Lesson 17 – Athematic verbs – 2

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In the previous lesson, Lesson 16, we looked at the conjugation of the present indicative active and middle of some athematic verbs of Class 2.

In this lesson we will look at the imperfect, optative and imperative, active and middle and the participles of some verbs of class 2.

[In the paradigms below, the forms are presented in the following order: third persons singular, dual and plural; second persons singular, dual and plural; first persons singular, dual and plural]

The Imperfect

Like the present indicatives, the imperfect indicative also has guna strengthening (if capable of it) of the radical vowel in the three persons of the singular active.

Important note: The augment, the short “a अ” prefixed to the tense stem in the imperfect, combines with the following vowel (of a root starting with vowel)  (i u r̥ इ उ ऋ) irregularly to form the vriddhi (ai au ār ऐ औ आर्) of the vowel instead of the expected guna (e o ar ए ओ अर्). This is true of both thematic and athematic verbs.

The imperfect active of the class 2 root √i  √इ (“go”) is as follows.

ait aitām āyan

aiḥ aitam aita

āyam aiva aima

The dual and plural look strong with the same “ai” as the singulars because of the rule on “vriddhi instead of guna”  given above. [The “ai” of the singulars is a+e (“e” is the guna of “i”); the “ai” of the duals and plurals is a+i]

Note the sandhi in the third person plural ai + an –> āyan and the first person singular ai + am –> āyam

As an example of the middle forms let us take the class 2 root √ās  √आस् (“sit”).

āsta āsātām āsata

āsthāḥ āsāthām āddhvam

āsi āsvahi āsmahi

Note like in the present indicative middle, the third person plural comes without the “n” in the ending that occurs in the thematic cases. So āsata and not āsanta.

The root √dviṣ  √द्विष् (“hate”) and similar verbs presents some strange cases in the imperfect also. See the paradigm:

adveṭ adviṣṭām adviṣan

adveṭ adviṣṭam adviṣṭa

adveṣam adviṣva adviṣma

The third person singular and second person singular are both adveṭ. The third person singular actually should be adveṣ + t. Since two consonants cannot stand at the ending, the “t” is dropped and the remaining “ṣ” reverts to the permissible ending “ṭ”. The same thing happens to the second person singular which should be adveṣ + s.

The root √duh  √दुह् (“milk”) produces “adhok” in both the third and second person singular. Note the aspiration of the “d” to “dh”.

The imperfect of the common root √as √अस्  (“be”) is as follows:

āsīt āstām āsan

āsīḥ āstam āsta

āsam āsva āsma

Here the initial “a” is not lost even in the weak cases because it is protected by the augment “a”.

We have come across the form āsīt (“there was”) many times in our stories.

The Optative

The optative takes the mode sign -yā- in the active and “-ī-” in the middle for athematic verbs. [Remember, that for thematic verbs the optative took the mode sign “-ī-” for both the active and the middle (see Lesson 10).] In the athematic active, the “ā” of the “-yā-” disappears in front of vowel endings (that is the “uḥ” of the third person plural active)

All forms of the optative are weak.

The optative active of the class 2 root √i  √इ (“go”) is as follows:

iyāt iyātām iyuḥ

iyāḥ iyātam iyāta

iyām iyāva iyāma

Note the mode sign added to the root before the endings.

As an example of the middle forms let us take the class 2 root √ās  √आस् (“sit”):

āsīta āsīyātām āsīran

āsīthāḥ āsīyāthām āsīdhvam

āsīya āsīvahi āsīmahi

The root √dviṣ  √द्विष् (“hate”) gives dviṣyāt  etc. for the active and dviṣīta etc. for the middle.

The root √duh  √दुह् (“milk”) produces duhyāt etc. for the active  and duhīta etc. for the middle.

The optative of the common root √as √अस्  (“be”) is as follows:

syāt syātām syuḥ

syāḥ syātam syāta

syām syāva syāma

Remember, while dealing with the present indicative active of √as √अस्  (“be”) in Lesson 16, we said that the weak forms lose the initial “a” of “as”.

The Imperative

In the imperative all of the first person forms both active and middle are strong. However, the first persons are only extremely rarely used.

The third person singular active is also strong.

Imperative second person singular active ending: Remember that the imperative of thematic verbs used the bare stem for the  second person singular active. That is, there was no ending added (See Lesson 10). However, for athematic verbs the situation is different. The endings for the imperative second person singular active are as follows:

  • Class 1,4,6,10 : no ending; bare stem (as we saw before)
  • Class 2, 3, 7 : “-hi” if root ends in a vowel and “-dhi” if it ends in a consonant
  • Class 5 :”-nu”
  • Class 8 : “-u”
  • Class 9 : “-hi” if root ends in a vowel “-āna” if it ends in a consonant.

The other endings are as per what was given before for thematic verbs.

The imperative active of the class 2 root √i  √इ (“go”) is as follows:

etu itām yantu

ihi itam ita

ayāni ayāva ayāma

Note the guna strengthening in the third person singular. This is strong.

