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Modeling the Phonology of Consonant Duplication and Allied Changes in the Recitation of Tamil Taittirīyaka-s

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Modeling the Phonology of Consonant Duplication and Allied Changes in the Recitation of Tamil Taittirīyaka-s
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  Modeling the Phonology of Consonant Duplication and AlliedChanges in the Recitation of Tamil Taittir¯ıyaka-s Balasubramanian Ramakrishnan Independent Scholar balasr@acm.org Abstract The phonetics of the Vedas are described by the pr¯ati´s¯akhya and ´siks.¯a texts. Each veda has 1 its own pr¯ati´s¯akhya as well as specific ´siks.¯a texts. There is also a P¯an.in¯ıya ´siks.¯a, which talks 2 about general rules applicable to all veda-s. While there are similarities between the various 3 pr¯ati´s¯akhya and´siks¯a texts, there also tend to be important differences, leading to differences 4 in the modes of chanting in the veda-s. Some differences are obvious, but a significant 5 percentage of the differences can be detected only by the trained ear, consonant duplication 6 being in the latter category. While consonant duplication is not always faithfully followed 7 by reciters of classical Sanskrit verses, by even trained pundits, duplication is faithfully 8 preserved, largely adhering to the Taittir¯ıya-Yajuh. Pr¯ati´s¯akhyam (TYP) rules, especially 9 by the Tamil Taittir¯ıyaka-s (TT). Additional rules are to be found in various ´siks.¯a texts and 10 some rules are known only from traditional practice. It is important to study the printed 11 texts of the TTs which use the grantha script since they offer a very concise representation 12 of some unique duplication rules. Finally, analysis of actual recitation by experts, or field- 13 study, is also required to completely understand the phonetic rules. 14 The aim of this paper can be summarized as: 15 1. describe duplication rules among TTs, point out where they deviate from the TYP, 16 compare and contrast with other pr¯ati´s¯akhya-s and P¯an.ini, 17 2. develop an algebraic formulation of TT duplication rules, 18 3. develop a Non-Deterministic Finite State Transducer (ND-FST) model from the alge- 19 braic formulation, and finally 20 4. a Perl implementation of the model as a tool to study TT duplication rules. 21 1 Introduction 22 Consonant duplication is one of the truly arcane topics in Sanskrit. This paper is about consonant 23 duplication among TTs, a phonological process, when sam. yut¯aks.ara-s occur. While it should be 24 clear, it is worth mentioning that this is different from the duplication of syllables in a verbal root 25 form, e.g., the third class of verbs, reduplicated aorist, etc., which are morphological processes. 26 Consonant duplication occurs when specific groupings of vowels and consonants (to be specified 27 later) occur. The list of vowels and consonants are mostly the same in classical and vedic Sanskrit. 28 However there are a few differences between the different lists, even between the pr¯ati´s¯akhya-s of  29 different veda-s. This paper will not discuss these differences in detail and a good resource for 30 this is (Whitney, 1871). This paper will also not examine the phonetics of the standard Sanskrit 31 vowels and consonants, which is a well researched topic. A good source for phonetic analysis, 32 including many vedic forms, is (Allen, 1953), and many more references can be found in (Scharfe, 33 1973). However, we will discuss phonetics of a few specific vowel and consonant forms which are 34 important in and peculiar to TT recitation, especially during duplication, and which are different 35 from the classical Sanskrit, in the relevant sections. 36  One of the first people to study duplication was Whitney, in his path breaking studies of  37 the pr¯ati´s¯akhya-s of the Atharva and the Taittir¯ıya veda-s (Whitney, 1863; Whitney, 1871). 38 Whitney had specific reservations about the value of the detailed discussions on duplication in 39 the pr¯ati´s¯akhya-s, which he expressed rather forcefully, first in his translation of the Atharva 40 pr¯ati´s¯akhya (Whitney, 1863) 41 “The subject of the duplicated pronunciation of consonants, or of the varn.akrama, as it is 42 sometimes called, is one of the most peculiar in the whole phonetical science of the Hindus. 