[Fwd: Sabda - Bhartrihari]
sjayana at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jul 18 11:43:16 CDT 2002
--- Vidyasankar <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >If we look at the consonants, the last eight,
> >y r l v
> >sh Sh s h
> >seem to have a special place. It is interesting to
> note that
> y r l v are not really consonants. They are what are
> called diphthongs, and
> arise from combinations of vowels. You can't get k,
> c, T, t, p (varga-s)
> from just vowel combinations, but
> y = i + any vowel other than i,
> v = u + any vowel other than u, etc.
> In fact, all of this is captured succinctly in
> Panini's sUtra, iko yaN aci,
> that we discussed a week or so ago.
> Similarly, the full h can be related to the visarga,
> which is a plosive
> expulsion of air at the end of a vowel sound.
> S, sh and s are also derived from the visarga. That
> is why in sandhi
> situations, the visarga gets converted to one of
> these, e.g. kaH + cana =
> Therefore, there are no nasal sounds corresponding
> to these sounds, and it
> is not necessary to artificially add them, by
> insisting upon a set of five
> sounds in each varga.
The 8 letters y r l v sh SH s h are the only ones in
Sanskrit whose sounds can be sustained even without
another vowel, and are therefore called "semi-vowels".
You can easily sustain the sound "a" or "e" for a long
period of time, so they are vowels. You cannot sustain
the sounds "k" or "t" for a long time, therefore they
are consonants. Consonants require a vowel in order
that their sounds may be sustained (e.g."ka" or "ta").
You can sustain "y" or "s" for a long amount of time,
however they can also be coupled with a vowel (e.g.
"ya"), so they are "semi-vowels".
There are other sounds that can be sustained for long
periods, e.g. "n" and "m" but they require nasal
airflow for their sustenance, and so are not classed
The above stuff is purely my personal understanding.
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