One: Scansion and Related Matters


1.10 Consonant changes

The change of niggahīta to labial -m at the end of a word (- > -m) is probably the most frequent in occurence in the texts of all changes that take place with the metre as the cause, but it cannot readily be illustrated as the same change also takes place in prose, where metrical considerations are not relevant, and it is therefore impossible to distiguish where the change has happened solely by reason of the metre.

Another way to change the weight of a syllable is by doubling or simplifying consonants. When a conjunct consonant is simplified it leaves an open syllable, which, provided the vowel is short, is light metrically. When a single consonant is doubled it closes the previous syllable, which then has to be scanned as heavy metrically.

In the example from Ratanasutta quoted above we can see that the double consonant in abhiṭṭhānāni has been simplified to meet the requirements of the metre.