Practical Grammar of the Pli Language
14. Sandhi (union) is that part of the grammar which treats of the euphonic changes that occur when one word is joined to another.
these changes occur
(a) When a word ending in a vowel is joined to a word beginning with a vowel.
(b) When a word ending in a vowel, is joined to another word beginning with a consonant.
(c) When a word ending in niggah“ta (µ) is followed by a word beginning either with a vowel or with a consonant.
16. From the
above it will be seen that sandhi is of three kinds:
(I) Vowel-sandhi, (II) Mixed sandhi and (III) Niggah“ta-sandhi.
Remarks. It is not absolutely necessary that the student should master thoroughly the rules of sandhi before beginning the study of the other chapters; but he should read them once carefully, and always refer to them whenever in the course of his reading he finds forms and combinations that puzzle him.
17. A vowel before another vowel is elided.
|Elision of a,||yassa + indriyni = yassindriyni.|
|ajja + uposatho = ajjuposatho.|
|Elision of ,||m + vuso evarčpaµ aksi = mvuso, etc.|
|tad + uŹŹhahi = taduŹŹhahi.|
|Elision of i,||udadhi + čmiyo = udadhčmiyo.|
|aggi + hito = agghito.|
|Elision of “,||bhikkhun“ + ovdo = bhikkhunovdo.|
|mig“ + iva = migiva.|
|Elision of u,||dhtu + yatanni = dhtyatanni.|
|dhtu + indriyni = dhtindriyni.|
|Elision of č,||jambč + d“ni = jambd“ni.|
|jambč + “rita vtena = jamb“rita vtena.|
|Elision of e,||laddho me + okso = laddho m'okso.|
|gth me + ud“rit = gth m'ud“rit.|
|Elision of o,||eso + vuso yasm = es'vuso yasm.|
Remarks. When “ is followed by a vowel it is very seldom elided: in the expression tuöhassa, however, we have an example of its elision; tuöhassa = tuöh“ + assa; tuöh“ ahesuµ, remains without change.
18. A vowel coming after another vowel may, if it is dissimilar, be elided.
(i) cakkhu + indriyaµ =
(ii) yassa + idni = yass'idni.
19. The first vowel having been elided the following vowel may be lengthened.
(i) tatra + ayaµ =
(ii) sa + atthika = stthika.
(iii) kiki + iva = kik“va.
(iv) kamma + upanissayo = kammčpanissayo.
(Note: A short vowel, a, i, u, is lengthened by putting a "-"(Dash) over it).
20. Sometimes the second vowel having been elided, the preceding vowel is lengthened.
(i) vi + atimnenti =
(ii) kiµsu + idha vittaµ = kiµsčdha vittaµ.
(i) a or + i or “ = e.
(ii) a or + u or č = o.
I. a or
+ i or “
(i) upa + ikkhati = upekkhati.
(ii) jina + “ritanayo = jineritanayo.
(iii) ava + ecca = avecca.
(iv) bandhussa + iva = bandhusseva.
(a) iti preceded by a becomes
(i) tassa + iti = tassti.
(ii) tissa + iti = tissti.
(b) i may be elided after a;
(i) pana + ime = pana'me.
(ii) tena + ime = tena'me.
(c) Sometimes + i
becomes i; as:
seyyath + idaµ = seyyathidaµ.
or + u or č
(i) canda + udayo = candodayo.
(ii) na + upeti = nopeti.
(iii) udaka + čmi = udakomi.
(iv) yath + udaka = yathodaka.
22. When two
vowels of the same organ meet, the result is generally long: that
a + a = , a + = , + a = , + = .
i + i = “, i + “ = i, “ + i = “, “ + “ = “.
u + u = č, u + č = č, č + u = č, č + č = č.
(i) öa +
lokena = ölokena.
(ii) demi + iti = dem“ti.
23. i and u may, before verbs beginning with a vowel, remain unchanged.
(ii) adhivsesi avihaamno.
(iii) satthu adsi.
