A Controversial Provision for the Nominative Ending Nominal Sentences and Aṣṭādhyāyī 2.3.46

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Davide Mocci
Tiziana Pontillo



The present joint contribution offers a tentative comprehensive re-interpretation of Pāṇini’s rule A 2.3.46, and shows how that rule teaches the application of the nominative ending without making use of the notion of “subject,” a notion that belongs to other grammatical systems, but not to Pāṇini’s. We discuss the controversial domain of some segments of its wording by attempting to adhere to Pāṇini’s framework and his usus scribendi.

In particular, we read the first constituent of the compound prātipadikārtha­ liṅgaparimāṇavacana­ as a genitive (prātipadikasya) depending on a dvandva made up of three constituents, i.e., artha­, liṅga­, and parimāṇavacana­, and we take parimāṇa­ as denoting a quantity (‘one’, ‘two’, or ‘many’) that, combining with vacana­ (‘signifying’), is substantially equivalent to the concept of grammatical number in modern linguistics.

We finally show that our reading of A 2.3.46 is able to generate the nominative endings affixed to the subject and (nominal) predicate of a nominal sentence: as a consequence, nominal sentences might actually not have been neglected by Pāṇini.

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