ilam<sihala?
An Assessment of an Argument

By Peter Schalk
November 2004
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 9155459722
291 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$59.50 Paper Original


Sri Lanka today has been allocated many toponymical signifiers. There is even an established academic tradition to study these insular toponyms. The historical study of the toponomy in this book does not pay attention to the physical feature of the island.

This book is not a topographical, but a historical study of mainly two proper names, ilam and simhala / sihala/cinkalam, based on South Asian signifiers' meanings and referents.

Moreover, not all names are only toponyms. Simhala/sihala for example can be a patronym, and ethnonym and a demonym, etc. Ilam is also a name for a plant, for the spurge plant, for an intoxicant (toddy), and for a metal/gold. All are, however, proper names, that pinpoint a thing, something definitive, and individual substance. Coming to the analytical or morphological meaning, however, uncertainty remains.

Religious History
Historia Religionum, Vol. 25

Return to Coronet Books main page