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Tatsama (Sanskrit; IPA: [tətsəmə]) are Sanskrit loanwords in modern Indo-Aryan languages like Bengali, Marathi, Oriya, Hindi, Gujarati, Sinhala and Dravidian languages like Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu. They belong to a higher and more erudite register than common words. That register can be compared to the use of words of Greek origin in English (e.g. hubris).

Tatsamas in Bengali[edit]

The origin of tatsamas in Bengali is traced to tenth century Brahmin poets, who felt that the colloquial language was not suitable for their expressive needs. Another wave of tôtshômô entered the then Bengali language by Sanskrit scholars teaching at Fort William College in Kolkata at the start of the 19th century. The textbooks used in these courses paved the way for more tôtsômô words entering common usage.

Literate Bengali contains about 70% tatsamas whereas the colloquial language contains much less, at most up to 40%. Writers such as Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Ramram Basu, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay introduced a large number of tatsamas into Bengali.

Tatsamas in Bengali that retain their Sanskrit pronunciation are called সমোচ্চারিত shômochcharitô, while those with a differing pronunciation are called অসমোচ্চারিত ôshômochcharitô.

Tatsama in Oriya[edit]

Oriya is a classical language and having very strong word power nearly 185000 words recorded in Oriya Dictionary. Those words are divided in to native words (Desaja) and borrowed from Sanskrit (Tatasam) and adapted with little modification from Sanskrit (Tatbhaba). The early dictionary Gitabhidhana (17th Century) by Upendra Bhanja, Sabda Tattva Abhidhana (1916) by Gopinath Nanda, Purnachandra Oriya Bhashakosha (1931) by GC Praharaj contenting 185000 Words and Promoda Abhidan (1942) containing 150000 wors by PC Deb and Damodara Mishar classified the Oriya words into Desaja, Tatsama and Tadbhava.

Those Oriya words are derived from Sanskrit verbal root with addition of suffixes and are used in Oriya language; these words are called”TATSAMA KRUDANTA” word. Example Darshana is derived from drush dhatu in Sanskrit; Patha is derived from path dhatu.

Jagannath : meaning Lord of universe a Sanskrit word but used in Oriya with same meaning.[1][2]

Tatsama in Sinhala[edit]

The way the tatsama entered the Sinhala language is comparable to what we find in Bengali language: they are scholarly borrowings of Sanskrit or Pali terms. Tatsama in Sinhala can be identified by their ending exclusively in -ya or -va, whereas native Sinhala words tend to show a greater array of endings. Many scientific concepts make use of tatsama, for instance grahaņaya 'eclipse', but they are also found for more everyday concepts.

Tatsama in Telugu[edit]

Sanskrit influenced Telugu of Andhras for about 500 years. During 1000-1100 AD, Nannaya's Telugu in Mahabharata, Telugu in several inscriptions, Telugu in poetry reestablished its roots and dominated over the royal language, Sanskrit. Telugu absorbed the Tatsamas from Sanskrit.[3]

Telugu is composed of approximately sixty percent Tatsama and Tadbhava words with origin in Sanskrit.

Metrical poetry in Telugu ('Chandassu') uses meters such as Utpalamala, Champakamala, Mattebham, Sardoola, Sragdhara, Bhujangaprayata etc.. which are pure Sanskrit meters.

Telugu has many Tatsama words. They are called Prakriti which are equivalent to Sanskrit words. The equivalent colloquial words are called Vikrutis. Vikruti means distorted. However Prakriti is only used as medium of instruction in educational institutions, offices etc.

For example:

  • Bhojanam is Prakriti (the noun form of food) and Bonam for Vikruti.
  • Vidya (Education) is Prakriti and Vidde is Vikriti.
  • Rakshasi (Evil) is Prakriti and Rakkasi is Vikriti.
  • Drishti (sight) is Prakriti and dishti is Vikriti
  • Jaagrat (vigilance ) is Prakriti and jaagratta is Vikrit
  • Shunya (zero) is Prakriti and sunna is Vikriti