order of letters

Herman Tull hwtull at MSN.COM
Wed May 19 13:38:36 UTC 2010

I am putting together some simple rules for first year students.  In dealing 
with the order of the letters, there is the ever present confusion over the 
placement of anusvAra and visarga.  I notice that Monier Williams and 
Macdonell are consistent in their placement of the anusvara (placing it 
after the vowels when it precedes the semi-vowels or the sibilants).  But, 
they seem not to agree on the placement of the visarga.  Macdonell follows 
the rule that he states in his student grammar (p. 3), that the visarga 
follows the vowels when it precedes "k" and "p" and that it when it precedes 
a sibilant it is placed in the consonantal order of the sibilants.  E.g., on 
p. 17 of his dictionary he has an article for antaH-ka... and then on p. 18 
he has the article for antaH-sa...

Monier-Williams, on the other hand, combines this all into one article (p. 
43, "antaH"), and so does not distinguish between visarga before "k" and "p" 
on the one hand, and before the sibilants on the other, treating all of it 
as if it precedes "antar" (which seems incorrect, since antaH-sa would not 
precede antar according to the rule).

A small matter (especially with the advent of the electronic dictionary), 
perhaps, but can anyone shed light on this?

Herman Tull 

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