The non-original nature of the palatals betrays itself even in Sanskrit by their inability to occur at the end of a word—e.g. acc. vācam = Lat. vocem, but nom. vāk = vox—and by otherwise frequently reverting to the guttural state.
The linguals differ in pronunciation from the dentals in their being uttered with the tip of the tongue turned up to the dome of the palate, while in the utterance of the dentals it is pressed against the upper teeth, not against the upper gums as is done in the English dentals, which to Hindus sound more like their own linguals. The latter, when occurring in words of Aryan origin, are, as a rule, modifications of original dentals, usually accompanied by the loss of an r or other adjoining consonant; but more commonly they occur in words of foreign, probably non-Aryan, origin. Of regular occurrence in the language, however, is the change of dental n into lingual ṇ, and of dental s into lingual ṣ, when preceded in the same word by certain other letters. The combination kṣ seems sometimes to stand for ks (? kst) as in Sans. akṣa, Gr. ἄξων, axle; Sans. dakshiṇa, Gr. δέξιος (but Lat. dexter); sometimes for kt, e.g. Sans. kshiti, Gr. κτίσις (but Sans. kshiti = Gr. φθίσις); Sans. takshan, Gr. τέκτων.
The sonant aspirate h is likewise non-original, being usually derived from original sonant aspirated mutes, especially gh, e.g. haṃsa = χήν (for χανς), anser, Ger. Gans; aham = ἐγών, ego, Goth. ik.
The contact of final and initial letters of words in the same sentence is often attended in Sanskrit with considerable euphonic modifications; Phonetic changes. and we have no means of knowing how far the practice of the vernacular language may have corresponded to these phonetic theories. There can be no doubt, however, that a good deal in this respect has to be placed to the account of grammatical reflection; and the very facilities which the primitive structure of the language offered for grammatical analysis and an insight into the principles of internal modification may have given the first impulse to external modifications of a similar kind.
None of the cognate languages exhibits in so transparent a manner as the Sanskrit the cardinal principle of Indo-Germanic word-formation by the addition of inflectional endings—either case-endings or personal terminations (themselves probably original roots)—to stems obtained, mainly by means of suffixes, from monosyllabic roots, with or without internal modifications.
There are in Sanskrit declension three numbers and seven cases, not counting the vocative, viz. nominative, accusative, instrumental Declension. (or sociative), dative, ablative, genitive and locative. As a matter of fact, all these seven cases appear, however, only in the singular of a-stems and of the pronominal declension. Other noun-stems have only one case-form for the ablative and genitive singular. In the plural, the ablative everywhere shares its form with the dative (except in the personal pronoun, where it has the same ending as in the singular), whilst the dual shows only three different case-forms—one for the nominative and accusative, another for the instrumental, dative, and ablative, and a third for the genitive and locative.
The declension of a-stems corresponding to the first and second Latin declensions is of especial interest, not so much on account of its being predominant from the earliest time, and becoming more and more so with the development of the language, but because it presents the greatest number of alternative forms, which supply a kind of test for determining the age of literary productions, a test which indeed has already been applied to some extent by Professor Lanman, in his excellent Statistical Account of Noun Inflexion in the Veda. These alternative case-forms are:—
1. āsas and ās for the nominative plural masc. and fem.: e.g. aśvāsas and aśvās = equi (equae). The forms in āsas—explained by Bopp as the sign of the plural as applied twice, and by Schleicher as the sign of the plural as added to the nominative singular—occur to those in ās (i.e. the ordinary plural sign as added to the a-stem) in the Ṛigveda in the proportion of 1 to 2, and in the peculiar parts of the Atharvaveda in that of 1 to 25, whilst the ending ās alone remains in the later language.
2. ā and āni for the nominative and accusative plural of neuters: as yugā, yugāni = ζυγά, juga. The proportion of the former ending to the latter in the Ṛik is 11 to 7, in the Atharvan 2 to 3, whilst the classical Sanskrit knows only the second form.
3. ēbhis and āis for the instrumental plural masc. and neuter, e.g. devēbhis, devāis. In the Ṛik the former forms are to the latter in the proportion of 5 to 6, in the Atharvan of 1 to 5, while in the later language only the contracted form is used. The same contraction is found in other languages; but it is doubtful whether it did not originate independently in them.
4. ā and āu for the nominative and accusative dual masc., e.g. ubhā, ubhāu = ἄμφω. In the Ṛik forms in ā outnumber those in āu more than eight times; whilst in the Atharvan, on the contrary, those in āu (the only ending used in the classical language) occur five times as often as those in ā.
5. ā and ena (enā) for the instrumental singular masc. and neut., as dānā, dānena = dono. The ending ena is the one invariably used in the later language. It is likewise the usual form in the Veda; but in a number of cases it shows a final long vowel which, though it may be entirely due to metrical requirements, is more probably a relic of the normal instrumental ending ā, preserved for prosodic reasons. For the simple ending ā, as compared with that in ena, Professor Lanman makes out a proportion of about 1 to 9 in the Ṛigveda (altogether 114 cases); while in the peculiar parts of the Atharvan he finds only 11 cases.
