Sanskrit Language (Basic)
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Introduction of Sanskrit Language
Sanskrit (/ˈsænskrɪt/; संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam [səmskr̩t̪əm], or संस्कृत saṃskṛta, originally संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, "refined speech"), is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, a philosophical language in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, and a literary language that was in use as a lingua franca in the Indian cultural zone. It is a standardised dialect of the Old Indo-Aryan language, originating as Vedic Sanskrit and tracing its linguistic ancestry back to Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Indo-European. Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand. In western classical linguistics, Sanskrit holds a prominent position along with Greek and Latin in Indo-European studies.
Classical Sanskrit is the standard register as laid out in the grammar of Pāṇini, around the 4th century BCE. Its position in the cultures of Greater India is akin to that of Latin and Greek in Europe and it has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the language of the Rigveda being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1500 BCE. This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family, the family which includes English and most European languages.
The corpus of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and religious texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals in the forms of hymns and mantras and Buddhist practice in the form of hymns and chants. Spoken Sanskrit has been revived in some villages with traditional institutions, and there are attempts to enhance its popularisation.
The Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- may be translated as "put together, constructed, well or completely formed; refined, adorned, highly elaborated". It is derived from the root saṃ-skar- "to put together, compose, arrange, prepare", where saṃ- "together" (as English same) and (s)kar- "do, make". (cf. Norwegian 'sammen skjær', Afrikaans 'saamskaar').
The term in the generic meaning of "made ready, prepared, completed, finished" is found in the Rigveda. Also in Vedic Sanskrit, as nominalized neuter saṃskṛtám, it means "preparation, prepared place" and thus "ritual enclosure, place for a sacrifice".
As a term for "refined or elaborated speech" the adjective appears only in Epic and Classical Sanskrit, in the Manusmriti and in the Mahabharata. The language referred to as saṃskṛta "the cultured language" has by definition always been a "sacred" and "sophisticated" language, used for religious and learned discourse in ancient India, in contrast to the languages spoken by the people, prākṛta- "natural, artless, normal, ordinary".
Devimahatmya manuscript on palm-leaf, in an early Bhujimol script, Bihar or Nepal, 11th century.
Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian sub-family of the Indo-European family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are the Iranian languages Old Persian and Avestan. Within the wider Indo-European language family, Sanskrit shares characteristic sound changes with the Satem languages (particularly the Slavic and Baltic languages), and also with Greek.
In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, many scholars have proposed migration hypotheses asserting that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in what is now India and Pakistan from the north-west some time during the early second millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close relationship of the Indo-Iranian tongues with the Baltic and Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European Uralic languages, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words for flora and fauna.
The earliest attested Sanskrit texts are Hindu texts of the Rigveda, which date to the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive. However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: they were ceremonial literature whose correct pronunciation was considered crucial to its religious efficacy.
From the Rigveda until the time of Pāṇini (fl. 4th century BCE) the development of the Sanskrit language may be observed in other Vedic texts: the Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, Brahmanas, and Upanishads. During this time, the prestige of the language, its use for sacred purposes, and the importance attached to its correct enunciation all served as powerful conservative forces resisting the normal processes of linguistic change. However, there is a clear, five-level linguistic development of Vedic from the Rigveda to the language of the Upanishads and the earliest Sutras (such as Baudhayana)
The oldest surviving Sanskrit grammar is Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī ("Eight-Chapter Grammar"). It is essentially a prescriptive grammar, i.e., an authority that defines correct Sanskrit, although it contains descriptive parts, mostly to account for some Vedic forms that had become rare in Pāṇini's time.
The term "Sanskrit" was not thought of as a specific language set apart from other languages, but rather as a particularly refined or perfected manner of speaking. Knowledge of Sanskrit was a marker of social class and educational attainment in ancient India and the language was taught mainly to members of the higher castes, through close analysis of Sanskrit grammarians such as Pāṇini. Sanskrit, as the learned language of Ancient India, thus existed alongside the Prakrits (vernaculars), also called Middle Indic dialects, and eventually into the contemporary modern Indo-Aryan languages.
The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the language of the Rigveda being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, dating back to as early as the early second millennium BCE. This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest members of the Indo-European languages, which includes English and most European languages.
Classical Sanskrit is the standard register as laid out in the grammar of Pāṇini, around the fourth century BCE. Its position in the cultures of Greater India is akin to that of Latin and Greek in Europe and it has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Sanskrit, as defined by Pāṇini, had evolved out of the earlier "Vedic" form. The beginning of Vedic Sanskrit can be traced back to as early as 1500-1200 BCE (for Rig-vedic and Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni). Scholars often distinguish Vedic Sanskrit and Classical or "Pāṇinian" Sanskrit as separate dialects. Though they are quite similar, they differ in a number of essential points of phonology, vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, a large collection of hymns, incantations (Samhitas), theological and religio-philosophical discussions in the Brahmanas and Upanishads. Modern linguists consider the metrical hymns of the Rigveda Samhita to be the earliest, composed by many authors over several centuries of oral tradition. The end of the Vedic period is marked by the composition of the Upanishads, which form the concluding part of the traditional Vedic corpus; however, the early Sutras are Vedic, too, both in language and content. Around the mid 1st millennium BCE (for Rig-vedic), Vedic Sanskrit began the transition from a first language to a second language of religion and learning.
For nearly 2,000 years, a cultural order existed that exerted influence across South Asia, Inner Asia, Southeast Asia, and to a certain extent, East Asia. A significant form of post-Vedic Sanskrit is found in the Sanskrit of the Hindu Epics-the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The deviations from Pāṇini in the epics are generally considered to be on account of interference from Prakrits, or innovations, and not because they are pre-Paninian. Traditional Sanskrit scholars call such deviations ārṣa (आर्ष), meaning 'of the ṛṣis', the traditional title for the ancient authors. In some contexts, there are also more "prakritisms" (borrowings from common speech) than in Classical Sanskrit proper. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a literary language heavily influenced by Middle Indic, based on early Buddhist prakrit texts which subsequently assimilated to the Classical Sanskrit standard in varying degrees.
According to Tiwari (1955), there were four principal dialects of classical Sanskrit: paŚcimottarī (Northwestern, also called Northern or Western), madhyadeŚī (lit., middle country), pūrvi (Eastern) and dakṣiṇī (Southern, arose in the Classical period). The predecessors of the first three dialects are attested in Vedic Brāhmaṇas, of which the first one was regarded as the purest (Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa, 7.6).
As a spoken language
In the 2001 census of India, 14,135 people reported Sanskrit as their native language. Since the 1990s, movements to spread spoken Sanskrit have been increasing. Organisations like Samskrita Bharati conduct Speak Sanskrit workshops to popularise the language.
Indian newspapers have published reports about several villages, where, as a result of recent revival attempts, large parts of the population, including children, are learning Sanskrit and are even using it to some extent in everyday communication:
1. Mattur, Shimoga district, Karnataka
2. Jhiri, Rajgarh district, Madhya Pradesh
3. Ganoda, Banswara district, Rajasthan
4. Shyamsundarpur, Kendujhar district, Odisha
In official use
In India, Sanskrit is among the 14 original languages of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. The state of Uttarakhand in India has ruled Sanskrit as its second official language. In October 2012 social activist Hemant Goswami filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for declaring Sanskrit as a 'minority' language.
Contemporary literature and patronage
More than 3000 Sanskrit works have been composed since India's independence in 1947. Much of this work has been judged of high quality, in comparison to both classical Sanskrit literature and modern literature in other Indian languages.
The Sahitya Akademi has given an award for the best creative work in Sanskrit every year since 1967. In 2009, Satyavrat Shastri became the first Sanskrit author to win the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award.
Sanskrit is used extensively in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches of classical music. Kirtanas, bhajans, stotras, and shlokas of Sanskrit are popular throughout India. The samaveda uses musical notations in several of its recessions.
In Mainland China, musicians such as Sa Dingding have written pop songs in Sanskrit.
