Tulpule, S. G. and Anne Feldhaus (2000) A Dictionary of Old
Marathi, Oxford University Press, South Asia Research
Series, ISBN 0-19-512600-9. 807 pp. + xlviii
Elena Bashir, Department of South Asian Languages and
Civilizations, The University of Chicago
The Old Marathi (Central Indo-Aryan) stage extended from the
eighth century (CE) through the middle of the fourteenth
century (CE); however its literary output dates mainly from
the last seventy-five years of this period. Old Marathi is
distinguished from the Maharashtri Prakrit and ApabhraM$a
stages which preceded it, and from the Middle Marathi (ca.
1350-1800) stage which followed. According to the authors
of the dictionary, based on the sources available, there
seems to have been relatively little dialect variation in
Old Marathi (xxiv-xxv).
The principal editor of the dictionary, Shankar Gopal
Tulpule (1914-1994), was a pre-eminent scholar of Marathi
and the author of numerous works on Marathi literature and
language, particularly religious texts. The second editor,
Anne Feldhaus, has authored books on Marathi culture and
translated several texts from Marathi.
This dictionary is designed to be used by both scholars and
speakers of modern Marathi who want to read Old Marathi
texts. It contains approximately 26,000 [my estimate]
entries based on approximately 18,000 files [according to
the editors], which are drawn from a corpus of both
inscriptional (stone and copper plate) and literary sources,
mostly poetry. According to the authors, it covers "all
known inscriptions and literary sources from the Old Marathi
period (xiv)." The introduction includes discussion of the
texts of the source materials, and a complete list of the
sources used for the dictionary (xxxv-xxxviii). The
dictionary under review was envisaged by the principal
editor as one step toward the eventual compilation of a
dictionary of Marathi on historical principles.
The authors have excluded most words, including Sanskrit
tatsamas which are the same in Modern Marathi as in Old
Marathi, and refer the reader to *Molesworth's Marathi-
English Dictionary* (1831, 1857) or *MahaaraaSTra $abdako$a*
(1932-1950) for such words. They have, however, included a
few basic words common to Old Marathi and modern Marathi to
show the continuity of their usage (xiv). Also included are
some words common to Old and modern Marathi which show
orthographical variation in Old Marathi.
The structure of an entry is as follows.
- Entry word (in Devanagari, boldface type)
- Transliteration of the entry word using standard Indo-
Aryanist notation (in parentheses)
- Abbreviation indicating the grammatical category of the
entry word. Nouns are labeled for gender - masculine,
feminine, or neuter; pronouns for gender, person, number and
type (e.g. demonstrative); and verbs as transitive,
intransitive, passive, or causative. Adjectives are
identified by number or gender if they are attested in only
- Etymology, indicated for those words the origin of which
is fairly certain (in square brackets). In some cases, this
information includes both the language and the relevant
words from that language; in others the language only.
Cross references to Turner's *Comparative Dictionary of the
Indo-Aryan Languages* are not given.
- Attested meanings of the word in Old Marathi. Meanings
are given both in modern Marathi and in English. Meanings
are numbered, in logical rather than chronological order,
and metaphorical usages are so indicated.
- Sometimes, indications of technical, or exclusive
- Citations from sources illustrating the use of the word
in the specific meaning, and naming the source and location
of the citation. Multiple citations are arranged with
inscriptional citations preceding literary examples,
otherwise in chronological order. Citations are selected to
include the earliest occurrence of a word in Old Marathi,
and for verbs, to illustrate as many different forms of the
verb as possible. Verb forms are not, however, analyzed,
i.e. not specified with regard to categories such as tense
or aspect. Citations are given in the original Old Marathi,
without translation into modern Marathi or English.
Idioms are treated as sub-entries under one of the words
contained, usually the verb.
Since during the Old Marathi period, there was no
standardized spelling, orthographical variation is the rule
rather than the exception. Specific types of orthographic
variation are discussed, along with the treatment they are
given in the dictionary, In general, each spelling variant
is given a separate entry word with cross references to
The introduction to the dictionary includes a list of types
of previous lexicographical work on Marathi and Old Marathi.
Importantly, it includes discussion of each of these source
types, with critical commentary on them. There are sections
on the origin and development of Marathi and on the elements
of the Old Marathi lexicon.
Given that this is the first dictionary of its nature and
scope for Old Marathi, and the completeness and
meticulousness of the scholarship, this dictionary will
certainly become a standard reference work, with a place in
every major reference collection and in the personal
libraries of scholars of South Asian languages. In
conjunction with Master's *A Grammar of Old Marathi*, It
will greatly facilitate historical studies of Indo-Aryan
languages, particularly historical lexicology.
Daate, Ya$vant RaamkRSNa, CintaamaN Gane$ Larve, Aabaa
Caandorkar, and CintaamaN $ankar Daataar. *MahaaraaSTra
$abdako$a*. 7 volumes plus supplement. PuNeM:
MahaaraaSTra Ko$amaNDaLa Limited, 1932-1950.
Master, Alfred. 1964. *A Grammar of Old Marathi*. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Molesworth, J.T., assisted by George and Thomas Candy. *A
Dictionary, MaraaThii and English. Second edition, Bombay:
Bombay Education Society, 1857; corrected reprint, Poona:
Turner, Ralph Lilley. 1966. A Comparative Dictionary of the
Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Biographical sketch of reviewer: Elena Bashir
Elena Bashir has her Ph.D. in Linguistics from The
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1988). Her dissertation,
"Topics in Kalasha Syntax: An Areal and Typological
Perspective" is based on field work on Kalasha, a Northwest
Indo-Aryan ("Dardic") language spoken in Chitral District of
Pakistan. That work has led into ongoing involvement with
the languages of Pakistan including Bashir's current work on
Khowar. She is currently teaching Urdu at the University of
Note to readers: In the Marathi words in the titles of
books and authors' names, upper case letters represent
retroflex consonants, except when they stand as the first
letter of a proper name; <$> represents the voiceless
palatal sibilant; long vowels are represented by geminating
the vowel letter, e.g. <aa> = 'long a'.