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November 10, 2013 / A

Status update


No new progress in memorizing blocks of rules. But I’ve now studied almost all parts of the Ashtadhyayi in detail, including conflict resolution and rule selection, and am comfortable in generating nearly every Sanskrit word (with a big exception for taddhita suffixes).


I hope to get back into things soon. Book 7 is (so far) the most interesting to me, and I hope to delve into it soon, but I already have a strong high-level understanding of what its parts do and why they’re structured the way they are.

Next steps

Finish my review of chapter 6.

August 31, 2013 / A

Reviewing Book 3

After much delay, a review of book 3. I can recite 3.3 and 3.4 in less time than the others, but only because the rules are considerably shorter on average. In reality, I had to practice with both of these chapters extensively before I could get through them in one pass.

3.1 (6:09)

150 rules on Sanskrit suffixes, including: those used to make derivative verbs, those used to create the present stem, and the “ya” suffix of the future passive participle.

3.2 (6:48)

188 rules on Sanskrit suffixes, including: those used to form upapada compounds, as well as ordinary primary suffixes

3.3 (5:32)

176 rules on a variety of suffixes. If there’s a clear theme, I can’t detect it.

3.4 (3:33)

117 rules on a variety of verb suffixes, including the la suffixes that generate regular verbs.

Next up: 6.1 and 6.3. After that I’ll be roughly caught up.

August 8, 2013 / A

Reviewing Book 2

Today I reviewed book 2. My goal was to make sure that I could recite a chapter continuously. These times can’t be directly compared to the ones from book 1, since I changed my recitation method from speaking out loud to speaking silently — I move the tongue and so on as they’re supposed to be, but I don’t make much sound. I’m still trying to determine which is most comfortable and most conducive to review.

2.1 (2:34)

Along with 2.2, this defines the rules of compound formation. I read over some of the rules in this chapter last night, so it didn’t take especially long.

2.2 (1:12)

A short and simple chapter, especially compared to the others below.

2.3 (3:20)

73 rules on the eight Sanskrit cases. I had to take 2.3.61-2.3.70 slowly to avoid skipping over a rule.

2.4 (4:11)

By far the longest. This chapter doesn’t have an especially strong thematic focus, which makes it harder to remember how the blocks are ordered. On a second run this took about 2 minutes.

August 7, 2013 / A

Reviewing Book 1

In the course of my study over the past week or so it has become clear that I’ve lost a sense of the basic organization of the later chapters. Although I can readily recognize and recall certain segments given their initial rule, I have trouble giving the whole chapter at once. I think I need to do more work in integrating these segments into a single whole. Until I can be sure that what I know already is fairly solid, it seems foolish to study any new segments.

On that note I’ve started a systematic “review” of what I’ve studied so far. By “review” I mean that I recall all of the rules in a certain book (usually by uttering them aloud) then examine those points where my memory is the weakest. Since this is long and taxing, I’ve decided to do one book a day. And as the title might indicate, today was book 1.

1.1 (1:52)

An easy chapter, the one I’ve known for the longest and the one that defines most of the metarules of the grammar.

1.2 (2:17)

This chapter has 73 rules to the 75 in 1.1, but I had to pause when recalling the rules of एकश्रुति, as well as the rules relating to forming compounds with stars. Typically it’s the obscurer stuff that gets me.

1.3 (3:10)

At 93 rules this is the longest so far, but this still took me a while. I had trouble remembering the rules that come after स्था, as well as the last rule of ह्वे.

1.4 (5:35)

The longest by far, both by room and by time allotted. I was totally stuck on recalling 1.4.75 (अनत्याधान उरसिमनसी), but eventually it came to me. Here I’m grateful for having chosen to memorize these rules in blocks; I knew which rules came first and last, so I could tell clearly that one rule in this section had escaped me.

After a few minutes I retried this chapter and finished it in 2:01. Here I recited the words mentally, but not out loud — a mouth can only take so much abuse before it starts to tire out. Although this makes a direct comparison problematic, I’m glad that this is sufficiently faster than before.

