Sandhi in `real' Sanskrit vs `conversational' Sanskrit

Vidhyanath Rao vidynath at
Fri Apr 18 19:36:13 UTC 1997

zydenbos at (Robert Zydenbos) wrote:
> In texts written in technical Sanskrit prose (e.g. commentatorial 
> literature), we see that in practice sandhi rules were relaxed. In 
> metrical texts we do not see this, because sandhi effects the phonetic 
> form of the words and therefore has prosodical influence.

The editor's introduction in the HSS I referred to earlier notes
that in some verses attributed to Bhart.rhari, sandhi is
occasionally not applied at the caesura. In the Kaavyas, sandhi
is applied between the padas, but not always in puraa.nas. 

>  voe> Isn't it the case that in Pali and Prakrits, sandhi is
>  voe> applied only
>  voe> to standing phrases or very closely connected words? Isn't
>  voe> the same the case in living languages?
>  voe> [...] Why not break this cycle by ignoring
>  voe> sandhi in printing (as in done in >all< languages except Sanskrit)
> This is not so. Sandhi is very much alive in the literary Dravidian
> languages.

In Tamil, for novels, prose works expounding some aspect of
Tamil literature or cilture etc, sandhi is applied only for
word/morpheme groups that form a whole, like words forming a
compound verb. 

> (If by "all" you also mean languages outside India: French is an obvious
> example of a language with written sandhi.)

Between articles and associated nouns, between (some) prepositions and
associated nouns etc. Do you mean to say that sandhi is applied in
print between the object and the verb, between the subject and the
verb? My reading of French is for the most part limited to math
papers, but I don't even remember sandhi being applied in print
between adjective and the noun.

> It is of course true that sandhi in
> these languages has less far-reaching consequences, but it is there.

`less far-reaching' is to put it mildly.

> Ten-day HSP Sanskrit has not gone quite as far as Latino sine flexione, 
> but by the same criteria we can say that it is no longer "real" Sanskrit
> (in the sense that it is far from what Madhav Deshpande aptly termed 
> the "full variety").

We are going around in circles here. What is `real Sanskrit'? What features
must the dialect have before it is `real' Sanskrit? I get the feeling that
the answer will end up being ``Whatever features of Sanskrit I know''.

And what is >the< `full variety'? Is it `the full variety' if I say
`prabhaate kaaphi apibam'? [Did "Saakalya speak `real' Sanskrit? :-^]
What about `godser gaandhim ahan'? Can one have servicable Sanskrit
by knowing only the imperfect, as Professor Deshpande implied in
his reply, or would you disagree with it? Would it be `the
full variety' if baadhate and kli"snaati are used interchangeably?
What about siidati and aaste? Where does one draw the line?

Nath Rao (nathrao+ at		614-366-9341

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list