nyUGkha in Vedic recitation

George Thompson GthomGt at CS.COM
Wed May 1 14:01:22 UTC 2002

In a message dated 4/27/02 2:53:11 PM Eastern Daylight Time,

> Warning! List was empty...
> all the best,
> F
> At 09:45 PM 4/26/2002 -0400, you wrote:
> >Dear List,

Hello Frits, and hello List,

My apologies indeed for this empty post!  For some reason my e-mail program
has started to automatically send off unfinished emails to their baffled
addressees.  And so this empty note was sent to the entire List, against my
wishes.  Mea culpa.

I had been interested in RV 10.94, hymn to the soma-stones, in which occurs,
at stanza 3, the verb form 'ny UGkhayante.'  The connection with the term
nyUGkha, the term used to refer to the practice of substituting o-sounds for
other syllables in recitation, was made long ago by Renou, but to my
knowledge the RV passage continues to be interpreted in the old way, after

ny` UGkhayante a'dhi pakva' A'miSi          Sie schlampfen ueber dem
gargekochten Fleische.

Leaving aside the fact that Burrows has shown that A'miS does not mean
"meat", but rather "bait, lure," or possibly "spicy delicacy"  -- it seems to
me that there is good evidence that this verb refers to the exact same thing
as the term nyUGkha does, and not to some inarticulate murmuring.

I have not, until now, sent these thoughts to the List because I will
probably discuss this hymn in an upcoming paper.  But now that the "cat is
out of the bag", I would be grateful for any and all comments, references to
recent literature, guesses at etymology, etc.

[Note: no discussion in KEWA of this non-IE root; I don't have access to EWA
at the moment; Elizarenkova suggests that it is onomatopoeic, but translates
it after Geldner: urcha't' (murmur, grumble) -- is this a correct

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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