Note the first persons. They are all strong.

Note: In fact, The first person forms are not original. The first person forms of the imperative (both active and middle) are hardly ever used. These first person forms are the forms of the (vedic) subjunctive (which became obsolete in classical Sanskrit). It looks as if the first person forms did not exist for the imperative in the early stage of the language, and the classical grammarians borrowed the forms of the defunct subjunctive for making the imperative complete.

The imperative middle of the class 2 root √ās  √आस् (“sit”) is as follows:

āstām āsātām āsatām

āssva āsāthām āddhvam

āsai āsāvahai āsāmahai

The root √dviṣ  √द्विष् (“hate”) gives dvesṭu dviṣṭām dviṣantu  etc. for the active and dviṣṭām dviṣātām etc. for the middle. The second singulars are dviḍḍhi and dvikṣva.

The root √duh  √दुह् (“milk”) produces dogdhu dugdhām duhantu etc. for the active  and dugdhām duhātām etc. for the middle. The second person singulars are dugdhi dhukṣva (Here note the aspiration of “d” to “dh”).

The present participles

Remember, that in Lesson 12 we looked at the present participles active and middle. We said that the active present participle is made by adding “nt  न्त्” to the stem and the middle participle is formed adding māna  मान to the stem. For example, the present active participle of  of class 1 (thematic) root √bhū √भू is bhavant  भवन्त् and the present middle participle of the verb √labh  √लभ् is  labhamāna  लभमान.

The present active participle of athematic verbs is formed in an identical fashion to the the thematic verbs. For example, the present active participle of √i  √इ (“go”) is “yant”, of  √dviṣ  √द्विष् (“hate”) is “dviṣant”, of √duh  √दुह् (“milk”) is “duhant” etc. These are declined as “ant” stems in masculine and neuter.

As in the case of the the thematic verbs the feminine ends in atī अती. So,  “yatī”, “dviṣatī”, “duhatī” etc. These are declined like “ī” stems in feminine.

However, the present middle participle of athematic verbs is formed by adding āna आन  to the stem (and not māna  मान as in the case of the thematic verbs). So the present middle participle of √ās  √आस् (“sit”) is āsāna, of  √dviṣ  √द्विष् (“hate”) is dviṣāṇa and of √duh  √दुह् (“milk”) is duhāna etc. These are declined like the “a” ending masculines and neuters and “ā” ending feminines.

This is the end of lesson 17. In this lesson we continued looking at the the conjugation of the verbs of root class 2. In the next lesson we will take up the other athematic classes.


6 thoughts on “Lesson 17 – Athematic verbs – 2

    • Hello Kurumathur-ji,
      I wonder if I can ask for some help. I am working on Lesson 17 through 21, and using Lesson 34 for additional help. Yet here is the pickle I am in:

      I have been looking at the gāyatrī śloka, (ṛg veda (maṇḍala 3. 62.10) as of late. I have had the delight of reciting this mantra for years and though to better understand it grammatically (vyākaraṇa).

      भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि

      धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

      bhargo devasya dhīmahi
      dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||

      The term that is causing me pause is pracodayāt.
      The prefix (pra) + the stem (coda) of which comes from the root cud ( a 1P class root) and its conjugation termination ( yā + (t for 3rd per.sing )), is how I have been looking at it. Yet how to conjugate to get to this term ?

      My research suggests this is liṇ ( optative mood, or mode as some like to call it). Others ( on line) concur, yet:
      for liṇ ( optative mood) an ‘ ī ‘ ( which yields the familiar a+ ī = ‘e’ ) marker of the thematic class 1,4, 6,10 is used/applied in the present system. Using this
      rule I should get pracodet for 3rd per singular, active ( parasmaipada). The other endings for 2nd person is ‘ es ‘ and 1st person ‘eyam’ . The ‘y’ rule being used of not
      letting ‘e’ come in contact with the initial vowel of ‘am’, per Robert Goldman’s devavāṇīpraveśikā 14.16 direction and for your lessons.

      Yet the ‘yā’ marker applies to the athematic class 2,3,5,7,8,9 and hence and solves the initial problem, but:
      Q1: How would this then apply to a 1P class root ‘cud’ ?
      Q2: Could this then be benedictive āśīr liṇ ( the optative of blessing) being used ?

      If it is āśīr liṇ , the rule as I understand it is it is formed by ‘adding endings very similar to the athematic optative endings directly to the verb root itself.’
      The rule continues – ‘essentially, the sibilant -s is inserted between the optative marker -yā and the personal endings. By the action of the rules of sandhi, the second- and third-person benedictive endings are identical to the corresponding optative endings (-yāst turns into -yāt for the third person, and -yāss into yās for the second person).’

      Using this approach gets me to where I wish to go, yet: there is some ‘issue’ about applying ‘yā’ directly to the root cud, as it would yield pra+ cud+yā+t ≠ pracodayāt found in the mantra.

      Hence my dilemma in understanding… any assistance is (really) welcomed.

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