Re: [tied] This Saravati Business

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 18570
Date: 2003-02-08

----- Original Message -----
From: <x99lynx@...>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, February 08, 2003 11:16 AM
Subject: [tied] This Saravati Business

> I also take it that <-vati> is being interpreted as "river" or "chain" in the quotes above, though you have it as "abundance of". I assume there's some justification for those other interpretations?

The suffix means 'rich in ...' or 'characterised by ...', a bit like Eng. -ful in <beautiful> or <graceful>. It forms adjectival derivatives from nouns but is _not_ a noun (or a separable word) itself. "A chain of pools" is just a loose rephrasing of "pool-ful".

> In past posts, I've tried to suggest that we might expect pre-literate names for rivers to be local and ephemeral, rather than grand and permanent. So I would naturally ask how sure we are that Sarasvati wouldn't be the name for a location on a river that gave the river its name. Like a natural location -- a big marsh or pond -- that also applied to the Iranian or Afghan river?

Yep. Hence my comment about <sarasvati:> being a descriptive epithet rather than a real "name" unique to one river.

> [skipping some (very pertinent) examples for the sake of space] It seems that the Greek word has a lot more connotations than simply a marsh. ..... Piotr, how do you feel about translating Sarasvati as "a lot of water" or "big river"?

You're right about the Greek meanings. And it seems perfectly possible to translate <sarasvati:> as 'having wide floodplains' or 'forming great pools of water'.