Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar CIEFL, Hyderabad

Telugu is a language rich in compounds and it has numerous samasams(compounds) that occur
independently as proverbs. In this paper, an attempt is made to study such proverb samasams
and analyse their patterns. Since the Telugu proverb corpus is very huge, Andhra Lokokthi
Chandrika of Carr (1868,1988), which contains 2,700 proverbs, is taken up for a case study. As
it is the first collection of Telugu proverbs ever to be published, it gives us a historical
perspective also.

The presence of these samasams raises an important issue with regard to the definition of
proverbs .As samasams are compounds, which can be considered as lexical items, it shows that
words also can be samasams.

There are many compounds (samasamulu or samasams as the plural of samasam
(u)) occurring in a variety of their classes in Telugu. So far, no comprehensive
analysis of how compounds are formed in Telugu proverbs has been made
(Bhuvaneswar 2003). As such an attempt to do so will give us an idea as to what
extent compounds are represented in Telugu proverbs. Furthermore, it will also
throw light on and support the assertion made in Bhuvaneswar (2003) that
proverbs make use of the linguistic features of a language in an open-ended, non-
restrictive manner, contrary to the commonly held belief that they do not do so.

In Bhuvaneswar (2002), there is no reference to any specific work on samasams in
Telugu proverbs. As it is the most comprehensive review of Telugu proverb
literature to date, it has been assumed that no specific work on this area has been

Compound formation is one of the important areas of study in Telugu grammatical
tradition and any standard grammar book will have a section devoted to it. Right
from the early books on grammar such as Kethana‟s (1250 A. D.) Andhra
Bhaashaabhuushanamu, Vinnakota Peddana‟s (1402 A. D.) Kaavyaalankaara
Chuudaamani, Ananthamathya‟s (1435 A. D.) Chandoodarpanamu, and
Muddaraju Ramabhadra Kavi‟s (16 century) Kavijana Sanjeevani to the modern
ones such as Paravasthu Chinnaya Suri‟s (1858) Baalavyaakaranamu,
Bahujanapalli Seetharamacharyulu‟s (1970) Proudhavyaakaranamu as a sequel to
Baalavyakaranamu, Vadlamudi Gopala Krishnayya‟s (1958) Vyaavahaarika
Bhaashavyaakaranamu and Vajjahala Venkateswarlu‟s (1982) Aadhunika-
Praamaanikaandhra Vyaakaranamu, all have discussed compound formation in a
chapter separately in their works.

Venkateswarlu, V. (1982) has taken into consideration almost all the important
works on Telugu grammar. Furthermore, his grammar book has been written with
a bias towards English grammar and its treatment of the subject is comprehensive.
Hence, it has been taken as the reference for a discussion of compounds in this

According to him, there are six classes of samasamulu:
1. tatpurusha; 2. karmadharaya; 3.dvigu; 4. dvandva; 5. bahuvrihi and
6. kaarakiibhaava.
In the next section, each of them will be taken up and proverbs formed in each of
those samasamulu will be studied.

According to Quirk and Greenbaum (1989: 444, 430), a compound is „a unit
consisting of two or more bases‟ formed by „adding one base to another‟. These
units are formed by the addition of various types of bases that can be nouns, verbs,
adjectives, adverbs, and verbal or deverbal nouns. Depending on their function as
subject, object, or adverbial in the paraphrased sentence and their use in sentences
as nouns, adjectives, or verbs, they are classified into two main categories:
1. NOUN COMPOUNDS that can be subject-verb (e.g. sunrise), verb object
(e.g. blood test), verb-adverbial (e.g. swimming pool), verbless (e.g. girl-
friend) and bahuvrihi compounds (paperback).
2. ADJECTIVE COMPOUNDS that can be verb-object (e.g. heart breaking),
verb-adverbial (e.g. hard-working), verbless (sea-green), and verb
compounds (baby-sit).

According to Venkateswarlu, V. (1982: 693), a sama:sam (compound) is formed
when two or more mutually related bases join together to form a single word by
the deletion of the case suffix or the postposition (Postp) or other words. It is also
called a sa:masika/samasta (compounded) padam (word).

A paraphrase of the given samasam can be made by supplying the missing case
suffix or the postp or the other words and the type of the samasam can be
determined. Such a paraphrase is called the Vigraha Vakyam in Telugu. In other
words, by paraphrasing a given group of words, it can be ascertained whether it is
a samasam or not.

Depending on the type of words that are compounded, different types of
samasumulu are possible. Since Telugu words are divided into the four categories
of : 1. tatsamamulu; 2. tadb'auamulu; 3. de:¢jamulu; and 4. anjade:¢jamulu, it is
possible to get four types of samasams as follows:

A. Samskrithika Samasamulu are compounds that are formed by the
adjoining of Sanskrit bases. At the end of these combined bases, Telugu
suffixes are further joined to form Samskrithika (or sanskruthika)
Samasamulu. For example, karqa pratapamu (Karna - valour (i.e. Karna‟s
valour)) is listed as a proverb in Carr (1868: No. 547). It is a sanskruthika
samasam since both Karna and pratapa are Sanskrit bases joined together
and „mu‟ which is a Telugu suffix (T.S.) is further suffixed to the combined
bases. It can be shown as follows:
(1). Karqasja prata:pah > karqa prata:pah
Karna of valour Karna valour
„Karna‟s valour‟. „Karna valour‟
(1a). karqa prat:apah > karqa prata:pa
Karna valour Karna pratapa
„Karna‟s valour‟. (Sanskrit) Sanskrit (Skt) base Skt base
(1c). karqa prata:pa + mu > karqa prata:pamu
karqa prata:pa + mu > karqa prata:pamu
„Karna valour‟
Skt. base Skt. Base + T. S. > Telugu Samasamu

B. Tatsama Samasamulu are compounds that are formed by the combination
of tatsama:lu (plural) among themselves or with other types of words. A
tatsamamu (singular) is an independent word formed by the addition of a suffix to
the base of the Sanskrit word. Since this is equivalent (samamu) to that (tat)
Sanskrit word, it is called a tatsamamu.

For example, the word sa:k]jamu „testimony‟ is a tatsamamu because it is formed by
the addition of a Telugu suffix „mu‟ to the Sanskrit base sa:k]ja of the Sanskrit word
sa:k]i „witness‟ as follows:
(2). sa:k]i „witness‟ > sa:k]ja + mu > sa:k]jamu „testimony‟
Skt. word Skt base T. S. tatsamamu

When the first word, or the next word, or both the words are tatsamamulu, then the
samasamu will be a tatsama samasamu. Carr (1868: No. 729, p.131 ) lists
(3). ko: ma[i sa:k]jamu
as a proverb. In this group of two words, the second word is a tatsamamu while the
first is an achchikamu „a pure Telugu word‟. Hence, (3) is a tatsama samasamu since
it involves a loss of the sixth case (possessive case) suffix „i‟ and the postp jokka „of‟
in the vigraha vakyam as follows:
(3a). ko:ma[i ua:ni jokka sa:k]jamu >
merchant of of testimony
„The testimony of the merchant‟s‟
ko:ma[i jokka sa:k]jamu >
merchant of testimony
„The testimony of the merchant”
ko:ma[i sa:k]jamu
merchant testimony
„merchant testimony‟

An alternative paraphrase is also possible for the same samasamu by considering
ko:ma[i as an adjective because in ko:ma[iua:qu, ko:ma[i functions as an adjective
to form a noun „ko:ma[iua:qu‟ as follows:
(3b). koma[i + ua:du > ko:ma[iua:qu
merchant (adj.) he (m.s.) merchant [m.s.= masculine suffix]

ua:qu is a masculine suffix that is added to adjectives to form a noun as in
(3c). mant]i + ua:qu > „goodman‟
In such a case, the paraphrase of (3) will be:

(3d). „A merchantine testimony‟.

