Re: [tied] aks.ara, Sanskrit; is there an IE cognate?

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7709
Date: 2001-06-21

My suggestion is that "letter", "written character/syllable", etc. represent language prevented from "flowing away" or instant decay -- frozen, so to speak. As the Romans put it, _Verba volant, scripta manent_ -- here imperishability is relative and need not to be taken quite literally as applying to the material of the tablets.
<raks.ati> and <ks.arati> are not related -- just similar by chance. Their meanings ("protect" and "melt away") are not even similar. I am not sure about the meaning "sword". Where does it occur?
----- Original Message -----
From: S.Kalyanaraman
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 5:04 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] aks.ara, Sanskrit; is there an IE cognate?

--- In cybalist@......, "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@......> wrote:
> I think aks.ara = a-ks.ara- 'not melting away, imperishable'
(opposite of ks.ara-), hence 'something permanent, record, writing', a
derivative of {}, cf. ks.arati 'flows, melts away, vanishes'.
The latter often regarded as related to Gk. phtheiro: 'destroy, spoil'
(< *phther-jo:), phthora: 'destruction, decay, deterioration', though
the semantic evolution behind these meanings is not quite clear.

How do we judge or rationalise the semantic distance between the
concept of 'melting away or perishing' and 'letter or sign'?

Is it because the early writing systems were use incisions on baked
clay tablets or copper tablets and the assumption that these were
imperishable media? Is it because there was an early perception of the
syllabic nature of the language and the stability that the syllables
had in communicating through parole?

Assuming that a-ks.ara is the negative of ks.ara, why does the latter
phoneme attain the semant. related to 'destruction'? Is this the
reason why in Sanskrit, aks.ara also means a 'sword'? We also have
raks. = protection (Sanskrit).