One: Scansion and Related Matters


1.11 Niggahīta

As can be seen in 1.1 above, a short vowel followed by niggahīta -ṁ is heavy metrically, while if it is followed by labial -m (and then a vowel) it is light metrically. The retention of niggahīta, or the change to labial -m before a vowel was somewhat fluid even in prose in the canon. In line with our discussion in 1.8 above these alternatives may be applied according to the needs of the metre. Occasionally in verse we find that niggahīta is dropped altogether from the end of a word so as to leave the last syllable open and light. Example from Dhammapada (vs 183d):   

Etaṁ Buddhāna' sāsanaṁ (= Etaṁ Buddhānaṁ sāsanaṁ).