Imatges de pàgina

Of these, the two last forms are very rarely met with, except in the nouns and participles derived from them; and will therefore be but slightly noticed in these pages. So, also, from every noun, certain nominal verbs may, in theory, be elicited. Very few of these, however, are in frequent use. There are ten conjugations. Primitive verbs may belong to any one of the first nine conjugations, but by far the greatest number belong either to the Ist, 4th, or 6th, the other six conjugations comprising so few verbs that they may be regarded rather as exceptions. These nine conjugations apply to the first four tenses only. The other tenses of the primitive are formed according to one rule. Causal verbs form the 10th conjugation. Every root has a passive form, entirely independent of the conjugational form assumed by the root; and the student will observe, that the passive cannot, in Sanscrit, be considered a voice, according to the usual acceptation of the term. For, in that case, he would expect a verb in the passive voice to correspond in form with a verb in the active, in the way that audior corresponds with audio, and ακούομαι with ακούω, the terminations or system of infection only being changed. But, in Sanscrit, the passive often varies entirely in form from the active verb, whilst the terminations may in both cases be the same, viz. those of the ātmanepada. It is rather a distinct derivative from the root, formed on one invariable principle, without the least community with the conjugational structure of the active verb. Thus, the root bhid, to divide,” is of the 7th conjugation, and makes bhinatti or bhinte, “he divides "; dwish, “to hate,” is of the 2d conjugation, and makes dweshti or dwishțe, “ he hates”; but the passive of both is formed according to one invariable rule, by the simple insertion of y, without the least reference to the conjugational form of the active: thus, bhidyate, “he is divided "; dwishyate, “he is hated.”

From these observations it is evident that the difficulty of the Sanscrit verb is as nothing when compared with the Greek. The Greek verb has three voices, and about ninety tenses and moods : the Sanscrit has only two voices, and not more than twenty-one tenses and moods. Besides which, a far greater number of verbs are susceptible of the three voices in Greek, than of the two in Sanscrit. Moreover, in Sanscrit, there are no contracted verbs, and no difficulties resulting from difference of dialect; and although there are ten conjugations, yet these have reference to four tenses only, and, under some of these conjugations, only two or three common verbs are contained.

Verbs primitive, causal, and passive, may, like nouns, be divided into simple and compound. Simple verbs may be regarded as falling under two heads, either as derived from uncompounded roots, or as derived from nouns. Compound verbs are those formed by combining roots with prepositions or other adverbial prefixes. *

SIMPLE VERBS DERIVED FROM ROOTS. It has been already shown that there are a large number of monosyllabic sounds in Sanscrit, called roots, which, having a mere ideal existence, are the source of verbs as well as nouns. These roots are in number about two thousand, and the theory of grammarians is, that each of them may serve as the basis on which to construct five kinds of verbs ; l. a primitive, transitive or intransitive; 2. a causal, having often a causal and often merely a transitive signification ; 3. a passive ; 4. a desiderative, giving a sense of wishing to the root; and 5. an intensive (or frequentative), heightening the idea contained in the root. It will be found, however, in practice, that the greater number of these two thousand roots never occur at all in the form of verbs, nor, indeed, in any other form but that of the nouns to which they give origin; and that the roots in real use as the source of verbs are comparatively very few. Of these few, moreover, certain particular roots (such, for example, as kri, “to do "), as if to compensate for the inactivity of the others, are kept in constant employment, and, by compounding them with prepositions and other prefixes, applied to the expression of the most various and opposite ideas.

Nevertheless, theoretically, from every root in the language may be elicited five kinds of verbs. The first, or primitive verb,

* Compound verbs will be treated of in the chapter on compound words.

is formed from the root, according to the nine different rules for the changes of the root, required by the first nine conjugations ; the second, or causal, is formed according to the rule for the change of the root, required by the 10th conjugation ; viz. the addition of ay to the root, the vowel of which has taken the Guna change. The third, or passive, is formed according to the rule for the change of the root, required by the 4th conjugation, viz. the addition of y in the first four tenses. The fourth, or desiderative, is formed by the addition of ish ors, the root also undergoing reduplication. The fifth, or intensive, is formed like the passive, according to the rule required by the 4th conjugation, and is, in fact, a reduplicated passive verb. It may also be formed analogously to the rule for the 3d conjugation. Thus, take the root shubh, conveying the idea of “shining "—from this are elicited, 1. the primitive, shobh, to shine"; 2. the causal, shobhay, “to cause to shine” or “illuminate"; 3. the passive, shubhy, to be bright "; 4. the desiderative, shushobhish, to desire to shine "; 5. the intensive, shoshuby, “ to shine very brightly.” See also p. 19.

