`real' Sanskrit vs `conversational' Sanskrit

jacob.baltuch at infoboard.be jacob.baltuch at infoboard.be
Fri Apr 18 16:58:06 UTC 1997

>In addition to Prof. Deshpande's observations, I have also noticed a
>"North Indian" pronunciation of ai as different from the "Dravida"
>pronunciation. But here I observe something different than Prof.
>Deshpande... I have noticed the word jaina pronounced "jane". (We
>"Dravidians" tend to give the dipthong its full pronunciation)
>cheers, Chandan Narayan.

It seems to me that the main thing distinguishing the prononciation
of the diphtongs 'ai' or 'au' compared to the sequence 'a-i' and 'a-u', at
least in the theoretical pronunciation of sanskrit, is that the *color*
of the first element of the diphtongs is that of *long* 'a' whereas the
color of the the 'a' in 'a-i' and 'a-u' is that of short 'a'.

Indeed, as far as I know long 'a' and short 'a' are not only distinguished
by length but also by vowel color. (Apparently this is the meaning of
Panini's shortest sutra? At least that's what Coulson says)

Note I'm *not* saying that the first element of 'ai' and 'au' is long, only
the vowel color is the same.

Is that correct?

(Of course another thing distinguishing in principle a diphtong
from a sequence of vowels in hiatus is that the vocal chords are
supposed to continue their vibrations thru the modification of
color in the enunciation of a diphtong, whereas in a sequence of
vowels there is a global readjustement which implies at least a
very light interruption of the vibrations of the vocal chords.
Phoneticians please don't kill me if this is wrong :)

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