87. The accentuation

The accentuation is marked in manuscripts only of the older literature: namely, in the primary Vedic texts, or saṁhitās, in two of the Brāhmaṇas (Tāittirīya and Çatapatha), in the Tāittirīya-Āraṇyaka, in certain passages of the Āitareya-Āraṇyaka, and in the Suparṇādhyāya. There are a number of methods of writing accent, more or less different from one another; the one found in manuscripts of the Rig-Veda, which is most widely known, and of which most of the others are only slight modifications, is as follows.

a. The acute syllable is left unmarked; the circumflex, whether independent or enclitic, has a short perpendicular stroke above; and the grave next preceding an acute or (independent) circumflex has a short horizontal stroke below. Thus,

अ॒ग्निम् agním; जु॒होति॑ juhóti; त॒न्वा॑ tanvā̀; क्व॑ kvà.

b. But the introductory grave stroke below cannot be given if an acute syllable is initial; hence an unmarked syllable at the beginning of a word is to be understood as acute; and hence also, if several grave syllables precede an acute at the beginning of a sentence, they must all alike have the grave sign. Thus,

इन्द्रः॑ índraḥ; ते té; क॒रि॒ष्यसि॑ kariṣyási; तु॒वि॒जा॒ता tuvijātā́.

c. All the grave syllables, however, which follow a marked circumflex are left unmarked, until the occurrence of another accented syllable causes the one which precedes it to take the preparatory stroke below. Thus,

सु॒दृशी॑कसँदृक् sudṛ́çīkasaṁdṛk;
सु॒दृशी॑कसँदृ॒ग्गवा॑म् sudṛ́çīkasaṁdṛg gávām.

d. If an independent circumflex be followed by an acute (or by another independent circumflex), a figure 1 is set after the former circumflexed vowel if it be short, or a figure 3 if it be long, and signs of accent are applied as in the following examples:

अ॒प्स्व१॒न्तः apsv à1ntáḥ (from apsú antáḥ); रा॒यो॒३॒वनिः rāyò3 vániḥ (from rāyó avániḥ).

The rationale of this mode of designation is not well understood; the Prātiçākhyas give no account of it. In the scholastic utterance of the syllable so designated is made a peculiar quaver or roulade of the voice, called kampa or vikampana.

e. The accent-marks are written with red ink in the manuscripts, being added after the text is written, and perhaps often by another hand.