Magadha shows, this was probably not an offspring of Aśoka's royal house, as legend has it. Recent research points to a region in the Deccan area. But the language we call Pāli today (the term itself was introduced quite recently) is a developed literary language with major influences of other languages (egg. ancient Sinhalese Prakrit). It underwent many processes of standardization carried out by ancient and medieval grammarians which in turn shaped the further transmission of the texts. So, Pāli is a language existing only in the minds (and the books) of ancient and modern researchers who reconstructed it from the vocabulary of the Buddhist texts in a certain state of transmission.
  • Whatver language the first inhabitants of Sri Lanka might have spoken, it was certainly not called Elu by them. It is also very doubtful that these people have refered to themselves as Sinhala or a word deriving from that. Ancient inscriptions of Sri Lanka were written in a kind of Prakrit that shows similarities to West-Indian and East-Indian Prakritic dialects, for example a nominative singular ending in e instead of o. These are the oldest textual testimonies we have at hand and thus the oldest available form of the language spoken (or better: written) on the island. Scholars usually refer to this language as Sinhalese Prakrit. To call it Elu is anachronistic. To my knowledge, the word Elu was established as a term denoting that quantity of Sinhalese vocabulary which was not artificially modelled after classical literary Sanskrit. This happened in the time after the Coļa empire, when the knowledge of Sanskrit was widely spread amongst the country's intelligentia and started to shape the language of Sri Lanka's literary products (11th cent.). In that time books were written that play with different forms of certain words, for example śāsanaya and sasun. The former is a derivation of Sanskrit śāsana, the later is the "natural" Sinhalese word for the "Teaching of the Buddha" as ordinary people of the respective time might have used it. Words like sasun were called the Elu forms, while the former were called miśra-sinhala, because they were artificially mixed (miśra) together taking the Sanskrit stemm and the Sinhalese ending -ya. Some books of that time were composed by consciously alternating passages completely written in Elu and passages completely written in miśra-sinhala.
  • So, to be exact, Elu is a term invented by authors of the 11th cent. to symbolize the verbal inventory of a literary language conststing of words that they considered to be more genuin than their Sanskrit-derived counterparts. Some of these words might have been used by ordinary people or in everyday conversation. Some might even be obsolete words that were no longer generally used—they might have been known to the literary public via older books or special speech-acts (for example the telling of popular narratives can transport old words and phrases that are out of use in other contexts). Many of these Elu words etymologically go back to the Prakrit language of the ancient inscriptions. But this might not hold true generally. There are many things that can happen to a language in the course of time. You can even think of the possibility of an "over-Elu-ization" of a certain word, i.e the creation of an Elu form for a Sanskrit term which was utterly unknown in Sinhala before. This often happened mutatis mutandis when Buddhist Prakrit texts were translated to Sanskrit in ancient India. I think it was a hasty over-generalization of Gunasekara to name the ancient Sinhalese Prakrit Elu.
Shellscript 00:46, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Elu and Helu in Kannada[edit]

It may be interesting to know that Elu means "to speak" in Kannada. Helu can mean "Say". So may be Elu Simhala may mean spoken Simhala. Because words in any language may have many meanings and thus interpreting one language based on meaning in other may not be so good but if it for good purpose it may be desirable.

Other meanings (in Kannada):-

Elu - speak, getup, say, seven, stand, advance, etc.

Thanks.27.61.49.68 (talk) 11:06, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

There is nothing any meaning of "Elu" in Sinhala. There is nothing such a language in Sri Lanka ancient time. Sinhala is only mixing language. Sri Lanka was ruled by South Indian time to time. So the "Elu" words should be a South Indian words. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.78.68.46 (talk) 03:09, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Sri Lanka was ruled by South Indians. When the Buddhism spread in Sri Lanka, some of Sri Lankan became as Buddhist monks. the Buddhist monks went to North India for learn Buddhism. They learned the Buddhism in Pali Language and spread or used Pali words all over the Sri Lanka. The (Pali Language) North Indian and (Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam) South Indian Language together the Buddhist monks formed a new language. It is now called Sinhala. So "elu" is should be a Kannada word. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.78.68.46 (talk) 03:42, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Article title changed back to Elu Language[edit]

"Elu Language" - = 417 results

"Elu Prakrit" - = 5 results Of these 5, 1 is this article.

Therefore as pr. guidelines for article titles, the title of this article is changed back to Elu Language. WP:COMMONNAME.SriSuren (talk) 09:46, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Besides "language" not being a proper noun, I think this was discussed above. Anyway, the name is "Elu", so COMMON does not pertain. — kwami (talk) 18:39, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Why doesn't common name pertain? Examples from other articles - The names are English, French, Spanish, German etc. SriSuren (talk) 20:23, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
There are "people" articles with these names, hence the need to separate between the language and the people. Where there aren't any "people" articles we don't need to use the "language" suffix e.g. Latin, Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu.--obi2canibetalk contr 13:46, 10 August 2013 (UTC)


Requested move 12 December 2013[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Arbitrarily0 (talk) 02:51, 19 December 2013 (UTC)


Elu PrakritEluElu already redirects here anyway and has no substantial history. This is the primary meaning of the term. The disambiguation page is found at ELU. The alternative title "Elu language" is redundant, as there is no homonymous ethnic group, and has therefore been rejected before. The current title "Elu Prakrit" is uncommon and close to being a neologism. Such additions as "language" or "Prakrit" are simply unnecessary and it is much more straightfoward to stick to the shortest title, plain "Elu". Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:44, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.

Discussion[edit]

Any additional comments:
  • Elu language isn't exactly redundant. It could be argued that it's over-precise, however. --BDD (talk) 00:23, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.