24. A final vowel may remain unchanged before any other vowel when not followed by iti, in the following cases:
(a) In nouns in the vocative case: kassappa etaµ...
(b) In a word ending in a long vowel if it does not form a compound with the following word: bhagav uŹŹhysan.
(c) After particles, vowels remain unchanged.
(i) atho + anto ca = atho anto
(ii) atha kho + yasm = atha kho yasm.
(iii) no + atikkamo = no atikkamo.
Remarks. The particles, called nipta, are indeclinable; they are rather numerous. The following are a few of them and the most common: atho, atha, yeva, adho, yath, tath, tva, yva, eva, iv, va, re, are, ca, hi, tu, kacci, kho, khalu, kira, pana, ce, nanu, nčna, nma, etc., etc.*
*There are two kinds of indeclinable words: the nipta or adverbs and the upasagga, or prepositions. The latter number only 20: , u, ati, pati, pa, pari, ava, par, adhi, abhi, anu, upa, apa, api, saµ, vi, ni, n“, su, du, (saddan“ti: catupadavibhga). All the other indeclinables are of course nipta.
Note. Final vowels before
particles beginning with a, i, e, as: atha, iva, eva, follow the
rules of sandhi, as;
(i) itth“ + iti = itth“ti.
(ii) sabbe + eva = sabbe'va.
(iii) so + eva = sveva.
(iv) na + ettha = n'ettha.
(d) i and u before a verb may remain unchanged: (see 23)
25. The vowel e, when followed by a long dissimilar vowel and also when followed by a short dissimilar vowel followed by a conjunct consonant, may be elided.
(i) me + si = m'si.
(ii) sace + assa = sac'assa.
26. After o, a vowel is usually elided.
(i) yo + ahaµ = yo'haµ.
(ii) cattro + ime = cattro'me.
Transformation of Vowels into Semi-vowels
27. The vowels
i, u, e, o, when followed by another vowel may be transformed
into their semi-vowels.
(i) The semi-vowel of i, and e, is y.
(ii) The semi-vowel of u and o, is v.
(a) Final i, before a
dissimilar vowel is changed to y.
(i) vi + ksi = vyksi.
(ii) vitti + anubhuyyate = vittyanubhuyyate.
(iii) dsi + ahaµ = dsyhaµ.
Remarks. iti + eva = itveva.
(b) In such words as: me, te, ke, ye, etc., e is changed to y, and, if the a following e stands before a single consonant it is lengthened to .
(i) me + ahaµ = myhaµ.
(ii) me + ayaµ = myyaµ.
(iii) te + ayaµ = tyyaµ.
(iv) te + ahaµ = tyhaµ.
(v) ke + assa = kyassa (34).
(a) Final e may be elided
before a long vowel: me + si = m'si.
(b) Final e may be elided before a short vowel followed by a double consonant: sace + assa = sac'assa.
(c) Final e sometimes elides a following vowel:
(i) te + ime = te'me.
(ii) sace + ajja = sace'jja.
(d) Final e + a may give : sace + ayaµ = sacyaµ.
(c) When u, is followed by a dissimilar vowel, it is changed to v.
(i) anu + eti = anveti.
(ii) dhtu + anta = dhtvanta.
(iii) dhtu + attha = dhtvattha.
(iv) bahu + bdho = bahvbdho.
(v) su + gataµ = svgataµ.
(vi) anu + a¶¶hamsaµ = anva¶¶hamsaµ.
(a) Final u may be elided
before a dissimilar vowel: sametu + yasm =
(b) Not seldom, u + i gives č: sdhu + iti = sdhčti.
(d) Final o, may be changed to v before a dissimilar vowel.
(i) ko + attho = kvattho.
(ii) agam nu kho + idha = agam nu khvidha.
(iii) yato + adhikaraöaµ = yatvadhikaraöaµ.
(iv) yo + ayaµ = yvyaµ.
Final o before a long vowel or
a short vowel followed by a double consonant, is generally
(i) kuto + ettha = kut'ettha.
