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February 10, 2013 / A

End 3.3

Sanskrit is a powerful and expressive language, and that power and that expressive ability both depend on piling suffixes on each other, one after the next. I recognize this and enjoy it. But when book 3 introduces suffix after suffix after suffix — nearly all of them कृत् suffixes that form nominal stems — it’s hard for to keep the प्रत्यय tides at bay. It’s like trying to hold soup in your hands: most of it goes straight through, and what’s left is a blurry and indistinct mess. And it burns your hands, too.

Via Flickr

Working through 3.3 has reminded me of when I first decided to start reading the Ashtadhyayi. At first I couldn’t stomach that its rules were so jumbled and unintuitive. As I read more of the work, I learned how to chunk the different books and chapters into meaningful parts: 1.1 concerned terms and definitions, 1.3 discussed परस्मैपद and आत्मनेपद, 2.3 analyzed विभक्ति and the words used with them, and so on.

But as I continue into book 3, I have trouble organizing the rules into meaningful chunks. Its rules still seem like an amorphous mass. For instance, 3.1 discusses how the धातु is created and formed, describes the suffixes that are used to create an अङ्ग, and starts to flesh out the “aorist” and “present” systems of the Sanskrit verb — but the last third of the chapter is just a collection of suffixes. 3.2 spends about a hundred rules on उपपद compounds, which I knew hardly at all. But again, the latter half of the chapter is a mishmash of various suffixes. And although 3.3 ends with a discussion of the various meanings of some Sanskrit “modes” (लिङ्, लोट् etc.), the first two thirds are — once again — lists of different suffixes.

So here I say farewell to a chapter that has confounded me over these past few months. I can hardly remember what’s in it.

Facts and tidbits

Number of rules

176, for a total of 1133.

Shortest rule

There are a variety of short rules in 3.3. But I like this one:

3.3.18 भावे
The affix घञ् is used after a धातु in the sense of भाव (“being,” i.e. the basic sense of the root. Thus पाक “cooking” from पच् “cook”)

Longest rule

3.3.99 संज्ञायां समजनिषदनिपतमनविदषुञ्शीङ्भृञिणः
After समज्, निषद्, निपत्, मन्, विद्, सु, शी, and भृ, the suffix क्यप्, with the उदात्त accent, is used to form a feminine result that denotes भाव and a कारक other than कर्तृ.

Mnemonics

As before, it was helpful to write out the first letter of each rule in a set of ten.

If the treatment of this chapter seems slight, it’s only because I’m glad to finally put it to rest. The next chapter, the last of book 3, is much more enticing. In addition to an array of new (non-nominal) affixes, it lists the basic endings for conjugated verbs and shows how these endings interrelate among the different modes and paradigms.

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