Which Indian language is this?

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Moderator and Scholar of a Dark Age
Joined: 16.02.2011
Pending moderation


I sometimes encounter songs in the category Sanskrit that seem to be written in different languages.
I know only a bit of Sanskrit, but enough to tell that it's unlikely that that is their language. But since I don't know any other Indian language I can't tell what it's instead.

One of those songs would be this one: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/krishna-das-baba-hanuman-lyrics.html
I see that it contains loan words from Sanskrit (mostly proper names, though). But I tried to look up several of the song's words in dictionaries and found hardly any of them there.
Maybe it's because of the transliteration system used there. Or maybe the words are misspelt (they are pronounced rather different by the singer, but those lyrics here are from his official website). But I don't think it's Sanskrit.

Can anyone tell which other language it is written in?

Also, I know two texts that I think are in Sanskrit but that people claim are in Bengali:
I think it is Sanskrit and even added a translation of it (it mostly consists of proper names and epithets, therefore it was not too difficult).
But here the artist's website said it was in Bengali (and used a slightly different transliteration of some words - but almost only things like "a" instead of "ā" or "ey" instead of "e").

And http://lyricstranslate.com/en/hindu-songs-chants-prayers-shiva-shambo-ly...
Again a text where I think it's Sanskrit and translated it accordingly.
But a native speaker of Bengali wrote beneath my translation that the text is in Bengali: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/shiva-shambo-%E0%A4%B6%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B5-%...

Therefore I'm a bit confused.

Junior Member
Joined: 19.05.2016

The first (Baba Hanuman), I would say, is in Hindi. The vowels aren't pronounced fully, as you've already noted below the song, and that's a good giveaway. Of course, the words might be common with many other north Indian languages, and I wouldn't be surprised if it makes complete sense in another language as well.

The second (He Natha) is most definitely not Bengali, it is very clearly in Sanskrit. The singer sings in an accent not typical of typical Sanskrit hymns, so I can see why someone would be thrown off a bit. (Vowels not fully said, "Hey" instead of "He").

And thirdly, I wouldn't say "Shambo" is uniquely Bengali. I have heard it in songs in other languages as well. The song is clearly Sanskrit, and although I haven't read any classical Sanskrit texts where I've encountered "Shambo", I could imagine it is a Sanskrit word.

Moderator and Scholar of a Dark Age
Joined: 16.02.2011

Thanks for the reply!

"shambhu" is Sanskrit, and "shambho" is its vocative form.

Editor Languages Advocate
Joined: 18.10.2015

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/gaura-vani-kindred-spirits-stop-and-talk-h... Nepali
https://lyricstranslate.com/en/hindu-songs-chants-prayers-shiva Marathi
Bengali has a distinctively different script. None is Bengali. Here's Bengali জয় জয় শিব Regular smile

Moderator and Scholar of a Dark Age
Joined: 16.02.2011

Thanks for your reply as well!
The devanagari transliterations of these 2 texts were made by me, so that's not really a reason.

Why would you say they are not Sanskrit? Every single word in them is grammatically correct Sanskrit (except for the fact that the lyrics I found contained a few spelling mistakes, but nothing severe).

Editor Languages Advocate
Joined: 18.10.2015

Dear Sciera, you know how difficult it is sometimes to discriminate between Indian languages. I don't claim that's not Sanskrit, I gave you two more possible options to consider only because you'd asked. I've never done Sanskrit so I'm not authorised to discriminate. Basically, they all come from Sanskrit, so any Indian language is a Sanskrit in a way. Good luck! Regular smile

Moderator and Scholar of a Dark Age
Joined: 16.02.2011

No offense ^^ Just trying to understand your reasoning behind your reply. Do you speak any Nepali or Marathi?

Btw, Sanskrit has no direct descendants as far as I know; many languages in the south of India are not even Indo-European, and even the Indo-European ones are not direct descendants of Sanskrit but rather its great-nephews.

Editor Languages Advocate
Joined: 18.10.2015

If you believe it's Sanskrit and you know it then why do you ask? It's not about offence, it's about helping. They are just two other options to consider. Many songs are a mixture of Hindi-Urdu, Hindi-Marathi besides, the text is too short. If it fits in Sanskrit then where's the problem? Nobody minds. Regular smile

Moderator and Scholar of a Dark Age
Joined: 16.02.2011

A native speaker of Bengali in one case and the artist's page in the other claimed otherwise, that's why I asked.
I don't know for sure whether it's Sanskrit, it just seems very likely.

Also, I mainly opened the thread because of the 1st song - it just brought to my mind those other 2 which is why I mentioned them as well.

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