Rubies and Coral: The Lapidary Crafting of Language in Kerala

  title={Rubies and Coral: The Lapidary Crafting of Language in Kerala},
  author={Rich Freeman},
  journal={The Journal of Asian Studies},
  pages={38 - 65}
  • R. Freeman
  • Published 1 February 1998
  • Linguistics
  • The Journal of Asian Studies
This paper addresses the problematic birth of the Malayalam language of Kerala in medieval South India. I say “problematic” because, of course, languages are never really born. Indeed, the dominant tradition of language genesis in India long asserted that all languages there only gradually arose by degenerate mutation out of the primordially beginningless Sanskrit. If there is a general truth to be found here, it is that since there are no human communities without speech, novel forms of… 
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