July 27, 2013 / A

Pity for the dull

One of the amusing ideas that appears throughout commentary on Panini is that certain rules are “for the sake of the dullard.” The idea is that Panini, in his great compassion for his slow-witted students, used certain structures for the sake of clarity and (presumably) ease of instruction. I don’t know if the rule I’m on now is an instance of one of these, but I’m grateful for the assistance all the same:

6.4.157 प्रिय-स्थिर-स्फिरो-रु-बहुल-गुरु-वृद्ध-तृप्र-दीर्घ-वृन्दारकाणां प्र-स्थ-स्फ-वर्-बंहि-गर्-वर्षि-त्रप्-द्राघि-वृन्दाः
The first set of terms is replaced by the second when इष्ठ, इमन्, or ईयस् follows.

The first set relates to the second, and the second to the first. So if I forget part of the first, I can check what the second says, and vice-versa. What makes this especially pleasant is the simple meter of the second phrase:


July 26, 2013 / A


I’ve excavated an embarrassing error in my memory. I had thought the rule was:

1.3.71 मिथ्योपपदात् कृञो ऽनुप्रयोगस्य
When मिथ्या is used an as उपपद and कृ is used as an auxiliary verb (for an आम् word, as in इच्छां चकार), we use आत्मनेपद.

But of course that makes no sense. I hadn’t stopped to process the rule. What I had done was meld it with a more sensible rule:

1.3.63 आम्प्रत्ययवत् कृञो ऽनुप्रयोगस्य
कृ, when used as an auxiliary, follows the pattern of the term ending in the suffix आम् (thus इच्छां चकार, ईक्षां चक्रे)

It’s easy to see how I got confused. The two rules have the same topic, appear close together, have the same number of syllables, and have the same meter. In addition, the first term in each ends in the letter त्.

The correct rule is:

1.3.71 मिथ्योपपदात् कृञो ऽभ्यासे
When मिथ्या is used an as उपपद and कृ has the sense of repetition (अभ्यास) (and is used with णिच्), we use आत्मनेपद.

Thus पदं मिथ्या कारयते, “He repeatedly mispronounces the word.”

July 25, 2013 / A


In the Ashtadhyayi, complete words are called पद (1.4.14). The “stem” of a पद, which is combined with a suffix (or perhaps multiple), is called an अङ्ग (1.4.13). These suffixes are called प्रत्यय (3.1.1-2). A प्रत्यय that creates a noun is in the set of affixes called सुप् and is itself called सुप् for short (4.1.2). The first five सुप् affixes are called सर्वनामस्थान (1.1.42-43). And an अङ्ग followed by a सुप् affix that is not सर्वनामस्थान, if the affix starts with either य् or a vowel, is called भ (1.4.18).

Such are the many layers of designations in the Ashtadhyayi. More plainly, a term is called भ if it is followed by a noun suffix that starts with either a vowel or य्. These affixes cause a variety of substitutions and base changes, which usually manifest as the “strong” and “weak” stems of many Sanskrit declensions.

The scope of भ is primarily the back third of 6.4:

6.4.129 भस्य
Of a भ term, …

But it is mentioned earlier, at the beginning of the असिद्धवत् section:

6.4.22 असिद्धवद् अत्राभात्
The rules from here (अत्र) to 6.4.129 भस्य (आ भात्) are treated as if they were असिद्ध.

And although many of the rules in the section are fairly esoteric, there are also a few that directly speak to some of the things students observe when they start to learn Sanskrit. For example:

6.4.134 अल्लोपो ऽनः (अत्-लोपः अनः)
The अ of the final अन् of a भ term is deleted,
6.4.137 न संयोगाद् वमान्तात्
unless the अन् follows a conjunct ending in व् or म्.

6.4.134 explains forms like राज्ञः and राज्ञे, and 6.4.137 explains forms like आत्मने or पर्वणा.