Book launch: Deliberations on Sinhala Grammar -වියරණ විවරණ
Posted on July 13th, 2018

Janaka Perera

‘Viyarana Vivarana’ වියරණ විවරණ a book covering some debates that took place from the 1920s to the 1930s on Sinhala Grammar will be launched at the National Archives Auditorium, 14, Nidahas Mawatha, Colombo 14 on July 18, 2018 at 2.30 p.m.

The manuscript of the book, which the late Pracheena Pandith Bemthota Enulasiri Dharmawardhana authored and published by Sarasavi Publishers, last year, was prepared for publication by Dr. Nande Dharmawardena.

Pandith Enulasiri Dharmawardhana was nourished in the literary traditions set by the well-known centers of learning that prevailed in the Buddhist temples of the south. The author associated with the Bemthota-Yaathramulla Vanavasa group of temples, and the Vidyalankara Pirivena, where Rhys Davis, Wilhelm Geiger, Sir D. B Jayatilleke and many other scholars also learnt their “Praacheena Bhasha” or “oriental languages”, as they were known at the time.

In addition to his duties as a School Teacher, Pandith Dharmawadhana served in the pioneer editorial team of the Sinhala Dictionary, with Sir D. Baron Jayatilleke as the Editor in Chief, during the period 1932-1938.

The debates involve Sinhala literary figures like Munidasa Kumaranathunga, Baron Jayatilleke and others as well as the author.

 A previous book by Pandith Dharmawadhana dealing with the literary debate on Kumaratunga Munidasa’s accusation that the Ven. Sri Rahula was a plagiarist, entitled “Kukavi Vaada Sathya Prakashanee” (Godage Publishers) was published in 2011. The book was reviewed by Prof. K. N. O. Dharmadasa, the late Prof. Tissa Kariyawasam, and the Late Prof. A.V. Suraweera at its launch.

Prof. K.N.O. Dharmadasa and Prof. Kulathilaka Kumarasinghe will deliver specialist orations.  Prof. J.B. Dissanayake will deliver the oration from the chair.

The new book which Dr. Nande Dharmawardana arduously edited using an unpublished draft manuscript written in 1970 will be reviewed by Prof. J.B. Dissanayake, Prof. K.N.O. Dharmadasa, Prof. Sandagomi Coperahewa and Prof. Kulathunga Kumarasinghe.

The material, culled from the literary pages of the “Swadesha Mithrayaa” newspaper and other sources, gives a detailed view of the thinking of the Sinhala Scholars of the 1920s — 1930s era. Such material has been hither to inaccessible to the general public. As the first half of the 20th century was the formative period of modern Sinhalese, this period with its many literary debates, and this book itself should be of great interest to literary historians, linguists, grammarians as well as the interested public.

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