Of these five forms of verbs, the primitive, causal, and passive, are the only three used by the best writers, and to these alone the attention of the reader will now be directed. The subject, therefore, will divide itself into two heads. In the first place, the formation of the base: ist, of primitive; 2dly, of causal ; 3dly, of passive verbs. In the second place, the inflection of the base of these same forms respectively. But here it may be asked, what is the base ?


The base of the verb is that changed form of the root to which the terminations are immediately affixed, and holds exactly that intermediate position between the root and the inflected verb itself, which the crude form holds between the root and the inflected noun. This great peculiarity, therefore, cannot be too often or too forcibly impressed upon the attention of the learner, that, in the treatment of Sanscrit verbs, two perfectly distinct subjects offer themselves for consideration : 1st, the formation of the base, or, in other words, an investigation into the changes which the root undergoes before the terminations are affixed; 2dly, the inflection of the base, or the union of the base with its terminations.

The first of these two subjects of inquiry will be found to be that in which consists all the difficulty of the subject; for, as far as the terminations are concerned, no dead language conforms more systematically to one general scheme, than the one with which we are concerned.

There are ten rules or conjugations, according to which the bases of verbs may be formed. But in these we have already noted a great peculiarity, and one which has much weight in a comparison between the difficulties of a Greek and Sanscrit verb. Of these ten conjugations, the first nine have reference only to the first four tenses ; viz. the present, first preterite, potential, and imperative. Hence these are called the conjugational tenses. After passing these four tenses the conjugational structure of the base is entirely forgotten; and in the formation of the bases of the six remaining tenses all roots conform to one general rule, and are as if they belonged to one general conjugation. Hence these tenses are called non-conjugational. The tenth alone retains the conjugational structure of the base throughout all the tenses of the verb; but as this conjugation has no reference to primitives, but to causals only, no confusion can arise from this apparent inconsistency. Of the 2000 roots, about one half follow the 1st conjugation, about 130 follow the 4th, and about 140 the 6th. Of the remaining roots, not more than 20 in common use follow the 2d; not more than 5 follow the 3d; not more than 6 the 7th; not more than 4 the 5th ; not more than 1 the 8th ; not more than 12 the 9th.

Primitive verbs, therefore, which constitute the first nine conjugations, will be divided into two grand classes, according as they fall under one or other of these nine conjugations. Regular primitive verbs will be those of the 1st, 4th, and 6th conjugations. Irregular primitives those of the 2d, 3d, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th conjugations. The first class we call regular, because under it are contained nearly all the common verbs in the language; the second irregular, as comprehending only fifty or sixty useful verbs in all.

All causal verbs follow the 10th conjugation, and, in point of fact, constitute this conjugation ; for all those primitive verbs which are said by grammarians to belong to the 10th conjugation, may be regarded as causal verbs.

All passive verbs are ātmanepada verbs of the 4th conjugation. The parasmaipada of the 4th conjugation is constituted of certain primitive verbs, which have a neuter signification.

† There seems no necessity for creating a tenth conjugation as distinct from the causal. So that it would greatly simplify the subject, if this conjugation were expunged altogether from the Grammar, and the addition of ay to the root considered, in all cases, as the mark of a causal verb. And it is plain that ay is not the sign of a separate conjugation, in the way that nu is the sign of the 5th conjugation, or in the way of any other conjugational sign, for it is retained throughout the other tenses of the verb, not only in the first four, just as the desiderative ish is retained throughout. And although there are many verbs given under the 10th conjugation, which have rather a transitive than a causal signification, yet there are also many causal verbs which are used only in a transitive sense. It will therefore make the subject less complex to consider that the affix ay is always the sign of the causal form, merely bearing in mind that causal forms do not necessarily imply causality.

It may also be questioned whether there be any necessity for creating a 4th conjugation as distinct from the passive. For since it is found that either a neuter or passive signification attaches to nearly all the verbs placed under the 4th conjugation, and that passive verbs are identical with its ātmanepada inflection, it may with reason be suspected that the occasional assumption of a neuter signification and a parasmaipada inflection by a passive verb, was the only cause which gave rise to the creation of this conjugation. And this theory is supported by the fact that many passive verbs (as, for example, jāyate, “he is born,” from the root jan; and pūryate, “he is filled,” from the root prā) are confounded with verbs of this conjugation. So that it seems not unlikely, that, by making this 4th conjugation, Grammarians only meant to say that the passive form of verbs, or the addition of y to the root, is also the form that may be used to express a neuter or intransitive signification; the only difference requisite to be made between the two forms being exactly that which might be expected to exist between them; viz. that

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