lion - "five-faced"

George Thompson GthomGt at CS.COM
Wed Jan 15 03:14:15 UTC 2003

In a message dated 1/14/2003 1:51:41 PM Eastern Standard Time,
aklujkar at INTERCHANGE.UBC.CA writes:

> In that case the stem would have been a consonantal one, that is,
> prapa;ncan, and we would have come across a grammarian writing a deletion
> rule for the final n. Besides, prapa;nca does not at least commonly occur in
> the company of five elements, and compounds of pra with a numeral as the
> second member do not seem to exist (e.g., I have not come across words like
> pra-dvi or prada;sa).

Hello Ashok and Allen and List,

The old Indo-Europeanist view is that prapaJcayati is a denominative stem
derived from prapaJca.  paJcan [parallel with saptan] is in fact attested in
bahuvrIhis [see Wackernagel-Debrunner, Altindische Grammatik 3.354].  I have
no explanation for pra + paJca [nor for the absence of pra + dvi or pra +
daza, etc.], but paJca as 'five' thus to ''expansiveness, manifoldness" is
easy.  We have in IE languages many instances of 'five' going to 'fist, hand,
etc.'  -- not only in English but also in German, Slavic, Greek, etc. [see
Mayrhofer KEWA, under paJca].  Compare paJcazAkha = hand.

I don't see anything wrong with the old IE view.  Does anyone else?

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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