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General Rules of Compounds
  • General:
    • Compounds are made by combining nouns, adjectives, indeclinables, and prefixes into a single word.
    • All members of a compound exist in their stem forms (without case endings) except for the final member, which is declined normally according to case, number, and gender.
    • Certain words and endings change in compounds:
      • -इन् and -अन् stems lose their final "-न्" as prior members of a compound.
      • Stems in -अन्त् typically take their weak form -अ्त as prior members of a compound.
      • The pronouns अहम् & त्वम् always take their पञ्चमी form (मत्- / अस्मत्- / त्वत्- / युष्मत्-) as prior members of a compound.
      • The pronouns सः, तत् & सा always take the form तत्- as prior members of a compound.
  • Word Order & Analysis:
    • The final member of the compound is the thing which itself does not modify and is not subordinate to any other word in the compound. (e.g. "wheel-barrow", not "barrow-wheel")
    • Each compound is analysed two members at a time, starting from the final member. Additional members follow, with each pair being analysed using the cumulative result of previous pairs.
  • External sandhi rules apply between each member of a compound.
    (e.g. त्वत् + मुखम् -> त्वन्मुखम्; तपस् / तपः + वनम् -> तपोवनम्)
  • All relationships between members of a compound (or to another word outside the compound) may be described by specific names and rules, explained below:
कर्मधारय compounds
  • Both members have the same case relationship, 1st case.
  • Common applications:
    • Adjective + Noun: A noun described by an adjective.
        तुङ्गो वृक्षः -> तुङ्गवृक्षः ("A tall tree.")
    • Noun + Adjective: An adjective qualified by a noun.
        काकः इव कृष्णः -> काककृष्णः ("Black as a crow.")
    • Noun + Noun: A noun qualified by another noun.
        राजा ऋषिः -> राजर्षिः ("King-sage.")
तत्पुरुष (syntactic) compounds
  • The first member has a specific case relationship to the second. This may be any case except 1st (in which case the compound would be a कर्मधारय, noted above.
  • Examples:
      [द्वितीया] सर्गं गमनम् -> सर्गगमनम् ("Going to heaven.")
      [तृतीया] नृपेन हतः -> नृपहतः ("Slain by the king.")
      [षष्ठी] देवस्य पुत्रः -> देवपुत्रः ("Son of the god.")
      [सप्तमी] वने वासः -> वनवासः ("Dwelling in the forest.")
उपपद ('reduced-word') compounds
  • Several compounds end in reduced forms of bare verbal roots, which signify the agent of the action of the verbal root. The prior member is often the object of this root.
  • In generating 'reduced word' members, the long vowels of roots are shortened, and roots ending in a short vowel have a final -त् added.
  • Examples:
      ज्ञा (9P): शास्त्राणि जानाति -> शास्त्रज्ञः ("Knower of the śāstras.")
      हन् (2P): वृत्रं हन्ति -> वृत्रहन् ("Slayer of Vṛtra")
      जि (1P): इन्द्रं जयति -> इन्द्रजित् ("Conqueror of Indra.")