Voiced aspirate consonants and neighing (or other animal cries)

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Fri Nov 22 22:35:58 UTC 2002

I have not seen the use of animal cries used in Sanskrit phonetic texts as metaphors specifically for explaining voiced, aspirated consonants, though the animal cries as well as cries of buttermilk selling women from Saurashtra etc. are cited to explain vowel length, pitch, nasality of anusvaara etc.  There are also descriptions of particular consonant clusters using animal cries.  Here are a few examples from the Zik.saasamgraha edited by Ram Prasad Tripathi, Sampurnananda Samsk.rta Vizvavidyaalaya, Banaras1989 (Gopinath Kaviraaja Granthamaalaa, vol. 3).

Verse 70, Yaajn~valkyazik.saa, p. 8: U.smaa "aspiration" should be pronounced like the exhailed breath of a young snake.

Verse 185, YZ, p. 24:  The geminate in the word kukku.ta should be pronounced like the pronunciation of two k-sounds by a rooster in love.

Verse 186: Just as a mare moves her vulva when she sees a stallion, so one should pronounce sounds in the word dundubhi.

Verse 187, YZ, p. 24:  Just as a woman excited in love makes sounds each day, so should one pronounce the sound in si.mhyasi.

Verse 190, YZ, p. 24:  Just as a Sauraa.s.tran woman says araaM, so should the ranga sound be pronounced without the velar n.

Verse 59, Paaraazariizik.saa, p. 51:  Just as a ghost in an empty house screems but is not seen, so sould one pronounce the sounds in the example upajjman.

Verse 64, PZ, p. 51:  Just as a woman kisses her son again and again with affection, so sould one pronounce the sounds in the example yun~jaana.

One can add a few more to this sample, but I have not seen exact parallels to the Tamil descriptions.  Best,

                                                                                Madhav Deshpande
> ----------
> From:         Jean-Luc Chevillard
> Reply To:     Indology
> Sent:         Friday, November 22, 2002 8:11 AM
> To:   INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
> Subject:           Re: Voiced aspirate consonants and neighing (or other animal              cries)
> 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
> <http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0205&L=indology&D=1&O=D&F=P&S=&P=978>
> 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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