sanskrit: past participle, no verb

MindBoggle

Senior Member
Danish. English from childhood
Hello everybody!

I always get confused when there's a past participle in stead of a verb.
For example:

राज्नां यशोऽस्माभिः प्रशस्तम् ।

Strictly, it just says (I guess):
King's fame by us praised.

But how to translate?

Should it be:
The king's fame is praised by us.

or:
The king's fame was praised by us.

or:
The king's fame has been praised by us.

- or is it a contextual thing?

Best regards
MindBoggle
 
  • Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    Hello again :)

    First: *राज्ञां, surely?

    राज्ञां < राज्ञाम् = gen pl of masc noun rājan- "kings'/of the kings"
    यशो < यशः = nom sg of neut noun yaśas- "fame/glory"
    ऽस्माभिः < अस्माभिः = ins pl of the 1st person pronoun asmad- "by us"
    प्रशस्तम् = nom sg neut of praśasta- (which, as you rightly point out, is a past passive participle (ppp)) "praised/commended" - agrees with यशः

    The glory/fame of the kings was sung (literally: praised, but "sung" is more idiomatic) by us, i.e. We sang the glory of the kings, or - more loosely - We sang the praises of the kings.

    Now, to answer your question more specifically, as it's the past passive participle, it really should be in the past tense, there is a present participle if needed.

    Now, Sanskrit textbooks are notoriously bad at explaining syntax and, perhaps, this is partly because a lot of Sanskrit texts are in verse and so syntax is pretty loose, however, I believe it is possible to use the ppp (past passive participle) to express a perfective aspect (e.g. "has been") but, to do this, I think you would need a finite verb, like the verb to be. An example, which I think is probably Deshpande's, which I have written down is:

    रामो गतो ऽस्ति ।
    Rāma-ḥ ga-ta-ḥ as-ti
    Rāma.nom.sg go-part-nom.sg is-3.sg.pres
    Rāma is gone.
     

    MindBoggle

    Senior Member
    Danish. English from childhood
    Hello again :)

    First: *राज्ञां, surely?

    Yes - I don't have that character on the keyboard I'm using. ;)

    राज्ञां < राज्ञाम् = gen pl of masc noun rājan- "kings'/of the kings"

    Oops, yes. Plural, of course. :eek:

    The glory/fame of the kings was sung (literally: praised, but "sung" is more idiomatic)

    That's a good translation, yes.

    I believe it is possible to use the ppp (past passive participle) to express a perfective aspect (e.g. "has been")

    Yes, that was exactly what I was wondering about! :)

    but, to do this, I think you would need a finite verb, like the verb to be. An example, which I think is probably Deshpande's, which I have written down is:

    रामो गतो ऽस्ति ।
    Rāma-ḥ ga-ta-ḥ as-ti
    Rāma.nom.sg go-part-nom.sg is-3.sg.pres
    Rāma is gone.

    Ah, yes. Now that you mention it, I remember seeing something like that in the book somewhere. :)

    To sum up. The rule (I guess) must be:

    When the ppp is transitive and replaces the finite verb, it expresses past tense (and passive voice) but neither continuous nor perfective aspect (i.e. we should translate with passive, simple past 'was xxx-ed').
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    ज्ञ should be formed by ज + ् + ञ

    Yeah your rule sounds about right to me :) I'm not a fan of Mr Deshpande's textbook, I must confess, but he doesn't do a bad job of explaining the participles I think. Anyway, in a lot of real Sanskrit texts participles are everywhere, just everywhere, you will get used to it :)
     
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