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Sanskrit bhūḥ as 3rd person

asked 2015-04-13 14:18:24 -0400

Dear Linguists, Long time ago, I've read a paper by Thomas Burrow (?), about a Vedic hymn (apparently not Rgvedic) where the form bhūḥ, he argued from the context, was not a 2nd person but a 3rd person singular. He compared Hittite 3rd sg. preterite forms in -š. Does anyone know the reference to this paper? Many thanks.

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Thanks to another colleague, I had a second look at Wikipedia, where they have a reference to his obituary, which can be read online, and contains an exhaustive bibliography. The paper "An archaic verbal termination in early Indo-Aryan", Indo-Iranian Journal 1, 1957, 61-76, may well be the one !

Rémy Viredaz gravatar imageRémy Viredaz ( 2015-04-27 21:09:47 -0400 )edit

That's right. Meanwhile, I've made photocopies of it. It refers to an earlier paper "The Sanskrit precative", Festschrift Weller, 1954, 35-42, which more closely responds to my description above.

Rémy Viredaz gravatar imageRémy Viredaz ( 2015-07-04 04:59:29 -0400 )edit

I had read both in July 1994, and duly registered them in my work notes, but I had been unable for years to find them again - apparently I kept looking under the wrong rubrics.

Rémy Viredaz gravatar imageRémy Viredaz ( 2015-07-04 05:03:18 -0400 )edit

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answered 2015-04-19 15:13:13 -0400

A great thank you, usagi! The search may be even more difficult than I thought.

I may have read the paper more than 20 yrs ago, and the article may have been decades earlier.

I think I read the paper in a journal like Transactions of the Philological Society or possibly Bulletin of the School of Oriental (and African) Studies. However, I used to keep lists of titles of potentially interesting papers in every journal issue I consulted, but no relevant paper by Burrow (or Bailey) seems to be on my lists for these reviews.

The problem is about an apparent 2nd person bhūḥ 'thou wast' (or bhūs, according to what conventions are followed) used as a 3rd person 'he was', at least according to Burrow. Thus it has nothing to do with Hittite h or the nominative bhūḥ 'earth' Substrate in Sanskrit.

Since this is a personal proposal of Burrow's that perhaps no-one has followed since, there is little hope of finding a reference to it in a reference grammar.

At least I found no reference to that 3 sg bhūḥ in the basic grammars of Vedic by Renou of even of Sanskrit by Burrow (admittedly, both grammars' first edition is perhaps older than the paper in question).

I had searched the web for hours before posting my query.

Perhaps the only solution will be for me to look into two or three dozens of years of Bibliographie Linguistique…

Best wished to you.

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answered 2015-04-19 10:37:33 -0400

usagi5886 gravatar image

I'm not sure if this is what you're referring to, but perhaps take a look here:

Grammaire de sanskrit: accompagnée d’explications de linguistique compare

In item "1." at the top of of page 10, it references the 'h' of Hittite, and on page 24 it shows a conjugation of bhūḥ where it is listed as nominative vocative singular.

That's all I could find online, but I'm guessing that's probably not it, since it seems your reference is much older. There is a fairly extensive bibliography at the Wikipedia page on Substratum in Vedic Sanskrit. Perhaps one of those can help you track down the source (e.g. tracking them down and skimming their bibliographies until you go back far enough until you can find the source you're looking for).

Perhaps if you can remember what year you read it that will help narrow down the range of possible publication years. Trying to recall the publication type (proceedings, journal article, etc.) could help, too. If it was a monograph, you could also try running searches on HaithiTrust or Google Books.

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Asked: 2015-04-13 14:18:24 -0400

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Last updated: Apr 19 '15