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A Dictionary of Classical Newari : Compiled from Manuscript Sources

, Nepal Bhasa Dictionary Committee, 2000, xxxv, 530 p, ISBN : 9993331600, $77.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Dictionary of Classical Newari : Compiled from Manuscript Sources

Contents: Preface. Introduction. The dictionary conventions: a reader's guide. The principal parts of classical Newari verb and their inflectional suffixes. Siglia: the letter symbols used for the sources of the dictionary. Abbreviations of the grammatical labels. The Nagari transliteration and compilation from the source manuscripts. The roman transliteration of the Newari characters. 1. Nepal Bhasa dictionary committee. 2. Contemporary Newari dictionary sub-committee. 3. Classical Newari dictionary sub-committee. 4. The editorial board. 5. A dictionary of classical Newari.

"Newari, a Tibeto-Burman language, is the mother tongue of the Newars, the earliest settlers of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. The Newars have long occupied a culturally important place among the Himalayan peoples. Over the centuries they have developed a complex and advanced culture which contains elements taken from both the great Sanskrit traditions of India to the South and the traditions of Tibet and China in the North. In Nepal's literary and historiographic traditions, Newari has a prominent place, since it is the oldest written language of Nepal, and for several centuries, from the end of the 14 century, was the principal Nepalese language to be used in court records, inscriptions and historical documents. Partially because of the cultural importance of the Newars, and partially because Newari is one of the oldest written Tibeto-Burman languages (recently documents written in classical Newari have been found which date from the 12 century) Newari has been accepted by scholars as a key Himalayan language, and they have long called for reliable reference works on the language.

The lexicographic studies of classical Newari that have so far appeared have been inadequate. The most important, Hans Jorgensen's A Dictionary of the Classical Newari, (Det Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser XXIII, 1., published more than sixty years ago. This 6000-word dictionary was based on the limited source materials available to the author, who never traveled to Nepal. Subsequent studies have been limited to glossaries attached to translations and editions of classical Newari works.

In the field of linguistics, Newari has long been considered a particularly important language. It is one of four Tibeto-Burman languages with an old written tradition (the other three being Tibetan, Burmese and Manipuri) and the only member of the Himalayan group with such a tradition. Classical Newari is thus obviously important in the study of the development of the Tibeto-Burman languages in general and the Himalayan languages in particular. A comprehensive dictionary would be an invaluable research tool in such study." (jacket)

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