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Tatsama


Tatsama Sanskrit words used in Bangla, from tat means 'its', ie belonging to Sanskrit, and sama meaning akin. The earliest use of tatsama words in Bangla is to be found in Dandi's Kavyadarsha. To him, the words that remained the same in Sanskrit and prakrit were tatsama. There are plenty of tatsama words in Bangla.

During the pre-Aryan period, some words of the languages of the primitive tribes entered Bangla and became form, such as pet, dubga, dhil, kula etc. Vedic and Sanskrit words that entered Bangla by way of Prakrit are regarded as genuine Bangla words. These were used by the lower classes of people and were not used in literature until the tenth century. Although a large number of books were produced in this language in the medieval period, modern writers did not feel comfortable writing poems with such limited vocabulary. They borrowed words from Sanskrit for their poetic work. They believed that Sanskrit had been the vehicle for works on religion, philosophy and literature from ancient times as it was more suitable for expressing deep and profound ideas. When Bangla teaching was initiated at fort william college in Calcutta at the beginning of the 19th century, efforts were made to prepare appropriate textbooks with the help of Sanskrit scholars. By way of these textbooks, plenty of tatsama words entered Bangla and their number kept on multiplying. Currently, sadhu or chaste Bangla contains over 70% tatsama words and colloquial Bangla about 40-45%. An established writer's work contains 25% words in tatsama. ramram basu, iswar chandra vidyasagar, mrityunjay vidyalankar, michael madhusudan dutt and bankimchandra chattopadhyay were responsible for importing the largest number of tatsama words into Bangla. The excessive use of Sanskrit words in Bangla by these writers was viewed by some critics as tantamount to the Sanskritisation of the language.

Tatsama words in Bengali can be divided into two categories: samochcharita and asamochcharita. The first category of words are written and pronounced as in Sanskrit. The second category of words are written as in Sanskrit but pronounced slightly differently, for example, brksa, padma and bhasma. Some other Sanskrit words are used in Bangla with minor variations and these are called ardhatatsama, for example, chandar chandra, badyi badya, misti mista, satyi satya. [Dulal Bhowmik]