(3a) is called a tatpurusha samasam while (3d) a karmadhaaraya samasam (more
details of these compounds later.)
Another samasam listed in Carr (1868: No. 1645, p.286 ) is
(4) b¹allu:kapu pattu „A bear‟s hold‟ in which the first word is a
tatsamam (tats.):
(4a). b¹allu:kah > b¹allu:ka + mu > b¹allu:kamu + pu > b¹allu:kapu
bear Skt.word Skt. base T.S. bear (tats.) + T.S. > bearish (Adj.)

The second word pattu is an achchikamu. Hence, (4) is a tatsama samasamu since
it contains tatsamamu as the first word.
In the proverb
(5) u±]apa:lapu uittu, ne:pa:lapu gind¿a
„A Vishapala seed, a Nepala seed‟, (Carr 1868:No.1986, p.344)
both the words in the first and second samasamulu are tatsamamulu. They can
equally be derived in the same way as in (4a).
(5a). u±]apa:lah „Vishapala > u±]apa:la + mu >
Skt. word Skt. base T.S
u±]apa:lamu + pu > u±]apa:lapu
Vishapala (tats.) T.S. Vishapala
(5b). ne:µa:lah „Nepala‟ > ne:pa:la + mu >
Skt. word Skt. base T.S
ne:pa:lamu + pu > ne:pa:lapu
Nepalamu T.S Nepala

Hence, (5) is a tatsama samasamu since it contains tatsamamulu in both the words
of the samasam.

C. Achchika Samasamulu are compounds that are formed by the
combination of only Telugu words. Hence, the first and the second words are
Telugu words proper. For example in
(6). e:[i uoqqu t]e:nu
„A farm on the stream bank‟ (Carr 1868: No.428, p.78 )
(7). baqga:rapu pit]t]uka
„A golden sparrow‟, (Carr 1868: No.1584, p.277)
all the words are pure Telugu words.

(7) is formed in the same way as (4). (6) offers an interesting extension of
achchika smasamalu. In (6), the first word is an adjective formed from a noun as
in (6a), and then it premodifies another noun as in (6b):
(6a). e:ru + i > e: ri > e:[i
stream of T.S. stream of stream of
(6b). e:[i + uoqqu > e:[i uoqqu
stream‟s bank stream‟s bank
(6c). e:[i uoqqu + mi:da + unna + t]e:nu >
stream‟s bank on being farm
e:[i uoqqu mi:da t]e:nu > e:[i uoqqu t]e:nu
stream‟s bank on farm > stream bank farm

D. Misrama Samasamulu are compounds that are formed either by the
combination of Sanskrit compound bases with pure Telugu (achchika) words or
uninflected pure Telugu words with tatsamamulu. These are widely used in daily
language. Samasams like ad'ika:digubaqi (more yield), uttama illa:lu (noble
house wife), etc. are often heard in conversations. The following proverbs listed
by Carr (1868: Nos. 2042, 2048, p.353-354) can be considered misrama

(7). ura:ta karaqamu
writing village head

In this example, ura:t a is a pure Telugu word and karaqamu is a tatsamamu.

(8). ¢ata qabbu, sahasra qabbu
hundred dabbu thousand dabbu

In this example, ¢ata is a Sanskrit base and dabbu is a pure Telugu word.

In tatsama samasamulu also, there is a provision for a pure Telugu word to
combine with a tatsamamu. Hence, we can also consider these as tatsama
samasamulu. However, Venkateswarlu, V. (1982: 695:96) has not made the
distinction between these two types clear. In Chinnaya Suri‟s Bala Vyakaranam,
this type of a samasam is defined as one consisting of Sanskrit and Telugu words
only (Subbaraju, N.V.K. 1982: 109-112). In Vyavaharika Bhasha Vyakaranam of
Vadlamudi Gopala Krishnayya (1958: 171-3), a misrama samasam is divided into
three classes: 1. Sidhdha Misram. 2. Sadhya Misram. 3. Achchika Misram. In
his classification of samasams, there are also four divisions but he has not
included tatsama samasam as a separate category. He clubbed it together with
sanskruthika samasamulu and divided the latter into sidhdha and sadhya
samasamulu – a sidhdha samasam is the equivalent of a samskrithika samasam
while the sadhya samasam of the tatsama samasam in Venkateswarlu, V. (1982).

In his treatment of misra samasamulu, he considers a sidhdhamisram as one in
which a Sanskrit word combines with a pure Telugu or a foreign (anyadesyam)
word either initially or finally (e.g. ¢udd'a danqaga „pure waste‟, pant]a raqgulu
„five colours‟. On the contrary, in his examples, he has included tatsamamulu also
(9a). si:nijar panqituqu
senior scholar
„senior scholar‟
[panqita is the Sanskrit base from which panqituqu a tatsamamu is
formed by the addition of the suffix „qu‟.]
(9b). ka:le:d¸i: b'auanam
college building
„college building‟

A sadhyamisram, on the other hand, is formed by the combination of a tatsamamu
with a pure Telugu or a foreign word freely. He has not mentioned any examples
in his discussion (ibid. 173). In Venkateswarlu, V. (1982: 284), this view is not
accepted even though he has not quoted Vadlamudi Gopala Krishnayya.
According to him, there is no free combination between a tatsamamu and an

An achchika misram is a samasam formed by the combination of a pure Telugu
word or a tadbhavam [tat=(from) that; bhavam = created: a Telugu word formed
by a modification of a Sanskrit word as in nidra „sleep‟ > niddura „sleep‟; etc.]
with a foreign word. A tadbhavam is generally known as the vikruthi and a
tatsamam as the prakruti of Sanskrit words. The examples include such
samasamulu as:
(10a). re:qio: pa:[a
radio song
„radio song‟
(10b). ho[el tinqi
hotel food.
„hotel food‟
The abovementioned classification is based on the origin of the words in
samasams. Hence it is a lexically motivated classification. Irrespective of the
origin of the words, a higher-level classification is also made in the treatment of
compounds in Telugu. Such a classification is based on the semantic-syntactic
relationship between the words in a compound. According to Venkateswarlu, V.
(1982: 698-731), six types of samasamulu can be obtained from such an analysis.
There are: 1. tatpurusha samasam; 2. karmadhraya samasam; 3. dvigu samasam;
4. dvandva samasamu; 5. bahuvrihi samasam; and 6. karakibhava samasam. All
these compounds involve the loss of particles and postpositions and hence they are
called luk samasamulu (luk=absence (of case inflections, postpositions and other
words in the paraphrase)).
Let us examine the compounds available in Carr‟s Andhra Lokokthi Chandrika in
terms of this classification.

E. Tatpurusha Samasam (Determinative Compound)
If the previous words in a samasam are dependent for their meaning on the last
word, which is independent and decisive in the derivation of the meaning of the
samasam, then it is called a tatpurusha samasam. The case endings of the
previous words will be deleted and the words will be different in their cases. That
is why in Sanskrit it is sometimes called a vyadhikarana tatpurusha samsam.
Generally, genitive, objective, and adverbial case endings and adverbial
postpositions are deleted in the formation of these samasams.

