Voiced aspirate consonants and neighing (or other animal cries)

Jean-Luc Chevillard jlc at CCR.JUSSIEU.FR
Fri Nov 22 13:11:32 UTC 2002

Dear professor George Thompson,

it might be a pleasant "récréation"
(from other threads discussions)
if you could offer a comment
on my 9th of May 2002 post
as you had promised to do,
or if some other learned member could give an answer.

The question was whether there was a metaphor (involving animal cries)
for the sanskrit grammarians (or phoneticians)
in the description of sanskrit voiced consonants as ghoSavant
(and also in the description of other types of consonants)

To sum up the argument,
we see in a 13th century Tamil grammatical text
(mayilainAtar's commentary on nan2n2Ul)
an explaination in Tamil about the pronunciation
of those sanskrit occlusive consonants
that do not exist in the Tamil script,
i.e. kh, g, gh, ch, j, jh, Th, D, Dh, th, d, dh, ph, b & bh,
because Tamil script has only k, c, T, t, p (& _r)

If we select the occlusives of [k kh g gh] of the first series,
the respective prononciation of [kh], [g] & [gh]
are explained by specifying
the verbe collutal "to say, to pronounce"
by means of the converb (Tamil vin2ai eccam) of another verb.

The converb used as a specifier to the verb collutal is
"urappi" for kh, ch, Th, th & ph
"eTuttu" for g, j, D, d & b
"kan2aittu" for gh, jh, Dh, dh & bh

kan2aittu is the converb of kan2aittal
which is often used to express the cries of animals,
like the horse or other species
(Ex. kan2aitta mEti "bellowing buffalo" (Tev.1.69.6),
   kan2aikkum An2ai "roaring elephant" (Tev. 5.37.8)
although it has other meanings
  (see for instance George Hart[1999:13] )

eTuttu is the converb of eTuttal,
which had really many meanings, one of them being "to raise".
(the T.Lex mentions 25 meanings
and then gives 2 full pages of complex verbal expressions
based on eTuttal, as if it had been used to be the equivalent
of a sanskrit preverb.)

urappi is the converb of urapputal,
which has several meanings, one of them
being "to frighten by roaring/ to roar in a frightening way"
  (tev. 4.107.3)

So, in order to make this message short,
let me try one last time to ask you
and other scholars this question:

Was the 13th century Tamil Scholar
(also proficient in Sanskrit)
who explained to his tamil students
the pronunciation of gh, jh, etc.
by using as a specifier
a verb usually used
for animal cries
simply routinely translating into Tamil
an ordinary sanskrit metaphor?

If the answer is yes,
can you provide references?

Thanks for your attention

Best wishes

-- Dr. Jean-Luc Chevillard
  (CNRS, University Paris 7,
History of Linguistics Research Team [UMR 7597, HTL])

At 11:06 14/05/02 -0400, you wrote:
In a message dated 5/9/02 8:42:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
jlc at CCR.JUSSIEU.FR writes:

 > :    jlc at CCR.JUSSIEU.FR (Jean-Luc Chevillard)

Dear Professor Chevillard,

Please accept my apologies for not responding sooner to your request for
information on this matter.  I have been away for several days at a
conference, and now I must depart for a few more days to retrieve my son, who
is returning home from school.

I will try to offer a response to your questions upon my return.

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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