special nounbases ←

chunk 63: special words

→ preverbs

special words
Ignore verse fillers.
cid api cana "some / any"
iva "like"
na means "no"
api starts a question or means "too, even".
"Turtle ca" means "and a turtle".
"Turtle vA" means "or a turtle".
eva means only or indeed
iti closes a quotation


special wordsmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1187

All of these are hangers.

api "even, too"

ca "and, too"

vA "or"

iva "like"

eva "indeed, specially; only"

iti "unquote"

cet "if"

cid "some / any"



smammmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1188

sma has at least two uses --

(1)It makes present verbs mean past time. So instead of these laG verbs --

tanM nRpam apUjayan "they honoured the king"

akathayetAnM tAv ubhau "both said"

we can also use laT verbs and sma --

pUjayanti sma tanM nRpam "they honoured the king"

kathayete sma tAv ubhau "both said"

(2) Rule smottare laG ca says that sma can be used in prohibitions with mAG and laG or luG --

tasyAvamAnaGM kauravya mA sma kArSIH kathaJM cana "do not despise him in any sense of the word"

sma is also used in the epics either with other senses (I wish I knew which), or just as a filler (see ignore).


Ignore verse fillers.mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1189

Many verses have small words that are not really necessary for the meaning, but help make the verse fit.

For instance, suppose you want to put the verb zRNoti near the end of a zloka line. This word cannot fit at the very end, but it will fit if we add vai after it, or in fact if we add any CVC* word, or any vCVC* word. If we can find a word that makes sense and fits that pattern, good. Like the yas here --

bruvatAm apriyamM pathyaM suhRdAnM na zRNoti yaH

"if you don't listen to friends that say unpleasant beneficial things..."

But if we cannot find one such, then a poor poet might add any of the words that can be inserted almost anywhere, such as those meaning "and", "then", "but", "oh!", "he", "this", "that", "so", "as", "too", "ahem", "I tell ya", and so on --

zRNoti ca

zRNoti hi

zRNoti vai

zRNoti saH

zRNoty ayam

zRNoti sA

zRNoti tat

zRNoty api

zRNomy aham

In the epics this is done quite often.

Translators must be warned that sometimes these words are used in their proper meaning, and other times we just should ignore them. A particularly treacherous one is tu, that sometimes means "but", sometimes "changing subject", "on the other hand", and sometimes should be just ignored.


cid api cana "some / any"mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C- 1190

These three hangers mean the same thing.

They are only used after question words like kim- "who? what?", kadA "when?", kva "where?", katham "how?" etc etc, and have the same meaning as the "some-" and "any-" prefixes that we find in the English words "someone, anyone, somewhere, anywhere", etc.

Examples --

kim "what?"

kas "who?"

kasya "whose?"

kva "where?"

kiJMcid "something, anything"

kazcid "someone, anyone"

kasyacid "someone's, anyone's"

kvacid "somewhere, anywhere"

na kiJMcid "nothing"

na kazcid "no one"

na kasyacid "no one's"

na kvacid "nowhere"

Instead of cid, we may also use cana or api; this comes in handy sometimes when making verses come right --

sainyAH kepy agacchatAm "some soldiers left"

sainyAH keccanAgacchatAm "some soldiers left"

sainyAH kecinn agacchatAm "some soldiers left"


iva "like"mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1191

iva means "like" or "is like" --

Acarati kAkazH zyena:: iva "the crow behaves like a hawk"

kAkazH zyena:: iva "the crow is like a hawk"

When iva appears after a word that expresses a feeling, just ignore it. Example --

senApatyam anuprApya bhISmazH zAnMtanavo nRpa | duryodhanam uvAcedaM vacanaM harSayann iva ||

This harSayann iva does not mean "as if he were in high spirits"; it means that bhISma was actually in high spirits. Similarly prahasanniva does not mean "as if he were smiling", it just means smiling.


na means "no"mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1192

na means "no", and trandates as "no", "not", "doesn't", "didn't", "isn't", "non-" etc etc --

na pazyAmi "I don't see"

na dadRzuH "they did not see"

na + apazyat akassa nApazyat "he did not see"

There is also a naJ that means "non-".


api starts a question or means "too, even".mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1193

When api is at the start of a sentence, it means that the sentence is a question. Same as Polish "czu", Esperanto "cxu". Like in this dialogue --

apy asti garbhaH "is she pregnant?"

asti "indeed she is"

You may also use kim in this sense --

kim asti garbhaH "is she pregnant?"

When api does not start a question, it is a hanger.

