The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2019 Fund Drive (
Ask Your Question

Wet fire, not water - Sanskrit phonologists' principle

asked 2018-10-13 19:54:00 -0400

omccreary gravatar image

I recently attended a lecture on phonology, where the professor discussed how to solve phonological problems, identify allophones, derive phonological rules, etc.

She made reference to a principle articulated by a Sanskrit phonologist, something like: phonological rules should be formulated so that they wet fire, not water. Or maybe it was vice versa. I think the idea was that a rule should be written as generally and simply as possible, so that it can be applied to a broad class of sounds, but has no effect when it's not applicable.

Can anyone point me toward where this principle is outlined?I haven't been able to find it by Googling.


edit retag flag offensive close merge delete

1 answer

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted

answered 2018-10-13 21:50:25 -0400

Perhaps you are referring to Panini's version of Occam's Razor. It is discussed here:

edit flag offensive delete link more
Login/Signup to Answer

Question Tools

1 follower


Asked: 2018-10-13 19:54:00 -0400

Seen: 230 times

Last updated: Oct 13 '18