[INDOLOGY] Sandhi and grammar

Harry Spier vasishtha.spier at gmail.com
Sat Feb 24 04:12:13 UTC 2024

Hi Rajam,
I meant "grammar" in a very loose and general way.  I.e. things about the
language other than the sounds of the language.  So for example  I wondered
why  in sanskrit should  *ī *,*ū* or *e* when dual terminations (and only
when dual terminations) remain unchanged before vowels.. In other words why
should whether a termination is "dual" or not effect its being changed by
following sounds.  Or why should internal sandhi be any different from
external sandhi.

I received this response from Michael Witzel and I don't think he would
mind if I share it.
one  has to look at Sandhi as the product of various historical sound
changes, some Indo-Iranian (RUKI rule), some pre-Indo-Aryan, some Vedic…

Thus: *ī *,*ū* or *e* when dual terminations  remain unchanged before

This is historical:  ī, ū are  from < i+H (laryngeal), u + H  > with
regular change to ī,ū.  The laryngeal disappeared with regular  lengthening
of the vowel, but speakers “remembered” the gap it left.

Like French Le Havre, not l’Avre. (from Germanic H-)

Harry Spier

On Fri, Feb 23, 2024 at 10:57 PM rajam <rajam at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Kindly pardon my ignorance. Please let us know how you define “grammar.”
> Thanks and regards,
> rajam
> On Feb 22, 2024, at 7:02 AM, Harry Spier via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Dear list members,
> I've wondered for a long time why sanskrit sandhi has any dependence on
> grammar and is not solely determined by preceding or following
> letters/sounds.
> For example why should internal sandhi have any differences from external
> sandhi. As MacDonell says, "The most notable divergence from external
> sandhi is the unchangeableness of the final consonans of verbal and nominal
> stems before terminations beginning with vowels, semivowels and nasal
> Or why should  *ī *,*ū* or *e* when dual terminations (and only when dual
> terminations) remain unchanged before vowels.
> In other words, in these cases why should grammar and not just adjacent
> sounds determine whether sandhi occurs.
> Thanks,
> Harry Spier
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