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St John’s College Bb.7.14, formerly H.25 (James 289; Browne 1437)

Rayasum Paupia, English-Gentue dialogues. English and Singhalese, 1714

Rayasum Paupia: ‘These Dialogues the English as well as the Gentue was writ by Rayasum Paupia a Gentue Braminy Anno 1714’ (fo. 1r). There are 42 dialogues, all containing phrases useful in a domestic setting, or for the traveller. Particular emphasis is placed on Anglo-French relations: there are conversations between Englishmen in Paris, and Frenchmen in London. At the end (fos 57r-60v) is an ‘Alphabet which contains sixty three Letters, and the manner of Joining’. Browne concludes that the ‘language here denoted by the term "Gentoo" or "Gentue" appears to be Canarese, Telugu, or Singhalese’ (pp. 318-19).

Supplementary information 

530x380 mm. [i]+62+[i] fos (61-2 blank) (modern foliation). No internal clue as to provenance.

A single, large hand, with two descriptive annotations in a second contemporary hand. The first could well be autograph, given the evident uncertainty over English spelling and grammar. Paper, ruled. Original paper covers, subsequently bound in red morocco on boards, and substantially repaired, apparently in the nineteenth century.

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