In mass media
Over 90 weeklies, fortnightlies and quarterlies are published in Sanskrit. Sudharma, a daily newspaper in Sanskrit, has been published out of Mysore, India, since the year 1970, while Sanskrit Vartman Patram and Vishwasya Vrittantam started in Gujarat during the last five years. Since 1974, there has been a short daily news broadcast on state-run All India Radio. These broadcasts are also made available on the internet on AIR's website. Sanskrit news is broadcast on TV and on the internet through the DD National channel at 6:55 AM IST.
As a liturgical language
Sanskrit is the liturgical language of various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist traditions. It is used during worship in Hindu temples throughout the world. In Newar Buddhism, it is used in all monasteries, while Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhist religious texts and sutras are in Sanskrit as well as vernacular languages. Jain texts, including the Tattvartha sutra, Ratnakaranda Śrāvakācāra and Agamas, are written in Sanskrit.
Devimahatmya manuscript on palm-leaf, in an early Bhujimol script, Bihar or Nepal, 11th century
It is also popular amongst the many practitioners of yoga in the West, who find the language helpful for understanding texts such as the Yoga Sutras.
In Nepal, India and Indonesia, Sanskrit phrases are widely used as mottoes for various national, educational and social organisations:
Republic of India: Satyameva Jayate meaning: Truth alone triumphs.
Nepal: Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi meaning: Mother and motherland are superior to heaven.
Many of India's and Nepal's scientific and administrative terms are named in Sanskrit. The Indian guided missile program that was commenced in 1983 by DRDO has named the five missiles (ballistic and others) that it developed Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Nag and Trishul. India's first modern fighter aircraft is named HAL Tejas.
Origin and development
Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are the Iranian languages Avestan and Old Persian.
In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, many scholars have proposed migration hypotheses asserting that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in what is now India and Pakistan from the north-west some time during the early second millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close relationship between the Indo-Iranian tongues and the Baltic and Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European Uralic languages, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words for flora and fauna.
The earliest attested Sanskrit texts are Brahmanical texts of the Rigveda, from the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive, if they ever existed. However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: they were ceremonial literature whose correct pronunciation was considered crucial to its religious efficacy.
From the Rigveda until the time of Pāṇini (fourth century BCE) the development of the early Vedic language can be observed in other Vedic texts: the Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, Brahmanas, and Upanishads. During this time, the prestige of the language, its use for sacred purposes, and the importance attached to its correct enunciation all served as powerful conservative forces resisting the normal processes of linguistic change. However, there is a clear, five-level linguistic development of Vedic from the Rigveda to the language of the Upanishads and the earliest Sutras (such as Baudhayana).
Standardisation by Panini
The oldest surviving Sanskrit grammar is Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī ("Eight-Chapter Grammar"). It is essentially a prescriptive grammar, i.e., an authority that defines Sanskrit, although it contains descriptive parts, mostly to account for some Vedic forms that had become rare in Pāṇini's time. Classical Sanskrit became fixed with the grammar of Pāṇini (roughly 500 BCE), and remains in use as a learned language through the present day.
Coexistence with vernacular languages
The term "Sanskrit" was not thought of as a specific language set apart from other languages, but rather as a particularly refined or perfected manner of speaking. Knowledge of Sanskrit was a marker of social class and educational attainment in ancient India, and the language was taught mainly to members of the higher castes through the close analysis of Sanskrit grammarians such as Pāṇini and Patanjali, who exhorted proper Sanskrit at all times, especially during ritual. Sanskrit, as the learned language of Ancient India, thus existed alongside the vernacular Prakrits, also called Middle Indic dialects. However, linguistic change led to an eventual loss of mutual intelligibility.
Many Sanskrit dramas also indicate that the language coexisted with Prakrits, spoken by multilingual speakers with a more extensive education. Sanskrit speakers were almost always multilingual. In the medieval era, Sanskrit continued to be spoken and written, particularly by learned Brahmins for scholarly communication. This was a thin layer of Indian society, but covered a wide geography. Centres like Varanasi, Paithan, Pune, and Kanchipuram had a strong presence of teaching and debating institutions, and high classical Sanskrit was maintained until British times.
There are a number of sociolinguistic studies of spoken Sanskrit which strongly suggest that oral use of modern Sanskrit is limited, with its development having ceased sometime in the past.
Sheldon Pollock (2001) argues that "most observers would agree that, in some crucial way, Sanskrit is dead". :393 Pollock has further argued that, while Sanskrit continued to be used in literary cultures in India, it was never adapted to express the changing forms of subjectivity and sociality as embodied and conceptualised in the modern age. :416 Instead, it was reduced to "reinscription and restatements" of ideas already explored, and any creativity was restricted to hymns and verses.:398 A notable exception are the military references of Nīlakaṇṭha Caturdhara's 17th-century commentary on the Mahābhārata. He describes it in comparison with the "dead" language of Latin :
Both died slowly, and earliest as a vehicle of literary expression, while much longer retaining significance for learned discourse with its universalist claims. Both were subject to periodic renewals or forced rebirths, sometimes in connection with a politics of translocal aspiration… At the same time… both came to be ever more exclusively associated with narrow forms of religion and priestcraft, despite centuries of a secular aesthetic.
The decline of Sanskrit use in literary and political circles was likely due to a weakening of the political institutions that supported it, and to heightened competition with vernacular languages seeking literary-cultural dignity. There was regional variation in the forcefulness of these vernacular movements and Sanskrit declined in different ways across the Indian subcontinent. For example, in Kashmir, Kashmiri was used alongside Sanskrit as the language of literature after the 13th century. Sanskrit works from the Vijayanagara Empire failed to circulate outside their place and time of composition. By contrast, works in Kannada and Telugu flourished.
Despite this presumed "death" of Sanskrit and the literary use of vernacular languages, Sanskrit continued to be used in literary cultures in India, and those who could read vernacular languages could also read Sanskrit. It did mean that Sanskrit was not used to express changing forms of subjectivity and sociality embodied and conceptualized in the modern age. Instead, it was reduced to "reinscription and restatements" of ideas already explored, and any creativity in Sanskrit was restricted to religious hymns and verses. When the British imposed a Western-style education system in India in the nineteenth century, knowledge of Sanskrit and ancient literature continued to flourish as the study of Sanskrit changed from a more traditional style into a form of analytical and comparative scholarship mirroring that of Europe.
Pollock's characterisation has been contested by other authors like Hanneder (2002) and Hatcher (2007), who pointing out that modern works continue to be produced in Sanskrit:
On a more public level the statement that Sanskrit is a dead language is misleading, for Sanskrit is quite obviously not as dead as other dead languages and the fact that it is spoken, written and read will probably convince most people that it cannot be a dead language in the most common usage of the term. Pollock's notion of the "death of Sanskrit" remains in this unclear realm between academia and public opinion when he says that "most observers would agree that, in some crucial way, Sanskrit is dead."
Hanneder (2009) has also argued that modern works in Sanskrit are either ignored or their "modernity" contested. The Sahitya Akademi has had, since 1967, an award for the best creative work written that year in Sanskrit. In 2009, Satyavrat Shastri became the first Sanskrit author to win the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award.
Public education and popularisation
Adult and continuing education
Attempts at reviving the Sanskrit language have been undertaken in the Republic of India since its foundation in 1947 (it was included in the 14 original languages of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution).
Samskrita Bharati is an organisation working for Sanskrit revival. The "All-India Sanskrit Festival" (since 2002) holds composition contests. The 1991 Indian census reported 49,736 fluent speakers of Sanskrit. Sanskrit learning programmes also feature on the lists of most AIR broadcasting centres. The Mattur village in central Karnataka claims to have native speakers of Sanskrit among its population. Inhabitants of all castes learn Sanskrit starting in childhood and converse in the language. Even the local Muslims converse in Sanskrit. Historically, the village was given by king Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire to Vedic scholars and their families, while people in his kingdom spoke Kannada and Telugu. Another effort concentrates on preserving and passing along the oral tradition of the Vedas. Shri Vedabharathi is one such organisation based out of Hyderabad that has been digitising the Vedas by recording recitations of Vedic Pandits.
The CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) of India, along with several other state education boards, has made Sanskrit an alternative option to the state's own official language as a second or third language choice in the schools it governs. In such schools, learning Sanskrit is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). This is true of most schools affiliated with the ICSE board, especially in those states where the official language is Hindi. Sanskrit is also taught in traditional gurukulas throughout India.
In the West
St James Junior School in London, England, offers Sanskrit as part of the curriculum. In the United States, since September 2009, high school students have been able to receive credits as Independent Study or toward Foreign Language requirements by studying Sanskrit, as part of the "SAFL: Samskritam as a Foreign Language" program coordinated by Samskrita Bharati. In Australia, the Sydney private boys' high school Sydney Grammar School offers Sanskrit from years 7 through to 12, including for the Higher School Certificate.
A list of Sanskrit universities is given below in chronological order :
|1791||Sampurnanand Sanskrit University||Varanasi|
|1961||Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University||Darbhanga|
|1962||Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha||Tirupati|
|1962||Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha||New Delhi|
|1970||Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan||New Delhi|
|1981||Shri Jagannath Sanskrit Vishvavidyalaya||Puri|
|1986||Nepal Sanskrit University||Nepal|
|1993||Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit||Kalady|
|1997||Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University||Ramtek|
|2001||Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Rajasthan Sanskrit University||Jaipur|
|2005||Shree Somnath Sanskrit University||Somnath-Veraval|
|2008||Maharshi Panini Sanskrit Evam Vedic Vishwavidyalaya||Ujjain|
|2011||Karnataka Samskrit University||Bangalore|
Many universities throughout the world train and employ Sanskrit scholars, either within a separate Sanskrit department or as part of a broader focus area, such as South Asian studies or Linguistics. For example, Delhi university has about 400 Sanskrit students, about half of which are in post-graduate programmes.
European scholarship in Sanskrit, begun by Heinrich Roth (1620–1668) and Johann Ernst Hanxleden (1681–1731), is regarded as responsible for the discovery of the Indo-European language family by Sir William Jones (1746–1794). This scholarship played an important role in the development of Western philology, or historical linguistics.
Sir William Jones was one of the most influential philologists of his time, speaking to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on February 2, 1786, said:
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.
When the British imposed a Western-style education system in India in the nineteenth century, knowledge of Sanskrit and ancient literature continued to flourish as the study of Sanskrit changed from a more traditional style into a form of analytical and comparative scholarship mirroring that of Europe.
Orientalist scholars of the 18th century like Sir William Jones marked a wave of enthusiasm for Indian culture and for Sanskrit. According to Thomas Trautmann, after this period of "Indomania", a certain hostility to Sanskrit and to Indian culture in general began to assert itself in early 19th century Britain, manifested by a neglect of Sanskrit in British academia. This was the beginning of a general push in favor of the idea that India should be culturally, religiously and linguistically assimilated to Britain as far as possible. Trautmann considers two separate and logically opposite sources for the growing hostility: one was "British Indophobia", which he calls essentially a developmentalist, progressivist, liberal, and non-racial-essentialist critique of Hindu civilisation as an aid for the improvement of India along European lines; the other was race science, a theory of the English "common-sense view" that Indians constituted a "separate, inferior and unimprovable race".
Classical Sanskrit distinguishes about 36 phonemes; the presence of allophony leads the writing systems to generally distinguish 48 phones, or sounds. There is, however, some allophony and the writing systems used for Sanskrit generally indicate this, thus distinguishing 48 sounds.
The sounds are traditionally listed in the order vowels (Ach), diphthongs (Hal), anusvara and visarga, plosives (SparŚa) and nasals (starting in the back of the mouth and moving forward), and finally the liquids and fricatives, written in IAST as follows (see the tables below for details):
a ā i ī u ū ṛ ṝ ḷ ḹ ; e ai o au
k kh g gh ṅ; c ch j jh ñ; ṭ ṭh ḍ ḍh ṇ; t th d dh n; p ph b bh m
y r l v; Ś ṣ s h
An alternate traditional ordering is that of the Shiva Sutra of Pāṇini.
The vowels of Classical Sanskrit with their word-initial Devanagari symbol, diacritical mark with the consonant प् (/p/), pronunciation (of the vowel alone and of /p/+vowel) in IPA, equivalent in IAST and (approximate) equivalents in English are listed below:
|Letter||प् Pronunciation||Pronunciation with /p/||IAST equiv.||English equivalent (GA unless stated otherwise)|
|अ||प /ɐ/ or /ə/||/pɐ/ or /pə/||a||short near-open central vowel or schwa: u in bunny or a in about|
|आ||पा /ɑː/||/pɑː/||ā||long open back unrounded vowel: a in father (RP)|
|इ||पि /i/||/pi/||i||short close front unrounded vowel: e in england|
|ई||पी /iː/||/piː/||ī||long close front unrounded vowel: ee in feet|
|उ||पु /u/||/pu/||u||short close back rounded vowel: oo in foot|
|ऊ||पू /uː/||/puː/||ū||long close back rounded vowel: oo in cool|
|ऋ||पृ /ɻ/||/pɻ/||ṛ||short retroflex approximant: r in run|
|ॠ||पॄ /ɻː/||/pɻː/||ṝ||long retroflex approximant r in run|
|ऌ||पॢ /ɭ/||/pɭ/||ḷ||short retroflex lateral approximant (no English equivalent)|
|ॡ||पॣ /ɭː/||/pɭː/||ḹ||long retroflex lateral approximant|
|ए||पे /eː/||/peː/||e||long close-mid front unrounded vowel: a in bane (some speakers)|
|ऐ||पै /əi/||/pəi/||ai||a long diphthong: i in ice, i in kite (Canadian and Scottish English)|
|ओ||पो /oː/||/poː/||o||long close-mid back rounded vowel: o in bone (some speakers)|
|औ||पौ /əu/||/pəu/||au||a long diphthong: Similar to the ou in house (Canadian English)|
The long vowels are pronounced twice as long as their short counterparts. Also, there exists a third, extra-long length for most vowels, called pluti, which is used in various cases, but particularly in the vocative. The pluti is not accepted by all grammarians.
The vowels /e/ and /o/ continue as allophonic variants of Proto-Indo-Iranian /ai/, /au/ and are categorized as diphthongs by Sanskrit grammarians even though they are realized phonetically as simple long vowels (See above).
- There are some additional signs traditionally listed in tables of the Devanagari script:
- The diacritic ं called anusvāra, (IAST: ṃ). It is used both to indicate the nasalization of the vowel in the syllable ([◌̃] and to represent the sound of a syllabic /n/ or /m/; e.g. पं /pəŋ/.
- The diacritic ः called visarga, represents /əh/ (IAST: ḥ); e.g. पः /pəh/.
- The diacritic ँ called chandrabindu, not traditionally included in Devanagari charts for Sanskrit, is used interchangeably with the anusvāra to indicate nasalization of the vowel, primarily in Vedic notation; e.g. पँ /pə̃/.
- If a lone consonant needs to be written without any following vowel, it is given a halanta/virāma diacritic below (प्).
- The vowel /aː/ in Sanskrit is realized as being more central and less back than the closest English approximation, which is /ɑː/. But the grammarians have classified it as a back vowel.
- The ancient Sanskrit grammarians classified the vowel system as velars, retroflexes, palatals and plosives rather than as back, central and front vowels. Hence ए and ओ are classified respectively as palato-velar (a+i) and labio-velar (a+u) vowels respectively. But the grammarians have classified them as diphthongs and in prosody, each is given two mātrās. This does not necessarily mean that they are proper diphthongs, but neither excludes the possibility that they could have been proper diphthongs at a very ancient stage (see above). These vowels are pronounced as long /eː/ and /oː/ respectively by learned Sanskrit Brahmans and priests of today. Other than the "four" diphthongs, Sanskrit usually disallows any other diphthong-vowels in succession, where they occur, are converted to semivowels according to sandhi rules.
