Evolution of Awadhi

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Item Code: IDD531
Author: B.R. Saksena
Language: English
Edition: 1971
ISBN: 812080855X
Pages: 580
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9" X 5.8"
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Book Description
This work is based upon a Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Letters of the University of Allahabad in 1931 and approved by a Board of Examiners comprising of Sir George A. Grierson, Professors R. L. Turner, Jules Bloch, S. K. Chatterji and Dr. A. C. Woolner. It was hoped that the University of Allahabad would publish it but owing to financial stringency the then Vice-Chancellor, in spite of his wishes could not find funds for it. In the circumstances was kind of The Indian Press, Ltd., to agree to print and publish it.

Tie main additions to the thesis are (a) the origin of sounds in Part I, (b) the appendices giving unpublished texts of Early and Modern Awadhi, (c) the index of words, and (d) the map. I hope these will prove useful. The transliteration alphabet of the international Phonetic Association has been adopted for transcribing such modern languages as I know intimately and that of the Royal Asiatic Society for the rest. The current abbreviations found in works of Linguistics have been used in this book also.

It remains for me now to acknowledge my gratitude to those who helped me in the preparation of this work. My revered gum 0Professor R. L. Turner planned this work for me in 1921 at Benares and supervised its completion. I received my first and last lessons in Linguistics at his feet and all that I know of the subject is entirely due to him. I am also deeply beholden to the Professor for his kind permission to dedicate this work to him. Professor for his kind permission to dedicate this work to him. Professor S.K. Chatterji did me the favour of looking through the manuscript before it went to the press; and he the many useful suggestions. Professor Jules Bloch wrote the encouraging Foreword. Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. Ganganatha Jha and Professor BK. Acharya gave all facilities and encouragement. Dr. Dhirendra Varma kindly saw most of the proofs with me and several improvements in the arrangement of matter are due to his suggestions. Professor Amaranatha Jha looked into the proof of the Foreword and Mr. Bhagwat Dayal corrected the first proof of the introduction. Mr. Lalta Prasad Sukul collected three specimens of Modern Awadhi and Mr. Siddhanath Choube helped me in the preparation of the statistics of the frequency of pronouns. Mr. Mata Prasad Gupta translated two texts and Mr. Udai Narain Tewari prepared the index. Mr. Shiva Prasad Singh prepared the sketch of the map. To all these kind friends my best thanks are due.

While in London in 1929-30, I received instruction and advice from Professors Daniel Jones and E. W'. Scripture and from Mr. A. Lloyd James, Mr. Stephen Jones, Mr. N. B. Jopson and Dr. H. W. Bailey. I am grateful to all these teachers. This work has been my companion for the last seventeen years; I am not unaware of .its deficiencies. However, i dare submit it to the world of linguists only in the hope that it will receive their kindness and indulgence.

It is gratifying to see Linguistic science settle down and prosper once more in India, its birth place. It is a well-known fact that grammar, which had been cultivated in Europe with a view to fixing the best usage in each language, did not become a science, capable of universal acceptance and application, until India revealed Sanskrit to the world. Not that Sanskrit was in itself a sufficient revelation: Bopp, it is true, traced all the consequences of the relationship, more than once recognized by others before him, between Sanskrit and the Indo-European languages of Europe, and thus constituted the new science of Comparative Grammar. Earlier Rask had already established the relationship between the Germanic languages and Greek, Latin, Lettic and Slavonic.

All the same, it was the revelation of Sanskrit that permitted the immense and rapid progress of historical Linguistics. But in spite of the numerous instructive archaisms of Sanskrit and clear gradation of sounds and the mechanism of forms in that language, how much less benefit should we have derived from this discovery had we not had the wonderful analysis of these facts by the Sanskrit Grammarians themselves, an analysis a knowledge of which was to lay the foundation not only of comparative and historical grammar, but of a science of general and universal validity? See a power full mind like Volney’s when in N95 it tackles the problem of the “Simplification of Oriental languages” in a treatise (in recognition of which he was elected an honorary member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal). He took up the subject again in his book on the ‘European alphabet applied to Asiatic languages.’ There we witness his painful efforts to lay the foundation of Phonetics. He discovers that a vowel, as distinguished from a mere glottal sound, is articulated “in and by means of the cavities of the mouth and nose” and that a consonant is the contact of two or several parts of the mouth, made perceptible to the ear by the muffled sound of its breaking away.” What would he have said, if he had been told that two thousand years before his time these problems had already been solved and thoroughly investigated, that for instance, consonants were actually called contacts-sparsa? Without calling to mind all the subtleties of the Pratisakhyas, all we need remember is the order of the Sanskrit alphabet, where the sounds are placed according to the degree of aperture and the place and mode of articulation, in order to realize that indian science supplied the one necessary basis for the constitution of that phonetic science that Volney dreamed of though with still purely practical purposes. In any case it already provided us with the model of a precise classification, enabling European linguists to understand much better the evolution of languages, which was the object of their first researches.