Tatpurusha samasams can be further divided into three classes: 1. Sambandha
Tatpurusha Samasam; 2. Karma Tatpurusha Samasam; and 3. Karaka Tatpurusha

Let us take a few proverbial samasamulu to illustrate these three classes of

E. 1. Sambandha Tatpurusha Samasamu
If a samasam is formed by the deletion of the genitive or possessive case suffix in
the first word, it is called a sambandha tatpurusha samasam. Sambandha (literally
relationship) between objects can be of different types. Such relationships
indicated by the sambandha vachaka vibhakthi (possessive case) can be owner-
owned (e.g.na:pustakamu „my book‟); part-whole (e.g. in[i talupu “house‟s door”);
producer-produced (e.g. de:uuni ¢ru][i „God‟s creation‟); agent (or author) –
action (or product) (e.g.po:tana b'agauatamu „Pothana‟s Bhagavatamu‟ ); cause
( kant]u uigraham “bronze‟s statue”); container – contained or support – supported
(e.g. uiski: si:sa: „whiskey bottle‟); master – servant (ra:muni ban[u “Rama‟s
soldier”); qualifier – qualified (de:uuni pre:ma „God‟s love‟); purpose (e.g.
paqak(a) kurt]i: „sleeping chair‟); price (e.g. aidu ru:pa:jala pa:lu „five rupees
milk‟); size (e.g. nalab'ai aqugula ro:qqu „forty feet road‟); time or age (renqe:[[a
ko:rsu “Two year‟s course” ; t omb'ai e:[[a musala:me “ninety years‟ (old)
woman”); one object indication (e.g. kalara ro:gam: „cholera disease‟,
haidara:ba:du nagaram „Hyderabad city‟); compound number (e.g. uejji nu:[a
padaha:ru „one thousand one hundred (and) sixteen‟); etc.

One important feature of the possessive case is that an equivalent adjectival
phrasal construction can be made from each sambandha tatpurusha samasam. For
example, a whiskey bottle or milk bottle or water drum can be expanded to give an
adjectival construction as follows:

(11a). pa:lu unt]ukone: si:sa > pa:la si:sa
milk keeping bottle milk bottle
„milk keeping bottle‟ (i.e.bottle for keeping milk) „milk bottle‟

Another important feature is the addition of jokka „of‟, a postposition, to the
already possessive case inflected word denoting the owner as in the folliwng
(12). pillala jokka a:ro:gjamu > pillala a:ro:gjamu
children‟s of health children‟s health
„Health of children‟s‟ „Children‟s health‟

E. 2. Examples of Proverbs in Carr’s Andhra Lokokthi Chandrika
The following examples are selected from Carr (1868) along with their
explanations as given by Carr. In addition, a word-by-word translation along with
their vigraha vakyamu is also provided to explain the formation of the samasam.
Furthermore, it is indicated against each example whether it is a Samskruthika
Samasam or a Tatsama Samasam or an Achchika Samasam or a Misrama
Samasam. Samasamulu listed in Section A are all Luk Samasamulu while those
in Section B are Aluk Samasamulu.
Section A
(13). agastasja b'ra:ta : > agastja b'ra:ta: > agastja b'ra:ta
Agastya‟s brother Agastya brother Agastya brother
„Agastya‟s brother‟ Agastya brother Agastya brother
(Sanskrit) (Sanskrit) (Telugu)
[Agastya was a great sage who does not have any brother. The
prototypical meaning of this proverb is: „a new-comer, attempting to
make himself a great personange‟ (ibid: No. 24, p. 5)]

In this example, there is a vowel shortening of the Sanskrit word to form a
samskruthika samasamu :
(13a). b'ra:ta: > b'ra:ta

Another example of a sanskruthika samasamu is:

(13b). ui]asja pund¸ah > ui]a pund¸a + mu > ui]a pund¸amu
poison of mass > Skt. base + T. S. > poison mass
„A mass of poison‟ > > „A poison mass‟
[„Wickedness‟ (No. 1987, p. 345)]
(14). arauala (jokka) je:qupu > araua je:qupu
Tamilians‟ (of) crying Tamilian crying
“Crying of Tamilians‟ ” „Tamil crying‟
[There is a custom among the Tamilians to mourn for the deceased by
employing professional women mourners. „Applied to an unwilling
performance of any duty‟ (No. 123, p. 22)].

The vigraha vakyam is shown in the plural; it can also be shown in the singular:
(14a). araua da:ni / ua:ni jokka je:qupu
Tamil woman‟s / man‟s of crying

In the samasam from such a vigraha vakyam, the indication of the gender is lost.
As both the words in the samasam are pure Telugu words, it is an achchika
(15). uttara kuma:rasja pragja:h >
Uttara Kumar‟s boastings
„Uttara Kumar‟s boastings‟

uttara kuma:ra pragja: h > uttara kuma:ra pragjalu
Uttara Kumara boastings > Uttara Kumara boastings
„Uttara Kumar boastings‟ (Sanskrit) „Uttara Kumar boastings‟ (Telugu)
[Uttara Kumara is the son of King Virata who boasts that he will get back
the cows from the Kurus who captured them but he is afraid when he sees
the enemy. „Bragging. Bombast‟ is its prototypical meaning. (No. 315, p.

In this samskruthika samasam, there is an addition of the Telugu plural suffix „lu‟ to the
Sanskrit base:
(15a). uttara kuma:ra pragja:h > pragja + lu > pragjalu
Skt. samasam > Skt. base + T.S. > Telugu word
(16). karpasja prata:pah > karqa prata:pah >
Karna‟s valour Karna valour
„Karna‟s valour‟ „Karna valour
karqa prata:pa + mu > karna prata:pamu
Skt. base T.S. Karna valour „Karna valour‟

In this samskruthika samasamu also, the Telugu suffix „mu‟ indicating the
singular number is added to the Sanskrit base.
[Karna is the first born of Kunti, the mother of Pandavas who are
Dharmaraja, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. He also boasted but his
vows were not fulfilled. „A blusterer‟ is the prototypical meaning.]
(17). tamba[i (jokka) anumanamu
Tambala‟s (of) suspicion
„The suspicion of a Tambali‟
> tamba[a anumanamu
> Tambala suspicion
> „Tambali suspicion‟
[„The Tambalis are a class of Sudra priests who wear the sacred thread, and
endeavour to observe Brahminical customs. Applied to foolish scruples.‟
( No. 962, p. 174)]

This is a tatsama samasam formed by the combination of Tambali, a pure Telugu word,
with anumana + mu > anumanamu, a tatsamamu.

