Elu

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For other uses, see Elu (disambiguation).
Eḷu
Helu
Region Sri Lanka
Era evolved into Sinhalese
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Eḷu, also Hela or Helu, is a Middle Indo-Aryan language or Prakrit of the 3rd century BCE. It is ancestral to the Sinhalese language. R. C. Childers, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, states:

[Elu] is the name by which is known an ancient form of the Sinhala language from which the modern vernacular of Ceylon is immediately received, and to which the latter bears is of the same relation that the English of today bears to Anglo-Saxon...The name Elu is no other than Sinhala much succeeded, standing for an older form, Hĕla or Hĕlu, which occurs in some ancient works, and this again for a still older, Sĕla, which brings us back to the Pali Sîhala.[1]

The Pali scholar Thomas William Rhys Davids refers to Eḷu as "the Prakrit of Ceylon".[2]

The Hela Havula are a modern Sri Lankan literary organization that advocate the use of Eḷu terms over Sanskritisms. Eḷu is often referred to by modern Sinhalese as amisra, Sinhalese for "unmixed".

A feature of Eḷu is its preference for short vowels, loss of aspiration and the reduction of compound consonants found frequently in other Prakrits such as Pali.

Eḷu in comparison with Pali and Sanskrit[edit]

Being a Prakrit, Eḷu is closely related to other Prakrits such as Pali. Indeed, a very large proportion of Eḷu word-stems are identical in form to Pali. The connections were sufficiently well known that technical terms from Pali and Sanskrit were easily converted into Eḷu by a set of conventional phonological transformations. Because of the prevalence of these transformations, it is not always possible to tell whether a given Eḷu word is a part of the old Prakrit lexicon, or a transformed borrowing from Sanskrit.

Vowels and diphthongs[edit]

  • Sanskrit ai and au always monophthongize to Eḷu e and o, respectively
Examples: maitrīmet, auṣadhaosada
  • Sanskrit avi becomes Eḷu e (i.e. aviaie)
Example: sthavirathera

Sound changes[edit]

  • Initial ca in Sanskrit and Pali becomes s or h
Examples: candasanda, handa
  • P if not omitted becomes v
Examples: rūparuva, dīpadiva
  • The Sanskrit sibilants ś, , and s merge as Eḷu s
Examples: śaraṇasaraṇa, doṣadosa
  • The Sanskrit kti becomes ti or vi
Examples: bhakthibätiya, shakthisaviya

Compound consonants[edit]

At the beginning of a word only a single consonant can remain

Examples: dharmadahama
Examples: prānapana

In the middle of a word no group may exceed one consonant

Examples: artaaruta
Examples: dantadata
List of Elu words with their Sanskrit and Pali equivalents
Elu Sanskrit Pali English
äsa akṣi akkhi eye
adara ādara respect
aga agra agga end, chief, principal
ahasa ākāśa ākāsa sky
akosa ākrōśa akkosa insult, abuse
akmana ākramana akkamana attack
aksuma akṣama intolerance, impatience
akura akṣara akkhara letter of the alphabet
anada ānanda ānanda bliss
aruta artha attha meaning
asuna āsana āsana seat
ata hasta hatta hand
atuna antra anta intestine
bambu brahma brahma Brahma
bamburā barbara barbarian
bamunā brāhmaṇa babhana Brahman
basa bhāṣā bhāsā language
bima bhūmi bhūmi land
bubula budbuda bubbula bubble
boduna bhōjana bhojana food
bodu bauddha bauddha Buddhist
bōsat bōdhisattva bōdhisatta Bodhisattva
dahama, dam dharma dhamma Dharma
data danta danta tooth
däla jāla jāla Net (device)
devola devālaya devālaya temple
diga, digu dīrgha dīgha long
diva jihvā jivhā tongue
diviya jīvita jīvita life
dudana, dujana durjana dujjana wicked, malicious
dujanā durjanayā wicked person
dukata duṣkṛta wicked deed
dulaba durlabha dullabha rare
duma dhūma dhūma smoke
dupa dhūpa dhūpa incense
gama grāma gāma village
gata gātra gatta body
gatakura gātrākṣara consonant
kana karṇa kanna ear
karuvā kāra person
keta kṣetra khetta field
kiḍa krīḍā sport
kila kīlā kīlā sport
kinu kṛṣṇa dark
kilu kliṣṭa kiliṭṭha dirty
kiluTu kliṣṭa kiliṭṭha dirty
kiri kṣīra khīra milk
kumarā kumāraka kumāra son, prince
kumari kumāri kumāri girl, princess
kuriru krūra kurūra cruel
laka laṅkā lanka Sri Lanka
lassana lakṣaṇa lakkhana beautiful
lova lōka lōka world
maga mārga magga way
magula maṅgala maṅgala marriage
matura mantra manta incantation
mäda madhyama, madhya majjha middle
miturā mitra mitta friend
mugalan moggallana mogallana
mudu mṛdu mudu soft
muwa mukha mukha mouth
mädura mandira mandira palace
mula mūla mūla origin
näba nābhi nābhi navel
näva naukā nāvā ship
nētra netta eye
nidana nidhāna nidhāna treasure
nimala nirmala nimmala pure
nipana niṣpanna production
nivana nirvāṇa nibbana Nirvana
nuvara nagara nagara city
pabala prabala pabala mighty
pamana pramāna pamāna amount
parapura paramparā generation
pänaya praśna panha problem, question
pava pāpa pāpa sin
pavasa pipāsa pipāsam thirst
parana purāṇa purāna old
parusa paruṣa pharusa harsh
pasana prasanna pasanna pleasant
pāsala pāṭhaśālā pāṭasālā school
pavaruna prakaraṇa treatise
pätuma prārthanā wish, hope
pedesa pradēśa country
pema prēma pema love
piduma pūjā pūjā offering
pina punya punya merit
pokuna puṣkariṇī pokkhariṇī pond
poson pūrva-śravaṇa pubba-savana (name of a month)
pota pustaka pottaka book
pun pūra, pūrṇa punna full
pupa puṣpa puppha flower
putā putra putta son
puva pūrva pubba former, prior
puvata pravṛtti pavatti news
rada rājan rājā king
rakusā rākṣasa rakkhasa demon
ratu, rat raktaka ratta red
räsa raśmi rasmi ray
räya rātri ratti night
ruka vṛkṣa rukkha tree
ruva rūpa rūpa shape, form
sangamit sanghamitra sangamitta
sanda candra canda moon
sämuni śākyamuni sakyamuni
sena sena army
sidura chidr chidda hole, gap, space
sirura śarīra sarīra body
soyurā, sohowurā sahōdara sodariya brother
sonduru sundara sundara beautiful
supina svapna supina dream
supun sampūrṇa sampunna complete
teda teja magnificence
tavasā tāpasa hermit
tisula triśūla Trishula (trident)
utura uttara uttarā north
väkiya vākya Sentence
vesak vaiṣākha Visakha Vesak
veses viśeṣa visesa special
viyarana vyākarana grammar
yakā yakṣa yakkha yaksha
yatura yantra yanta machine
yiva jīva jīva life

References[edit]

  1. ^ Henry Yule; A. C. Burnell; William Crooke (2006), A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, Asian Educational Services, p. 344, ISBN 0-7007-0321-7 
  2. ^ Rhys Davids, Thomas William (2007). Buddhist India. T. W. Press. ISBN 978-1406756326. 

See also[edit]