Sometimes it is just a replacement for cid --

AgataH kaz cit "someone came"

AgataH ko 'pi "someone came"

Elsewhere, it means "too, even", and comes right after the word it includes --

dadarza sA 'pi bhUtAni "she too saw the ghosts (like I did)"

bhUtAny api dadarza sA "she saw the ghosts too (not just the demons)"

gurU cetati kAko 'pi "even a crow will care for his parents"

zvAznAti tu gurU: api "but a dog will eat even his parents"

In this sentence, the first api starts a question, and the one after vayam means "too" --

api taisH saGMgatamM mArgaM vayam apy Aruhemahi "Will we too ascend the path that was trod by them?"

There is also another api, that is a rarely used preverb and sometimes shrinks to pi.


"Turtle ca" means "and a turtle".mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ M- C+ 1194

ca is always placed AFTER the word it joins. Examples --

hayazca "and a horse"

hayIca "and a mare"

hayo hayIca "a horse and a mare"

hayI hayazca "a mare and a horse"

kharo gaja:: uSTro vyAghras siMhazca tiSThanti "a donkey, an elephant, a camel, a tiger, and a lion wait"

kharaGM gajam uSTraM vyAghraM siMhaJMca pazyAmi "I see a donkey, an elephant, a camel, a tiger, and a lion"

Adding some extra ca is fine too, but don't forget that the very last word in the list must always carry one --

hayIca hayazca "both a mare and a horse"

hayazca hayIca "both a horse and a mare"

kharo gajazcoSTrazca vyAghrazca siMhazca "a donkey and an elephant and a camel and a tiger and a lion"

kharazca gajazcoSTrazca vyAghrazca siMhazca "all of a donkey and an elephant and a camel and a tiger and a lion"

If you want to keep your Sanskrit teacher annoyed, just keep translating things like pitA matA sutaz ca caranti as "father mother son and walk" (instead of the correct "father mother and son walk" ) again and again. Most Sanskrit teachers will commit suicide before they correct that translation mistake for the twentieth time.


"Turtle vA" means "or a turtle".mmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ M- C+ 1195

vA means "or", and is a hanger, like ca.

Examples --

kacchapovA "or a turtle"

bakaH kacchapovA "a crane or a turtle"

prapuSpitaH kiMzuko 'zokovA "a kiMzuka or an azoka tree is in blossom"

prapuSpitaGM kiMzukam azokaMvA pazyAmi "I see a kiMzuka or an azoka tree in blossom"

The expressions vA and athavA, at the start of a sentence, may mean also "maybe", "rather", or "thinking again".

Two vA may mean "either... or" --

bakovA kacchapovA "either a crane or a turtle"

As in --

sukhaM vA yadi vA duHkhamM priyaM vA yadi vApriyam | prAptamM prAptam upAsIta hRdayenAparAjitaH "Be it happiness or sorrow, be it agreeable or disagreeable, whatever comes should be borne with an unaffected heart."

In grammar rules, vA is not a hanger -- as in vAmi, vAzari, vAmzasoH, vAvasAne. It means " optionally" rather than just "or".


eva means only or indeedmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ M- C+ 1196

The hanger eva gives emphasis to the previous word. It may translate into "only", "indeed", "for sure", "it is him who". Examples --

mUSikair grastamM phalam "mice ate the fruit"

mUSikair eva grastamM phalam "it was mice who ate the fruit, only mice ate the fruit"

mUSikair grastamM phalam eva "it was the fruit that mice ate, mice ate the fruit only"

mama bhAryAyAm eva bhASase "it's my wife you're talking about"


iti closes a quotationmmmmmmmmm glosses glosses ^ C+ 1197

When literal words are quoted, iti is added after the last word.

Examples --

hatAv etAv iti prAha surAn asurasUdanaH

asurasUdana told the gods "hatAv etau"

asurasUdana told the gods "these two are dead"

evam astv iti taJM cAha kazyapaM vinatA tadA

and vinatA told kazyapa, "evam astu"

and vinatA told kazyapa, "okay"

tiSTha tiSTheti bhISmam Aha

he said "tiSTha tiSTha" to bhISma

Sometimes the quoted words are not literal. For instance, suppose the queen tells a servant rAjJo lekho dIyatAm "give this letter to the king". The servant might then report the exact words of the queen, this way --

rajJo lekhanM dIyatAm iti devy uvAca deva

Your majesty, the queen said "give this letter to the king".

but saying "to you" instead of "to the king" is fine too--

tava lekhanM dIyatAm iti devy uvAca deva

Your majesty, the queen told me to give this letter to you.

Sometimes iti is used without a verb of saying, and then it may translate as "saying" or "thinking" --

mAM haniSyanty eta iti dhAvitaH "thinking 'these are going to kill me', he ran away"

special nounbases ←

chunk 63: special words

→ preverbs