Aryaman Arora papers blog projects

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The -kk- verbal extension in Indo-Aryan

Last updated 2022 May 03

After the fragmentation of Sanskrit, one of the innovative features that developed across the Indo-Aryan language family are the "pleonastic" suffixes, including (but not limited to) -kk-, -ḍ-, -r-, -l(l)-, and nominal diminutives -ka- (m.) and -ikā- (f.). Pleonastic means serving no semantic purpose; basically, the consensus has been that these suffixes merely served as phonological extensions to distinguish words after the collapse of many phonotactic distinctions from Sanskrit to Middle Indo-Aryan. But, it is worth re-examining that (on the surface, reasonable) claim. Even if these suffixes were meaningless at first, it is probable that they ended up serving some purpose by the chance nature of which lexemes got which specific suffix.

Specifically, I decided to look at the distribution of the -kk- extension in New Indo-Aryan languages. It seems to follow a pattern of creating denominal verbs from onomatopoeic nouns, which show up a bit in later Sanskrit and very commonly in MIA and afterwards. I am not the first to make this observation; that would be Emeneau (1969)1. I just want to qualify this observation with some more detailed analysis, specifically noting cases where non-onomatopoeic stems get this suffix.

This is in-progress.

# Hindi

Movement-related verbs:


Verbs probably derived from onomatopoeia:

  1. Emeneau, Murray B. “Onomatopoetics in the Indian linguistic area.” Language (1969): 274-299. ↩︎