IAST and Devanagari notations are given, with approximate IPA values in square brackets.
Phonology and Sandhi
The Sanskrit vowels are as discussed in the section above. The long syllabic l (ḹ) is not attested, and is only discussed by grammarians for systematic reasons. Its short counterpart ḷ occurs in a single root only, kḷp "to order, array". Long syllabic r (ṝ) is also quite marginal, occurring in the genitive plural of r-stems (e.g. mātṛ "mother" and pitṛ "father" have gen.pl. mātṝṇām and pitṝṇām). i, u, ṛ, ḷ are vocalic allophones of consonantal y, v, r, l. There are thus only 5 invariably vocalic phonemes,
a, ā, ī, ū, ṝ.
Visarga ḥ ः is an allophone of r and s, and anusvara ṃ, Devanagari ं of any nasal, both in pausa (i.e., the nasalized vowel). The exact pronunciation of the three sibilants may vary, but they are distinct phonemes. An aspirated voiced sibilant /zʱ/ was inherited by Indo-Aryan from Proto-Indo-Iranian but lost shortly before the time of the Rigveda (aspirated fricatives are exceedingly rare in any language). The retroflex consonants are somewhat marginal phonemes, often being conditioned by their phonetic environment; they do not continue a PIE series and are often ascribed by some linguists to the substratal influence of Dravidian or other substrate languages. The nasal [ɲ] is a conditioned allophone of /n/ (/n/ and /ɳ/ are distinct phonemes-aṇu 'minute', 'atomic' [nom. sg. neutr. of an adjective] is distinctive from anu 'after', 'along'; phonologically independent /ŋ/ occurs only marginally, e.g. in prāṅ 'directed forwards/towards' [nom. sg. masc. of an adjective]). There are thus 31 consonantal or semi-vocalic phonemes, consisting of four/five kinds of stops realized both with or without aspiration and both voiced and voiceless, three nasals, four semi-vowels or liquids, and four fricatives, written in IAST transliteration as follows:
k, kh, g, gh; c, ch, j, jh; ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh; t, th, d, dh; p, ph, b, bh; m, n, ṇ; y, r, l, v; Ś, ṣ, s, h
or a total of 36 unique Sanskrit phonemes altogether.
The phonological rules which are applied when combining morphemes to a word, and when combining words to a sentence, are collectively called sandhi "composition". Texts are written phonetically, with sandhi applied (except for the so-called padapāṭha).
Sanskrit originated in an oral society, and the oral tradition was maintained through the development of early classical Sanskrit literature. Writing was not introduced to India until after Sanskrit had evolved into the Prakrits; when it was written, the choice of writing system was influenced by the regional scripts of the scribes. Therefore, Sanskrit has no native script of its own. As such, virtually all of the major writing systems of South Asia have been used for the production of Sanskrit manuscripts. Since the late 19th century, devanāgari has become the de facto standard writing system for Sanskrit publication, quite possibly because of the European practice of printing Sanskritic texts in this script. Devanāgari is written from left to right, lacks distinct letter cases, and is recognizable by a distinctive horizontal line running along the tops of the letters that links them together.
The earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit date to the 1st century BCE. They are in the Brahmi script, which was originally used for Prakrit, not Sanskrit. It has been described as a paradox that the first evidence of written Sanskrit occurs centuries later than that of the Prakrit languages which are its linguistic descendants. In northern India, there are Brāhmī inscriptions dating from the third century BCE onwards, the oldest appearing on the famous Prakrit pillar inscriptions of king Ashoka. The earliest South Indian inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi, written in early Tamil, belong to the same period. When Sanskrit was written down, it was first used for texts of an administrative, literary or scientific nature. The sacred texts were preserved orally, and were set down in writing "reluctantly" (according to one commentator), and at a comparatively late date.
Sanskrit in modern Indian and other Brahmi scripts: May Śiva bless those who take delight in the language of the gods. (Kalidasa)
Brahmi evolved into a multiplicity of scripts of the Brahmic family, many of which were used to write Sanskrit. Roughly contemporary with the Brahmi, the Kharosthi script was used in the north-west of the subcontinent. Sometime between the fourth and eighth centuries CE, the Gupta script, derived from Brahmi, became prevalent. Around the eighth century the Sharada script (c. 17th century) evolved out of the Gupta script. The latter was displaced in its turn by Devanagari in the 11th or 12th century, with intermediary stages such as the Siddham script. In Eastern India, the Bengali script and, later, the Oriya script, were used. In the south, where Dravidian languages predominate, scripts used for Sanskrit include Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Grantha.
Since the late 18th century, Sanskrit has been transliterated using the Latin alphabet. The system most commonly used today is the IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration), which has been the academic standard since 1888. ASCII-based transliteration schemes have also evolved because of difficulties representing Sanskrit characters in computer systems. These include Harvard-Kyoto and ITRANS, a transliteration scheme that is used widely on the Internet, especially in Usenet and in email, for considerations of speed of entry as well as rendering issues. With the wide availability of Unicode-aware web browsers, IAST has become common online. It is also possible to type using an alphanumeric keyboard and transliterate to Devanagari using software like Mac OS X's international support.
It is also possible to type using an alphanumeric keyboard and transliterate to devanagari using software like Mac OS X's international support.
European scholars in the 19th century generally preferred Devanagari for the transcription and reproduction of whole texts and lengthy excerpts. However, references to individual words and names in texts composed in European languages were usually represented with Roman transliteration. From the 20th century onwards, because of production costs, textual editions edited by Western scholars have mostly been in Romanised transliteration.
Sanskrit grammatical tradition (Vyākaraṇa, one of the six Vedanga disciplines) began in late Vedic India and culminated in the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini, which consists of 3990 sutras (ca. the fifth century BCE). About a century after Pāṇini (around 400 BCE) Kātyāyana composed Vārtikas on Pāṇinian sũtras. Patañjali, who lived three centuries after Pāṇini, wrote the Mahābhāṣya, the "Great Commentary" on the Aṣṭādhyāyī and Vārtikas. Because of these three ancient Sanskrit grammarians this grammar is called Trimuni Vyākarana. To understand the meaning of sutras, Jayaditya and Vāmana wrote the commentary named Kāsikā in 600 CE. Pāṇinian grammar is based on 14 Shiva sutras (aphorisms), where the whole Mātrika (alphabet) is abbreviated. This abbreviation is called Pratyāhara.
Sanskrit verbs are categorized into ten classes of verbs, which divided into in two broad groups:
The thematic verbs are so called because an a, called the theme vowel, is inserted between the stem and the ending. This serves to make the thematic verbs generally more regular. Exponents used in verb conjugation include prefixes, suffixes, infixes, and reduplication. Every root has (not necessarily all distinct) zero, guṇa, and vṛddhi grades. If V is the vowel of the zero grade, the guṇa-grade vowel is traditionally thought of as a + V, and the vṛddhi-grade vowel as ā + V.
The verb tenses (a very inexact application of the word, since more distinctions than simply tense are expressed) are organized into four 'systems' (as well as gerunds and infinitives, and such creatures as intensives/frequentatives, desideratives, causatives, and benedictives derived from more basic forms) based on the different stem forms (derived from verbal roots) used in conjugation. There are four tense systems:
• Present (Present, Imperfect, Imperative, Optative)
• Future (Future, Conditional tenses)
Before Classical Sanskrit, older forms also included a subjunctive mood. Each conjugational ending conveys person, number, and voice.
Sanskrit nouns highly inflected language with three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), three numbers (singular, plural, dual) and eight cases (nominative, vocative, accusative, instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, and locative.) Nominal compounds are common, and can include over 10 word stems.
