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Sanskritisms or Orthographical Variants?

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image of Indo-Iranian Journal

In Middle Indo-Aryan, Old Indo-Aryan consonant groups as a general rule assimilate to geminate groups or are resolved by a svarabhakti vowel. Some consonant groups in Pāli are neither assimilated nor resolved. Where they are identical with Sanskrit they are commonly called "Sanskritisms". Some are deliberate, e.g. brāhmana. Others are only apparent, and happen to have acquired in some way a shape which is identical with that expected in Sanskrit. Where they occur in verse, an analysis of the metre shows that the appearance of Sanskritisms may possibly be due to the reduction of the length of the svarabhakti vowel in an attempt to facilitate recitation. I would suggest that these are not attempts to make a text look more like Sanskrit. They are really examples of orthographic variation.


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