129. The i-vowels

The i-vowels, the u-vowels, and ऋ ṛ, before a dissimilar vowel or diphthong, are regularly converted each into its own corresponding semivowel, य् y or व् v or र् r. Examples are:

इत्याह ity āha (iti + āha);

मध्विव madhv iva (madhu + iva);

दुहित्रर्थे duhitrarthe (duhitṛ-arthe);

स्त्र्यस्य stry asya (strī + asya);

वध्वै vadhvāi (vadhū-āi).

a. But in internal combination the i and u-vowels are not seldom changed instead to iy and uv—and this especially in monosyllables, or after two constants, where otherwise a group of consonants difficult of pronunciation would be the result. The cases will be noticed below, in explaining inflected forms.

b. A radical i-vowel is converted into y even before i in perfect tense-inflection, so ninyima (ninī + ima).

c. In a few sporadic cases, i and u become iy and uv even in word-composition: e.g., triyavi (tri + avi), viyan̄ga (vi + an̄ga), suvita (su + ita): compare 1204 b, c.

d. Not very seldom, the same word (especially as found in different texts of the older language) has more than one form, showing various treatment of an i or u-vowel: e.g. svàr or súvar, tanvè or tanúve, budhnyà or budhníya, rā́tryāi or rā́triyāi. For the most part, doubtless, these are only two ways of writing the same pronunciation, sú-ar, budhnía, and so on; and the discordance has no other importance, historical or phonetic. There is more or less of this difference of treatment of an i- or u-element after a consonant in all periods of the language.

e. In the elder language, there is a marked difference, in respect to the frequency of vowel-combination for avoiding hiatus as compared with that of non-combination and consequent hiatus, between the class of cases where two vowel-sounds, similar or dissimilar, would coalesce into one (126, 127) and that where an i- or u-vowel would be converted into a semivowel. Thus, in word-composition, the ratio of the cases of coalesced vowels to those of hiatus are in RV. as five to one, in AV. as nineteen to one, while in the cases of semivowel-conversion are in RV. only one in twelve, in AV. only one in five; in sentence-combination, the cases of coalescence are in both RV. and AV. about as seven to one, while those of semivowel-conversion are in RV. only one in fifty, in AV. one in five.

f. For certain cases of the loss or assimilation of i and u before y and v respectively, see 233 a.