The number of actual declensions is debatable. Pāṇini identifies six karakas corresponding to the nominative, accusative, dative, instrumental, locative, and ablative cases. Pāṇini defines them as follows (Ashtadhyayi, I.4.24–54):
1. Apadana (lit. 'take off'): "(that which is) firm when departure (takes place)." This is the equivalent of the ablative case, which signifies a stationary object from which movement proceeds.
2. Sampradana ('bestowal'): "he whom one aims at with the object". This is equivalent to the dative case, which signifies a recipient in an act of giving or similar acts.
3. Karana ("instrument") "that which effects most." This is equivalent to the instrumental case.
4. Adhikarana ('location'): or "substratum." This is equivalent to the locative case.
5. Karman ('deed'/'object'): "what the agent seeks most to attain". This is equivalent to the accusative case.
6. Karta ('agent'): "he/that which is independent in action". This is equivalent to the nominative case. (On the basis of Scharfe, 1977: 94)
Personal pronouns and determiners
Sanskrit pronouns are declined for case, number, and gender. The pronominal declension applies to a few adjectives as well. Many pronouns have alternative enclitic forms.
The first and second person pronouns are declined for the most part alike, having by analogy assimilated themselves with one another. Where two forms are given, the second is enclitic and an alternative form. Ablatives in singular and plural may be extended by the syllable -tas; thus mat or mattas, asmat or asmattas. Sanskrit does not have true third person pronouns, but its demonstratives fulfill this function instead by standing independently without a modified substantive.
There are four different demonstratives in Sanskrit: tat, etat, idam, and adas. etat indicates greater proximity than tat. While idam is similar to etat, adas refers to objects that are more remote than tat. eta, is declined almost identically to ta. Its paradigm is obtained by prefixing e- to all the forms of ta. As a result of sandhi, the masculine and feminine singular forms transform into eṣas and eṣã.
The enclitic pronoun ena is found only in a few oblique cases and numbers. Interrogative pronouns all begin with k-, and decline just as tat does, with the initial t- being replaced by k-. The only exception to this are the singular neuter nominative and accusative forms, which are both kim and not the expected *kat. For example, the singular feminine genitive interrogative pronoun, "of whom?", is kasyãḥ. Indefinite pronouns are formed by adding the participles api, cid, or cana after the appropriate interrogative pronouns. All relative pronouns begin with y-, and decline just as tat does. The correlative pronouns are identical to the tat series.
In addition to the pronouns described above, some adjectives follow the pronominal declension. Unless otherwise noted, their declension is identical to tat.
• eka: "one", "a certain". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both ekam)
• anya: "another"
• sarva: "all", "every". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both sarvam)
• para: "the other". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both param)
• sva: "self" (a reflexive adjective). (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both svam)
One other notable feature of the nominal system is the very common use of nominal compounds, which may be huge (10+ words) as in some modern languages such as German and Finnish. Nominal compounds occur with various structures, however morphologically speaking they are essentially the same. Each noun (or adjective) is in its (weak) stem form, with only the final element receiving case inflection. The four principle categories of nominal compounds are:
These consist of two or more noun stems, connected in sense with 'and'. Examples are rāma-lakşmaņau-Rama and Lakshmana, rāma-lakşmaņa-bharata-Śatrughnāh-Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna, and pāņipādam-limbs, literally hands and feet, from pāņi = hand and pāda = foot.
There are many tatpuruṣas; in a tatpuruṣa the first component is in a case relationship with another. For example, a doghouse is a dative compound, a house for a dog; other examples include instrumental relationships ("thunderstruck") and locative relationships ("towndwelling").
A compound where the relation of the first member to the last is appositional, attributive or adverbial; e.g., uluka-yatu (owl+demon) is a demon in the shape of an owl. Karmadhārayas are considered by some to be tatpuruṣas.
Bahuvrīhi compounds refer to a compound noun that refers to a thing which is itself not part of the compound. For example the word bahuvrīhi itself, from bahu = much and vrīhi = rice, denotes a rich person-one who has much rice.
Because of Sanskrit's complex declension system the word order is free. In usage, there is a strong tendency toward subject–object–verb (SOV), which was the original system in place in Vedic prose. However, there are exceptions when word pairs cannot be transposed.
Influence on vernaculars
Sanskrit's greatest influence, presumably, is that which it exerted on languages of India that grew from its vocabulary and grammatical base; for instance, Hindi is a "Sanskritized register" of the Khariboli dialect. However, all modern Indo-Aryan languages, as well as Munda and Dravidian languages, have borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit (tatsama words), or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan languages (tadbhava words). Words originating in Sanskrit are estimated to constitute roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern Indo-Aryan languages, and the literary forms of (Dravidian) Malayalam and Kannada. Literary texts in Telugu are lexically Sanskrit or Sanskritized to an enormous extent, perhaps seventy percent or more
Sanskrit is prized as a storehouse of scripture and as the language of prayers in Hinduism. Like Latin's influence on European languages and Classical Chinese's influence on East Asian languages, Sanskrit has influenced most Indian languages. While vernacular prayer is common, Sanskrit mantras are recited by millions of Hindus, and most temple functions are conducted entirely in Sanskrit, often Vedic in form. Of modern day Indian languages, Nepali, Bengali, Assamese, Konkani and Marathi still retain a largely Sanskrit and Prakrit vocabulary base, while Hindi and Urdu tend to be more heavily weighted with Arabic and Persian influence. The Indian national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, is written in a literary form of Bengali (known as sadhu bhasha); it is Sanskritized to be recognizable but is still archaic to the modern ear. The national song of India, Vande Mataram, which was originally a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and taken from his book called 'Anandamath', is in a similarly highly Sanskritized Bengali. Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada also combine a great deal of Sanskrit vocabulary. Sanskrit also has influence on Chinese through Buddhist Sutras. Chinese words like 剎那 chànà (Skt. क्षन kṣana 'instantaneous period of time') were borrowed from Sanskrit.
The 1991 and 2001, census of India recorded 49,736 and 14,135 persons, respectively, with Sanskrit as their native language. Since the 1990s, efforts to revive spoken Sanskrit have been increasing. Many organizations like the Samskrta Bharati are conducting Speak Sanskrit workshops to popularize the language. The state of Uttarakhand in India has ruled Sanskrit as its second official language. The CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) of India has made Sanskrit a third language (though it is an option for the school to adopt it or not, the other choice being the state's own official language) in the schools it governs. In such schools, learning Sanskrit is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). This is true of most schools affiliated to the ICSE board too, especially in those states where the official language is Hindi. Sudharma, the only daily newspaper in Sanskrit has been published out of Mysore in India since the year 1970. Since 1974, there has been a short daily news broadcast on state-run All India Radio.
In these Indian villages, inhabitants of all castes speak Sanskrit natively since childhood:
1. Mattur in Karnataka
2. Jhiri, District: Rajgadh, Madhya Pradesh
3. Ganoda, District: Banswada, Rajasthan
4. Bawali, District: Bagapat, Uttar Pradesh
5. Mohad, District: Narasinhpur, Madhya Pradesh
6. Shyamsundarpur,District: Kendujhar, Orissa
In the Republic of India, in Nepal and Indonesia, Sanskrit phrases are widely used as mottoes for various educational and social organizations (much as Latin is used by some institutions in the West). The motto of the Republic is also in Sanskrit.
