Also known as: napuṃsaka-liṅga ("neuter gender")
Now is a good time to start our study of the neuter gender. This might seem like an odd idea; why should we start studying another gender when we haven't even finished our discussion of the masculine gender? The answer is that the neuter and masculine genders behave very similarly. The two differ in cases 1, 2, and 8 only; they are the same everywhere else.
You can see the behavior of a normal neuter noun below. The word shown is phala, which means "fruit."
Notice that case 1 and case 2 use identical forms. This is one of the strange properties of the neuter gender, and it applies to all neuter words.
tad in the neuter gender
Let's take a look at tad in the neuter gender:
|Case 1 (subject)||तत्
|Case 2 (object)||तत्
The words tat and te follow some new external sandhi rules.
First, tat follows these general rules:
- A final stop will take the voice of the letter that follows it.
- A final stop will become nasal if followed by a nasal consonant. It will keep its own point of pronunciation.
तत् वनम् → तद् वनम्
tat vanam → tad vanam
That is a forest.
तत् माम् गच्छति → तन् मां गच्छति
tat mām gacchati → tan māṃ gacchati
It goes to me.
Moreover, a final t follows this rule:
Final t takes the point of pronunciation of the stop that follows it, as long as the stop is not in kavarga or pavarga.
तत् जयति → तज् जयति
tat jayati → taj jayati
He conquers it. (Or, "It conquers.")
तत् फलम् → तत् फलम्
tat phalam → tat phalam
That is a fruit.
Vowels in the dual number
The dual form te is identical to the case 1 plural of masculine tad. These two forms are easy to confuse; but all dual forms follow an extra sandhi rule:
ī, ū, and e, when they are at the end of dual forms, are immune to sandhi changes; they never combine.
ते इच्छति → ते इच्छति
te icchati → te icchati
He wants the two of them (neuter).
ते इच्छन्ति → त इच्छन्ति
te icchanti → ta icchanti
They (masculine) want.
फले अश्वः इच्छति → फले अश्व इच्छति
phale aśvaḥ icchati → phale aśva icchati
The horse wants the two fruits.
लभावहे इच्छावः → लभावहे इच्छावः
labhāvahe icchāvaḥ → labhāvahe icchāvaḥ
We (two) obtain, we (two) want.
This rule is quite strange, but it's best to just accept it and move on. If you like, you can consider it a way to remove ambiguity:
They want the two of them.