One: Scansion and Related Matters


1.6 Sarabhatti (svarabhakti), "broken", or partial vowels

Some words contain partial vowels that normally have to be ignored when scanning a verse. They usually involve the separation of two semi-vowels; or of a semi-vowel from the aspirate, the nasal, or the sibilant. Some of the more common words containing sarabhatti are listed here (with the sarabhatti vowel in superscript):

ariya (normally to be scanned as (−⏑)

iriyati (−⏑⏑)

cariya (−⏑)

viriya (−⏑)

araha (−⏑)

kayira (−⏑)

In illustration of sarabhatti, there is this verse from Mangalasutta (Khp 5: 10):   

Tapo ca brahmacariyañ-ca, ariyasaccāna' dassanaṁ, For the loss of niggahīta m.c. in line b, see 1.11 below.01

nibbānasacchikiriyā ca - etaṁ mangalam-uttamaṁ.

Note that sometimes these vowels must be scanned as though they were indeed full vowels, but as it is not possible to discern any rule about this, we must presume that it is due to metrical considerations (m.c. = metri causa).

From the Lakkhaṇasuttanta (D. 30. 2. 9), a line in Rucirā metre For the parametres of this metre see 2.8 below.02 where kariya must be scanned as containing 3 syllables:   

Sukhapphalaṁ kariya sukhāni vindati.

Occasionally we come across a line where the same vowel occurring in different positions must be scanned one time as sarabhatti, and the other as a full short vowel, as in Dhp 313:   

Kayirañ-ce kayirath' enaṁ ~ daḷhaṁ enaṁ parakkame.