43 It is also the one, to my apprehension, which exhibits most strikingly their characteristic 44 tendency to arbitrary and artificial theorizing; I have not succeeded in discovering the 45 foundation of fact upon which their superstructure of rules is based, or explaining to 46 myself what actual phonetic phenomena, liable to occur in a natural, or even a strained, 47 mode of utterance, they supposed themselves to have noted, and endeavored thus to 48 reduce to systematic form. The varn.akrama, however, forms a not inconspicuous part 49 of the phonetic system of all the Pr¯ati´s¯akhyas, and is even presented by P¯an .ini (viii. 4. 50 46-52), although the latter mercifully allows us our option as to whether we will or will 51 not observe its rules.” 1 . 52 There are two questions which Whitney rightly raises: 1) what the phonetic basis of duplication 53 is and 2) whether it really makes a difference in Vedic chanting. In this paper, I’ll concentrate 54 mostly on the latter question. The concise answer is that duplication does matter quite a bit and 55 is reflected in the recitation of pan.d.ita-s trained in the orthodox manner. The first question is not 56 the focus of this paper. However, in a few places I will point out some the possible phonetic reasons 57 for duplication. 58 Opinion of the later ´siks.¯a-s 59 First, we can look at texts which were written after the TYP, i.e., the ´siks.¯a texts, and see that it 60 is an important topic in these texts as well. The sarvasammata ´siks.¯a (Finke, 1886) actually begins 61 with the ma˙ngala verse 62     p v v  p  pty gnnm   63       tvn  p vky m k  sv smmtm   64 Having prostrated to the compassionate and wish-granting elephant-faced God, 65 I will expound the phonetics of duplication, etc., (which are) agreeable to all. 66 Since the sarvasammata ´siks.¯a singles out duplication, and is actually largely about this topic, it can 67 be seen that the later textual tradition also held that consonant duplication was an important topic 68 for reciters of the veda. Furthermore, the ´siks.¯a is somewhat ambitiously titled sarvasammata, i.e., 69 agreeable to all, which implies that a variety of opinions, especially on duplication, existed at same 70 point of time. This is actually very clear from the TYP itself, where a number of contradictory 71 opinions are stated and sometimes with attribution to a specific authority. Whitney had also 72 pointed out very early on that while duplication was a topic treated by all pr¯ati´s¯akhya-s, the TYP 73 is unique in that it presents the contradictory opinion of many different authorities (Whitney, 1871). 74 The Vy¯asa (¯Ac¯arya ´Sr¯ıpat.t.¯abhir¯ama´s¯astri, 1976) and especially the sarvasammata ´siks .¯a clearly try 75 to present a unified theory of duplication by leaving out contradictory opinions and sometimes 76 adding rules not found in the TYP. The sarvasammata ´siks.¯a finishes with the cautionary verse 2 77 1 He also states in page 313 of his translation of the TYP (Whitney, 1871), “Thus is brought to an end the tedioussubject of duplication, the physical foundation of which is of the obscurest, although the pains with which the Hindu´s¯akhinah. have elaborated it, and the earnestness with which they assert their discordant views respecting it, provethat it had for them a real, or what seemed like a real, value.”, clearly expressing his reservations once again on thepractical utility of the discussions on duplication. 2 It is interesting that the text uses the word ´s¯ıks.¯a instead of ´siks.¯a , similar to the Taittir¯ıya Upanis.ad, thus placingthe author squarely within the Kr.s.n.a-yajur-veda tradition.    k c p  ty  c  vy t  p     pm   78   k v b ty     s y v m    g  y  79 (If there is any) mutual contradiction between the ´siks.¯a and pr¯ati´s¯akhyam, 80 They declare that the ´siks.¯a is indeed the weaker, like the deer (in the presence) of a lion. 81 Clearly the sarvasammata ´siks.¯a’s author was aware that at least some of the ´siks.¯a-s have opinions 82 contradictory to the TYP. However, it should be noted that the same text adds some rules not 83 found in the TYP, and also extends the scope of some rules found in the TYP. Again it was noted by 84 Whitney in his treatment of the svarabhakti in the TYP, where he remarks that the commentator 85 seemed to rely more on his ´siks.¯a text that the TYP itself (Whitney, 1871). In this regard, the 86 comment of Scharfe regarding the attitude of P¯an.in¯ıya-s is very perceptive, is applicable in this 87 case as well, and deserves to be quoted in full (Scharfe, 1973) 88 “The as.t.