(ii) tato + uddhaµ = tat'uddhaµ.
(iii) tayo + assu = tay'assu.
1. The change of u and o, to v occurs chiefly when u or o, comes after one of the following consonants: k, kh, t, th, d, na, y, s and h (saddan“ti, part III sandhisuttaml).
2. Sometimes, after i or “, y is inserted before a word beginning with a vowel, to avoid hiatus:
(i) aggi + gre = aggiygre.
(ii) sattam“ + atthe = sattam“yatthe.
3. Similarly, to avoid a hiatus, a v is inserted between final u and another vowel:
(i) du + aŗgikaµ = duvaŗgikaµ.
(ii) bhikkhu + sane = bhikkhuvsane.
(See below Consonantal Insertions.)
28. (a) Not seldom, to avoid a hiatus, a
consonant is inserted between two vowels.
(b) The consonants thus inserted are: y, v, m, d, n, t, r, l(= Ā), and h. (Saddan“t“ gives also, h.)
(c) Of these, the most frequently used are: d, r, m, y and v.
Remarks. Some of these consonants are mere revivals from the older language, as in: puna + eva = punareva. Here, the r is simply revived.
Examples of Insertion of Consonants
Insertion of y:
(i) na + imassa = nayimassa.
(ii) m + evam = myevaµ.
(iii) santi + eva = santiyeva.
Insertion of v:
(i) bhč + dya = bhčvdya.
(ii) mig“ bhant + udikkhati = mig“ bhant vudikkhati.
(iii) pa + uccati = pavuccati.
Insertion of m:
(i) idha + hu = idhamhu.
(ii) lahu + essati = lahumessati.
(iii) bhyati + eva = bhyatimeva.
Insertion of d:
(i) saki + eva = sakideva.
(ii) tva + eva = tvadeva.
(iii) samm + a = sammda.
Remarks. The insertion of d, is constant after the particle u, and very frequent after: sakiµ, kenaci, kici, kinnici, koci, samm, yva, tva, puna; as well as after the bases of pronouns such as: ya, ta, sa etc.*, as: u + aggo = udaggo; u + apdi = udapdi; kenaci + eva = kenacideva; yva + atthaµ = yvadatthaµ; puna + eva = punadeva; ta + atthaµ = tadatthaµ; ta + antaro = tadantaro; eta + atthaµ = etadatthaµ.
Insertion of n:
(i) ito + yati = itonyati.
(ii) ciraµ + yati = ciraµ nyati or cirannyati (30).
Insertion of t:
(i) yasm + iha = yasmtiha.
(ii) ajja + agge = ajjatagge.
Remarks. The insertion of t, mostly takes place after the words: yva, tva, ajja, before iha and agga.
Insertion of r:
(i) ni + antaraµ = nirantaraµ.
(ii) ni + ojaµ = nirojaµ.
(iii) du + atikkamo = duratikkamo.
(iv) du + jno = durjno.
(v) ptu + ahosi = pturahosi.
(vi) catu + rakkh = caturrakkh.
*mahrčpasiddhi (sandhi). It must, however, be remarked that the d is, in most words, a survivance from the older language; Sansk, has invariably preserved it. Thus u, of the native Pli grammarians is but the Sansk: ud; so ...ci, ...cid. etc.
1. Between tath eva and yath eva, ri is often inserted; the preceding is shortened and the e of eva elided: tathariva, yathariva.
2. This consonant r, is generally inserted after: the particles: ni, du, ptu, puna, dhi, pta, catu, and a few others. In most cases it is simply revived.
Insertion of l = Ā:
(i) cha + aŗgm = chaĀaŗgaµ.
(ii) cha + aµsa = chaĀaµsa.
Remarks. l = Ā is generally inserted after cha (six).
Insertion of h:
(i) su + ujuca = suhujuca.
(ii) su + uŹŹhitaµ = suhuŹŹhitaµ.