Republic of India
'सत्यमेव जयते' Satyameva Jayate "Truth alone triumphs"
'जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी' Janani Janmabhūmisca Svargādapi garīyasi "Mother and motherland are greater than heaven"
'सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत्' Sarve Bhadrāni PaŚyantu Mā KaŚcid Duhkhabhāg bhavet "May all perceive good, may not anyone attain unhappiness"
Life Insurance Corporation of India
'योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम्', Yogakshemam Vahāmyaham "I shall take care of welfare" (taken from the Bhagavad Gita)
'शं नो वरुणः' Shanno Varuna "May Varuna be peaceful to us"
Indian Air Force
'नभःस्पृशं दीप्तम्' Nabhaḥ-SpṛŚaṃ Dīptam "Touching the Sky with Glory" (from Bhagavad Gita: XI, Verse 24)
'सद्रक्षणाय खलनिग्रहणाय' Sadrakshanaaya Khalanigrahanaaya "For protection of the good and control of the wicked"
Indian Coast Guard
'वयं रक्षामः' Vayam Rakshāmaha "We protect"
All India Radio
'बहुजनहिताय बहुजनसुखाय' Bahujana-hitāya bahujana-sukhāya "For the benefit of all, for the comfort of all"
'जलेष्वेव जयामहे' Jalesveva Jayamahe "On the Sea We Are Glorious"
'वीरभोग्या वसुन्धरा' Veerabhogya Vasundhara "The earth is fit to be ruled by the brave"
'पञ्चचित' Pancacita "Five Goals"
Many of the post–Independence educational institutions of national importance in India and Sri Lanka have Sanskrit mottoes. For a fuller list of such educational institutions, see List of educational institutions which have Sanskrit phrases as their mottoes.
Interaction on other languages
Sanskrit has greatly influenced the languages of India that grew from its vocabulary and grammatical base; for instance, Hindi is a "Sanskritised register" of the Khariboli dialect. All modern Indo-Aryan languages, as well as Munda and Dravidian languages, have borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit (tatsama words), or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan languages (tadbhava words). Words originating in Sanskrit are estimated at roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern Indo-Aryan languages, as well as the literary forms of Malayalam and Kannada. Literary texts in Telugu are lexically Sanskrit or Sanskritised to an enormous extent, perhaps seventy percent or more.
Interaction with other languages
Sanskrit and related languages have also influenced their Sino-Tibetan-speaking neighbors to the north through the spread of Buddhist texts in translation. Buddhism was spread to China by Mahayanist missionaries sent by Emperor Ashoka mostly through translations of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit texts, and many terms were transliterated directly and added to the Chinese vocabulary. Chinese words like 剎那 chànà (Devanagari: क्षण kṣaṇa 'instantaneous period') were borrowed from Sanskrit. Many Sanskrit texts survive only in Tibetan collections of commentaries to the Buddhist teachings Tanjur.(Although Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is not Sanskrit, properly speaking, its grammar and vocabulary are substantially the same, both because of genetic relationship, and because of conscious implementation of Pāṇinian standardizations on the part of composers. Buddhist texts composed in Sanskrit proper were primarily found in philosophical schools like the Madhyamaka.) The situation in Tibet is similar; many Sanskrit texts survive only in Tibetan translation (in the Tanjur).
In Southeast Asia, languages such as Thai and Lao contain many loan words from Sanskrit, as do Khmer, and even Vietnamese to a lesser extent, through Sinified hybrid Sanskrit. For example, in Thai, the Rāvana - the emperor of Sri Lanka is called 'Thosakanth' which is a derivation of his Sanskrit name 'Dashakanth' ("of ten necks").
Many Sanskrit loanwords are also found in traditional Malay, Modern Indonesian, and numerous Philippine languages (such as Tagalog have some Sanskrit loanwords, although more are derived from Spanish), Old Javanese language (nearly half) and to a lesser extent, Cambodian, Vietnamese, through Sinified hybrid Sanskrit. A Sanskrit loanword encountered in many Southeast Asian languages is the word bhāṣā, or spoken language, which is used to refer to the names of many languages.
Usage in modern times / In popular culture
Many of India's and Nepal's scientific and administrative terms are named in Sanskrit, as a counterpart of the western practice of naming scientific developments in Latin or Greek. The Indian guided missile program that was commenced in 1983 by DRDO has named the five missiles (ballistic and others) that it has developed as Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Nag and Trishul. India's first modern fighter aircraft is named HAL Tejas.
Recital of Sanskrit shlokas as background chorus in films, television advertisements and as slogans for corporate organizations has become a trend. Satyagraha, an opera by Philip Glass, uses texts from the Bhagavad Gita, sung in Sanskrit.
Recently, Sanskrit also made an appearance in Western pop music in two recordings by Madonna. "Shanti/Ashtangi" from her 1998 album "Ray of Light", which won a Grammy, is the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga chant. The lyrics include the mantra Om shanti. The song "Cyber-raga", released in 2000 from Madonna's album Music includes Sanskrit chants, as a B-side to Madonna's album "Music", is a Sanskrit-language ode of devotion to a higher power and a wish for peace on earth. The Matrix Revolutions features a choir singing a Sanskrit prayer from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in the closing credits of the movie. Composer John Williams featured choirs singing in Sanskrit for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
The Sky1 version of the theme song of season one of Battlestar Galactica 2004 features the Gayatri Mantra, taken from the Rig Veda (3.62.10). The composition was written by miniseries composer Richard Gibbs. The lyrics of "The Child In Us" by Enigma also contains Sanskrit verses.
Sanskrit has also seen a significant revival in China. Musicians such as Sa Dingding have written pop songs in Sanskrit.
There have been suggestions to use Sanskrit as a metalanguage for knowledge representation in e.g. machine translation, and other areas of natural language processing because of its relatively high regular structure. Analysis of Sanskrit is similar to Semantic network theory and it may be suitable for knowledge representation as well as an artificial language for computers. This is due to Classical Sanskrit being a regularized, prescriptivist form abstracted from the much more complex and richer Vedic Sanskrit. This leveling of the grammar of Classical Sanskrit began during the Brahmana phase, and had not yet completed by the time of Pāṇini, when the language had fallen out of popular use.
Numbers in Sanskrit
Numbers in Sanskrit
Alright, Let us learn how to count numbers. Learning numbers is not only fun it is important. Look at the certain numbers like three and nine which is threeni and nava respectively. They sound very similar, aren't they? It makes it easy to remember!
|1||१||एकम् / एक||ekam / éka (ekah)|
|2||२||द्वे / द्वि||dve / dvi / dvau / dva|
|3||३||त्रीणि / त्रि||treeni / trí / tryah, tisra|
|4||४||चत्वारि / चतुर्||chatvaari (catvari) / catúr / catvaras, catasras|
|6||६||षट् / षष्||shat (sat) / ṣáṣ (shash)|
|8||८||अष्ट||ashta (aṣṭá) / astau|
After the number Ten, you see that the numbers till Nineteen the suffix dasha, in a way similar to the siffix -teen in English!
|20||२०||विंशतिः||vimshatihi / vimsati (vinshati) / vinshat / dvidasha|
Now that we are ready to learn further numbers, aren't we? We stopped at twenty in our last lesson. That was vimshatihi, isn't it? Now it's pretty simple. You just add one to nine as prefix to vimshatihi, which goes like,
|30||३०||त्रिंशत्||trimshat / trimsati / trinsha / trinshat|
Alright. We have now reached Thirty, which is trimshat. The same rule again follows to go further! One to nine as prefix to trimshat.
|40||४०||चत्वारिंशत्||chatvaarimshat / catvarimsati / catvarinshat|
Now, if you have got doubts for example, why dvaavimshathi(22) and dvaatrimshat(32) are this way as opposed to dve-vimshathi and dve-trimshat, you need to go to Samndhi section. That section explains why dve-vimshathi or dve-trimmshat become dvaavimshathi or dvaatrimshathi when it becomes single word.
The same rule follows for each tens. We know that we say chatvaarimshat for forty. Inorder to count the numbers further, we add prefixes one- two (ekam- dve- ) and so on. And here we are! Now we will learn how to count numbers between forty-one and sixty.
|50||५०||पञ्चाशत्||panchaashat (pancasat/panchashat) / panchasha / ardha shata: half of a hundred|
You have already learned till Fifty! Bravo! Yes, I know that you have already got the drift and telling it is no big deal learning numbers. Still, for the sake of completeness, lets us finish counting.
|60||६०||षष्टिः||shashtihi / sasti|
Let us learn how to say numbers starting from sixty one to 80 in Sanskrit. Again, the same rule follows. We know that Sixty is shashtihi and further numbers would be just adding prefixes one- two- ( ekam- dve- ) and so on.
|70||७०||सप्ततिः||saptatihi / sapti|
Now apply the same rule for numbers beyond Seventy (saptatihi), till eighty (asheetihi). Add the prefixes. Right, you know that!
|80||८०||अशीतिः||asheetihi / asiti|
We are done till eighty. In the next lesson we will be completing counting numbers till 100 and then we are done with it!
