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379. Variations

Variations, as between stronger and weaker forms, are very general among consonantal stems: either of two degrees (strong and weak), or of three (strong, middle, and weakest): see above, 311.

a. The peculiar neuter forms, according to the usual rule (311 b), are made in the plural from the strong stem, in singular and dual from the weak — or, when the gradation is threefold, in singular from the middle stem, in dual from the weakest.

b. As in the case of stems ending in short vowels (āsyā̀ni, vā́rīṇi, mádhūni, dātṝ́ṇi, etc.), a nasal sometimes appears in the special neuter plural cases which is found nowhere else in inflection. Thus, from the stems in as, is, us, the nom.-acc.-voc. pl. in -āṅsi, -īṅṣi, -ūṅṣi are very common at every period. According to the grammarians, the radical stems etc. (division A) are treated in the same way; but examples of such neuters are of extreme rarity in the language; no Vedic text offers one, and in the Brāhmaṇas and Sūtras have been noted only -hunti (AB. vii. 2. 3), -vṛnti (PB. xvi. 2. 7 et al.), -bhāñji (KB. xxvii. 7), -bhṛ́nti (ÇB. viii. 1. 31), and -yuñji(LÇS. ii. 1. 8); while in the later language is found here and there a case, like -çrunti (Ragh.), -pūṅṣi (Çiç.); it may be questioned whether they are not later analogical formations.