The laryngeal theory

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at
Sun Oct 30 21:51:51 UTC 1994

One may offer some clarification concerning Reusch's second point.  It is 
more accurate to say that it is the Paninian tradition as enshrined in 
the different versions of the Paniniya Siksa which regards aspiration, 
voicing and nasality as produced by baahya-prayatna or external efforts.  
Panini's own view can be only indirectly inferred.  These features are 
indeed phonemic in modern terms and cause a difference between Varnas 
even in the ancient Indian phonetic systems.  Within the Paninian system, 
the term baahya-prayatna simply means that these features do not prevent 
two sounds from becoming savarNas or homogeneous class-members as defined 
by P.1.1.9 (tulyaasyaprayatnam savarNam).  Beyond this limited purpose, 
there is nothing 'external' signified by the term baahya.  
     Madhav Deshpande

Fri, 28 Oct 1994, Beatrice Reusch wrote:

> I would like to request for help with the laryngeal theory. I am a graduate
> student and, after reviewing some of the relevant litearture, am still not 
> certain about the status and significance of the theory.
> [1] To my knowledge, some of the aspirated sounds in IE have been analyzed
> by some scholars in terms of the "laryngeal" sound(s) found in Hittite,
> which are denoted by "h" (one or more) and whose phonological expression is
> uncertain.
> [2] On the other hand, Panini has stated that the "external effort" added
> to the pronunciation of language sounds includes aspiration (or lack of
> it), voicedness (or lack of it), and nasalization (or lack of it).
> [3] In many western languages, such as English for example, aspiration only
> makes for allophones (not for different phonemes, as is the case in
> Sanskrit).
> [4] The logic of the "added or external effort" is applied to add "h" to
> some sounds and thus create new sounds (this is done by western scholars).
> But nobody has proposed yet a theory that would imply add voicedness or
> nasalization, as far as I know (I may be wrong), because voicedness and
> nasalization in western languages go beyond the point of allophone-ness,
> i.e. they make different phonemes.
> [5] A far as I know, in Sanskrit the voiced aspirates are phonemes, wiht
> the same status as unvoiced unaspirated sounds, for example. 
> I would appreciate it if someone could take the time to clarify this issue
> for me.
> Thanks.
> Beatrice 
> Beatrice Reusch
> breusch at
> 311 North Hancock # 111
> Madison, WI 53703
> 608-256-6268 (voice & fax)

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