On 'patra/pattra' again!

K. S. Arjunwadkar panini at PN2.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Feb 15 01:43:58 UTC 1999

At 12:08 PM 2/14/99 -0500, you wrote:
>If I may continue this discussion a little further, while I have some
>references in front of me, I would suggest that there is a circularity
>between spellings of Sanskrit words and their perceived etymologies.  For
>example, consider the variants putra/puttra.  It is obvious that the
>variant puttra allowed the folk-etymology put+tra, where -put- is said to
>be the name of a hell, from which the son protects the father (pun-naamno
>narakaad yasmaat traayate pitaram suta.h).  On the other hand, the reading
>putra allowed the derivation pu+tra.  Here the affix tra (.s.tran in the
>U.naadisuutra) is added to the root puu.  But this requires the shortening
>of the vowel of the root, which is explicitly prescribed by the
>U.naadisuutra : puvo hrasvaz ca.  Thus, we have two alternative
>etymologies, besides the fact that Panini considered this word as
>underived, giving us no specific clue as to whether it should be
>'originally' putra or puttra.  In my opinion, the phonological variation
>is in all likelihood the more primary fact, while the etymologies are
>simply rationalizations, after the fact.
>        Best,
>                                Madhav Deshpande
>On Sun, 14 Feb 1999, Madhav Deshpande wrote:
>> Hello folks,
>>         Any assertions that the word patra/pattra is derived from the root
>> pat need to be addressed in more specific terms.  This view is found in
>> the commentary of K.siirasvaamin on the Amarakoza (patati pattram).
>> Ultimately this etymology goes back to a generic U.naadisuutra :
>> sarvadhaatubhya.h .s.tran, which allows the addition of the affix -tra
>> after all roots.  The fact that this is an U.naadisuutra is significant.
>> It means that Panini himself treated these formations as underived
>> (avyutpanna), and that the U.naadisuutra-traditions (often ascribed to
>> Zaaka.taayana) offered these derivations.  With such differences on the
>> derivations of these words, the variation in doubling needs to be treated
>> with less emphasis on assured etymology, but on larger patterns of
>> Sanskrit pronunciation, reflected in optional rules of consonantal
>> doubling, as well as in preferences for doubling seen in manuscripts
>> coming from certain regions.
>>                                 Madhav Deshpande
>> On Sat, 13 Feb 1999, John Smith wrote:
>> > On Sat, 13 Feb 1999, Rolf Koch wrote:
>> >
>> > > Because pattra indeed is based on patati "fly" the writing pattra is
>> > > wrong and not etymological correct.
>> > > patra is correct.
>> >
>> > I wish you would read what I write. This is getting boring, but I have to
>> > repeat what I said: pattra derives from the root pat- and the affix -tra,
>> > and the "tt" spelling is therefore etymologically correct. However, patra
>> > is very commonly used in its place.
>> >
>> > John Smith
>> >
>> > --
>> > Dr J. D. Smith                *  jds10 at cam.ac.uk
>> > Faculty of Oriental Studies   *  Tel. 01223 335140 (Switchboard 01223
>> > Sidgwick Avenue               *  Fax  01223 335110
>> > Cambridge CB3 9DA             *

>> >

Dear Madhav,
Your discussion on 'patra/pattra' is thorough, methodical and delightful.
Best wishes.
KSA <panini at pn2.vsnl.net.in>

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