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Some Suggestive Uses of Alliteration in Sanskrit Court Poetry

Kenneth Langer
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 98, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1978), pp. 438-445
DOI: 10.2307/599756
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/599756
Page Count: 8
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Some Suggestive Uses of Alliteration in Sanskrit Court Poetry
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Abstract

Alliteration in Sanskrit court poetry is frequently utilized to suggest an integral relationship or bond of shared qualities between words with similar sounds. Part I of this paper briefly examines Vedic literature in respect to 1) alliteration as a semantically binding force, 2) folk etymology, and 3) the tradition of equating certain sounds with corresponding objects and phenomena. From the perspective of these three traditions we can fully appreciate the classical poets' employment of alliteration to produce semantic bonds. Drawing from a variety of classical poems and collections representing a wide range of poets and time periods, Part II cites and discusses striking alliterative clusters which involve Sanskrit words for woman. This paper explicates six distinct types of semantic relationships suggested by these words so bound.

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