¯adhy¯ay¯ı can be compared to a code of law which is subject to legal interpretation 89 when cases that were not or could not be foreseen by the lawmaker. The courts need a 90 consistent and workable application even to such cases. Lawyers are used to obtaining 91 this application by extrapolating principles embodies in the code which is presumed to 92 be comprehensive and consistent to the minute technical details; seemingly redundant 93 features must have their significance. If these extrapolations lead to opposing conclusions 94 this contradiction must be resolved. As a last recourse, the law may be amended, The 95 P¯an.in¯ıya-s are like such lawyers and we miss the point when we castigate them for reading 96 later theories into the srcinal texts.” 97 Methodology of the Orthodox Practitioners 98 The methodology so aptly described by Scharfe can be described in general by following a list of  99 Boolean logic rules as given below, and is also applicable the phonology of duplication: 100 •  If condition  A 1 , then execute Rule 1. 101 •  If conditions  A 1  AND  A 2 , then execute Rule 2. 102 • ··· 103 •  If conditions  A 1  AND  A 2  AND  ···  AND  A k , then execute Rule  k . 104 A series of rules like the above can be used to give the general and fundamental vidhi (denoted 105 by Rule 1) and modifying the vidhi by an exception, followed by an exception to the exception 106 and so on. Note that the TYP itself follows such a formulation by first giving a general vidhi and 107 adding elements to the list to either discard Rule 1, or modify its performance in certain cases. For 108 example, Rule 2 could be “discard the implementation of Rule 1”, if conditions  A 1  and  A 2  occur 109 together, thus providing an exception. The ´siks.¯a-s follow the lead of the TYP and add lawyerly 110 emendations to either modify or discard the rules within in TYP. In this manner, they can claim 111 to be completely consistent with the TYP and yet offer modifications/emendations. Note that the 112 question of why the TYP does not list  all   the rules followed by the orthodox tradition, or whether 113 some of them were later innovations, does not make sense within this formulation of the orthodox 114 tradition. This is actually a sensible procedure for interpreting the TYP and ´siks.¯a texts as a 115 unified whole. It is also important for the orthodox tradition to interpret these texts as a unified 116 whole because while in some cases it is clear what the TYP considers as an accepted doctrine, in 117 a number of other cases what the TYP considers to be an accepted doctrine, is known only from 118 the commentary, as noted by Whitney (Whitney, 1871) 3 . Thus if the orthodox tradition accepts 119 the TYP as well as the ´siks.¯a texts to begin with, then the only logical route is the lawyerly one. 120 3 It can of course be hypothesized that the TYP represents the “srcinal” rules and the modifications and additionsfound in the ´siks.¯a -s are later accretions. But this is not correct because the TYP does record a multitude of opinions,especially with regard to duplication, and clearly the TYP is only one strand among the different schools of thought.It is clear that there were multiple schools of thought regarding certain phonetic and phonological processes, and that  Regarding the orthodox method of learning the vedic recitation, it was pointed out in a recent 121 study of the vedic tradition in Maharashtra by Larios (Larios, 2017) that the “veda-murti-s” or 122 the orthodox vedic chanters rarely have even seen a ´siks¯a text 4 and it has been observed by me 123 in Tamil tradition as well 5 . However the phonological peculiarities of the TTs are very efficiently 124 encoded in their texts published in the grantha script (Vaidyan¯athas¯astri, 1905; N¯ar¯ayan .a ´S¯astr¯ı, 125 1930; N¯ar¯ayan .a ´S¯astr¯ı, 1931; N¯ar¯ayan .a ´S¯astr¯ı, 1935; N¯ar¯ayan .a ´S¯astr¯ı, Undatedb; N¯ar¯ayan .a ´S¯astr¯ı, 126 Undateda), making the TYP and ´siks¯a texts largely unnecessary for an orthodox reciter of the 127 vedas 6 . This should not be confused with an efficient and one-to-one mapping of the actual syllables 128 chanted, e.g., in a manner as described in (Scharf and Hyman, 2009) from the point of view 129 of computer based processing or representation of general Sanskrit texts, but rather a concise 130 encoding of only the most important ´siks.