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311. Variations of Stem

Variations of Stem. a. By far the most important matter under this head is the distinction made in large classes of words (chiefly those ending in consonants) between strong and weak stem-forms—a distinction standing in evident connection with the phenomena of accent. In the nom. and accus. sing. and du. and the nom. pl., (the five cases whose endings are never accented: 316 a), the stem often has a stronger or fuller form than in the rest: thus, for example (424), राजानम् rājān-am, राजानौ rājān-āu, राजानस् rājān-as, against राज्ञा rājñ-ā and राजभिस् rājabhis; or (450 b) महान्तम् mahā́nt-am and (447) अदन्तम् adánt-am against महता mahat-ā́ and अदता adat-ā́. These five, therefore, are called the cases with strong stem, or, briefly, the strong cases; and the rest are called the cases with weak stem, or the weak cases. And the weak cases, again, are in some classes of words to be distinguished into cases of weakest stem, or weakest cases, and cases of middle stem, or middle cases: the former having endings beginning with a vowel (instr., dat., abl.-gen., and loc. sing.; gen.-loc. du.; gen. pl.); the latter, with a consonant (instr.-dat.-abl. du; instr., dat.-abl., and loc. pl.).

b. The class of strong cases, as above defined, belongs only to masculine and feminine stems. In neuter inflection, the only strong cases are the nom.-acc. pl.; while, in those stems that make a distinction of weakest and middle form, the nom.-acc. du. belongs to the weakest class, and the nom.-acc. sing. to the middle: thus, for example, compare (408) प्रत्यञ्चि pratyáñc-i, nom.-acc. pl. neut., and प्रत्यञ्चस् pratyáñc-as, nom. pl. masc.; प्रतीची pratīc-ī́, nom.-acc. du. neut., and प्रतीचोस् pratīc-ós, gen.-loc. du.; प्रत्यक् pratyák, nom.-acc. sing. neut., and प्रत्यग्भिस् pratyág-bhis, instr. pl.