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Building a Theory of the Indic Brahmi Writing System

Problems and Prospects by: P.G. Patel
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ISBN: 9788124609729
Year Of Publication: 2020
Edition: 1st
Pages : xii, 97
Bibliographic Details : Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23
Weight: 350


This book develops a consilience of research and thinking in epigraphy, archaeology, and linguistics on the Indic Brahmi writing system. Its objective is to identify the problems that need to be tackled by anybody who tries to develop a theory of the Brahmi writing system. As for the currently scientifically supported hypothesis that Brahmi originated in Tamil Nadu during the sixth century BCE or earlier, Patel opts for the need to keep this as an idea for the working basket awaiting new archaeological research in the sixth-century Magadha region.
The book deliberates upon how ancient Tamil Nadu was receptive to literacy. The Brahmanical fascination for orality blocked literacy in Vedic India. The brahmanas from north India entered Tamil Nadu only during the third century bce and lived away from residential areas. Tamil Nadu at the time had no caste system. This is reflected in the Sangam literature, which followed historically the grammarian Tolkappiyar. The conditions in Sri Lanka before and after the arrival of Buddhism are noted in relation to the rise of literacy. The relationship between Brahmi in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu is highlighted for the purpose of further research. Also noted is the need for research on the differences between Dravidian and northern scripts in the way the aksharas are formed in graphic representation.



  1. Introduction
  2. The Brahmi Writing System: Background


New Pathway

Brahmi Script and Orthography

Phonological Basis of the Unit AkShara

Formation of Akshara Structure: Historical Development Concluding Remarks

  1. Framework for a Theory of the Indic Brahmi Writing System


The Two Levels of the Indic Brahmi Script

Ancient India: Linguistics, Writing, and Orality

The Written Version of the Epics

The Issue of Memory Limits and Oral Composition

Vedic Applied Linguistic Manuals:  Pratishakhyas

The Concept of Matra

Research on Brahmi

Brahmi and Archaeology

Archaeology, Epigraphy, and Linguistics

Akshara Formation: The Role of Pre-Historic Tamil

The Indus Valley Script and Early Tamil

Kharoshthi and Brahmi

Rise of Brahmi

Concluding Remarks                                                 

  1. Some Notes for a Theory of the Brahmi Writing System


The Two Levels of Brahmi as a Writing System

Archaeological Discoveries

The Ancient Indian Roots of the Linguistic Level of Brahmi

Emergence of Brahmi

The Indus Valley Civilization and Its Tamil Base

Tamil Brahmi and Its Source

The Issue of the Origin of Brahmi

Concluding Remarks                                                 

  1. Final Thoughts



Meet the Author
P.G. Patel’s background consists of four and a half years of Lectureship in English at the M.S. University of Baroda, a year with Prof. R.W. Zandvoort at Groningen University, twenty-eight years of research and teaching at the University of Ottawa, and two years in the Neuropsychology Programme with Professor Paul Satz at UCLA, as Visiting Scientist, and The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Research Fellowship five times. He was a co-author with D.G. Doehring of Reading Disabilities (Academic Press, 1981). His other books are Reading Acquisition in India: Models of Learning and Dyslexia (Sage India, 2004), Indic Scripts: Palaeographic and Linguistic Perspectives (edited with P.K.S. Pandey and Dilip Rajgor, D.K. Printworld, 2007), and The Brahmi Writing System: Cross-fertilizing Epigraphy, Archaeology and Linguistics (Black and White, 2010). His research articles and book reviews have appeared in standard journals.
Books of P.G. Patel

  1. Rahul Sridhar

    As usual a classic product from dkp