(18). sand¸ajasja rajab'a:rah > sand¸aja rajab'arah
Sanjaya‟s mediation > Sanjaya mediation
„Sanjaya‟s embassy‟ > „Sanjaya embassy‟
sand¸aja rajab'ara + mu > sand¸aja rajab'aramu
Skt. base T.S. > Sanjaya mediation
„Sanjaya embassy‟
[„Sanjaya was employed as an ambassador by the Kurus and showed no
zeal for his party. (See the Mahabharatha). Applied to a person who takes
no interest in the performance of his duty‟ (No. 2078, p. 359)]
(19). sugri:asja a:ja: > sugri:ua:ja: > sugriua:gja
Sugriva‟s command > Sugrivaa command Sugriivaacommand
„Sugriva‟s command‟ > „Sugriivaa command‟ „Sugriivaa command‟
(Sanskrit compound) (Telugu compound)
[„The command of Sugriva is strictly enforced and disobedience to it is
cruelly punished. See Kishkindhakanda of the Ramayana‟. (No. 2644, p.
84 (Supplement))]

The Telugu samskruthika samasam is formed by the loss of the long vowel and the
suffixation of the Telugu short vowel:
(19a). sugri:ua:gqa: > sugri:ua:ja
(20). ¢aljasja sa:rad'jam > ¢alja sa:rad'jam
Salya‟s charioteering Salya charioteering
„Salya‟s charioteering‟ > „Salya charioteering‟
> ¢alja sa:rad'ja + mu > ¢alja sa:rad'jamu
Skt.base T.S. > „Salya charioteering‟
In this samskruthika samasam, the Telugu suffix „mu‟ is added to form the
[„Salya, king of Madra having undertaken to drive the chariot of Karna
continually endeavoured to dishearten him. A faithless ally (No. 2051, p.
(21). ue:¢ja:ja:h mo:hah > ue:¢ja: mo:hah
harlot‟s love > harlot love
„harlot‟s love „harlot love‟
> ue:¢ja: mo:ha + mu > ue:sja: mo:hamu
Skt. base T.S. „A harlot‟s love‟

This is a sanskruthika samasam formed by the addition of „mu‟ to the
Sanskrit base. Here, the meaning is given in the sixth case instead of the
seventh case (locative case):
ue:¢ ja jokka (harlot‟s) not ue:¢ja jandu (in the (i.e. for) harlot)

In such a seventh case locative meaning there is no proverb – a harlot‟s love for her lover
is not genuine and lasts only as long as the money is given.

(22). ka:lane:me:h d¸apam > ka:lane:mi d¸apah
Kalanemi‟s meditation kalanemi meditation
„Kalanemi‟s meditation‟ „Kalanemi meditation‟
> kalane:mi japa + mu > kalane:mi d¸apamu
Skt. base T.S. Kalanemi meditation
„Kalanemi meditation‟
[Japam means meditating on God through the chanting of a name or
manthram. “Kalanemi was a pretended sage. (See 110, Ramayana,
Yuddha Kanda) Applied to hypocrisy.” (No. 594, p. 108)]
This is also a samskruthika samasam.

There are many proverb compounds listed in Carr (1868) which convey the
possessive case relation by zero suffixation and as such are formed without any
deletion of the case suffixes or postpositions. According to Venkateswarlu, V.
(1982), such phrases should not be considered compounds if there is stress on the
second words. However, there is no stress on the second word in these examples
and thus give us the feeling that they are single words. In the earlier grammars of
Chinnaya Suri, Sitharamacharyulu and even in the old grammars of Nannayya and
Kethana „jokka‟ is considered a genitive case ending and such words are
considered compounds. A few examples are given below:
(23). mudi ma:nu t]e:ua > mudima:nu t]e:ua
old tree strength > old tree strength
„Old tree strength‟ > „Old tree strength‟

In the above compound, there is no stress on the second word t]e:ua and also no
deletion of case endings. The word has no case ending and by itself denotes the
possessive case by zero suffixation. We can frame its vigraha vakyam in Telugu
mudima:nu jokka t]e:ua „old tree of strength‟ (i.e. the strength of an old tree)
[„A brave heart in a weak body‟ (No. 1768, p. 306)].
This is an achchika samasam since both the words are of pure Telugu origin.
(24) ko:ti piqikili > ko:ti piqikili (i.e.ko:ti jokka piqikili)
monkey fist > monkey fist (i.e. monkey of fist)
„monkey fist‟ > „monkey fist‟ (i.e. „The fist of a monkey‟)
[Not letting go any thing in its grasp. Applied to obstinacy.
(No. 721, p. 130)‟]
(25). ko:ma[i sa:k]jamu > ko:ma[i sa:k]jamu
komati evidence > komati evidence
„A komati evidence‟ > „A komati evidence‟
[„A story is told of a komati who when asked to identify a horse
about which a Musalman and Hindu were quarrelling, said the
forepart of it looked like the Musalman‟s horse and the hind part like
the Hindu‟s. (No. 729, p. 131)‟]

A komati is the third caste member in Hindu society who does trading. The others
being Brahmana, Kshathriya and Sudra. This is a tatsama samasam since the
first word is an achchikam and the second a tatsamam. It can also be considered a
misrama samasamu since an achchikam without any deletion of case endings
combined with a tatsamam.
(26). ko:ma[i nid¸amu > ko:ma[i nid¸amu
merchant truth > merchant truth
„Komati truth‟ > „Komati truth‟
[Komatis are considered to be unreliable in their dealings. (No. 725,
p. 131)]
(27). ko:ma[i ui¢ua:samu > ko:ma[i ui¢ua:samu
komati faith > komati faith
„Komati faith‟ > „Komati faith‟
(28). Kummarapurug(u) a:uatamu > kumara puruga:ua[amu
blacksmith insect manner > blacksmith insect manner
„mole-cricket manner‟ > „mole-cricket manner‟
[„Never resting from doing any mischief‟ (No. 648, p. 118)]
(29). gaqide gattara > gaqide gattara
donkey row > donkey row
„A donkey row‟ > „A donkey row‟
[„A noisy brawl‟ (No. 756, p. 137)]
(30). gaqide pilla ko:malamu > ga:qidepilla ko:malamu
donkey child tenderness > donkey child tenderness
„The mildness of a young donkey‟ > „The mildness of a young donkey‟
[„Seemingly good but really useless‟ (No. 757, p. 137)]
(31). miqatamb'o[la d¸o:sjamu > miqatamb'o[la d¸o:sjamu
Midatambhotlu‟s prophecy Midatambhotlu‟s prophecy
„Midatambhotlu‟s prophecy‟ Midatambhotlu‟s prophecy‟
In the above mentioned example, there is an inflection to the first
word indicating the possessive but there is no stress on the second
word d¸o:sjamu. Hence, this can be considered a tatsama
samasamu wherein both the words are tatsamamulu.
[„Making one‟s fortune by a lucky chance‟ (No. 1733, p. 300)]

(32). musalamma suddulu > musalamma
old woman sayings > old woman sayings
[„Fanciful tales‟ (No. 1785, p. 308)]
This is an achchika samasamu wherein both the words are pure
(33). me:ka meqa t]annu >  me:kameqa
goat neck wattle > goatneck wattle
„Goat neck wattle‟ > „Goat neck wattle‟
[„A useless appendage‟ (No. 1808, p. 313)]

This is also an achchika samasam wherein both words are pure Telugu. Even
me:ka meqa is also a sambandha tatpurusha samasamu:
me:ka meqa > me:ka meqa
goat neck goat neck
„Goat neck‟ > „Goat neck‟
(34). gontamma ko: rkelu > gontamma ko:rkelu
Gontamma wishes > gontemma wishes
„Gontamma wishes‟ > „Gontamma wishes‟
[Excessive or difficult desires (No. 2320, p. 30) (supplement))]
This is an achchika samasamu where in both the words are pure
(35). sa:ta:ni pi:kula:[a > sa:ta:ni pi:kula:[a
satani wrangling > satani wrangling
„Satani wrangling‟ > „Satani wrangling‟
[„The Satani‟s (Ramanujas) admit as members of their body all
classes amongst the worshippers of Vishnu, who consequently
dispute each other‟s rank in assemblies‟.]

