Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Re-Sanskritized Kalis

After checking available archaeological evidence, linguistic proof, and historical accounts, I am confident to say that keris, the malaysian and Indonesian kris, is from the Turkish word, kilich (sword). Even the genetic map, made from several human genome projects, supports my contention that Turkish influences, including their genes and weaponry, reached Mindanao before the Spanish came to the Philippines in sixteenth century.

In Malay, ch usually becomes s and l replaces r (and vice-versa). Thus, from kilich, it evolved to kiris. I suspect that the Sanskrit kera (coconut) and ker (to cut) entered the malay lexicon and influenced the evolution of kiris to keris. Keris is not entirely a Sanskrit word. The suffix -is cannot be found in Indian languages. For this reason, the Turkish kilish makes sense.

There are malay words whose e was i originally. In visayan languages, for instance, e usually becomes i, whose sound is hard and stiff. That's why Visayans are known for their "hard tongue." In short i and e are interchangeable. However, Malay languages are sensitive when it comes to a vowel change. Once it is changed, its meaning or its being a part of speech is also affected.

In Philippine languages, ibon is not the same as ebon. The latter is egg and the former is bird. I suspect that kiris and keris have the same linguistic similarity-- kiris might have been the general word for sword with no specific meaning and later it became keris, a special sword with a particular meaning and use. Linguistically, the meaning of a word evolves from general to specific.

In Mindanao, keris is kalis, the word used by the Muslims for kris. Deep words in the Philippines have Malay origins, and some Malay words have Turkish Arabic beginnings, and most of them have Sanskrit etymologies. I have observed that foreign-influenced Malay words that entered the Philippine languages are re-Sanskritized. That it is also one of the evidence supporting the presence of Hinduism and early Indians in the Islands before the Spanish colonization.

Tagalog dalita (poor) is from derita (suffering), which is from dharta, the Sanskrit word for "restrained." Derita became dalita after early Filipinos re-Sanskritized derita by incorporating dal, the Sanskrit root word for "suppressed." It is the same linguistic explanation with salita (word) from the old Malay word serita and Sanskrit cerita. The Sanskrit word sali or salit, which means "including," obviously a function of a word that includes meanings, images, and sounds, became part of the re-Sanskritized Filipino salita.

Salamat (thanks) is from seramat or selamat (survive or safe), which is from the Sanskrit word, sala or salam, meaning, house or pavilion, which denotes safety. Seramat or selamat became salamat after the Sanskrit root word sal (sea) was incorporated. Early Filipinos in coastal areas were seafarers, and the sea surrounding them was the source of their worries and object of their prayers for safety. There are rituals that are still done or prepared to calm the sea in the Philippines.

I see the same pattern of linguistic evolution in berita to balita (news), aremat to alamat (legend), and berat to balat (skin, peel, or cover). It is also the same word change that happened to keris when it became kalis. Keris became kilis or kelis, and then the sanskrit kal or kali (dark) entered the equation. Thus, keris became kalis.