Narmada and Narbada

Suresh Kolichala suresh.kolichala at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 7 13:53:29 UTC 2012

Dear Jürgenji,

Thanks for your response. *Narbada *(नर्बदा) and *Narvada *(नर्वदा) have
been used as proper names in Central and North India for long.

Come to think of it, the transformation of /m/ > /v/ (actually, /w/) is not
only common in Dravidian, it is found in Middle Indo-Aryan as well. For
example,  intervocalic /m/ getting weakened to a nasalized /ṽ/ can be seen
in: OIA *grāma*, 'village' > Pali/Pkt *gāma *> Ap. *gāṽa*.

So, now I feel more confident about the derivation of *narbada *from *
narmada *as: **narmada *> *narvada *> *narbada*.

Does anyone have an etymologies for the hydronym *Narmada*? What about the
derivations for the other name of this river: *Rewa*?


On Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 7:25 AM, Jürgen Neuss <juergen.neuss at>wrote:

> Dear Sureshji,
> Interesting question. I am aware of the use of the 'b' only in colonial,
> british sources ('Nerbudda/Narbada'). All the original texts (Sanskrit,
> Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati) I have seen in the course of my research on the
> Narmadaparikrama uniformly have the 'm'. In case you find the 'b' in any
> (South) Indian source, please let me know.
> Jürgen
> On Sun, 07 Oct 2012 12:00:45 +0200, Suresh Kolichala <
> suresh.kolichala at> wrote:
>  Does anyone know the phonological reasons for the alternation of the river
>> name 'Narmada' as 'Narbada'? I also see this river name sometimes being
>> spelled as Narbedda.
>> It is surprising to see a labial nasal winding up as an oral stop. Is
>> there
>> any historical evidence to believe in a transformation of narmada >
>> narvada
>>> narbada? /m/ > /v/ is very common in Dravidian, and /v/ > /b/ is common
>> in the New Indo-Aryan (NIA) languages of East and Central India.
>> I appreciate any responses.
>> Regards,
>> Suresh.
>> Atlanta, GA.
> --
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**~~~~~~~~~
> Dr. phil. Jürgen Neuß
> (Independent scholar)   | email: juergen.neuss at
> Berlin, Germany        | http:
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**~~~~~~~~~

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list