1887
Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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Abstract

Editor's note: Although the general policy of this journal is to publish only new research, an exception is being made in the present case, in order to publish a work of unusual value which has been inaccessible to most scholars for a century or more, and which has now been translated into English for the first time. In 1877, K. F. Holle published his Tabel van oud en nieuw-indische alphabetten, with the support of the Batavia Society of Arts and Letters (the Batavia of that period is the Jakarta of today); it was printed by C. Lang at Buitenzorg, Java. Hoik's "Table" is spread over 49 pages followed by four pages of appendices). In 81 rows, arranged in the Indic canonical order, it displays the symbols of 198 scripts, one per column, which are native to areas reaching from the Indian subcontinent to insular Southeast Asia. These are the writing systems of the Indic tradition that begins with the Brahmi script, used in the Buddhist inscriptions of the Emperor Asoka, in the 3rd century BCE. From that starting point, Holle's display moves forward in time and eastward from India, following the Brahmi-descended scripts through Tibet and Southeast Asia, then extending over the length of the Netherlands Indies, and finally ending with a sample from the Philippines. Neither before Hoik's time nor since has a comparable display been published, showing the multiple historical developments of a script over such an extension of time and space. For scholars interested in the myriad ways that scripts can change through history, Holle's "Table" is a unique source of data. It is reprinted here unchanged; readers will find that they need only know something of the Sanskrit phonological system in order to grasp the organization by rows, and a minimum of Dutch in order to understand the labeling of the columns.In 1882, Holle published a commentary on his "Table", with the added subtitle Bijdrage tot de palaeographie van Nederlandsch-Indie 'Contribution to the paleography of the Netherlands Indies'. This work, of just 20 pages, was again published by the Batavia Society of Arts and Letters; it was distributed by W. Bruining & Co., Batavia, and by M. Njhoff in The Hague. It is published here, preceding the "Table" proper, in an English translation by Carol Molony and Henk Pechler. A unified bibliographical listing, giving fuller citations than those provided by Holle, is a great desideratum; unfortunately, resources were not available for preparing such a listing. Also to be desired is a reconsideration and evaluation of Holle's materials in terms of scholarship since his time; I hope that the publication of this reprint will stimulate scholars to undertake such work.The editor is indebted to Elly Amade — a linguist, speaker of Dutch, and native of Indonesia —for help in preparing the translation for publication.
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/content/journals/10.1075/wll.2.2.02hol
1999-01-01
2019-10-23
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References

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  • Article Type: Research Article

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