Character of the Indo-European moods with special regard to Greek and Sanskrit

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Sanskrit shares many Proto-Indo-European phonological features, although it features a larger inventory of distinct phonemes. The consonantal system is the same, though it systematically enlarged the inventory of distinct sounds. The most significant and distinctive phonological development in Sanskrit is vowel-merger, states Stephanie Jamison—an Indo-European linguist specializing in Sanskrit literature. These mergers occurred very early and significantly impacted Sanskrit's morphological system.

For example, the labiovelars merged with the plain velars as in other satem languages. The secondary palatalization of the resulting segments is more thorough and systematic within Sanskrit, states Jamison. The Paninian system that followed the central dialect preserved the distinction, likely out of reverence for the Vedic Sanskrit that distinguished the "r" and "l". However, the northwestern dialect only had "r", while the eastern dialect probably only had "l", states Masica. Thus literary works from different parts of ancient India appear inconsistent in their use of "r" and "l", resulting in doublets that is occasionally semantically differentiated.

Sanskrit possesses a symmetric consonantal phoneme structure based on how the sound is articulated, though the actual usage of these sounds conceals the lack of parallelism in the apparent symmetry possibly from historical changes within the language. Sanskrit had a series of retroflex stops. All the retroflexes in Sanskrit are in "origin conditioned alternants of dentals, though from the beginning of the language they have a qualified independence", states Jamison.

Old English—an overview

The palatals are affricates in Sanskrit, not stops. The palatal nasal is a conditioned variant of n occurring next to palatal obstruents. Ruppel, The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit []. The voiceless aspirated series is also an innovation in Sanskrit but is significantly rarer than the other three series.

While the Sanskrit language organizes sounds for expression beyond those found in the PIE language, it retained many features found in the Iranian and Balto-Slavic languages.


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Sanskrit deploys extensive phonological alternations on different linguistic levels through sandhi rules literally, the rules of "putting together, union, connection, alliance". This is similar to the English alteration of "going to" as gonna , states Jamison.

The Indo-European Languages (An Overview)

The external sandhi rules state that similar short vowels coalesce into a single long vowel, while dissimilar vowels form glides or undergo diphthongization. According to Jamison, these rules ordinarily apply at compound seams and morpheme boundaries. The internal sandhi rules are more intricate and account for the root and the canonical structure of the Sanskrit word.

These rules anticipate what are now known as the Bartholomae's law and Grassmann's law.

Understanding Buddhist Sanskrit Terms

This rule create two morphophonemically distinct series from a single palatal series. Vocalic alternations in the Sanskrit morphological system is termed "strengthening", and called guna and vriddhi in the preconsonantal versions. There is an equivalence to terms deployed in Indo-European descriptive grammars, wherein Sanskrit's unstrengthened state is same as the zero-grade, guna corresponds to normal-grade, while vriddhi is same as the lengthened-state.

The manner in which this is done slightly differs between the Vedic and the Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit grants a very flexible syllable structure, where they may begin or end with vowels, be single consonants or clusters. Similarly, the syllable may have an internal vowel of any weight. Vedic Sanskrit has a pitch accent system, states Jamison, which were acknowledged by Panini, but in his Classical Sanskrit the accents disappear.


  1. Loves Illusions.
  2. GondaThe Character of the Indo-European hindrejebepu.cf | Grammatical Tense | Verb?
  3. Gonda.1956.The Character of the Indo-European Moods.pdf.
  4. Old English—an overview | Oxford English Dictionary;
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  6. However, this accent is not phonologically predictable, states Jamison. The basis of Sanskrit morphology is the root, states Jamison, "a morpheme bearing lexical meaning". It then adds an ending to establish the grammatical and syntactic identity of the stem. According to Jamison, the "three major formal elements of the morphology are i root, ii affix, and iii ending; and they are roughly responsible for i lexical meaning, ii derivation, and iii inflection respectively". A Sanskrit word has the following canonical structure: []. The root structure has certain phonological constraints.

    A verb in Sanskrit has the following canonical structure: []. According to Ruppel, verbs in Sanskrit express the same information as other Indo-European languages such as English. The Indo-European languages differ in the detail. For example, the Sanskrit language attaches the affixes and ending to the verb root, while the English language adds small independent words before the verb. In Sanskrit, these elements co-exist within the word. Both verbs and nouns in Sanskrit are either thematic or athematic, states Jamison. The finite verbs of Classical Sanskrit have the following grammatical categories: person, number, voice, tense-aspect, and mood.

