[INDOLOGY] Syllables in Pāṇini

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Mon Jul 26 03:15:59 UTC 2021

Dear McComas,

     The closest Pāṇini comes to the notion of a syllable is the term *ekāc* in
his grammar. This is the unit that contains a single vowel (*ac*). So for
example, in the verb form *dadāti*, the units *da *and *dā *are *ekāc*.
The other context where he comes close is in defining the terms *laghu *and
*guru*. Strictly speaking, these terms only refer to vowels, rather than
syllables as we understand in modern linguistics. For Pāṇini, a short vowel
is *laghu* "light," but it becomes *guru *"heavy" if it is followed by a
consonant cluster (*saṃyoga*)*; *and all long vowels are *guru *"heavy" as
     Discussions of syllables occur more extensively in works on metrics
and in the Prātiśākhyas and Śikṣās. For the latter, you can consult
Siddheshwar Varma's book: *Critical Studies In The Phonetic Observations Of
Indian Grammarians* <https://books.google.com/books?id=MfuwbwAACAAJ>.

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]

On Sun, Jul 25, 2021 at 4:30 PM McComas Taylor via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> A friend and colleague, Prof Nick Evans, is a leading authority on
> Indigenous Australian languages.  He has asked this question about
> syllables in Pāṇini. Can anyone advise him?
> "I'm wondering if ... you know whether Pāṇini figured out a way of
> incorporating rule-sensitive to number of syllables in his rule statements.
> Do you know how he did it, if he did?
> The reason I'm asking is that, as part of a special readings course for
> our doctoral students, we are spending a couple of weeks on aspects of that
> tradition, and for fun I've asked them to write some morphophonemic rules,
> in the style of the Aṣṭādhyāyī, for an Australian language, Lardil.  And to
> do that they will need to refer to the number of syllables (monosyllabic,
> disyllabic, or more than two). Being ignorant of Sanskrit I don't know
> whether syllable-sensitivity is ever relevant"
>  Thanks in advance,
> McComas
> <http://doi.org/10.22459/VP.2021>
> The Viṣṇu Purāṇa <http://doi.org/10.22459/VP.2021>
>                   WSC Website <http://www.wsc2021.com.au>
> *McComas Taylor, *Associate Professor, Reader in Sanskrit
> College of Asia and Pacific, Australian National University
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list
> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
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