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February 12, 2013 / A

The affix णमुल्

By adding a suffix directly to a Sanskrit root, we can create a variety of new words. Most of these words are nominal words, like योग and कर्मन्. But some of these suffixes, like त्वा (which creates gerunds) and तुम् (which creates infinitives), create uninflected words, such as कृत्वा and कर्तुम्.

These are the only such suffixes that I know well. But to supplement these two common and well-known suffixes, chapter 3.4 of the Ashtadhyayi introduces a third suffix अम्. This usually is described as णमुल्, where ण् causes vowel strengthening and ल् is responsible for accent changes. (उ is for easy pronunciation.)

Roughly 40 rules of this chapter describe णमुल् (and variants like खमुञ्), and although the ten rules I’ve studied don’t make the distinction between णमुल् and क्त्वा very clear, they do justify using and studying a new suffix in the first place.

णमुल् first appears to cover a subset of क्त्वा:

3.4.21 समानकर्तृकयोः पूर्वकाले (धातोः क्त्वा भवति)
Affix क्त्वा appears after a root denoting some prior action, provided both actions (the prior and the subsequent) have the same agent.
3.4.22 आभिक्ष्ण्ये णमुल् च
(क्त्वा appears in the same circumstances) when repetition is denoted; so does णमुल्.

3.4.21 refers to the ordinary usage of the gerund, as in गत्वा पश्यति “he sees after going,” and 3.4.22 refers to the meaning of doubled gerunds (or doubled णमुल्): गत्वा गत्वा पृच्छति “He asks after going and going,” or गामं गामं पृच्छति with the same meaning.

But in the other णमुल् rules I’ve seen, there are a few interesting use cases. Here are a couple of them:

3.4.30 कर्मण्याक्रोशे कृञः खमुञ्
खमुञ् is used after कृ with a कर्मन् as उपपद to denote abuse/disdain.

Thus चोरंकारम् आक्रोशति “He calls out angrily that the man is a thief.” I’m not fully sure how to translate this sentence to English. The root आ-क्रुश् denotes the act of calling out angrily, and the word चोरंकारम् specifies that the calling out is made out of anger at the thief, not to alert others that he is a thief. In other words, this sentence would describe a man yelling out “Thief! Thief!” at some man running away with his money.

3.4.29 कर्मणि दृशिविदोः साकल्ये
णमुल् is used after दृश् and विद् with a कर्मन् as उपपद to denote totality.

Thus कन्यादर्शं वरयति “He chooses every girl he sees for his wife” and ब्राह्मणवेदं भोजयति “He feeds every brahmin he knows.”

I like both of these examples because they’re examples of Sanskrit’s idiomatic behavior. These rules continue a trend of encoding idiomatic expressions as compounds.


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