This is not the place for a survey of this research work, but we can sketch the way in which Europe, after having received Sanskrit grammar as a wonderful present from India, gave her back historical Linguistics in exchange. T he first application of the method to Indian languages was the "Essay on Pali” by Burnouf and Lassen (1826) in which the latter specified the circumstances of the transition from Sanskrit to Middle Indian. Strangely enough, a roundabout way had to be taken before we arrived at modern Aryan. According to the testimony of Beames himself, it was the initiative of Bishop Caldwell in connection with Dravidian languages (1856) that suggested to his mind the idea of turning to account his perfect fluency in four different languages and his fair knowledge three others, to draw up a general survey of them. The study of the Indian branch of Indo-European languages far-outdistanced as it was, thanks to Grimm, by the researches in the Germanic family, was not then very much behind the study of Keltic, Slavonic and Latin.

Just as with Europe, it was then a general survey that opened the way, the study of particular languages came only afterwards. In this respect Dravidian lost the lead, as Kittel’s grammar of Canara was published only in the 20th century. In the Aryan domain, thanks once more to the help of native grammarians, progress was not slow. As early as 1872 Trumpp’s Sindhi was published a descriptive grammar with comparative illustrations; in 1880 Hoernle gave in one book the thorough description of a modern dialect together with its comparative grammar. The method had now taken root in India and was yielding good fruit when applied by Europeans.

But what the Europeans were able to do by adding to their reading knowledge the first-hand practice of native languages, would not the Indians themselves do the same by grafting on their intimate experience of local usage the newly revised method of which the Europeans showed them the use? The Great Bhandarkar in his fine Wilson Lectures (1877) even before the publication of Beames’ volume concerning the Verb, was the first to endeavour to show the development of Indo-Aryan from Vedic down to the present-day languages.

After him perhaps for some time, at any rate, it was not so useful to treat this subject again as to get a deeper insight into the principal languages. From this point of view the most important Indian contribution is Professor Chatterji’s "Origin and Development of Bengali Language," a book too well-known for me to characterize it and give it here the praise it deserves.

Here is now Dr. Saksena’s contribution. The language he describes is not so illustrious as Bengali or Marathi. Awadhi is but one of the Eastern Hindi dialects; but let not our ignorance blind us to its importance. . If we annex Bagheli to it, as Linguistic science bids us to do, Awadhi is the language of a people numbering more than twenty millions and a half. This number is a little less than that of these who use Polish, but definitely more than European Spanish or Dutch ; in India it is almost as large as Telugu can boast of, and more than Marathi or Tamil ; still all these languages are among the twenty most extensive in the world according to Prof. Tesniere’s calculations. Moreover Awadhi glories in a fine literature, though not in the present generation, as Dr. Saksena explains in this treatise. As is well-known the renowned Rama—charitamanasa of Tulsi Das was written in an old form of this language. It may be added that this work bears a date, which is extremely important to the philologist; and that some manuscripts are almost con- temporary 'with the work. An earlier record still is the Padmtiwat of Muhammad Jaisi, a text which besides its being dated has the advantage of avoiding Sanskritisms; neither does it excessively Islamize its diction. A language that possesses such masterpieces and that is able to resist victoriously the encroachments of Hindustani in current usage was well worth studying for its own sake.

But it prescribed to the historian a special difficulty which was to prevent him- fortunately to my mind—from following the plan already used by other scholars for Marathi or Bengali.

The documents in Awadhi are not of the same kind in different periods: we have just seen that there is no written Awadhi today. Now, the description of a spoken language entails special problems and imposes duties of its own.

First of all, the scrupulous precise phonetic notation, which is not quite so necessary when the spelling gives useful hints as regards its previous stages, now becomes indispensable if only to avoid an unconscious imitation of neighbouring literary languages. But this phonetic accuracy demands special training; here again Europe gave the clue, the teachings of grammar having been elucidated there by the results of physiology and acoustics. Here the analylsi of sounds was carried out with a precision far superior to the powers of hearing, thanks to the artificial palate, which Oakley Coates had borrowed from the dentists (1871) and to the sound-registering instruments borrowed by Bosapelly (l876) from the physiologists who had more or less adopted them from the 18th-century meteorologists.

