Re: [tied] Sanskrit and e, a, o

From: P&G
Message: 12704
Date: 2002-03-17

You are confusing modern Indian pronunciation and ancient Sanskrit, Michael.
There have been changes in pronunciation over time, as with any language.

In pre-Sanskrit the increasing length gave the patterns:
i ai a:i
u au a:u
This became in Sanskrit:
i e ai (e always scanned and pronouned long, and
ai pronounced a:i)
u o au (o always scanned and pronouned long, and au
pronounced a:u)
Later developments shortened the e and o, so that these became new phonemes.
The a:i and a:u were also shortened to ai and au.
These new diphthongs ai and au then became e and o.
By this time we are way outside anything that can be called "Sanskrit", but
this new pronunciation affects the way Indians read Sanskrit.

Colin Masica discusses modern vowel systems on pages106 - 121 of his book
"The Indo-Aryan Languages". I quote from page 110-111:
"The diphthongs ai, au, conventionally counted as part of the Sanskrit
inventory of "vowels" (...) are monophthongised to /A, O/ in [Hindi and