Pronunciation of word final "a" in sanskrit

Chandan R. Narayan cnarayan at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed May 26 16:40:16 UTC 1999

Connected to this issue of schwa deletion is the South Indian (sweeping
statement) tendency to give an "open" quality to word-final "a".  Hence
rAma often sounds like rAmA, kRSNa like kRSNA, etc. Sanskrit phonemic
schwa is often confused, by South Indians, with low-front "a". For more on
the pronunciation of Sanskrit see the wonderful article by SK Chatterjee
in the PAThak memorial volume (BORI). Chatterjee discusses the "standard"
pronunciation reflecting a healthy medium between the north Indian and
south Indian as represented by that of Maharashtrian paNDita-s in Benares.

chandan r. narayan || cnarayan at

On Wed, 26 May 1999, Swaminathan Madhuresan wrote:

> I really meant Tamil Nadu and Kerala; You might have noticed
> a tendency among Karnataka and A.P. high classes to disassociate themselves
> from things Dravidian. All pervading Sanskrit impact in Karnataka
> and A.P. may be the reason why word-final "a"s are dealt the same
> way as the North.
> Regards.
> --- "Chandan R. Narayan" <cnarayan at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:
> > Its somewhat difficult to make sweeping statements like the one below...
> > my parents are from Karnataka, my name is "chandan", my father's name
> > "nArAyaN", my uncle's name "ranganAth", etc. We are very much "from the
> > South".
> > I think your question has to do with the tendency to shorten  schwa
> > (saMvRta a) to zero word finally, thats all. See pANini on saMvRta and
> > vivRta. This schwa deletion is typologically common.
> > chandan
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