Lesson 24 – Tatpuruṣa compounds

A short YouTube version is available here. [Expand to the full article to be able to click on the link].

In the previous lesson, lesson 23, we looked at compounds in general and also at dvandva द्वन्द्व compounds in particular.

In this lesson we will look at tatpuruṣa compounds.

In the last lesson we said that compound words where the प्राधान्यम् prādhānyam is on the second element of a compound are called tatpuruṣa तत्पुरुष compounds. For example, in the word, nadītīram नदीतीरम् (the bank of a river), the syntactically important word is tīram तीरम् (bank) and hence nadītīram नदीतीरम् is a tatpuruṣa compound.

Tatpuruṣa compounds fall into two distinct classes.

  1. Compounds in which the prior member is a noun or a pronoun or an adjective used as a noun. These are called dependent compounds.
  2. Compounds in which the prior member is an adjective, an adverb or a noun used like an adjective. These are called karmadhāraya कर्मधारय or descriptive compounds.

Dependent compounds

Dependent compounds are those in which the prior member of the compound is in some case relationship with the other member. The second member can be a noun or an adjective (or a participle or a word having the value of a participle)

The case relationship of the first member can be of any kind. Genitive is the most common, accusative is the least common. The first member can be interpreted as singular or dual or plural depending on the context.

Examples:

Accusative dependent compounds

dhanaṃ dātr̥ –> dhanadātr̥ धनं दातृ –> धनदातृ (giver of wealth)

grāmaṃ + gamana –> grāmagamana ग्रामं गमन –> ग्रामगमन (going to the village)

satyaṃ vādin –> satyavādin सत्यं वादिन् –> सत्यवादिन् (truth speaking)

Instrumental

dhānyena artha –> dhānyārtha धान्येन अर्थ –> धान्यार्थ (wealth gained by grain)

dadhnā odana –> dadhyodana दध्ना –> ओदन दध्योदन (curd rice)

agninā pāka –> agnipāka अग्निना पाक –> अग्निपाक (cooking by fire)

Dative

pādāya udaka –> padodaka पादाय उदक –> पदोदक (water for (washing) the feet)

yūpāya dāru –> yūpadāru यूपाय दारु –> यूपदारु (wood for the sacrificial post)

śaraṇāya āgata – śaraṇāgata शरणाय आगत –> शरणागत (come for refuge)

Ablative

gajāt bhaya –> gajabhaya गजात् भय –> गजभय (fear of elephant)

[Note as mentioned earlier, the number (singular, dual or plural) should be decided based on the context. So, gajabhaya can be analysed as gajāt bhaya (fear of one elephant) or gajābhyāṃ bhaya (fear of two elephants) or gajebhyo bhaya (fear of many elephants)]

mat viyoga –> madviyoga मत् वियोग –> मद्वियोग (separation from me)

rājyāt bhraṣṭa –> rājyabhraṣṭa राज्यात् भ्रष्ट –> राज्यभ्रष्ट (banished from the kingdom)

Genitive

yamasya dūta –> yamadūta यमस्य दूत –> यमदूत (Yama’s messenger)

devānāṃ senā –> devasenā देवानां सेना –> देवसेना  (god’s army)

dvijānāṃ uttama –> dvijottama द्विजानां उत्तम –> द्विजोत्तम (best among Brahmins)

Locative

jale krīḍā –> jalakrīḍā जले क्रीडा –> जलक्रीडा (water sport)

girau nadī –> girinadī गिरौ नदी –> गिरिनदी (mountain river)

sthālyām pakva –> sthālīpakva स्थाल्याम् पक्व –> स्थालीपक्व (cooked in a pot)

[Note: You would have noticed that had all the cases except the nominative. Why? Why is the dependent tatpuruṣa with the prior member in the nominative case not in this list?]

Karmadhāraya कर्मधारय or descriptive compounds

In this type of compound, the prior member does not stand in any case relation with the other, but qualifies it adjectively (if second member is a noun) or modifies it adverbially (if second member is an adjective).

Some examples are:

Adjective + noun

nīla + utpala –> nīlotpala (blue lotus) ; sarva + guṇa –> sarvaguṇa (all good qualities) ; priya + sakha –> priyasakha (dear friend);

नील + उत्पल –> नीलोत्पल; सर्व + गुण –> सर्वगुण ; प्रिय + सख –> प्रियसख;

Noun + noun (noun used adjectively in apposition)

deva + jana –> devajana (god people) ; rāja + r̥ṣi –> rājarṣi (king-sage)

देव + जन –> देवजन राज + ऋषि –> राजर्षि

[So now we know where the missing nominative case went!]

Adverbial words + adjectives (or nouns with quasi-adjectival value)

a + jñāta –> ajñāta (unknown); su + kr̥ta –> sukr̥ta (well-done) su + kr̥t –> sukr̥t; (well- doing); punar + bhū –> punarbhū (appearing again)

अ + ज्ञात — > अज्ञात;  सु + कृत –> सुकृत; सु + कृत् –> सुकृत्;  पुनर् + भू –> पुनर्भू

Verbal prefixes (used adverbially) + noun/adjective

adhi + pati –> adhipati (over lord) ; antar + deśa –> antardeśa (intermediate direction) ; pari + durbala –> paridurbala (very weak)

अधि + पति –> अधिपति;  अन्तर् + देश –> अन्तर्देश; परि + दुर्बल –> परिदुर्बल

Noun (quasi adverbial)  + adjective

śukra + babhru –> śukrababhru (parrot brown)

शुक्र + बभ्रु –> शुक्रबभ्रु

This is the end of lesson 24. In this lesson we looked at tatpuruṣa compounds.

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