¯a rules, which will make complete sense only to people 131 trained within the oral tradition. It should be noted that if the texts were printed exactly as recited, 132 with all duplicated consonants explicitly specified, there would be a prolixity of consonants. This 133 would have had a manifold effect: it would have significantly complicated the task of the scribe, 134 increase the probability of error propagation, as well as hinder text comprehension. The printed 135 texts serve a dual purpose, aid recitation and comprehension, and this fact was was likely not lost 136 to the inventors and refiners of the grantha script. On the other hand, unless some of the more 137 obscure rules are actually represented in the printed text, it might result in wrong recitation. The 138 grantha texts offer an admirable combination of precisely encoding arcane duplication rules, yet 139 avoiding prolixity in printing out consonants for people trained within the tradition. The grantha 140 texts also make the TYP and ´siks.¯a texts largely unnecessary for an orthodox reciter. An ability to 141 read grantha is thus a sine-qua-non for understanding consonant reduplication among TTs. 142 The method by which the grantha texts achieve is this is by writing any samyut¯aks.ara syllable 143 from top to bottom, even if they consist of more than two consonants, or inventing new characters 144 for frequently used complex samyut¯aks.ara-s. Standalone consonants mean something special, but 145 the meaning is context dependent and thus the encoding is not one-to-one. For example a standalone 146 nak¯ara within a pada can stand for different ways of pronouncing it, depending the vowel-consonant 147 cluster surrounding it. Note again that some of these rules and exceptions can be found neither 148 in the TYP nor in the ´siks.¯a texts, and are known only from the orthodox tradition. However, 149 these are faithfully reflected in the grantha texts. In contrast, devan¯agar¯ı typesets typically do 150 not have such complicated samyut¯aks.ara-s, and the complex phonological rules are largely ignored 151 the TYP is the first attempt to unify the different strands. It also seems unlikely that there was a single srcinal wayof recitation, unless it is assumed that the Taittir¯ıya school was limited srcinally to a very small geographical area,which is not likely. It’s also unlikely that a historical dating of different doctrines can be obtained by mere textualanalysis. 4 In page 5 (Larios, 2017), “Notably, none of the br¯ahman .as I came in contact with had memorized a ´siks.¯a orpr¯ati´s¯akhya text at the time of our meeting. Many of those I interviewed during my fieldwork did not possess acopy of such a text, and many others had never seen a ´siks.¯a or pr¯ati´s¯akhya text in their lives. Yet, as will be shown below, the rules concerning the Vedic recitation are mainly learned through the system of oral transmission, and thisincludes the pronunciation rules stipulated in the ´siks.¯a or pr¯ati´s¯akhya texts of each Vedic branch.” 5 In (Staal, 1961) TT recitation is referred to as Tamil Iyer recitation. I prefer the reference as TTs since Iyer,Iye˙nkars and M¯adhvas settled in Tamil Nadu all go the same schools and the phonetics/phonology is the same betweenthese different subsects. The Iye˙nkars usually, but not always, learn the Dr¯avid.a p¯at.ha. But this affects only the textof a few pra´sna-s of the Taittir¯ıya ¯Aran.yaka and not the phonetics/phonology. I have observed that the pan.d.ita-sfrom the Vedic school conducted by the one of the four advaita ¯amn¯aya mat.ha-s, Daks.in.¯amn¯aya ´Sringeri ´S¯arad¯aP¯ıt.ham, are very similar to TTs in their recitations, but I do not know if it’s the same case with all reciters from theKarnataka region. I also haven’t had the opportunity of interacting with pan.d.ita-s from the Andhra region, but thefew recordings I have heard show at least some differences from the TTs. The Nambudiri recitation is of course quitedifferent from the TTs. Comparing the duplication among the different Southern schools, including the Nambudiris,would be an interesting field study. 