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Sievers-Edgerton Phenomena and Rigvedic Meter

Andrew Sihler
Language
Vol. 45, No. 2, Part 1 (Jun., 1969), pp. 248-273
DOI: 10.2307/411659
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/411659
Page Count: 26
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Sievers-Edgerton Phenomena and Rigvedic Meter
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Abstract

Rigvedic words beginning with a single consonant followed by a light first syllable (a short vowel plus a single prevocalic consonant, e.g. kárati, pr̥rthú, etc.) are found to occur only rarely in positions where they follow a word ending with a light syllable. Scholars have been struck by this patterning when it has turned up in seeming instances of Sievers-Edgerton phenomena, for instance gámati 'he will go' < *gwm̥meti; the distribution of these words has been interpreted as a significant relic of the original distribution of Proto-Indo-European semivowel alternants. But it is pointed out here that metrical configuration alone is sufficient to account for all the facts, and that most (or perhaps all) of the original gámati types of data are insignificant as evidence supporting the Sievers-Edgerton theory.

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