Part 5[B] of “O concani não é dialecto do marata”by Mgr. Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado,

in Heraldo, Pangim, Goa, Year IX, No. 2573, 16 February 1917, p. 1

Translated from the Portuguese by Óscar de Noronha

There is a lot more to dig in this rich mine. I believe, however, that what has been laid out here is sufficient to understand the conjugational relations between the two languages. For sure, they are not very close. And so much of Konkani’s baggage definitely would not fit into the Marathi boat. It may have got bigger later, but surely Konkani was not the poorer for it; it rather got perceptibly richer.

Even so, given its special importance, let us analyse the Indo-European verb as (Sansk.) or es (Lat., es-se for es-re), to be, to have.

Sanskrit: Asmi, asi, asti, smas, stha, santí.

Konkani: âsám, âsáy, âsá (asa, among the Hindus), âsámv, âsát, âsát. Abbreviated form: âhám, hâháy, âhá, etc.

Marathi: âhe, âhes, âhe, âhom, âhám, âhet.

It is obvious that the anomalous flexions of Marathi would not produce those of Konkani, which are entirely regular, affixed to the root (as in Sanskrit), without the intervening suffix t (sart-t).

The past tense in Konkani uses the base as: âslom, âsloy, etc. That of Marathi is: hotom, hotás, hotá, etc. That is a huge difference – toto coelo – and does not discredit Konkani.

Another Sanskrit verb, jan (3rd p. pres., jâyate), to turn, to become, to get (French, devenir) passed on to Konkani in the stem (zátam, zátáy, zâtá), and is conjugated regularly in all tenses. Marathi, on the other hand, uses the said verb only in the past tense (jhâlom), replacing it, in the rest, with the verb honnem, derived from the Sanskrit bhû, which has given rise to the Lat. fu-i.

It is obvious, then, that these are not despicable minutiae that can be easily explained as ‘the degeneration of Konkani taken to extremes.’ On the contrary, they are fundamental divergences, and the aforementioned verbs are so too. It is rightly said in Konkani, when one hears nonsense: Tujé jibek hadd na munn borem âsá: You’re lucky that you don’t have a bone in your tongue, or else it would break. And another popular saying goes as follows: Tuka jib nasli zâlyár kavlle tonchún kâtelé âslé: if you had no tongue (the only sign of life), crows would peck and eat you (as if you were a corpse).

Let us also compare the flexions of the same substantive verb to be in the Romance languages, so that the comparison highlights the inconsistency of the detractors of their own language, which they have never cared to study.

Latin: Sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt.

Portuguese: Sou, (archaic som, sam), és, é, somos, sois, são (archaic, som) [I am; thou art; he/she/it is; we are; ye/you are; they are]

Castillian: Soy, eres, es, somos, sois, son.

Italian: Sono, sel, è, siamo, siete, sono.

French: Suis, es, est, sommes, êtes, sont.

Is there less affinity between these flexions than between the previous ones? And yet, to this day no one has dared claim that one of the said languages ​​is a corruption of the other. And according to an English proverb (may everything pay homage to the alliance!): What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Let us now compare the negative forms of the aforementioned verb as:

Konkani: Hámv nám, túm námy, tó nám, ámím nâhv, tumim nánt, té nánt.

Marathi: Mîm nâhîm, túm nâhíms, to nâhím, âhmí nâhim, tuhmi nâhim, te nâhínt.

The Konkani verb záy, often used in the sense of the Latin oportet, it is necessary, it is proper, is invariable and mimics the Latin construction: Mâká záy, tuká záy, táká záy, etc. Mâká zây zataló = it will be necessary for me. Mâká záy zâló = it was necessary for me.

Marathi uses pâhije, which they conjugate as follows: pâhije, pâhijes, pâhije, pâhije, pâhije or pâhijes, pâhijet.

The verb that in both languages ​​has the past tense in gelom is represented in the other tenses by means of various radicals: in Konkani, vats (hámv vetám), from the Sansk. vraj; in Marathi, , from the Sanskrit : such that in Konkani tó zâtá means ‘he becomes’, and in Marathi to zâto means ‘he goes.’

The irregular Marathi past tenses of certain verbs are used, partly by some social classes of Goa, but not by the Brahmins, who use it otherwise: Ghetlem = ghelem (regular), was taken; dhutlem = dhulem (reg.), was washed; pyâlem = piyelem or pilem (reg.), was drunk; mâgitlem = mâglem (reg.), was asked for[i]; ghâtlem = ghâlem (reg.), was put; mhanttlem = mhannlem (reg.) or mhullem (by assimilation), [was said]; khâllem = khelem (khâlem would be regular), was eaten.

I could have expanded on this arid and, for many, boring matter, tackling particles and syntax, but I think it is pointless. As regards the former, it will suffice to note that many of them differ from language to language or take diverse forms. Some of them in Marathi are used only by certain classes in Goa; which may be due to ethnic relations. It is a matter more closely associated with lexicology than with grammar; and the comparison is not tough.

Properly speaking, the syntax of modern Indo-Aryan languages ​​has few essential differences. Sentence construction and agreement are almost the same. However, Marathi and Konkani vary a lot in the manner of forming propositions; in ‘our language’, it is more concise, cohesive and elliptical. Here are some examples, taken from Navalcar’s Marathi grammar: Râma ânni tyâtsá bâp âle âhet = Râmá âni tâtsó bâpúi áylé: Rama and his father have come. Durgá ânni Sâvitri hyâ bahinni hotyá = Durgá áni Sâvitri bahinnyó: Durga and Savitri are sisters. Janoji va tyâchi báyko kutthem gelim âhet = Janoji âní tâchî bâyl khaim gelint? Where have Janoji and his wife gone? Vaidyânem tilá auxadh deún barem kelem = Vaizan tiká okhat diún bari keli (agreement difference): The doctor cured her by giving her medicine. Mim tum’chyá gharim udyám yein = Hámv tum’ger phalyá yen or yeyn (I may come) or yetalom = I shall come: I shall come to your house tomorrow.

Those interested can easily make other syntactical comparisons, for example, between a catechism in Konkani and Marathi. Rest assured that one will learn a lot about the disparity of the two languages ​​and be convinced – if any more arguments are necessary – that Konkani is not the same as Marathi.


[i] Dalgado’s says ‘foi bebido’, which is obviously a typo; it should read ‘foi pedido’ [was asked].

(Published in Revista da Casa de Goa, Series II, No. 27, March-April 2024, pp 38-41)