[INDOLOGY] A grammatical question

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Tue Dec 22 18:30:59 UTC 2020

Pāṇini lists the root śru in the bhū-ādi conjugation and then stipulates
the rule śruvaḥ śr̥ ca [3.1.74] that changes śru > śr̥ and also prescribes
the substitution of the infix/vikaraṇa śap > śnu.  Thus we get forms like
śr̥ṇoti.  The form outwardly looks similar to sunoti, but the root su is in
the 5th conjugation.  The question is why Pāṇini chose to list the root śru
in the first conjugation and then go through the additional effort of
prescribing the infix śnu as an exception to the first conjugation.  The
commentary Tattvabodhinī on P.3.1.74 says the following: yadi ayam
śrudhātuḥ svādau paṭhyeta tarhi cakāro na kartavya iti lāghavam ity āhuḥ.
So, the author of the Tattvabodhinī feels that Pāṇini should have listed
the root śru in the 5th conjugation, and that would have been a more
economical path.  I would like to hear an explanation as to why Pāṇini may
have listed this root in the first conjugation.

Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies
Adjunct Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India

[Residence: Campbell, California, USA]

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