To master these methods, Dr. Saksena undertook a visit to Europe and devoted himself to a course of tedious laboratory work. The results of this can be seen in the photographs illustrating this book. This is the first time that the historical treatment of an Indian language has been supported by a description carried out according to the graphic method. It is desirable that particularly in this point Dr. Saksena should End followers, and that the Universities in India might other facilities to their members for a voyage to Europe to enable them to work on these lines.

The description, specially the graphic description, of an unwritten living language, cannot be made in a general way; the whole study must be based on a particular speech, if not on an individual speaker. Dr. Saksena started from his own dialect, which was the right thing to do. His former, study of Lakhimpuri, which he had done under Professor Turner’s guidance was already conspicuous by qualities of order and precision and contained important remarks. Later on, thanks to the consent of the Allahabad University, to whom we should all be grateful for this, he was able to explore the other dialects and prepare the still unpublished monographs which served as a basis for the present work. He thus prepared himself for the use of the geographical method, which is one of the most recent achievements of European Linguistics.

The main originality of Dr. Saksena’s work lies in the accurate and complete description of both the ancient and modern stages of Awadhi. The historical explanations have been assigned a subordinate position, and rightly so, as the connection of Awadhi with Indo—A1•yan in general renders useless the repetition of theories which have already been propounded in the well-known and authoritative works on the subject. In a few places Dr. Saksena has left a few facts unexplained which, in the present stage of our knowledge, are impossible to be tackled. Dr. Saksena has, in such cases, shown the facts and stated the problems connected with them in a clear light. This in itself constitutes great progress.

Dr. Saksena, in the following pages, gives evidence of a close, varied and comprehensive study of his own language and of promise of studies on parallel lines. It is with great pleasure that I underline the merits and novelty of the great work which Dr. Saksena has produced.

About the Book:

Awadhi is an Eastern Hindi dialect comprising masterpieces, as the Ramayana of Tulsi Das, the Padmawat of Muhammad Jaisi. A dialect wherein such renowned works are written is well worth studying in all its details.

The present work on the evolution of Awadhi is divided into two parts bound in a single volume. Part I, comprising nine chapters, relates to the precise description of phonetic notation of Awadhi and is followed by graphic illustrations: Inscriptions from Kymograph Machine, Palatograms, Drawings of the plate and charts. Part II, divided into ten chapters, deals with the accurate and complete descriptions of the ancient and modern stages of Awadhi. It describes the eight parts of speech, the syntatical order of the sentence in Awadhi and is followed by two appendices comprising the speciments of Early and Modern Awadhi texts.

The book contains an exhaustive introduction in ten sections and a comprehensive index in two parts. Part I contains Skt, Pkt, Persian and Early Awadhi words and Part II Modern Awadhi and Hindustani words.




  1. Name of the language
  2. Linguistic boundaries of Awadhi
  3. Characteristics of Awadhi
  4. Origin of Awadhi
  5. Importance of Awadhi
  6. Materials for the study of Awadhi
  7. Dialects of Awadhi
  8. Formation of Awadhi
  9. Vocabulary of Awadhi
  10. Orthography of Awadhi
Part I




  1. In Early Awadhi
  2. In Modern Awadhi
  3. Origin
129 - 31. The Syllable

132 - 35. The Word

137 - 38. The Accent

139 - 56. Assimilation

157 - 58. The Sentence

159 - 61. The Intonation

162 - 64. Other Characteristics

    Inscriptions from Kymograph Machine
    Drawings of the palate
Part II


      165. Stem in Early Awadhi
      166. Stem in Modern Awadhi
167- 69. Forms of the Stem
170- 74. Gender
175- 76. Number
177- 86. Origin: Stem, Gender and Number
187- 89. Case in Early Awadhi
190- 91. Terminations of Cases in Early Awadhi
192- 96. Cases in Modern Awadhi
197- 98. Terminations of Cases in Modern Awadhi
199-202. Cases other than Direct and Oblique in Modern Awadhi
203- 15. Origin of Cases

      216. General Observations
      217. Gender and Number in Early Awadhi
218-21. Gender and Number in Modern Awadhi
      223. Stem in Early Awadhi
223-24. Stem in Modern Awadhi
      225. Degrees of Comparison
      226. Origin.
227-28. Cardinals
      229. Ordinals in Early Awadhi
      230. Ordinals in Modern Awadhi
      231. Multiplicative, etc.
      232. Origin