E. 3 Karma Tatpurusha Samasamu

If the previous word in the samasam loses its objective case ending, then that
samasam is called Karma Tatpurusha Samasam. A very familiar example of
karma tatpurusha samasam is:
(36). u:ha:ti:tamu < u:hanu (obj. case ) atikramint]inadi
imagination beyond < imagination that which has overcome
„Beyond imagination‟ < „That which overcame imagination‟

In Carr (1868), I could not find any examples of this type of samasam except No.
1586 and 2653. 1586 can be interpreted in two ways as in the case of Vesyamohamu.
Both the interpretations are given below.
(37). banqi doqgarikamu < banqi jokka doqgarikamu
cart stealing cart of stealing
„The stealing of a cart‟ < „The stealing of a cart‟
(37b). banqi doqgarikamu < banqini doqgarikamu t]e:juta
cart stealing cart o.c stealing doing
„Stealing a cart‟ „Stealing a cart‟
Carr (ibid) has interpreted the proverb as in (36b). According to this
interpretation, this samasam can be called a karma tatpurusha
samasam. The word dongarikamu is a taddhitamu (tat = to that
word or adjective; hitamu = related to it), a word formed by the
addition of a particle:
(37c). doqga + rikamu > doqgarikamu
thief + ness (particle) > thiefness
Literally, (36a) means „cart stealingness‟
(37d). suapak]a parapak]a nird'u:mad'a:mah + qu
own side other‟s side flame without smoke man + T.S.
„A ruiner of oneself and others‟ (i.e.One who ruins himself and others)
> suapak]a parapak]a nird'u:mad'a:muqu
own side other‟s side flame without smoke man
„A ruiner of oneself and others‟ (No. 2653, p. 85 (Supplement))


E. 4. Karka Tatpurusha Samasamu
In a karaka tatpurusha samasam, the initial or previous word is joined with the
final or latter word in an adverbial relation. The initial word loses its adverbial
case or postposition. In the vigraha vakyam, the verb qualifying instrumental,
agent, purpose, cause, reason, support, result, cases or postpositions can be
supplied to indicate the meaning of the samasam. Since adverbs qualify verbs and
adjectives, the second word will either be an ordinary adjective or a double part of
speech (i.e. a word functioning as two parts of speech: for example, t]e:ju[a
„doing‟ does the work of a noun as well as a verb).
In Sanskrit, karaka tatpurusha samasam is known by the name of a case the first
word indicates. As such, we get third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh case
tatpurusha samasamulu.

The following examples are observed in Carr (1868).
(38). araqje: ro:danam > araqja ro:danam
forest in wailing forest wailing
„Wailing in the forest‟ > „Forest wailing‟
> araqja ro:dana + mu > araqja ro:danamu
Skt. base + T. S. > „Forest wailing‟
This first word is in the seventh case (the locative case), denoting
place. This is a sanskruthika samasam which prototypically means
„of no avail‟ (No. 122, p. 22).
(39). a:ka:¢e: pant]a:qgam > a:ka:¢a pant]a:qgam
sky in panchangam > sky panchangam
„Panchangam (almanac) in the sky‟ > „Sky panchangam (almanac)‟
> a:ka:¢a pant]a:qga + mu > a:ka:¢a pant]aqgamu
Skt. compound base > „Sky almanac‟
This is also a sanskruthika samasam in which the first word in the
locative case, denoting place, is shortened to give the base. Its
prototypical meaning is „A fanciful tale‟ (No. 157, p. 28)
(40). a:ka:¢e: uartakah > a:ka¢a uartakah
sky in trader > sky trader
„A trader in empty space (or air)‟ > „Sky trader‟
> a:ka:¢a uartaka +qu > a:ka:¢a uartakuqu
Skt. base T.S.(masc.) > „A sky trader‟
[a:ka:¢a uarta [(ka +qu) = kuqu] by regressive assimilation]
Its prototypical meaning is „A swindler. An imposter‟ (No. 158, p.
28). This is also a sanskruthika samasamu in the locative case,
denoting place.
(41). e:[i uqqu t]e:nu < e:[i uoqqu nandali t]e:nu
stream bank farm stream bank on farm
„Stream bank farm‟ < „Farm on the bank of the stream'
[„A dangerous situation‟ (No. 428, p. 78)]
This is an achchika samasam consisting of the noun phrase e[i (adj.)
uqqu (noun) – indicating place in the locative case joined with
(42). kalijuge: ra:uaqa:surah > kalijuge: ra:uaqa:surah
Kaliyuga in Ravanasura > Kaliyuga Ravanasura
„A Ravanasura in Kaliyuga‟ > „Kaliyuga Ravanasura‟
[Applied to a man as bad in this, the Iron Age, as Ravana was in the
Golden‟ (No. 563, p. 103)]
In this sanskruthika samasam, Kaliyuge is in the locative case
indicating time.
(43). na:gaualli ni]['uramu < na:gauallina:[i ni]['uramu
Nagavalli squabbling < Nagavalli on the day of squabbling
„Nagavalli squabbling‟ < „Squabbling on the day of Nagavalli‟
[„Any disputes with regard to the presents etc., are brought forward
on the fourth day; until then no one can open his mouth. Forgetting
many past benefits on account of one slight fault.‟ (No. 1257, p.
Nagavalli literally means snake (naga) creeper (valli). On the fourth
or fifth day of the marriage which will be the concluding day of the
Hindu marriage ceremony, food is offered as sacrifice in an
elaborate ritual. Actually, it is nakabali ceremony (naka=heaven;
bali= sacarifice), which is corrupted into nagavalli.

This is a tatsama samasamu as both the words are tatsamamulu. Even though
Nagavalli is an object, it is taken here to indicate time and hence it can be
considered an adverb of time.

(44). puqganu:ru samst 'a:namu < puqganu:ru samst'a:namu
Punganuru state Punganuru state
„Punganuru State‟ < „Punganuru State‟
[Punganuru is in the North Arcot District (of Tamil Nadu, India).
No government. (No. 1466, p. 257)]
This is a tatsama samasam of which the initial word is an
achchikamu and the final word a tatsamamu (samsthana + mu >
samsthanamu). Its vigraha vakyam can be given as „The state in/of
Punganuru‟. There is no case ending for Pungunuru and it is a place
(45). po[[i po:tara:d¸u koluuu
Potti Potharaju service (employment)
„Potti Potharaju service‟
< po[[i po:tara:d¸u daggara / kinda koluuu
< Potti Potharaju near under employment
< „Employment under Potti Potharaju‟
[„Not to be pleased in any way‟. No. 1553, P. 272]
This is an achchika samasamu in which the adverbial postposition of
place is deleted.
(46). me:ka meqa t]annu > me:ka meqa jandu unna t]annu
goat neck teat > goat neck in being teat
„Goat neck teat‟ > „A teat in the neck of a goat‟
[„The wattle on a goat‟s neck. A useless appendage‟
(No. 100, p.313)]
This is an achchika samasam containing two samasamulu. me:ka
meqa itself is an achchika sambandha tatpurusha samasamu:
(47). me:ka meqa > me:ka jokka meqa
goat neck > goat of neck
„Goat neck‟ > „The neck of a goat‟
Even though there is no loss of inflection in me:ka (it is a zero
suffixed word), the phrase can be considered a samsam since there is
no stress on meqa.
(48). a:ramb'a ¢u:ratuamu < a:ramb'e: ¢u:ratuam
beginning valour < beginning in valour
„Initial valour‟ < „Valour in the beginning‟
[„Dash, but not steady unflinching courage‟ (No. 2187, p. 9

