A New Rule in Vedic Metrics

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Gašper Beguš



In this paper I propose a new rule of Vedic meter. The glides *v and *y are regularly lost before the corresponding high vowels ū̆ and ̆ī in Vedic. I argue that the word-initial glides *v and *y before the short vowels and still “make position” and that they should be restored for metrical purposes. This means that word-final syllables of the shape -V̆ C should be scanned long if the following syllable begins with a u- or i- that goes back to *vu- or *yi-. This new rule has consequences for the general metrical shape of the Rigveda, as cadences previously scanned as irregular will be repaired to their canonical shape. The rule can also be employed as etymologically decisive for words that can potentially go back to forms with or without an initial glide.

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