267-70. Introductory
      271. Accusative-Dative in Early Awadhi
272-74. Accusative-Dative in Modern Awadhi
      275. Genitive in Early Awadhi
      276. Genitive in Modern Awadhi
      277. Origin of Accusative-Dative-Genitive
      278. Instrumental-Ablative in Early Awadhi
      279. Instrumental-Ablative in Modern Awadhi
      280. Origin
      281. Locative in Early Awadhi
      282. Locative in Modern Awadhi
      283. Origin
      284. Other Postpositions - Use
      285. Other Postpositions in Early Awadhi
      286. Other Postpositions in Modern Awadhi
      287. Origin

288- 89. Root
       290. Auxiliary in Early Awadhi
       291. Auxiliary in Modern Awadhi
       292. Origin
       293. Tenses
294- 95. Participles in Early Awadhi
296- 97. Participles in Modern Awadhi
298-300. Origin
       301. Present Indicative in Early Awadhi
       302. Present Indicative in Modern Awadhi
       303. Origin
       304. Past Indicative
       305. Future Indicative in Early Awadhi
       306. Future Indicative in Modern Awadhi
       307. Origin
       308. Imperative in Early Awadhi
       309. Imperative in Modern Awadhi
       310. Origin
       311. Future Imperative in Early Awadhi
       312. Future Imperative in Modern Awadhi
       313. Origin
       314. Past Conditional in Early Awadhi
       315. Past Conditional in Modern Awadhi
       316. Origin
       317. Present Imperfect Indicative in Early Awadhi
       318. Present Imperfect Indicative in Modern Awadhi
       319. Past Imperfect Indicative in Early Awadhi
       320. Past Imperfect Indicative in Modern Awadhi
       321. Future Imperfect Indicative
       322. Imperfect Imperative in Early Awadhi
       323. Imperfect Imperative in Modern Awadhi
       324. Imperfect Future Imperative
       325. Present Imperfect Conditional
       326. Present Perfect Indicative in Early Awadhi
       327. Present Perfect Indicative in Modern Awadhi
       328. Past Perfect Indicative in Early Awadhi
       329. Past Perfect Indicative in Modern Awadhi
       330. Future Perfect Indicative
       331. Perfect Imperative
       332. Perfect Future Imperative
       333. Past Perfect Conditional
       334. Origin of periphrastic tenses
       335. Absolute in Early Awadhi
       336. Absolute in Modern Awadhi
       337. Origin
       338. Verbal Noun in Early Awadhi
       339. Verbal Noun in Modern Awadhi
       340. Origin
       341. Noun of Agency in Early Awadhi
       342. Noun of Agency in Modern Awadhi
       343. Origin
       344. Phonetic Rules for Conjugation in Early Awadhi
       345. Phonetic Rules for Conjugation in Modern Awadhi
       346. Causative in Early Awadhi
       347. Causative in Modern Awadhi
       348. Origin
       349. Passive in Early Awadhi
       350. Passive in Modern Awadhi
351- 53. Origin
       354. Compound Verbs in Early Awadhi
       355. Compound Verbs in Modern Awadhi
       356. Origin.

       357. General Observations
       358. Adverbs of Time in Early Awadhi
       358. Adverbs of Time in Modern Awadhi
       359. Adverbs of Time in Early Awadhi
       360. Origin
       361. Adverbs of Place in Early Awadhi
       362. Adverbs of Place in Modern Awadhi
       363. Origin
       364. Adverbs of Manner in Early Awadhi
       365. Adverbs of Manner in Modern Awadhi
       366. Origin
       367. Miscellaneous Adverbs in Early Awadhi
       368. Miscellaneous Adverbs in Modern Awadhi
       369. Comparison of Adverbs
       370. Origin

       371. In Early Awadhi
       372. In Modern Awadhi
       373. Origin


       374. Two Varieties
       375. Inclusive Forms in Early Awadhi
       376. Inclusive Forms in Modern Awadhi
       377. Origin
       378. Restrictive Forms in Early Awadhi
       379. Restrictive Forms in Modern Awadhi
       380. Origin
381- 84. Repetition, etc.
       385. Origin

386- 87. In Early Awadhi
388- 98. In Modern Awadhi
       399. Origin

(With English Translation)
    1. Awadha Bilasa
    2. Prema Pragasa
    3. Guru Anyasa
    4. Yusuf Zulekha

(With English Translation)


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