II. Consonantal Sandhi
29. Consonantal sandhi occurs when a word ending in a vowel is followed by a word beginning with a consonant.
30. In the majority of cases, Consonantal sandhi is resorted to, to meet the exigencies of metres but not always.
31. Before a
consonant, a long vowel may be shortened:
(i) yath + bhvi + guöena = yathabhviguöena.
(ii) yiŹŹhaµ v hutaµ v loke = yiŹŹhaµ va hutaµ va loke.
32. A vowel,
before a consonant, if short, may be lengthened:
(i) evaµ gme muni care = evaµ gme muni care
(ii) du + rakkhaµ = dčrakkhaµ.
(iii) su + rakkhaµ = sčrakkhaµ.
33. A consonant following a word or a particle ending in a vowel, is generally reduplicated.
(i) idha + pamdo =
(ii) su + paŹŹhito = suppaŹŹhito.
(iii) vi + payutto = vippayutto.
(iv) a + pativattiyo = appativattiyo.
(v) pa + kamo = pakkamo.
(vi) yath + kamaµ = yathakkamaµ. (34)
(vii) anu + gaho = anuggaho.
(viii) vi + jotati = vijjotati.
(ix) kata + č = katač.
(x) du + labho = dullabho.
(xi) du + s“lo = duss“lo.
1. v, after a vowel becomes bb:
(i) ni + vnaµ = nibbnaµ.
(ii) ni + vyati = nibbyati.
(iii) du + vinicchayo = dubbinicchayo.
2. Reduplication of the consonants takes place generally after the prefixes:
u, upa, pari, ati, pa, a, anu, etc.
3. The constant rule in reduplication is that an aspirate is reduplicated by an unaspirate, and an unaspirate by an unaspirate. That is to say, an unaspirate is reduplicated by itself.
34. The vowel preceding a conjunct consonant being prosodically long, the naturally long vowels: , “, č, are not allowed to stand before a double consonant.
according to para (33), a consonant is reduplicated after a
particle ending in a long vowel, this vowel is shortened:
(i) + kamati = akkamati.
(ii) par + kamo = parakkamo.
There are, however, a few
exceptions to paras 34, 35. The following are the most common
(i) na + aa = na. (ii) na + assa = nssa.
(iii) na + assu = nssu. (iv) kasm + assa = kasmssa.
(v) tatra + assa = tatrssa. (vi) sa + antevsiko = sntevsiko.
(vii) sa + atthi = stthi. (viii) vedan + khandho = vedankkhandho, etc.
36. (a) Before
a consonant, the o in so, eso, may be changed to a:
(i) eso dhammo or esa dhammo.
(ii) so muni or sa muni.
(b) Sometimes, this change occurs even before a vowel, thus creating a hiatus, which is allowed to remain: so attho or sa attho.
(c) The same change (of o to a), occurs also, but not so frequently, in: ayo (iron), mano (the mind), tamo (darkness), paro (other), tapo (penance, mortification) and a few others: ayopattaµ or ayapattaµ, etc.
III. Niggah“ta Sandhi
37. Niggah“ta sandhi takes place when a word ending in µ (niggah“ta) is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, or with a consonant.
38. Niggahita when followed by a consonant, may, remain unchanged.
(i) taµ dhammaµ kataµ.
(ii) taµ khaöaµ.
(iii) taµ patto.
39. Niggahita, followed by a consonant, may be transformed to the nasal of the class to which that consonant belongs.
(i) raöaµ + jaho =
(ii) taöhaµ + karo = taöhaŗkaro.
(iii) saµ + Źhito = saöŹhito.
(iv) jutiµ + dharo = jutindharo.
(v) saµ + mato = sammato.
(vi) evaµ + kho = evaŗ kho.
(vii) dhammaµ + ca = dhammaca.
(viii) taµ + niccutaµ = tanniccutaµ.
Remarks. Before initial l, the
niggahita of saµ and puµ is changed to l:
(i) saµ + lakkhaö = sallakkhaö.
(ii) paŹi saµ l“no = paŹisall“no.
