Re: [INDOLOGY] Formations of the ghanāghana type

Martin Gansten martingansten at
Sun May 12 09:28:23 UTC 2019

Thanks again to all who replied so far. The list of sources contributed 
by Seishi Karashima is particularly impressive; I have been able to 
consult some, but not all.

Thus far, unless I am mistaken, it seems that three kinds of 
reduplicated formations chiefly occur:

1. The ghanāghana type with lengthened ā (or, once, ū) and an intensive 
meaning. The examples cited by traditional grammarians seem all (?) to 
be directly derived from a verbal root (even, /pace /Renou §147, 
vadāvada?). Renou §87, however, also cites priyāpriya from the 
Buddhacarita and jihmājihma from Mhv (= Mahāvastu?). Does this 
distinction of sources suggest the latter subtype to be secondary and 
modelled on the former?

2. The nava-nava type without lengthened ā, formed from regular 
adjectives and likewise intensive in meaning.

3. The menāmenam or kacākaci type with lengthened ā, used adverbially 
and meaning 'from X to X' or 'X against X'.

Some would include repetitions of inflected words, such as dyavi dyavi, 
as a fourth kind.

In the instances which prompted my query, krūrākrūraiḥ and 
saumyāsaumyaiḥ (and, a little later in the same text, śubhāśubhaiḥ) are 
all (substantivized) adjectives. If the same is true of the priyāpriya 
and jihmājihma cited by Renou, these would seem to be parallel cases. 
How, in the absence of a living accent system, such intensive formations 
are to be distinguished from the far more common dvandva compounds of 
the priya-apriya type is an open question. Only by context, I suppose.


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