(49). suaka:rje: durand'arah, sua:mika:rje: uant]akah
own work in master master work in cheat
„Master in own work, cheat in master‟s work‟
> suaka:rja durand'ara + qu sua:mika:rja uant]aka + qu
Skt. base T. S. Skt. base T.S.
> suaka:rja durand'aruqu, sua:mika:rja uant]akuqu
„personal work achiever, „master work cheat‟
„Personal work achiever, master work cheat‟ (No. 2652, p. 85 (Supplement))
(50). sakala guqaih ab'ira:mah
all qualities with handsome man
„A handsome man with all qualities‟
> sakala guqa:b'iramah
> „A handsome man with all qualities‟
> sakala guqa:b'irama + qu > sakala guqa:b'ira:muqu
Skt. compound base + T. S. > „A handsome man with all qualities‟
[„Endowed with every grace. Said ironically.‟ (No. 2085, p. 360)]
This is a sanskruthika tatsama samasam formed with the first phrase in
instrumental case (third case). In Sanskrit, it is called a thritheeyaa (third
case) tatpurusha samasam.
(50). nu:lipo:gu atuku < nu:lipo:gu t]:ta (ue:sina) atuku
a thread joining < thread with put joint
„A thread joint‟ < „Thread joined in weaving‟
[„No strength‟ (No. 1331, p. 234)]
It is an achchika samasam in the instrumental case.
(51). datta putra ¢o:kamu < datta putra:ja ¢o:kam
adopted son grief < adopted son for grief

> datta putra ¢o:ka + mu > datta putra ¢o:kamu
Skt. base T.S. „adopted son grief‟

This is a sanskruthika samasam in the fourth case (dative case).
[„slight grief‟ (No. 1140, p. 203)]
(52). ko:na ka:uali < ko:naki ka:uali
forest guarding < guarding to (over) the forest
„Guarding forest‟ < „Guarding over the forest‟

This is an achchika samasamu with the first word in the dative case.
Its vigraha vakyam can also be given as: „Guarding of the forest‟ in
which case it becomes a sambandha tatpurusha samsam. However,
the first meaning is popular (rudhi) and as all the samasamlu are
based on the vigraha vakyamulu (ardhavat samasah „According to
the meaning, the samasam‟), we can assign the given compound in
the category of karaka tatpurusha samsamulu.
[„Attempting impossibilities‟ (No. 724, p.131)]

So far we have discussed the three important classes of tatpurusha samasamu. In
addition to these, there are two more classes, namely, upapada tatpurusha
samasamu and ekadesi smasamu.

E. 5. Upapada Tatpurusha Samasamu
When a dependent a krudantamu (the particle that combines with the root is called
kruth and the word that is formed by its suffixation is called a krudantamu) is
suffixed to a Sanskrit base, an upapada tatpurusha samasam is formed. For
(53). kumb'am + ka:rakah > kumb'aka:rakah
pot doer (maker) blacksmith
upapadam krudantam Skt. compound
> kumb'aka:ra + qu > kumb'aka:ruqu
Skt.base + T.S. > blacksmith
In Carr, there are no separate examples found for this class but
„sarvamkasha‟ in No. 2098 is an upapada tatpurusha samasamu:
(54). saruamka]a ( pragja kalaua:qu ) [No. 2098, p. 363]
all knowing ability having one
„One who knows everything‟
(54a). sarvam + ka]a > saruamka]a
all knowing > all knowing
(54b). ka] + a > ka]a
Skt. base + T.S. > knowing (krudantamu)
„saruamka]a‟ is used as an adjective in the above samasam which is
formed by the addition of (53a) to „pragja‟ to form a karmadharaya
samasam which is further prefixed to „kalaua:qu‟ to form another

E. 6. Ekadesi Samasamu
When a word denoting the part of an object is prefixed to the noun denoting the
object, then the compound so formed is called an ekadesi tatpurusha samasam.
For example, in
(55). mund¸e:ji < mundu + t]e:ji
fore (part of) hand < front (part of) + hand
„wrist‟ < „front‟ + „hand‟
„mundu‟ denotes a part of the hand which is the wrist. It is prefixed
to the word „t]e:ji‟ to form a compound.

Such ekadesi samasamulu are rare to get as individual proverbs but they are found
as part of proverbs. In Carr (1868), six examples of such usage are observed.
They are given below:
(55a). mund¸e:ti kaqkana:naku addamu ka:ualena:
wrist of bracelet to mirror do require
„Do you require a mirror to see the bracelet on your wrist?‟
[„A thing obvious and plain, requiring no demonstration (No. 1741,
p. 302)]
(56). mi:ga:llu < mi:da + ka:llu
upper (part of) leg (foot) < upper (part of) + leg
„foot‟ < upper + leg
(56a). mi:ga:li mi:da metuku paqite:
foot on morsel falling
mi[[i mi[[i paqqa:qu.
bouncing bouncing fell
„When a morsel fell on his foot, he started with conceit‟
[„It is only when a man has plenty to eat that he lets a grain fall‟ (No. 1737,
p. 301)]
(56b). mo:t]ejji a:qite: mund¸ejji a:qutundi.
elbow move if wrist move will
(57). mo: kallu < mundu + ka:llu > muqga:llu
fore (part of) legs < front (part of) legs > foreleg (knee)
„Knee‟ < front + leg > knee
(57a). mi:ga:llu ua:t]inamma mi: in[lo: penqli
feet (instep) swollen mother your house in marriage
jeppuqan[e: mo:ka:[[u ua:t]inamma: monnane:
when saying knees swollen mother the day before yesterday
gone saying like
“Like „When will the marriage be in your house, swollen-insteps-
one?‟ having said (one woman), (the other) saying,„It was all over
the day before yesterday, swollen-knees one‟, ” (No. 1738, p. 301)
In proverbs Nos. 2566 and 2567 (p. 70 (Supplement). The word
mo:ka:lu is used.
(58). mi:gaqa > mi:da + kaqa
whey > upper + ending (of milk when boiled)
( upper crust of boiled milk )
(58a). minqalanu marigina amma: mi:gaqa tinna
paramours used to mother, whey having eaten
amma: uu:rakunqadu.
mother quiet keep not
„A woman used to paramours, a woman used to eating whey will
never cease to do so.‟ (No. 1732, p.300)
(59). mo:t]e:ji < mund¸e:ji
upper (part of the)arm < upper (part of the) arm
„elbow „elbow‟
< mundu + t]e:ji < t]ejji jokka mundu b'a:gamu
< front (part of) arm < hand of front part
„Front part of arm‟
(59a). atta ua:rin[i suk'amu mo:t]e:ti debba uan[id i
mother-in-law‟s house‟s pleasure elbow‟s blow like
„The pleasure in mother-in-law‟s house is like an elbow-blow.‟
(No. 57, p.11)
(60). peqa tala < peqa + tala < tala jokka peqa b'a:gamu
back head < back + head < head of back part
„Back of the head‟ < back (part of) + head < „back part of the head‟

(60a). e:duku / pandiki peqatala budd'i
porcupine / pig back head sense
„The porcupine/the pig has sense in the back of its head.‟
[„Said of a man without brains‟ (No. 136, and 2453, ps. 79, 52 (Supplement)]

F. Karmadharaya Samasamu
In karmadharaya samasam also, the meaning depends on the latter word as in tatpurusha
samasam. Generally these compounds are formed by the prefixation of adjectives to
nouns. The adjective is dependent on the noun (which is independent). In a tatpurusha
samasam, both the words express ideas on different objects whereas in a karmadharaya
samasam both the words express ideas about the same object. For example, in
(61). g'o:ra kali < g'o:ra maina kali jugam
horrible kali horrible being Kali yuga
„Horrible Kali‟ < „Kaliyuga that is horrible‟
the adjectival base g'o:ra expresses or qualifies Kaliyuga while Kali,
the yugam.[„Applied to crimes of great enormity‟ (No. 2675, p. 90)]

There are many types of karmadharaya samasamu. Only those thats are observed
in Carr (1868) are discussed below.

