51. Semivowels

Semivowels: य् y, र् r, ल् l, व् v.

a. The name given to this class of sounds by the Hindu grammarians is antaḥsthā standing between — either from their character as utterances intermediate between vowel and consonant, or (more probably) from the circumstance of their being placed between the mutes and spirants in the arrangement of the consonants.

b. The semivowels are clearly akin with the several mute series in their physical character, and they are classified along with those series — though not without some discordances of view — by the Hindu grammarians. They are said to be produced with the organs slightly in contact (īṣatspṛṣṭa), or in imperfect contact (duḥspṛṣṭa).