Last twenty numbers before we reach one hundred. We know that Eighty is ekaasheetihi and it is all about just adding the prefixes.
|90||९०||नवतिः||navatihi / navati|
And here! Ninety is navatihi and we keep adding the prefixes till hundred.
|100||१००||शतम्||shatam / satam, sata|
Numerals greater then 100
|356||XXXXX||XXXXX||sat pancasat trisata|
|1000||XXXXX||XXXXX||sahasra / eka sahasram|
|100,000||XXXXX||XXXXX||satasahasra, laksha, lak|
|100,000,000||XXXXX||XXXXX||arbuda, vrnda, nyarbuda|
Numerals from Billion and above
|1,000,000,000||XXXXX||XXXXX||abja, shatakoti, maharbuda, nikharva, nikarvaka, badva|
|1,000,000,000,000||XXXXX||XXXXX||mahaapadma, antya, antyam, nikharva|
Alright now you know how to count numbers in Sanskrit.
Word-Numeral Decimal System
It was the ancient Bharatbhoomi that gave us the ingenious methods of expressing all the numbers by means of 10 symbols (decimal systems). The highest prefix used for raising 10 to the power in today's mathematics is "D" for 1030 (for Greek Deca). While as early as 100 BC Hindu mathematicians had exact names for figures up to 1053.
|10 Dash Shahashram||104|
Let us now learn how to tell the time in Sanskrit. Because we already know how to count numbers it basically is easy. After all a day has only twenty four hours. And an hour has only sixty minutes. So, if you know how to count till sixty, that's more than enough, when you need numbers while you are telling time!
Alright. Let's start with an hour-glass pattern time telling in the first instance.
You now know that it's all about just adding vaadanum after the hour you want.
Now how do we say things like quarter to, quarter past or half past etc. And things like five minutes to an hour or let us say five minutes past an hour.
Let us say it is quarter past five. We would say that in Sanskrit sapaada pancha vaadanam. सपाद पञ्चवादनम्।
How about half past eleven? that would be saardha ekaadasha vaadanam. सार्ध एकादशवादनम्।
And what about quarter to twelve? That is paada oona(or paadona) dvaadasha vaadanam. पदोन द्वादशवादनम्।
Five minutes past two o'clock is pancha adhika dvivaadanam. पञ्चाधिक द्विवादनम्।
Five minutes to Six is pancha oona shadvaadanam. पञ्च ऊन षड्वादनम्।
By the way oona means missing, adhika is in addition, paada is a quarter and saardha means a half.
That's about how to tell the time. Have fun!
Simple Words in Sanskrit
Simple Words in Sanskrit
Why learn Sanskrit?
There are several reasons why you should learn Sanskrit. Some serious and some not so much. But I would say you should learns Sanskrit because it is so much fun!
Apart from the fun, learning Sanskrit can also help you understand the etymology of a lot of words in Indian and non-Indian languages. It would also help you understand ancient Sanskrit texts, shlokas and other Sanskrit words in their true context, with nothing getting lost in translation.
Sanskrit is also a very systematic and syntactic language and the grammar of the language servers as a master template for most Indian (and a few European) languages.
अ(a) आ(aa) इ(i) ई(ee) उ(u) ऊ(oo) ऋ(r) ॠ(r) लृ(lr) ए(e) ऐ(ai) ओ(o) औ(au)
Anuswaara and Visarga
क(ka) ख(kha) ग(ga) घ(gha) ङ(nga)
च(cha) छ(chha) ज(ja) झ(jha) ञ(nja)
ट(ta) ठ(tha) ड(da) ढ(dha) ण(na)
त(ta) थ(tha) द(da) ध(dha) न(na)
प(pa) फ(pha) ब(ba) भ(bha) म(ma)
य(ya) र(ra) ल(la) व(va) श(sha) ष(sha) स(sh) ह(ha)
Point of Introduction
Let us try to learn how to use simple words, by using them in simple sentences.
|Word||Meaning||Pronunciation||Example sentence||Translation||How to read||Audio||Comment|
|मम||my||mama||मम नाम अलेक्षः।||My name is Alex||mama naama alexaha||[swf file=""]||naama = name|
|भवतः||your (masculine)||bhavataha||भवतः नाम किम्?(पुरुषम् अधिकृत्य)||What is your name? (Masculine)||bhavataha naama kim?||kim=what|
|भवत्याः||your (feminine)||bhavatyaha||भवत्याः नाम किम्?(स्त्रीम् अधिकृत्य)||What is your name? (Feminine)||bhavatyaha naama kim?|
So we have learnt how to speak very simple sentences in Sanskrit. See, it is not hard at all! For all the introductory lessons, we will aim to provide the pronunciation both in English alphabets as well as in audio. That way you would not have to get intimidated by the prospect of learning a new alphabet to begin with. To begin with, focus will be on learning the words, making simple sentences and learning simple rules of grammar.
Simple Pronoun: He, She, It and They
eshaha (एषः), saha (सः) , kaha (कः), eshaa (एषा), saa (सा), kaa (का).
Let us learn some simple words like eshaha (एषः), saha (सः), kaha (कः), eshaa (एषा), saa (सा), kaa (का).
eshaha (एषः) means 'he' in English. Further, saha (सः) also means 'he'. We refer esha (एषः) to the person standing near by, where as saha (सः) is used when you are referring to a person standing away from you. Likewise, eshaa (एषा) and saa (सा), both of these words mean 'she' in feminine form.
kaha (कः) means who in masculine form and kaa (का) means who in feminine form.
Let us make few simple sentences using these simple words.
eshaha kaha? (एषः कः)?
As we know eshaha (एषः) means 'he' and kaha (कः) means 'who' the whole sentence esha kaha? (एषः कः)? reads 'who is he?' .
You might be wondering whether are we missing the helping verb 'is' in Sanskrit? In the sentence eshaha kaha? (एषः कः)? we do not need a helping verb in Sanskrit. You will learn in detail in later sections why do we not need a helping verb while constructing sentences like this in Sanskrit.
Likewise, saha kaha? (सः कः)? also means 'who is he?' We know that both saha (सः) and esha (एषः) refer to 'he'.
Let us say, you would like to say 'he is Alex'. That would be saha Alexaha (सः अलेक्षः) or that can also be eshaha alexaha. (एषः अलेक्षः)
Similarly, 'who is she?' is eshaa kaa (एषा का) or saa kaa (सा का)?
And when you say 'she is Reeta'. That can either be eshaa Reetaa (एषा रीटा) or saa Reetaa (सा रीटा).
ete (एते), te (ते), ke (के), etaaha (एताः), taaha (ताः), kaaha (काः)
Let us try to learn few more words ete (एते), te (ते), ke (के), etaaha (एताः), taaha (ताः), kaaha (काः) in this section.
The word ete (एते) means 'they'. However, when we use the word ete (एते), it is in masculine form. Similarly the word etaaha (एताः) means 'they' in feminine form.
ke (के) means 'who' that corresponds to the word ete (एते). Meaning, the word ke (के) can be used with the word ete (एते) while asking the question, ete ke? (एते के)?, which means 'who are they?'. Similarly, the word kaaha (काः) can be used with the word etaaha (एताः). The sentence etaaha kaaha? (एताः काः)? means 'who are they'. In fact, both sentences ete ke? (एते के)? and etaaha kaaha? (एताः काः)? means, 'who are they' but the former in the masculine form and the latter in feminine form. Moreover, the words ete (एते) and etaaha (एताः) are referred in the similar fashion as the words eshaha (एषः) and eshaa (एषा) but in plural forms.
