[INDOLOGY] First- *and* second-syllable rhyme in Tamil and in the Bhāgavatapurāṇa

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at gmail.com
Mon Aug 24 11:35:51 UTC 2015

After launching the thread on second-syllable rhyme at the end of last month, I disappeared on a field-trip and so I am late in hereby acknowledging the very interesting discussion that followed, from which I learnt a great deal.
As a result, by the way, I am now more convinced even than before that the passage of the Bhāgavatapurāṇa I referred to is likely to have been produced by someone who was exposed to Tamil poetry.  For I realise now that I should have referred not just to the second-syllable consonant-rhyming (etukai) that is very commonly used for interline-linking inTamil verse, but also to the echoing of the consonant of the first syllable (mōṉai) that is similarly very common for intra-line-linking. (Of course there are lots of exceptions and variations, but the coordination of these two sorts of alliteration in this way is found occasionally in early Tamil works and it becomes increasingly widespread through time.)

Here is that passage again, this time with the etukai highlighted with italics and the mōṉai-echoes within each pāda marked in bold face.

BhP_10.31.001/1 jayati te 'dhikaṃ janmanā vrajaḥ śrayata indirā śaśvad atra hi
BhP_10.31.001/3 dayita dṛśyatāṃ dikṣu tāvakās tvayi dhṛtāsavas tvāṃ vicinvate
BhP_10.31.002/1 śaradudāśaye sādhujātasatsarasijodaraśrīmuṣā dṛśā
BhP_10.31.002/3 suratanātha te 'śulkadāsikā varada nighnato neha kiṃ vadhaḥ
BhP_10.31.003/1 viṣajalāpyayād vyālarākṣasād varṣamārutād vaidyutānalāt
BhP_10.31.003/3 vṛṣamayātmajād viśvato bhayād ṛṣabha te vayaṃ rakṣitā muhuḥ
BhP_10.31.004/1 na khalu gopīkānandano bhavān akhiladehinām antarātmadṛk
BhP_10.31.004/3 vikhanasārthito viśvaguptaye sakha udeyivān sātvatāṃ kule

And here, chosen at random, is a verse from the Tēvāram illustrating the same strategies of interline and intraline linking by alliteration.

kaṟṟaic ceñcaṭaik kāy katir veṇtiṅkaḷ
paṟṟip pāmpu uṭaṉ vaitta parāparaṉ
neṟṟik kaṇ uṭai nīlakkuṭi araṉ
cuṟṟit tēvar toḻum kaḻal cōtiyē 5.72.9

Dominic Goodall
École française d'Extrême-Orient, Pondichéry

> On 08-Aug-2015, at 5:35 am, Jean-Luc Chevillard <jean-luc.chevillard at univ-paris-diderot.fr> wrote:
> Yes,
> this feature which you mention ("the initial vowels must agree in quantity") is an important feature,
> and, interestingly, it must have been TOO OBVIOUS TO STATE,
> from the point of view of the Tolkāppiyam,
> because the first Tolkāppiyam sūtra explaining etukai
> is the second element in a pair of sūtras,
> which state (elliptically)
> TP397i
> aṭitoṟun talaiyeḻut toppatu mōṉai
> (= aṭitoṟum talai eḻuttu oppatu mōṉai).
> "That in which the head-/eḻuttu/ in every /aṭi/ is equal is /mōṉai/."
> TP398i
> aḵtoḻit toṉṟi ṉetukai yākum
> (=aḵtu oḻittu oṉṟiṉ etukai ākum).
> "If, that being omitted, there is identity, it will be /etukai/."
> These sūtras have been earlier preceded by a sūtra which explains the larger category of /toṭai/ and which states
> TP393i
> mōṉai yetukai muraṇē yiyaipeṉa
> nāṉeṟi marapiṉa toṭaivakai yeṉpa.
> (mōṉai etukai muraṇē iyaipu eṉa
> nāl neṟi marapiṉa toṭai vakai eṉpa.)
> "They say that the subdivisions of traditionally four-pathed /toṭai/ are: (1) mōṉai, (2) etukai, (3) muraṇ "contrast" and (4) iyaipu
> The third element, muraṇ, and the fourth element, iyaipu, are characterized in:
> TP400i
> moḻiyiṉum poruḷiṉu muraṇutaṉ muraṇē.
> (= moḻiyiṉum poruḷiṉum muraṇutal muraṇē.)
> "The contrasting either in word or in meaning is /muraṇ/."
> TP401i
> iṟuvā yoppiṉaḵ tiyaipeṉa moḻipa.
> (= iṟuvāy oppiṉ aḵtu iyaipu eṉa moḻipa.)
> They call /iyaipu/ that in which final is identical;
> -- Jean-Luc Chevillard (Pondicherry)
> "https://univ-paris-diderot.academia.edu/JeanLucChevillard"
> "https://plus.google.com/u/0/113653379205101980081/posts/p/pub"
> "https://twitter.com/JLC1956"
> On 08/08/2015 03:04, Kevin M. Ryan wrote:
>> (2) I don't know if anyone has previously noted this connection, but the
>> phonological peculiarities of SSR bear an uncanny resemblance to another
>> linguistic phenomenon that can be reconstructed securely (e.g.
>> Krishnamurti 2003: 487) to Proto-South Dravidian and perhaps even
>> further back, namely, echo reduplication of the type puli-kili [gili]
>> "tigers and such". Not only does the span of correspondence in such
>> doublets begin with the second syllable (or, more properly, with the
>> consonant immediately following the first vowel; see below), but
>> tellingly, just as in SSR, the initial vowels must agree in quantity,
>> while being free to disagree in quality (e.g. pāmpu-kīmpu "snakes and
>> such"; NB. *pāmpu-kimpu is out even though both initial syllables are
>> heavy; thus, the restriction is about vowel length per se and not
>> syllable weight, at least not in the usual metrical sense.) As such,
>> such doublets form rhyming pairs, and I would find it surprising if the
>> two systems, both with the same peculiar treatment of vowel length,
>> arose independently.
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