A simple question for Sanskritists

Rolf Koch roheko at MERKUR.NET
Sat Feb 13 13:00:57 UTC 1999

Because pattra indeed is based on patati "fly" the writing pattra is
wrong and not etymological correct.
patra is correct.

John Smith wrote:

> On Sat, 13 Feb 1999, Madhav Deshpande wrote:
> > It should be noted that doublets like patra and pattra are allowed by
> > Panini's optional rules of consonantal doubling, cf. Panini 8.4.47.  This
> > sort of doubling is purely a case phonological variation, and is not
> > connected with etymology.  In some cases, however, the occurrence of
> > geminates is directly related to the etymology of the words, e.g. tattva,
> > dattvaa etc.  Thus, we have phonological variation for vartate/varttate,
> > but v.rtti has to have two t-s.
> >         Best,
> >                                 Madhav Deshpande
> Actually, the double "t" in pattra *is* etymological: the word is formed
> from the root pat- "to fly" and the affix -tra which gives the sense
> "thing for doing that action with" -- hence zastra- "weapon for cutting",
> pAtra- "vessel for drinking" etc. Other comparable words are chattra-
> "canopy" from chad- "to cover", sattra- "sacrificial session" from sad-
> "to sit", and tottra- "elephant goad" from tud- "to strike".
> However, the sequence ttra is in practice indistinguishable from tra (in
> speech, I mean), and so the spellings in tra are generally commoner --
> perhaps partly because ttra is slightly awkward to write in Nagari. In the
> Critical Edition of the Mahabharata, for instance, the tra spellings are
> favoured (without total consistency) for pattra, sattra and chattra;
> however, tottra is always spelt with ttra.
> John Smith
> --
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