‘Karnataka Shabdanushasana’ (karnATaka shabdAnushAsana) (ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಶಬ್ದಾನುಶಾಸನ) by Bhattakalanka (BaTTAkaLanka) who lived in the seventeenth century is a Kannada grammar written in Sanskrit. Bhattakalanka was a Jaina sanyasi who had Arasappa Nayaka-2 of the Svadi dynasty as his royal patron. He was the head of a Jaina maTha in Sonda a small town in North Canara district.

Bhattakalanka was a scholar in Kannada and Sanskrit and was erudite in various disciplines such as grammar, logic, sculpture, astrology, dance and mathematics. He was a polyglot with a working knowledge of six languages including Prakrit and Magadhi.

Even though the author wrote his work in Sanskrit it does not show his contempt for Kannada. He creates an interesting backdrop for his work. A scholar who is not well disposed towards Kannada makes some disparaging remarks about Kannada and avers that it does not need a grammar of its own. He opines that Kannada is essentially a spoken language. Bhattakalanka deems it fit to answer this doubting Tom before he embarks on his work. He describes the history, literary tradition and the capacity of Kannada in a detailed manner with a lot of patience. He justifies his decision to write a prescriptive grammar of Kannada as it will help both the lay man and the scholar alike to formulate a standard language.

Bhattakalanka’s erudition in the grammatical tradition of Sanskrit and Kannada had equipped him suitably for this task. His work is full of rigour and precision. He depends on the past grammarians of Kannada for his subject matter and the Sanskrit grammarians for his mode of presentation.

Shabdanushasana’ contains four sections and 592 sutras. He delineates the concepts of ‘Varnamale’, ‘Sandhi’, ‘Nipaatha’ and ‘Avyaya’ in the first chapter. The second chapter deals with gender, case suffixes and the words borrowed from Sanskrit. The concepts of compound words, (Samasa) pronouns, and numerals are discussed in the third chapter. The concluding chapter is reserved for verbs and the corresponding suffixes.

The range of illustrations given by Bhattakalanka is rather confined to literary texts, both Kannada and Sanskrit. He has not paid much attention to the spoken variety of the language like Keshiraja. However his sources include classics of Kannada literature such as ‘Adipurana’, ‘Vikramarjunavijaya’, ‘Jinaksharamale’, ‘Gadayuddha’, ‘Panchtantra’, Pampa Ramayana’, ‘Kabbigara Kava’ and ‘Kavyasara’. There are two commentaries in Sanskrit on this work. They are ‘Bhashaamanjari’ and ‘Manjarii Makaranda’. Some commentaries are composed in the twentieth century also.

            was published for the first time in book form in 1890 edited by 
                B.L.Rice. He was assisted in his task by Brahmasuri
            Shastry of Shravanabelagola,
            Brahmasuri Pandita of Chamarajanagara, B.Mallappa
            of Mysore and Ferdinand Kittel.
            It contains a detailed introduction and a short history of Kannada literature: 


                Bhattakalanka Deva's Karnataka-sabdanusasanam

            . . . Edited [with
                an account of Kannada literature
                translation of each aphorism] by B. Lewis Rice. 1890.


·                     Book details: Bhattakalanka Deva's Karnataka-Sabdanusasanam with its vritti or gloss, named Bhasha-mańjari ... called Mańjari Makaranda =: Bhattakalanka devakrta karnataka ... vyakyana ca sahita (Bibliotheca Carnatica) 590 pages, Publisher: Mysore Government Central Press (1923)


Home / Knowledge Bases