When do Pāḷi vowels between words “smoosh” together (sandhi)?

So, I’m memorizing the ordination chant (!) and I noticed that the Pabbajjā request “smooshes” (I’m not a lingquist) the vowels in “Dutiyampāhaṃ Bhante…” but the precepts request does not smoosh the i+a into an ā: “Dutiyampi ahaṃ Bhante…”

Is there a reason for this (other than “tradition”)?



The ‘smooshing’ (otherwise known as euphonic combination) is termed sandhi. Any basic grammar of Pali should include a treatment of the topic.
Hope that helps :slight_smile:


Brief notes here
I think ‘smooshing’ is the perfect term.


Interesting. So in the first case the word must have ended with an o or an a not the i as in the other cases… ok, guess I’ll have to revisit the grammar to figure out why the declension is different.


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No, not at all: it’s just that sandhi is not always handled consistently in Pali. In both cases, the resolved form would be:

dutiyaṁ api ahaṁ

The enclitic particle api is virtually always resolved into the preceding word, having the sense of “too”. The sandhi between api and ahaṁ is handled more inconsistently. Why is one consistent and the other not? Because api is very common in this form, and the trailing pi has virtually become standard in such cases; whereas pi and aham are definitely felt as separate words.

This variation in pronunciation might reflect the real life accents or linguistic context of the reciters. Consider in English: a speaker in a more formal context, or whose education emphasized such formal speech, might say “I am”, where someone else in the same context, or the same speaker in a different context, might say “I’m”.