gemination/degemination of stops in ligature with semi-vowels

Stella Sandahl ssandahl at SYMPATICO.CA
Tue Dec 23 12:06:48 UTC 2008

At last something sensible in the double t debate! Thanks!
Stella Sandahl
University of Toronto

On 22-Dec-08, at 10:21 PM, Dominic Goodall wrote:

> Surely the alternation bodhisatva/bodhisattva in manuscript  
> transmission has now been more or less explained.
> Gemination of stops in ligature with semi-vowels is unproblematic  
> and no reader is fazed by karmma being written in place of karma.
> Degemination of stops in ligature with semi-vowels has therefore  
> also long been assumed to be unproblematic by many transmitters of  
> Sanskrit texts.  For many a scribe, there is simply no meaningful  
> difference between sattva and satva (even if a grammarian might  
> baulk at writing the second). Reading one, a scribe may happen to  
> `copy' the other. Many editors therefore pass over this sort of  
> variation in silence on the grounds that there is no point  
> differentiating what transmitters of the text have clearly regarded  
> as functionally identical.
> Michael Slouber has helpfully pointed out the parallel case of  
> tattva/tatva. But it is perhaps worth considering also such  
> examples as v.rttyaa (instrumental singular of v.rtti): some  
> transmitters may in the same text write v.rtti with a doubled t,  
> but v.rtyaa with a single one. Noone is likely to entertain  
> speculations about this difference reflecting different notions of  
> etymology.
> Conclusion: it seems unlikely that anything can be useful known  
> about the history of the word bodhisattva/bodhisatva from the way  
> it is written in manuscripts.
> Dominic Goodall
> Pondicherry Centre,
> Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient (French School of Asian Studies)
> On 23 Dec 2008, at 02:47, victor van Bijlert wrote:
>> But then again in Bengali script the difference would be very  
>> noticeable.
>> Moreover, if this orthography also occurs in manuscripts from  
>> Central Asia
>> that are not written in Nagari, the orthography still needs to be  
>> explained.
>> Victor
>> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
>> Van: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] Namens Allen W  
>> Thrasher
>> Verzonden: maandag 22 december 2008 20:44
>> Aan: INDOLOGY at
>> Onderwerp: Re: bodhisattva/bodhisatva
>> Frequently Nagari t's are written starting with a horizontal, with  
>> the
>> result that t and tt can look virtually identical.
>> Allen
>> Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
>> Senior Reference Librarian
>> Team Coordinator
>> South Asia Team, Asian Division
>> Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
>> 101 Independence Ave., S.E.
>> Washington, DC 20540-4810
>> tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at
>> The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the  
>> Library of
>> Congress.

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