Words te (ते) and taaha (ताः) also means 'they' in masculine and feminine forms respectively. And they follow similar fashion as words saha (सः) and saa (सा) but in the plural forms. Interrogative words ke (के) and kaaha (काः) can be used with te (ते) and taaha (ताः) in order to make questions, te ke (ते के)? or taaha kaaha (ताः काः)? meaning 'who are they?'
etat (एतत्), tat (तत्), kim (किम्), etaani (एतानि), taani (तानि), kaani (कानि)
Words etat (एतत्) and tat (तत्) means 'this' and 'that' respectively. Words etaani (एतानि) and taani (तानि) are the plural forms of the words etat (एतत्) and tat (तत्) in that order.
Interrogative word kim (किम्) can be used either with etat (एतत्) or tat (तत्) in order to make the questions, etat kim? or tat kim? means 'what is this?' or 'what is that?' respectively. The word kim (किम्) means 'what'. The plural form of the word kim (किम्) is kaani (कानि). Hence, kaani (कानि) can be used along with the words etaani (एतानि) or taani (तानि) in order to make questions. The interrogative sentences etaani kaani? (एतानि कानि)? and taani kaani? (तानि कानि)? means 'what are these?' and 'what are those?' respectively.
Simple Interrogative Words: Who, When, Why, Where and How
We have learned few interrogative words like kaha (कः), ke (के), kaa (का), kaaha (काः), kim (किम्), kaani (कानि) in previous lesson. Kaha (कः) means 'who' in masculine form and kaa (का) means 'who' in feminine form. saha kaha? (सः कः)? means 'who is he?' and saa kaa? (सा का)? means 'who is she?'.
The word kadaa (कदा) is another interrogative word which means 'when'. Let us use this word kadaa (कदा) in a simple sentence. Let us say, you would like to ask 'when does he go?'. That would be in Sanskrit saha kadaa gachchati? (सः कदा गच्छति)?.
To the question 'when does he go?', let us say, your answer would be 'he goes at 7 o'clock'. That would be in Sanskrit saha saptavaadane gachchati (सः सप्तवादने गच्छति).
Another interrogative word kimartham (किमर्थम्) means 'why'. The question 'why does he go there?' can be translated in Sanskrit in to saha kimartham tatra gachchati? (सः किमर्थं तत्र गच्छति)?
The word kutaha (कुतः) means 'from-where'. The question 'where did he come from?' can be asked using the word in Sanskrit, saha kutaha aagatavaan? (सः कुतः आगतवान्)?
Where as the word kutra (कुत्र) means 'where'. The question 'where did he go?' would in Sanskrit be, saha kutra gatavaan? (सः कुत्र गतवान्)?
Kati (कति) is an interrogative word as well, which means 'how much'. 'How much money do you have?' can be asked using Sanskrit words, 'bhavatha sameepe kati roopyakaani santi?' (भवतः समीपे कति रूप्यकाणि सन्ति?). Here the word bhavataha (भवतः) means 'your' in masculine form. The word sameepe (समीपे) alone would mean 'nearby'. The word roopyakaani (रूप्यकाणि) means 'money'. And the word santi (सन्ति) is plural form of asti (अस्ति).
Katham (कथम्) is another interrogative word which means 'how'. 'How are you?' can be asked bhavaan katham asti? (भवान् कथम् अस्ति)? in the masculine form and bhavatee katham asti? (भवती कथम् अस्ति)? in the feminine form.
Simple Pronoun: I, We, You and You
The word aham (अहम्) means 'I'. Let us use the word aham (अहम्) along with the verb pathaami (पठामि) which makes the simple sentence aham pathaami (अहं पठामि), meaning, 'I read'.
The word na (न) indicates the negative response and the word aam (आम्) is affirmative in nature. In other words aam (आम्) is 'yes' and na (न) is 'no'. If the sentence aham pathaami (अहं पठामि) is told along with the word na (न), then aham na pathaami (अहं न पठामि) would mean 'I don't read'. Where as, when the word aam (आम्) is used along with aham pathaami (अहं पठामि), then aam aham pathaami (आम् अहं पठामि) would make the sentence more affirmative ('I do read').
Vayam (वयम्) is a plural form of the word aham (अहम्). And vayam pathaamaha (वयं पठामः) means 'we read'.
Let us learn another two basic words bhavaan (भवान्) and bhavatee (भवती). The word, bhavaan (भवान्) means you in masculine form and the word bhavatee (भवती) means you in feminine form.
'You are reading, aren't you?' can be translated in Sanskrit as 'bhavaan pathati vaa?' (भवान् पठति वा)? in masculine form. The same question in feminine form would be 'bhavatee pathati vaa?' (भवती पठति वा)?
bhavantaha (भवन्तः) and bhavatyaha (भवत्यः) are the plural form of the words bhavaan (भवान्) and bhavatee (भवती). 'You are reading, aren't you?' would be bhavantaha pathanti vaa? (भवन्तः पठन्ति वा)? in masculine plural form and bhavatyaha pathanti vaa? (भवत्यः पठन्ति वा)?in feminine plural form.
Please note that the verb (dhaatu) path (पठ्) changes to pathaami (पठामि), pathaamaha (पठामः), pathati (पठति) and pathanti (पठन्ति) with aham (अहम्), vayam (वयम्), bhavaan/bhavatee (भवान्/भवती) and bhavantha/bhavatyaha (भवन्तः/भवत्यः).
Simple Words: Left, Right, Back and Front
In this lesson we will learn few words, purataha (पुरतः), prashthataha (पृष्ठतः), vaamataha (वामतः), daxinataha (दक्षिणतः), upari (उपरि), adhaha (अधः).
The word purataha (पुरतः) means 'front'. For example, if I say 'there is a computer in front of me', that would be mama purataha ganakayantram asti (मम पुरतः गणकयन्त्रम् अस्ति). In this sentence we have used the word purataha (पुरतः). As you might have guessed the word ganakayantram (गणकयन्त्रम्) means computer. We know that the word mama (मम) means 'my'. The word asti (अस्ति) is used in the sense of existence in order to refer the word 'there is', in the sentence there is a computer in front of me'.
'Back' or 'behind' refer to the word prashthataha (पृष्ठतः) in Sanskrit. Let us use the word prashtataha (पृष्ठतः) in a sentence. Mama prashthataha pustakam asti (मम पृष्ठतः पुस्तकम् अस्ति), which means 'there is a book behind me'. Again, the word asti (अस्ति) is used to give the sense of existence similar to the previous sentence.
The word vaamataha (वामतः) can be used to refer the 'left side'. And the word daxinataha (दक्षिणतः) can be used to refer the 'right side'. Upari (उपरि) and adhaha (अधः) mean 'above' and 'below'. Let us use these words in a simple sentence.
Mama vamataha pustakam asti (मम वामतः पुस्तकम् अस्ति). This means 'there is a book towards my left side'. And if the word vaamataha (वामतः) is replaced by the word daxinataha (दक्षिणतः), the sentence becomes mama daxinataha pustakam asti (मम दक्षिणतः पुस्तकम् अस्ति). The meaning of the sentence now changes to 'there is a book towards my right side'. If we replace the word daxinataha (दक्षिणतः) by upari (उपरि), the sentence reads mama upari pustakam asti (मम उपरि पुस्तकम् अस्ति). This means 'the book is on the top of me'. Rather than using the word upari (उपरि) if we use the word adhaha (अधः), the sentence will change to mama adhaha pustakam asti (मम अधः पुस्तकम् अस्ति). This means 'the book is beneath me'.
If we say, upari aakashaha asti (उपरि आकाशः अस्ति), that means 'the sky is above me'. And if we say adhaha bhoomihi asti (अधः भूमिः अस्ति), that would be 'earth is beneath me'.