Contents‎ > ‎CHAPTERS‎ > ‎CHAPTER XVIII‎ > ‎

1247. Sanskrit compounds fall into three principal classes

Sanskrit compounds fall into three principal classes:

I. a. Copulative or aggregative compounds, of which the members are syntactically coördinate: a joining together into one of words which in an uncompounded condition would be connected by the conjunction and (rarely or).

b. Examples are: índrāváruṇāu Indra and Varunasatyānṛté truth and falsehoodkṛtākṛtám done and undonedevagandharvamānuṣoragarakṣasās gods and Gandharvas and men and serpents and demons.

c. The members of such a compound may obviously be of any number, two or more than two. No compound of any other class can contain more than two members — of which, however, either or both may be compound, or decompound (below, 1248).

II. d. Determinative compounds, of which the former member is syntactically dependent on the latter, as its determining or qualifying adjunct: being either, 1. a noun (or pronoun) limiting it in a case-relation, or, 2. an adjective or adverb describing it. And, according as it is the one or the other, are to be distinguished the two sub-classes: A. Dependent compounds; and B. Descriptive compounds. Their difference is not an absolute one.

e. Examples are: of dependent compounds, amitrasenā́ army of enemiespādodaka water for the feetāyurdā́ life-givinghástakṛta made with the hands; of descriptive compounds, maharṣí great sagepriyasakhi dear friendamítra enemysúkṛta well done.

f. These two classes are of primary value; they have undergone no unifying modification in the process of composition; their character as parts of speech is determined by their final member, and they are capable of being resolved into equivalent phrases by giving the proper independent form and formal means of connection to each member. That is not the case with the remaining class, which accordingly is more fundamentally distinct from them than they are from one another.

III. g. Secondary adjective compounds, the value of which is not given by a simple resolution into their component parts, but which, though having as final member a noun, are themselves adjectives. These, again, are of two sub-classes: A. Possessive compounds, which are noun-compounds of the preceding class, with the idea of possessing added, turning them from nouns into adjectives; B. Compounds in which the second member is a noun syntactically dependent on the first: namely, 1. Prepositional compounds, of a governing preposition and following noun; 2. Participial compounds (only Vedic), of a present participle and its following object.

h. The sub-class B. is comparatively small, and its second division (participial compounds) is hardly met with even in the later Vedic.

i. Examples are: vīrasena possessing a hero-armyprajākāma having desire of progenytigmáçṛn̄ga sharphornedháritasraj wearing green garlandsatimātrá excessive;yāvayáddveṣas driving away enemies.

j. The adjective compounds are, like simple adjectives, liable to be used, especially in the neuter, as abstract and collective nouns, and in the accusative as adverbs; and out of these uses have grown apparent special classes of compounds, reckoned and named as such by the Hindu grammarians. The relation of the classification given above to that presented in the native grammar, and widely adopted from the latter by the European grammars, will be made clear as we go on to treat the classes in detail.