7. Compound Consonants

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They are expressed in writing by putting one below the other, in which case several change their original figure.

Subjoined consonants.


The letter ya subjoined to another is represented by the figure character omitted, and occurs in connection with the three guttarals and labials, and with ma, thus kya, khya, gya, pya, phya, bya + mya. The former three have preserved, in most cases, their original pronunciation kya, khya, gya (the latter in ET: ghya s. 2.6). In the Mongol pronunciation of Tibetan words, however, they have been corrupted into c, ch, j respectively, a well known instance of which is the common pronunciation Kanjur i.o. kangyur, or eleg. ka-gyur (bka' 'gyur). pya, phya, bya are almost everywhere spoken without any difference from ca, cha, ja (except in Western dialect before e and i, where the y is dropped and pa, pha, ba along are pronounced.). mya is spoken ny = nya.


r occurs at the foot of the gutterals, dentals, labials, of na, ma, sa, and ha, in the shape of character omitted. In some parts of the country, as in Purig, these combinations are prnounced literally, like kra, khra etc., but by far the most general custom is to sound them like the Indian cerebals, viz. kra, dra, pra indescrimintely = character omitted character omitted; khra, thra, phra = character omitted character omitted; gra, dra, bra = character omitted character omitted (in CT: character omitted); only in the case of bra the literal pronounciation br is not uncommon. In nra and mra both letters are distinctly heard; hra sounds like shr in shrub, and so does sra generally. In U this r is dropped nearly in all cases: thus, phra pha, sra sa etc.


Six letters are often found with a ma beneath: kla, gla, bla, zla, rla, sla; in these the ma alone is pronounced, except in zla, which sounds da.


The figure character omitted, sometimes used at the foot of a letter, is used in Sanscrit words to express the subjoined character omitted, as in swa'a h'a (cf. 9.6) for character omitted; and is now pronounced by Tibetans = o: soha; in words originally Tibetan it now exists merely as an orthographical mark, to distinguish homonymes in writing, as tsha ,hot' and tshwa ,salt'; but, as it is spoken, in some words at least, in Balti (e.g. rtswa ,grass', it must be supposed that, in the primitive form of the language, it was generally heard. -Note. Of such compounds. indeed, as phywa ,lot' it is difficult to understand, how they can have been pronounced literally, if the w was not, perhaps, pronounced before the y.

Superadded consonants.


ra above another consonant is written character omitted, and 11 consonants have this sign: rka, rga, rnga, rta, rda, rna, rba, rma, rtsa + rdza, above nya it preserves its full shape, as better adapted to the form of that letter: thus, character omitted rnya. In speaking it is seldom heard except provincially, and in some instances in compound words after a vowel, thus, u rgyan Urgyan, Urgyen, ancient name of the country of Lahore; rdo je dorje ,vajra'. Ladakees often pronounce it = s: rta sta ,horse' elsewhere ta.


Similar is the usage in those with a with a superadded la (namely: the surds and sonants of the first four classes, the gutteral nasal, and ha), which latter is often softly heard in WT, but entirely dropped elsewhere, exceptin the case of lha, which is spoken la in WT, but with a distinct aspiration = hla or lha in ET.


sa is superadded to the gutterals, dentals and labials with the exception of the aspirate, then nya and rtsa. It is, in many cases, distinctly pronounced in Ladak, but dropped elsewhere).


ga da ba ja dza with any superadded letter lose the aspiration mentioned in 2.6 and sound = g, d, b, j, dz.


rja, rtsa + rdza often loose even the inherent t-sound in pronounciation and are spoken like j, s, z.

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