Inscriptions and Dravidian sound changes "y" > "c" and "y" > "t"

Bh.Krishnamurti bhk at HD1.VSNL.NET.IN
Sun May 24 05:43:28 UTC 1998

There is a phenomenon called hypecorrection; since c>y is related as
old-later, some crackpot at a later date would represent an underlying -y-
form by -c- thinking that he was writing an older spelling. A good example
is inscriptionl mata-c:nai for mata-ya:nai. So if there were many crackpots
like that, it would even mislead us as a sound change.

In Sanskrit there is a  fricative y and a semi-vowel y (both probably
occurred in complemenary distribution). The first one as in yama, yamuna:,
etc was a fricative like Modern German J or English y in yes.  Prakrit
develops j- (palatal affricate) out of it,e.g. jama-, jamuna:. The Dravidian
*y was not a fricative. It was a frictionless continuant. Kui kaju for *kay
is a doubtful transcription; I have to check how regular is *y = Kui j. I
know Schulze a German wrote j for y. 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-).
Please check the chronology of -c- ~ -y- forms in Tamil. Are the-c- forms
older or -y- forms in terms of literary attestation? You  have to examine a
sound change from a number of angles before making generalizations about
others' scholarship. Bh.K.

At 15:48 23/05/98 EDT, you wrote:
>Regarding the Dravidian y/c/s alternation, at 01:41 19/01/98 EST, Dr. Bh.
>Krishnamurti wrote:
><<Coming to kuyawa~kucawa, an intervocalic consonant is weakened and not
>strengthened by a natural phonetic process. -c- [-s-] thus gets weakened to
>-y- and not the other way round.>>
 >Indeed, my examination of inscriptional evidence showed irrefutable evidence
>for y > c. To prove my case, I have to show that a "y" reconstructable to
>Proto-Dravidian should change to "c" in a medial position.

>Consider the following case.
>matacAn2ai (SII, vol. 5, no. 431 ) < matayAn2ai
>The compound "matayAn2ai" is composed of "mata"+"yAn2ai". It means rutting
>elephant. "mata" (DEDR 4687) means "to be furious as by must" and "yAn2ai"
>(DEDR 5161) means elephant. From the inscription it is obvious that it was
>treated as a compound. There is no word break between "mata" and "yAn2ai". In
>effect, "y" in "matayAnai" is inter-vocalic.

>There is no doubt that the word for elephant "yAn2ai" begins with yA-.
 >This means we have here a clear proof for y > c.
Velu Pillai lists several cases where y > c. One of these is the word
>cecuviccOm (p. 370).

>cecuviccOm  (T.A.S. Vol. IV, p.118/119, Part II) < ceyvittom (we caused to do)

>The causative form of Ta. cey (to do) is given as "ceyvi" (to cause to do)  by
>P. S. Subrahmanyam in his book "Dravidian Verb Morphology" (p. 7).  Here "cey"
>takes on an epenthetic vowel, "u". Along with the palatalization of the first
>person plural past tense suffixes, this leads to the following process
>ceyvittOm > ceyuvittom > cecuviccOm
  it rather looks like
>Krishnamurti and Subrahmanyam are the ones in error who failed to take into
>account very pertinent and relevant Tamil data. If that is done, many proto-
>Dravidian reconstructions of *-c- will have to be replaced with *-y-.

>S. Palaniappan
H.No. 12-13-1233, "Bhaarati"
Street 9, Tarnaka
Hyderabad 500017

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list