213. Final m in external combination

Final म् m in external combination is a servile sound, being assimilated to any following consonant. Thus:

a. It remains unchanged only before a vowel or labial mute.

b. But also, by an anomalous exception, before r of the root rāj in samrā́j and its derivatives samrā́jñī and sāmrājya.

c. Before a mute of any other class than labial, it becomes a nasal of that class.

d. Before the semivowels y, l, v it becomes, according to the Hindu grammarians, a nasal semivowel, the nasal counterpart of each respectively (see 71).

e. Before r, a sibilant, or h, it becomes anusvāra (see 71).

f. The manuscripts and the editions in general make no attempt to distinguish the nasal tones produced by the assimilation of m before a following semivowel from that before a spirant.

g. But if h be immediately followed by another consonant (which can only be a nasal or semivowel), the m is allowed to be assimilated to that following consonant. This is because the h has no position of the mouth-organs peculiar to itself, but is uttered in the position of the next sound. The Prātiçākhyas do not take any notice of the case.

h. Cases are met with in the Veda where a final m appears to be dropped before a vowel, the final and initial vowels being then combined into one. The pada-text then generally gives a wrong interpretation. Thus, saṁvánano ’bhayaṁkarám (RV. viii. 1. 2; pada-text: -nanā ubh-; SV. -nanam).

i. It has been pointed out above (73) that the assimilated m is generally represented in texts by the anusvāra-sign, and that in this work it is transliterated by ṁ (instead of a nasal mute or ṅ).