Etymology of honorific particle jI

Whitney Cox wmcox at UCHICAGO.EDU
Thu Jun 23 16:35:20 UTC 2005

I thought that Prof. Kapstein's earlier suggestion made some 
good semantic sense, and the Nepali parallel was helpful; 
nevertheless,  I had long thought that jii was derived from 
skt. aarya.  Such at least is the suggestion of Nehru's 
Discovery of India, where Pandit-ji [sic!] in a footnote 
somewhere so derives it on the authority of some Indologist 
(I don't have a copy of the book to hand, so I can't give 
the reference for the moment.)

So maybe aarya => M.I. ayya/ajja....=> jii.  I admit that 
I'm at a loss to explain the vowel here, though maybe M.K.'s 
parallel can help here.  If Nepali jyuu comes from the same 
source (rather than jiiv), and we presume an -u stem change 
(like in Apabhra.m"sa or B.H.S.), we're then just an elided 
initial away from the form...


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 18:18:56 +0200
>From: Artur Karp <karp at UW.EDU.PL>  
>Subject: Re: Etymology of honorific particle jI  
>At 17:08 2005-06-23, you wrote:
>>It will seem less counter-intuitive if one
>>recalls not an imperative, but the Buddhist Skt expression
>>ayu.smant, "(long-)lived." used as an honorific
>>term of address throughout the Mahaayaana suutra
>>literature. The etymology seems sure when
>>one considers the Nepali form -jyuu, where the labial
>>of jiiv- is clearly preserved.
>>Matthew Kapstein
>Thanks for your comment. I'd say the use of the 
Pali/Buddhist Skt 
>expressions Ayasmant/AyuSmant is contextually quite 
limited.JI, on the 
>contrary, has a very wide field of usage. I would still 
like to see 
>equivalents of modern Hindi usage in Sanskrit or Prakrit 
(even Apabhramsha) 
>texts. Are there any attested? I just looked for 'jIva' in 
the text of 
>Svapnavasavadatta and Abhijnanasakuntala and found it used 
for not more 
>than 10 times, in one phrase: ciraM jIva/jIvatu.
>Artur K.

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