    According to Jamison, a portmanteau morpheme generally expresses the person-number-voice in Sanskrit, and sometimes also the ending or only the ending. The mood of the word is embedded in the affix.

    Some distinguishing features of Old English

    These elements of word architecture are the typical building blocks in Classical Sanskrit, but in Vedic Sanskrit these elements fluctuate and are unclear. For example, in the Rigveda preverbs regularly occur in tmesis , states Jamison, which means they are "separated from the finite verb".

    With nonfinite forms of the verb and with nominal derivatives thereof, states Jamison, "preverbs show much clearer univerbation in Vedic, both by position and by accent, and by Classical Sanskrit, tmesis is no longer possible even with finite forms". While roots are typical in Sanskrit, some words do not follow the canonical structure.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Many words are inflected and can enter into derivation but lack a recognizable root. According to Jamison, pronouns and some words outside the semantic categories also lack roots, as do the numerals. Similarly, the Sanskrit language is flexible enough to not mandate inflection. The Sanskrit words can contain more than one affix that interact with each other. Affixes in Sanskrit can be athematic as well as thematic, according to Jamison. Sanskrit deploys eight cases, namely nominative, accusative, instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, locative, vocative.

    Unlike some Indo-European languages such as Latin or Greek, according to Jamison, "Sanskrit has no closed set of conventionally denoted noun declensions".


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    Sanskrit includes a fairly large set of stem-types. These, states Paul Kiparsky, are the Astadhyaayi , a comprehensive system of 4, grammatical rules, of which a small set are frequently used; Sivasutras , an inventory of anubandhas markers that partition phonological segments for efficient abbreviations through the pratyharas technique; Dhatupatha , a list of 2, verbal roots classified by their morphology and syntactic properties using diacritic markers, a structure that guides its writing systems; and, the Ganapatha , an inventory of word groups, classes of lexical systems.

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    Sanskrit morphology is generally studied in two broad fundamental categories: the nominal forms and the verbal forms. These differ in the types of endings and what these endings mark in the grammatical context. Verb-based adjectives and participles are not formally distinct from nouns. Adverbs are typically frozen case forms of adjectives, states Jamison, and "nonfinite verbal forms such as infinitives and gerunds also clearly show frozen nominal case endings".

    The Sanskrit language includes five tenses: present, future, past imperfect, past aorist and past perfect.

    The paradigm for the tense-aspect system in Sanskrit is the three-way contrast between the "present", the "aorist" and the "perfect" architecture. For example, the Rigveda includes perfect and a marginal pluperfect. Classical Sanskrit simplifies the "present" system down to two tenses, the perfect and the imperfect, while the "aorist" stems retain the aorist tense and the "perfect" stems retain the perfect and marginal pluperfect.

    The evolution of these systems can be seen from the earliest layers of the Vedic literature to the late Vedic literature. Sanskrit recognizes three numbers—singular, dual, and plural. The elliptical dual is notable in the Vedic Sanskrit, according to Jamison, where a noun in the dual signals a paired opposition.

    There are three persons in Sanskrit: first, second and third. The Sanskrit language incorporates three genders: feminine, masculine and neuter. Exceptions include demonstrative and anaphoric pronouns. The masculine and neuter are much simpler, and the difference between them is primarily inflectional. Pronouns in Sanskrit include the personal pronouns of the first and second persons, unmarked for gender, and a larger number of gender-distinguishing pronouns and adjectives.

    The latter can be demonstrative, deictic or anaphoric. Indicative, potential and imperative are the three mood forms in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language formally incorporates poetic metres. This study of Sanskrit prosody is called chandas and considered as one of the six Vedangas , or limbs of Vedic studies. Sanskrit prosody includes linear and non-linear systems. This classification is based on a matra literally, "count, measure, duration" , and typically a syllable that ends in a short vowel is a light syllable, while those that end in consonant, anusvara or visarga are heavy.

    The classical Sanskrit found in Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and many texts are so arranged that the light and heavy syllables in them follow a rhythm, though not necessarily a rhyme. Sanskrit metres include those based on a fixed number of syllables per verse, and those based on fixed number of morae per verse.