Stomach/womb in Dravidian and -y-/-c- alternation

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun Jun 14 21:02:15 UTC 1998

In an earlier posting , I had said that "The placement of DEDR 5259 Ta. vayiRu
belly with an implied *-y- seems to be correct even though Kannada has basiR."
Krishnamurti disagreed with this saying, " -c- is older as I said earlier.
Konda and other SCD languages preserve the s form, Konda vasking(velar
nasal)'entrails'. You seem to think that the oldest forms are only foound in
Tamil in every respect. What is your basis for taking -y- in vayiRu as older?"

An examination of the following DEDR entries and Tamil texts shows why -y-
should be older.

DEDR 5259 Ta. vayiRu belly, stomach, pauch, womb, centre, heart of a tree,
interior, inner space, mind; vayin2 belly, stomach; vayA foetus, womb. Ma.
vayaRu belly, stomach, inside receptacle of fruit-seeds... Ko. vi.r (obl.
vi.t_-) belly, pregnancy;...To. pi.r (obl. pi.t_-) belly, pregnancy, womb. Ka.
basaR(u), basiR, basuR(u), basRu belly, abdomen, womb, pregnancy, embryo, the
inside, hold of a ship; basaRi, basURi pregnant woman...KonDa vaski (pl.
vasking) small intestines. Pe. vahing (pl.) intestines...Kui vahi intestine,
entrails, bowels....

DEDR 5549 Ta. vai (-pp-, -tt-) to put, place, seat, lay by, store up, possess,
keep, create, set up; vaippu placing, deposit, treasure; place; earth, land,
world, town; vaiyakam, vaiyam, vayam earth, world; vayin2 place. Ma. vekka to
put, lay, place, build, keep, retain, deposit, put aside; veppu placing,
deposit, treasure; vaikkam what is laid down, deposit, alluvial ground..Ko.
vay- (vac-) to keep, place, beget, bear (child)..To. poy- (poc-) to keep,
place; beget bear (child). Ka. bay, baycu, baccu, oy to deposit, put aside,
hide; bay(a)ke
deposit, treasure, hoard;  besana, besal, besale birth, production, bringing
forth; besal Agu to bear, bring forth; (K.2) vesale pregnant.....Te. vaicu,
(K. also) vayicu, (B. K.) vEyu to place, put. Kol. va.y- (, (SR.) vAy-
to sow; Nk. vay- to sow; vayk- to put, put aside....Kur. uinA (uyyas) to put
down; retain, keep back. Malt. oje to keep; lay eggs, bring forth young.
[Krishnamurti, Language 39.562, suggests separating into two entries the items
meaning �put, place, keep� and bear, beget� respectively.]...

DEDR 5554 Ta. vaiku (vaiki-) to stay, pass the night, dawn; vaikal staying,
daybreak, day that has passed away; vaikaRai, vaikuRu daybreak. Ma. vaikuka to
stay the night, delay, stay, be late; vaiku-nEram, vai-nEram evening; vaikikka
to detain, delay; vaikkam delay. Ka. bay, bay(i)ge evening, evening
twilight...Te. vEgu, vEvu to dawn; vEgincu to keep awake (intr.); vEgimpu
waking from sleep, keeping awake;...Kol. (SR.) vegeD, (Kin.) vEger.
tomorrow....KoNDa vige tomorrow; (BB) vEg-/vIg- to dawn....Kur. bijjnA to
dawn, begin to grow light; bijjta�AnA to protract till dawn. Malt. bije to

According to an earlier posting by Dr. Krishnamurti, " PD *c and *y fell
together in most of the languages but the distinciton is preserved by some
members (particularly Kannada). where Ka also has an intervocalic -y- (bayal)
it goes to PD *y. So Kannada holds the clue for PD reconstriction (Ta. poy =
Ka. pusi <*posi 'a lie'; PD *poc-)."

If one were to accept the validity of Krishnamurti�s statement, for DEDR 5549
(in the sense of �to put, place, deposit) and DEDR 5554 (to stay, etc) the
PDr. reconstruction would be *vay-. (Krishnamurti does reconstruct *-y- for
both of these in Telugu Verbal Bases, p. 496-497) In fact, it is obvious that
5554 and 5549 are related by the simple relationship that when one
puts/deposits an object in a place, it stays there. In "A Reference Grammar of
Classical Tamil Poetry", (p.502), V. S. Rajam translates the following lines

".....kaN akan2 cilampil
paTuttu vaittan2n2a pARai marunkil
eTuttu niRuttan2n2a iTTarum ciRu neRi"   (malaipaTukatAm 14-16)

as, "very small narrow path (iTTarum ciRu neRi) that looks as if it was raised
from the ground and made to stand up (eTuttu niRuttan2n2a) near (maruGkil) the
rock which looks as if it was caused to fall down and made to stay there
(paTuttu vaittan2n2a) on the spacious mountain (kaN akan2 cilampil)." Note the
use of "vai" in a context meaning "to stay". Thus the relationship between
putting/depositing and staying is very clear.

In fact, it is this concept which forms the basis for the Dravidian words for

Ta. vayiRu stomach/womb is a place where something is deposited/ something
stays. Ta. vayin2 which occurs in both DEDR 5259 and 5549 provides a critical
link between the two. It means "stomach" as well as "place". This will become
clear when we consider the following.

kaiyaik kaiyin2 nerikkum; tan2 kAtalan2,
vaikum Al ilai an2n2a vayiRRin2aip
pey vaLait taLirAl picaiyum...........                     (kamparAmAyaNam

A rough translation of the relevant words is  "she would crush one hand with
another,  and would knead the stomach/womb (vayiRRin2ai) where her son/foetus
stays (vaikum)." Note the use of the word "vaikum" to describe the stay of the
foetus inside the stomach/womb.

vaikuRum narakaiyum nakum vayiRRin2An2.    (kamparAmAyaNam

In this poem, a demon is said to have a stomach (vayiRRin2An2) which was
worse/bigger than the hell where bad people stay (vaikuRum).

That the stomach is a place where things are put (vai-) is shown by the
following lines.

"vayiRRin2uL ulaku Ezin2OTu Ezaiyum vaikkum
ayirppu il ARRal en2 an2ucan2ai En2am on2Ru Aki
eyiRRin2Al eRintu in2 uyir uNTavan2 nAmam
payiRRavO nin2aip payantatu nAn2?" en2ap pakarntAn2.     (kamparAmAyaNam

A rough translation is "Did I give birth to you for you to recite the name of
the one who became a pig and killed my brother who had the power to put
(vaikkum) seven plus seven worlds in his stomach (vayiRRinuL)?"

Thus the relationship between vai (to put/deposit), vaiku (to stay), and
vayiRu (stomach/womb) is clear from these examples. vayiRu is a derivative of
vai. In fact, the examples shown here provide the connection between the words
meaning "to put, place, keep� and words meaning �bear, beget� discussed in
DEDR 5549. The Tamil form "vayin2" which was originally included in DED 4299
Ta. vayiRu  but not in DED 4565 Ta. vai finds its rightful place in both DEDR
5259 Ta. vayiRu and DEDR 5549 Ta. vai and it seals the relationship beyond

Given this relationship, if we reconstruct *vay- for DEDR 5549 Ta. vai (Ka.
bay), and DEDR 5554 Ta. vaiku (Ka. bay, bay(i)ge), we have to reconstruct
*vay- for Ta. vayiRu (Ka. basiR) also. This means that -s- in Kannada forms
basiR, etc. are not originals.

Burrow and Emeneau were right in their placement of DEDR 5549 with an implied


S. Palaniappan

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