6 The Vaidikavardhini press in Kumabokanam published these grantha texts and many excellent prayoga texts,but unfortunately went out of business many decades ago. These books are hard to obtain. Facsimile copies of theTaittir¯ıya corpus published by the are available in the pan.d.ita circles in Chennai. One of my teachers ´Sr¯ı ´Sr¯ıkan.t.ha¯Ac¯ary¯ah. showed me his Kannada text and it seemed to follow the same principle as the grantha texts with regard tosamyut¯aks.ara-s and standalone consonants. However I am not familiar with the Kannada script and did not performa careful analysis. It would be interesting to compare texts in Kannada and Telugu scripts with the grantha textspopular in Tamil Nadu.  and not encoded. Another issue is that some samyut¯aks.ara-s which occur in the TT recitation due 152 to phonological changes, do not occur at all in classical Sanskrit and are thus not shown in Vedic 153 texts typeset in the devan¯agar¯ı script. An important effort to rectify these defects, and reflect TYP 154 rules in the devan¯agar¯ı script has been made, but still has some short-falls compared to the srcinal 155 grantha texts (R¯a Kr.s.n.am¯urti ´s¯astri and R¯a Gan .e´svaradr¯avid.ah., 2003b; R¯a Kr .s.n.am¯urti ´s¯astri and 156 R¯a Gan.e´svaradr¯avid.ah., 2003a). However, this series has a very learned introduction regarding 157 some of the key, though not all, phonological aspects of TT recitation. Furthermore this series has 158 very few printing errors, uses a very pleasing font, and is thus well worth using as a reference text. 159 Just an ability to read the grantha texts is not enough and actually would hinder proper eval- 160 uation of duplication among TTs. I have personally interacted with a number of kram¯anta- 161 sv¯adhy¯ayinah. and have also learned to recite a good portion of the taittir¯ıya ´s¯akh¯a, which has 162 been an invaluable help in understanding duplication rules. Field study would also clear any ques- 163 tions about whether duplication makes a difference in Vedic recitation. In my experience with 164 laypeople and experts, I have seen that most (but not all) laypeople who learn to recite the Vedas, 165 especially as adults and using texts printed in the Devanagari script, confuse textual familiarity and 166 chanting with seeming fluency with correct Vedic recitation. A musical analogy would be a violin- 167 ist or pianist consistently playing wrong notes or missing some notes with seeming fluency and no 168 hesitation from a composition, which a person completely unaware of the actual composition could 169 even find pleasing to his ears. Relying on texts and not listening keenly to expert recitation makes 170 laypeople, even those who listen to or practice vedic chanting regularly, unaware of the phonological 171 sophistication of Vedic chanting, which cannot be completely captured in textual form. When the 172 correct syllables are not duplicated or wrongly duplicated, the expert recognizes this very quickly, 173 which answers Whitneys question on whether duplication makes a difference in Vedic recitation. 174 The answer is that it does to the expert, but laypeople may not understand the subtleties. Finally, 175 while actual field study is important and irreplaceable, a good source for authentic TT recitation 176 is the audio recordings released by an organization called Vediclinks (Sarma et al., 2004), which 177 unfortunately seems to be defunct now 7 . 178 Fundamental Vidhi and Notation 179 Consonant duplication is specified in fundamentally the same way in different texts, and the basic 180 vidhi (Condition  A 1  in previous section) is common across all pr¯ati´s¯akhya-s as well as P¯an .ini.: 181 •  Taittir¯ıya Pr¯ati´s¯akhyam 14.1 (Whitney, 1871) -  vp v  vy        n       v  vy        npm   . 182 •  ´Sukla-yajuh. Pr¯ati´s¯akhyam 4.99 (Rastogi, 1967) -  vt  s y g       cyt  sv   . 183 •  R. k Pr¯ati´s¯akhyam 6.1 (Sastri, 1931) -  vn v p t        cyt  s y g  s  m  v m  sn   . 184 •  Atharva Pr¯ati´s¯akhyam 3.28 (Whitney, 1863) -  s y g  vt   . 185 •  P¯an.ini 8.4.46 (Vasu, 1898) -  c  y        . 186 The relevant TYP s¯utra-s are collected in the appendix for convenient reference. In this paper we 187 will use the terminology from the TYP to refer to vowels, consonants, or groups of consonants. 188 The following abbreviations will be used for a concise description of the rules: 189 1.  V   , the vya˜njana-s, all the consonants 190 2.  C  i,j , spar´s¯ah., the indices  i  and  j  stand for the row and column in 5  ×  5 matrix with the ka, 191 ca, t.a, ta and pa varga-s as the rows. As examples,  C  1 , 4 would be gha and  C  5 , 5 would be ma. 192 3.  A , antasth¯ah., ya, ra, la and va. 193 7 This is available at  https://archive.org/details/VedicLinks-SriKrishnaYajurVedam-TaitiriyaSamhita  andI would like to thank Mr N. E. Venkateswaran for bringing this to my attention.
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