208. Before the surd palatal

Before the surd palatal, lingual, and dental mutes, there is inserted after final n a sibilant of each of those classes respectively, before which the n becomes anusvāra: thus, devāṅç ca, bhavāṅç chidyate, kumārāṅs trīn, abharaṅs tataḥ, dadhaṅç (425 c) carum.

a. This rule, which in the classical language has established itself in the form here given, as a phonetic rule of unvarying application, really involves a historic survival. The large majority of cases of final n in the language (not far from three quarters) are for original ns; and the retention of the sibilant in such cases, when once its historic ground had been forgotten, was extended by analogy to all others.

b. Practically, the rule applies only to n before c and t, since cases involving the other initials occur either not at all, or only with extreme rarity (the Veda does not present an example of any of them). In the Veda, the insertion is not always made, and the different texts have with regard to its different usages, which are fully explained in the Prātiçākhyas; in general, it is less frequent in the older texts. When the ç does not appear between n and c, the n is of course assimilated, becoming ñ (203).