F. 1 Viseshana Purvapada Karmadharaya Samasamu
In this type of a karmadharaya samasam, the first word is an adjective and the
latter a noun. This is a very popular and productive samasam. In addition to (60)
ghora kali, the following are also observed.

F. 1. 1. Samskruthika Viseshana Purvapada Karmadharaya Samasamu
(62). ad'ika a:]a:q'am < ad'ika a:]a:q'a + m(u)
extra Ashadha (month) Skt. base + T.S.
„Extra Ashadham‟

< ad'ikam t]a a:]aq'am
extra being Ashadham
„Extra Ashadham‟
[„An intercalary Ashadha. The month Ashadha corresponds with
June-July. Said by a man when excusing himself for not observing
the rules of the house in which he was staying‟ (No. 70, p. 13)]
(63). g'o:ra kali + Nil < g'o:ra kalih < g'o:rah asau kalih + t]a
horrible Kali (No T.S.) < horrible Kali < horrible this Kali + is
„Horrible Kali‟ < “ A horrible Kaliyugam‟
(64). ad'ika:¢a (lo:ka da:ridrjamu) < ad'ika + a:¢a
excessive greed (excessive poverty) < extra + wish
< a:¢a:ja:h ad'ikjam
wish in excessiveness „Excessive cupidity‟
[„Avarice busts the bag. (French)‟ (No. 71, p. 13)]

F. 1. 2. Achchika Viseshana Purvapada Karmadharaya Samasamu

(65). baqga:rapu pit]t]uka < baqgaramu + pit]t]uka
golden sparrow < gold + sparrow
[„The Telugu term for the crossbeak (Loxia Philippina).
Pretty to look at but of no use‟ (No. 1584, p. 277)]
In Telugu sandhis when the first word ends in „mu‟, it is replaced by
pu or pum as in: baqga:ramu > baqga:rapu
(66). baqga:rapu katti < baqga:ramu + katti
golden sword gold + sword
„A golden sword‟ < gold + sword
[„Said of something of intrinsic value but of no utility‟ (No. 1583, p.
277)]. In Nos. 2502, 2600, 1620, and 1621 such a usage is found.
(67). me:kauanne puli < me:ka uanne gala puli
goat colur tiger < goat colour having tiger
„A goat-colour tiger‟ < „A tiger that is goat coloured‟
[„A wolf in sheep‟s clothing‟ (No. 1809, p. 314)]

F. 1. 3. Tatsama Viseshana Purva Karmadharaya Samasamu

(68). b'allu:kapu pa[[u < b'allu:kamu + pa[[u
bearish hold < bear + hold
„A bearish hold‟ < „bear‟ + „hold‟
[„Obstinacy‟ (No. 1645, p. 286)
„b'allu:kamu‟ is a tatsamamu and pattu is an achchikamu.
(69). ui]apa:lapu uittu, ne:pa:lapu gind¸a
Vishapala seed Nepala seed
< ui]apa:lamu + vittu, ne:palamu + vittu,
Vishapala seed Nepala seed
„A Vishapala seed, a Nepala seed.‟
[„Vishapala is the Hoya Pendula – Nepala is the Physic-nut
(Jatropha Curcas); in large doses the seeds are an energetic poison
(Eng. Cyclop.). Said of a person of a vicious disposition.‟
(No.1986, p.344)]

F.2. Sankhyavachaka Viseshana Purvapada Karmadharaya Samasamu

When the objectives are numeral in a karmadharaya samasam, it is called a
sankhyavachaka (numeral) viseshana (adjectival) purvapada (former word)
karmadharaya samasam. A few examples are found in Carr (1868), which are
given below.

F.R. 1. Cardinal Adjectives

(70). pant]a ¢ub
am pant]a:¢ub
five good (things) five bad (things)
„Five good things, five bad things‟
[„Differently interpreted to mean five good and five bad qualities;
the five senses applied to good and to bad uses, etc.‟
(No.1357, P.239)]. It can also be called a dvigu samasam if five is
taken collectively.
(71). ¢ata qabbu sahasra qabbu
hundred lies thousand lies
„Hundred lies, thousand lies‟
[(One who can tell) a hundred lies, (one who can tell) a thousand
lies. Ten times as bad. (No.2048, p.354)]

F.2.2. Ordinal Adjectives

There is a Sanskrit proverb which is also often used in Telugu.

(72). prat
ama kaba[e: mak]ika:pa:tah
first ball (lump)in fly fell
„Fall of a fly into the first lump (of food) taken in the hand‟
[„Said of an obstruction at the very commencement of an
undertaking.‟ (No.274, p. 435)].
(73a). mo:[aku moda[i t]o:[a kampu,
rustic to first place smell
„A rustic suffers from smell at one place.‟
uannega:qiki ua[[ant a: kampu
fastidious man to all over the body smell
„A fastidious man suffers from smell all over the body.‟

F.3. Madhyamapadalopi Karmadharaya Samasamu

In this kind of a compound, the words expressing the relationship between the
words that form the compound are deleted. That is why it is called mad'jama
(middle) pada (word) lo:pi (absent) karmad'a:raja sama:samu. A few examples
found in Carr (1868) are given below:
(74). uejjika:[[a d¸eRRi
one thousand legged scolopendra
< uejji ka:[[u kalgina d¸eRRi
one thousand legs having scolopendra
„A thousand legged scolopendra‟
„A scolopendra with thousand legs‟
[Said of a very restless man. (No.2005, p.347)]

This compound is considered a karmadharaya samasam since uejjika:[[a
„thousand legged‟ functions more as an adjective qualifying the scolopendra
(millipede). It is similar to simhadua:ram „A door with (pictures of) lions.‟ Even
though there is the meaning of kala(ua:qu / di) „having man/woman or it‟, it is not
taken as a bahuvrihi compound. In a bahuvrihi compound the object indicated is
not expressed in the compound. So,
(75a). uejjika:[[u
„a thousand legged one ‟ or
„a thousand legged one‟
can be a bahuvrihi compound as in the case of the Sanskrit samasam:
Sahasra:kshah „one who has a thousand eyes‟, namely, Indra or
Sahasrapath „one who has a thousand legs‟, namely, Lalithambika
but not uejjika:[[a d¸eRRi where one thousand legs is an attribute.
uejjika:[[u itself is a sankhyavachaka karmadharaya samasam, if it
is taken as denoting one thousand numbers of legs. On the other
hand, if it stands for, a scolopendra, then it is a bahuvrihi compound.
(76). ku:ta karaqamu < ku:ta ku:se: karaqamu
cooing karanam < cooing(N) cooing(V) karanam
„A cooing karanam‟ < „A karanam who coos‟
[„A karanam to talk. A great talker but not good at his work.‟
(No.660, p.120). A karanam is a village accountant.]
(77). me:ta karaqam < me:ta me:se: karaqamu
grazing karanam < fodder grazing karanam
„A grazing karanam‟ < A karanam who grazes (i.e., who
takes bribes)
[„i.e., up to any amount of bribery and corruption‟ (No.1811, p.314)]
(78). ura:ta karaqamu < ura:ta ura:se: karaqam
writing karaman < writing(n) writing(v) karanam
„A writing karanam‟ < „A karanam who writes‟
[„A mere scribe. (No.2042, P. 353)]

In all the compounds mentioned in (73) - (75), there is an implicature that the
village accountant is not efficient – the karanam merely talks a lot or writes a lot
or takes bribes heavily but does not do the work as expected.