6. ām and ānām for the genitive plural, e.g. (aśvām), aśvānām = ἵππων, equum (equorum). The form with inserted nasal (doubtless for anām, as in Zend aśpanām), which is exclusively used in the later language, is also the prevailing one in the Ṛik. There are, however, a few genitives of a-stems in original ām (for a-ām), which also appear in Zend, Professor Lanman enumerating a dozen instances, some of which are, however, doubtful, while others are merely conjectural.
The Sanskrit verb system resembles that of the Greek in variety and completeness. While the Greek excels in nicety and definiteness Verb system. of modal distinction, the Sanskrit surpasses it in primitiveness and transparency of formation. In this part of the grammatical system there is, however, an even greater difference than in the noun inflection between the Vedic and the classical Sanskrit. While the former shows, upon the whole, the full complement of modal forms exhibited by the Greek, the later language has practically discarded the subjunctive mood. The Indo-Aryans never succeeded in working out a clear formative distinction between the subjunctive and indicative moods; and, their syntactic requirements becoming more and more limited, they at last contented themselves, for modal expression, with a present optative and imperative, in addition to the indicative tense-forms, and a little-used aorist optative with a special “precative” or “benedictine” meaning attached to it.
Another part of the verb in which the later language differs widely from Vedic usage is the infinitive. The language of the old hymns shows a considerable variety of case-forms of verbal abstract nouns with the function of infinitives, a certain number of which can still be traced back to the parent language, as, for instance, such dative forms as jīv-áse = viv-ere; sáh-adhyāi = ἔχεσθαι; dā′-mane = δόμεναι; dā′-vane = δοῦναι. Further, ji-shé, “to conquer,” for ji-sé, apparently an aorist infinitive with the dative ending (parallel to the radical forms, such as yudh-é, “to fight,” dṛs′-é, “to see”), thus corresponding to the Greek aorist infinitive λῦσαι (but cf. also Latin da-re, for dase, es-se, &c.). The classical Sanskrit, on the other hand, practically uses only one infinitive form, viz. the accusative of a verbal noun in tu, e.g. sthātum, etum, corresponding to the Latin supinum datum, itum. But, as in Latin another case, the ablative (datū), of the same abstract noun is utilized for a similar purpose, so the Vedic language makes two other cases do duty as infinitives, viz. the dative in tave (e.g. dā̇tave, and the anomalous étavā̇i) and the gen.-abl. in tos (dā̇tos). A prominent feature of the later Sanskrit syntax is the so-called gerund or indeclinable participle in tvā, apparently the instrumental of a stem in tvá (probably a derivative from that in tu), as well as the gerund in ya (or tya after a final short radical vowel) made from compound verbs. The old language knows not only such gerunds in tvā, using them, however, very sparingly, but also corresponding dative forms in tvāya (yuktvāya) and the curious contracted forms in tvī′ (kṛtvī, “to do”). And, besides those in ya and tya, it frequently uses forms with a final long vowel, as bhid-yā, i-tyā, thus showing the former to be shortened instrumentals of abstract nouns in i and ti.
The Sanskrit verb, like the Greek, has two voices, active and middle, called, after their primary functions, parasmāi-pada, “word for another,” and ātmane-pada, “word for one's self.” While in Greek the middle forms have to do duty also for the passive in all tenses except the aorist and future, the Sanskrit, on the other hand, has developed for the passive a special present-stem in ya, the other tenses being supplied by the corresponding middle forms, with the exception of the third person singular aorist, for which a special form in i is usually assigned to the passive.
The present-stem system is by far the most important part of the whole verb system, both on account of frequency of actual occurrence and of its excellent state of preservation. It is with regard to the different ways of present-stem formation that the entire stock of assumed roots has been grouped by the native grammarians under ten different classes. These classes again naturally fall under two divisions or “conjugations,” with this characteristic difference that the one (corresponding to Gr. conj. in ω) retains the same stem (ending in a) throughout the present and imperfect, only lengthening the final vowel before terminations beginning with v or m (not final); while the other (corresponding to that in μι) shows two different forms of the stem, a strong and a weak form, according as the accent falls on the stem-syllable or on the personal ending: e.g. 3 sing. bhára-ti, φέρει—2 pl. bhára-tha, φέρετε: but é-ti, εἷσι—i-thá, ἴτε (for ἰτέ): 1 sing. stṛṇó-mi, στόρνυμι—1 pl. stṛṇu-más (στόρνυμες).
As several of the personal endings show a decided similarity to personal or demonstrative pronouns, it is highly probable that, as might indeed be a priori expected, all or most of them are of pronominal origin—though, owing to their exposed position and consequent decay, their original form and identity cannot now be determined with certainty. The active singular terminations, with the exception of the second person of the imperative, are unaccented and of comparatively light appearance; while those of the dual and plural, as well as the middle terminations, have the accent, being apparently too heavy to be supported by the stem-accent, either because, as Schleicher supposed, they are composed of two