(iii) saµ + lekko = sallekho.
(iv) puµ + liŗgaµ = pulliŗgaµ.
followed by e or h is changed to and h
(i) taµ + eva = taeva.
(ii) paccantaraµ + eva = paccantaraeva.
(iii) evaµ + hi kho = evahi kho.
(iv) taµ + hitassa = tahitassa.
following niggahita, becomes assimilated to it, and both together
may become :
(i) saµ + yuttaµ = sauttaµ.
(ii) saµ + yogo = saogo.
Remarks. Not seldom, no coalescence takes place, and both letters remain unchanged: saµyuttaµ; saµyojanaµ.
preceding a vowel, niggahita becomes m:
(i) taµ + atthaµ = tam atthaµ.
(ii) yaµ + hu = yam hu.
(iii) kiµ + etaµ = kim etaµ.
Remarks. Rules 39 and 42, are not strictly adhered to in texts edited in Roman characters; in prose above all, niggahita is allowed to remain unchanged before a vowel or a consonant, even in the middle of a word sometimes; in poetry, the retention of niggahita or its change to m before a vowel, is regulated by the exigencies of the metres.
niggahita before a vowel, may become d:
(i) etaµ + attho = etadattho.
(ii) etaµ + eva = etadeva.
(iii) etaµ + avoca = etadavoca.
(iv) yaµ + anantaraµ = yadanantaraµ.
(v) yaµ + idaµ = yadidaµ.
Remarks. The change of niggah“ta into d is more fictitious than real; in most examples, the d is simply a survivance. (See Insertion of consonants).
Niggah“ta, before a vowel or a consonant may be elided:
(i) tsaµ + ahaµ santike = tshaµ santike.
(ii) ariyasaccnaµ + dassanaµ = ariyasaccnadassanaµ.
(iii) etaµ buddhnaµ + ssanaµ = etaµ buddhnassanaµ.
niggah“ta may sometimes be inserted before a vowel or a
(i) ava siro = avaµsiro.
(ii) manopubba gam = manopubbaŗgam.
(iii) cakkhu + udapdi = cakkhuµ udapdi.
(iv) yva c'idha bhikkhave = yvac'idha.
niggahita, a vowel may be elided:
(i) kiµ + iti = kinti.
(ii) idaµ + api = idaµ pi.
(iii) cakkaµ + iva = cakkaµ va.
(iv) kaliµ + idni = kaliµ 'dni or kalin dni.
Interchange of Letters
47. Not unfrequently an interchange of
letters takes place:
(i) dh becomes h; rudhira = ruhira.
(ii) d becomes t; sugado = sugato.
(iii) t becomes Ź; pahato = pahaµo.
(iv) t becomes d; gantabba = gandabba.
(v) g becomes k; hatthupaga = hatthupaka.
(vi) r becomes l; paripanno = palipanno.
(vii) y becomes j; gavayo = gavajo.
(viii) k becomes y; sake pure = saye pure.
(ix) j becomes y; nijaµputtaµ = niyaµputtaµ.
(x) t becomes k; niyato = niyako.
(xi) k becomes kh; nikamati = nikhamati.
48. As has already been said a dash (-)
indicates a long vowel:
(i) ahaµ sakkh“ ahaµ sakkh“ = I am witness!
(ii) pajjalantni pabbatakčŹni mlguĀabhvaµ pannni disv = seeing the blazing mountain peaks had turned into nosegays.....
the contraction of two syllables into one, is shown by the
circumflex accent (^):
(i) sdhu hoti, lacchasti. all right! you'll get it.
(ii) taµ... gaöhissmti. I'll seize him!
Remarks. In most texts, crasis is expressed by a (-) dash, as used for the long vowels.
elision of a vowel is expressed by an apostrophe ('):
(i) eken'čno = ekena čno.
(ii) idn'eva = idni eva.
(iii) pi'ssa = pi assa.
(iv) tass'ekadivasaµ = tassa ekadivasaµ.