m/anusvAra & s/visarga

Jacob Baltuch jacob.baltuch at EURONET.BE
Wed Nov 5 19:41:34 UTC 1997

Dominique Thillaud wrote:

>        What do you think about? :
>R1: following an occlusive, h is always a diacritic for aspiration,
>otherwise it is the code for the metaphonem H.

And we know that h cannot happen after a stop (Fr. occlusive) if for
no other reason, than that that people chosed the kh, gh, etc. translit
scheme and it's been working fine for more than a 100 years.
If there was a problem they'd have uncovered it by now :) Now some may
think this is more like a spit-and-string proof that h cannot follow
stops in Sanskrit, but one shouldn't be picky :) In conclusion: ok.

>R2: H has two context-sensitive realisations: voiced is h, voiceless is
>visarga; the choice between them result from backward assimilation

If by "the choice between them results form reverse assimilation" you
mean it's visarga before unvoiced phonemes or in pausa, ha before voiced
phonemes, then again, yes. I believe that D.H.Killingley made the same point.

>(as usual, silent is voiceless).

As usual. Silence is allless.

(Don't you just love triplels? How about: "illlit" -- Joyce)

>        You can give two sorts of counter-examples:
>1) exceptions to this rules: we'll try to change the rules.
>2) overlapping of h and visarga contexts: I'll resign!

No! Don't! I won't! As far as I can tell this works fine for Sanskrit.


>We have in mantrasAstra bijAkSarAs like hsauh......!

I don't know what a "bijAkSarA" is.

How is "hsauh" used? Is it an onomatopoeia?

In any case we were dealing only with Sanskrit. If we wanted to
deal with all languages written with Nagari who knows what other
surprises we'd be in for! :)

Note that it seems "hsauh" could be taken care of by saying that at
the initial it's always h -- indeed no find visarga there.

But let's not, because that would only encourage you! :)

Dermot H. Killingley wrote:

>May I make an adjustment to Dominique Thillaud's statement of the
>distribution of Visarga and h in Sanskrit? It is a very simple
>complementary distribution: h before a voiced sound (i.e. vowel or a
>voiced consonants), visarga before a voiceless sound or silence (avasAne,
>i.e. at the end of a sentence or at any other point where the sandhi is
>broken). It is therefore quite possible to use the same character for both
>without ambiguity; but if you want a computer to transcribe it into
>Devanagari or standard romanization, you will have to tell the computer
>which consonants are voiced and which are voiceless.

I think this is what Dominique means by saying that the choice between
the two results from reverse assimilation (of voiceness obviously).

Thanks to one and all who've helped me with this.

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