So far, we have discussed the compounds that are observed in the examples of
proverbs in Carr (1868). However, there are many other types of karmadharaya
samasam such as ui¢e:]aqa ub'ajapad a, na:ma ub'hajapada, ui¢e:]ano:ttarapada,
samb'a:uana: pu:ruapada, ru:paka, upama:na purua / uttara pada, and ka:raka
pu:rua karmad'a:raja sama:samulu which are not exemplified in the proverbs
found in Carr (ibid.).

Dvandva Samasamu (copulative compound)

In a duandua sama:samu (copulative compound), both the words have importance
in deciding the meaning. The compounding is co-ordinate unlike in the
determinative or the adjectival compounds mentioned earlier. If there are more
than two words, then it is called a bahupada duandua sama:sam (multiple word
copulative compound). A few examples found in Carr (1868) are given below:
(79). gad¸a kat]t]
apa po:ru t]andamu
elephant tortoise fight like
„Like an elephant-tortoise fight‟ (No.739, P.134)
[Both „elephant‟ and „tortoise‟ are compounded together]
(80). naja:na: b
mildness or severity
„By mildness or severity‟
[Both „mildness‟ and „severity‟ are compounded together.]
(81). aisa: faisa:
(Either) this way (or) that way)
„Either this way or the other‟
[„corrupted from Hindustani‟ (No.466, P.84)]
(82). ueRRi modduke:la ue:da¢a:stramulu
foolish log why veda sastras
„Why Vedasastras to a dunderhead?‟
[Vedas and Sastras (scientific treatises) form the copulative


There are some compounds which are formed without the loss of the case endings
in the first word. Such compounds are called aluk samasamulu – luk means loss;
aluk means without loss (of the case endings.) A few examples are given below.
(83). taqge:[i d¸unnu
Tangeu‟s honey
„Honey on the Tangedu tree‟
[Tangedu is the Cassia Araiculata. „Easy to get at because the tree is
small? (No. 2356, p. 36 (supplement)]
(83a). taqge:qu + [i > taqge:[i „Tangedu‟s‟

The compound is formed with the possessive case ending retained. Hence, it is
called an aluk samasamu. In this case, „qu‟ is replaced by „[i‟ as seen above.
(84). ra:ti kunqaku (inupa teqqu)
stone pot to (iron ladle)
„An iron ladle for a stone pot‟
(84a). ra:ji + t i > ra:ti
stone + suffix > stone‟s
(85). ne:ti bi:raka:ja sa:mjamu
ghee bridgegourd comparison
„ghee-bridgegourd comparison‟.
[„Gourd is name but not worth anything‟ (No. 1341, p. 235)]
(86). konqaui:[i t]c:ntra:qu
Kondaveedu‟s well-rope
[„Where the water is scarce and the wells very deep. Said of a long
winding story‟ (No. 689, p.125)]
(86a). konqaui:qu + [i > konqaui:[i
Kondaveedu + of suffix > „Kondaveedu‟s‟

G. Dvigu Samasamu

The previous word is a numeral adjective and the last word is a noun in this
compound. It expresses all the members as a single group and is in the singular
form. Such proverbs are hard to be found but some words in proverbs are dvigu
samasamulu. The following examples are found in Carr (1968).
(87). pant]a:gni mad
ja mandunna[[u
five fires middle in staying like
„Like staying (standing) in the middle of five fires‟
[„An act of penance. Said of a person being unable to extricate
himself from a difficult position in which he is surrounded by his
enemies‟ (No. 1359, p. 239)]

„Panchagni‟ is a collection of five fires. They are the four fires on all the four
directions and the sun in the front. Also, in Vedic rituals they refer to
garhapatyamu, a:havaniyamu, dakshinagni, sabhyamu, and avapatyamu.

(88). pant]a:qgamulu po:te: nak]atramulu po:na:?
five limbs if gone stars go do
„If the almanacs are lost, do the stars also go?‟

Panchangamu means five limbs collectively. They are tit'i (the lunar day), ua:ra
(week), nak]atra (star), jo:ga (the nature of time), and karaqa (instrument). A
Hindu traditional almanac indicates all these five aspects of time and hence it is
called a panchangam. This is also to be considered a bahuvrihi compound since it
indicates an almanac or tortoise – „That which has five limbs‟: an almanac or

H. Bahuvrihi Samasamu
This is a very productive samasam whose meaning is indicated by a third word
that is related to the words in the samasamu. There are many types of bahuvrihi
compounds but they are not observed in Carr (1868). A simple example is:
(89). t]aturb
ud¸uqu = t]turb
ud¸amulu kalaua:qu
four shouldered one = four shoulders having one
„The four shouldered one‟ = “One who has four shoulders‟
(i.e.Vishnu) (i.e. Vishnu)

Lord Vishnu has four shoulders and he is indicated by his attributes. Any
description of an object or person in the form of a samasam gives a bahuvrihi

I. Karakeeya Bhaava Samasamu
This type of a samasam is formed by the prefixation of a particle or a word to
another noun. The first word is independent denoting the adverb and the second
word is dependent on it for its meaning. These samasamulu are widely used in the
formation of words such as:
(90). jat
o:t]ita (m) < jat
a: + ut]ita (m)
„As possible‟ as + possible
found in No. 2489, p. 56 (Supplement)
a:‟ is an adverb which forms a word by its prefixation to a noun
(91). pratidinam < prati + dinam
„every day‟ every day
(adverb) (noun)
(92). a:maraqam < a: + maraqam
„Till death‟ upto death
(adverb) (noun)

IV. Conclusion
From an observation of the examples in the previous section, we understand that
the four basic types of samasam, based on a classification of the language from
which they are derived, are represented in Telugu proverb compounds.It has also
been found out that the majority of the samasamulu are luk samasamulu and very
few are aluk samasamulu.

Out of the six types of samasamulu, based on a classification of the internal
semantic relations between the words in a samasam, the first two types, namely,
tatpurusha and karmadharaya are widely represented. There are a few examples
for dvandva and dvigu samasamulu while bahuvrihi and karakeeyabhava
samasamulu are least represented.

Again, within a type, its classes are not completely represented. Sometimes, no
individual proverbs exemplifying the samasamulu are available but words (in
proverbs) that do so are available. Since, they are of no real significance, not all
of them are quoted. Only such illustrative examples as required  when no
individual proverb is obtained – are quoted to show their presence otherwise.

The absence of certain classes of compounds is not unique to proverbs. That is
there is no specific reason for their absence. For example, „araqja ro:danamu‟ is
a practice that is prototypicalized and so it became a proverb while, say, uo:[la
anuqu „One who has votes as wealth‟ has not yet become prototypicalized to
become a proverb but ja¢o:d'anuqu has become popular as a compound word.

Finally, the presence of different samasamulu in an open ended fashion supports
the earlier observation that proverbs are not constrained syntactic or lexical or
phonological or semantic texts (Bhuvaneswar 2003, a, b, c, d, e)


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