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February 24, 2013 / A

Rules on accent

Now starts a section that I’d really rather avoid:

6.1.158 अनुदात्तं पदमेकवर्जम्
A पद has the अनुदात्त accent, with the exception of one syllable (specified in the following rules).

Accent is a crucial part of the Ashtadhyayi, both in the rules themselves and in the words that the Ashtadhyayi produces. But accented non-Vedic Sanskrit hasn’t been used since Patanjali, as far as I can tell. So the rules on Sanskrit accent aren’t just archaic: they’re practically useless. And I don’t know enough of Vedic Sanskrit to make them useful in another context.

If the portion on accent were more manageable I could swallow the section and proceed. But rules on accent take up about a third of 6.1 and the entirety of 6.2. The meditative and contemplative aspects of this project notwithstanding, I don’t think I could bear to study nearly 300 rules of a system that might as well be imaginary.

I might just stop 6.1 after 6.1.160 and start again with 6.3. And perhaps now’s an appropriate time to study Vedic Sanskrit in more detail.

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