In the previous lesson, we learned about the prātipadika. By combining a prātipadika with one of the sup suffixes, we create a complete subanta.
In this lesson, we'll learn about the basic sup endings.
The sup endings are defined in the scope of three adhikāra rules. The first two are familiar:
… is a pratyaya (suffix).
… and [it is inserted] after [the base].
And the last is new:
After [the suffixes] ṅī or āp, or after a prātipadika (stem), …
ṅī and āp are pratyayas that create feminine bases, and we can set them aside for now.
Here are the endings in the sup pratyāhāra:
su̐, au, jas, am, auṭ, śas, ṭā, bhyām, bhis, ṅe, bhyām, bhyas, ṅasi̐, bhyām, bhyas, ṅas, os, ām, ṅi, os, and sup.
There are several points worth noticing here.
First, notice that many of these endings have it sounds attached to them:
Some of these it letters are for the sake of making pratyāhāras. Thus suṭ refers to just the first five of these endings, and sup (as we know already) refers to all of them.
Some are labeled systematically. For example, the ṅit endings — that is, the endings with ṅ as an it — are often replaced, depending on the prātipadika and its gender.
Some of these it letters are for the sake of easier pronunciation, or they have other miscellaneous functions. Thus we have su̐, ṅasi̐, and the like.
Second, notice that these endings are not the standard endings we would use for a stem like rāma. Pāṇini examined many different nominal ending patterns and chose this set to represent what they have in common. Then we can apply various vidhi rules to get the endings we need, as we did for the tiṅ endings.
How do we choose which ending to use? In part, we can reuse these rules from when we studied the tiṅ endings:
तिङस्त्रीणि त्रीणि प्रथममध्यमोत्तमाः। १.४.१०१
tiṅastrīṇi trīṇi prathamamadhyamottamāḥ (1.4.101)
tiṅaḥ trīṇi trīṇi prathama-madhyama-uttamāḥ
Taken three by three, the tiṅ [suffixes] are called prathama (first), madhyama (middle), and uttama (last).
tāni ekavacana-dvivacana-bahuvacanāni ekaśaḥ
They [i.e. these triples] are called ekavacana (singular), dvivacana (dual), and bahuvacana (plural) when taken one by one.
[ekavacana, dvicana, and bahuvacana also apply for the triples] of sup (i.e. the nominal endings).
And [these triples are each called] vibhakti.
By choosing a specific vacana (number), we narrow twenty-one endings down to seven. That leaves us with a very important distinction to make:
The different sup vibhaktis don't have any special names. They are simply called prathamā (first), dvitīyā (second), and the like:
सु औ जस्
su au jas
अम् औट् शस्
am auṭ śas
How do we choose which vibhakti to use? As you might guess, these vibhaktis imply different semantics. But the route we take from semantics to a specific vibhakti is an interesting one. The next two lessons will focus on this process.