Sanskrit grammar

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The grammar of the Sanskrit language has a complex verbal system, rich nominal declension, and extensive use of compound nouns. It was studied and codified by Sanskrit grammarians from the later Vedic period (roughly 8th century BCE), culminating in the Pāṇinian grammar of the 4th century BCE.

Grammatical tradition[edit]

Origins[edit]

Sanskrit grammatical tradition (vyākaraṇa, one of the six Vedanga disciplines) began in late Vedic India and culminated in the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini.

The oldest attested form of the Proto-Indo-Aryan language as it had evolved in the Indian subcontinent after its introduction with the arrival of the Indo-Aryans is called Vedic. By 1000 BCE, the end of the early Vedic period, a large body of Vedic hymns had been consolidated into the Ṛg·Veda, which formed the canonical basis of the Vedic religion, and was transmitted from generation to generation entirely orally.

In the course of the following centuries, as the popular speech evolved, there was rising concern among the guardians of the Vedic religion that the hymns be passed on without 'corruption', which for them was vital to ensure the religious efficacy of the hymns.[a] This led to the rise of a vigorous, sophisticated grammatical tradition involving the study of linguistic analysis, in particular phonetics alongside grammar, the high point of which was Pāṇini's stated work, which eclipsed all others before him.[2][3][4]

Pāṇini[edit]

Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī,[b] a prescriptive and generative grammar with algebraic rules governing every single aspect of the language, in an era when oral composition and transmission was the norm, is staunchly embedded in that oral tradition. In order to ensure wide dissemination, Pāṇini is said to have preferred brevity over clarity[6] - it can be recited end-to-end in two hours. This has led to the emergence of a great number of commentaries of his work over the centuries, which for the most part adhere to the foundations laid by Pāṇini's work.[7][2]

After Pāṇini[edit]

About a century after Pāṇini, Kātyāyana composed vārtikas (explanations) on the 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.

Jayaditya and Vāmana wrote a commentary named Kāśikā in 600 CE. Kaiyaṭa's (12th century AD) commentary on Patañjali's Mahābhāṣya also exerted much influence on the development of grammar, but more influential was the Rupāvatāra of Buddhist scholar Dharmakīrti which popularised simplified versions of Sanskrit grammar.

The most influential work of the Early Modern period was Siddhānta-Kaumudī by Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita (17th century). Bhaṭṭoji's disciple Varadarāja wrote three abridged versions of the original text, named Madhya-Siddhānta-Kaumudī, Sāra-Siddhānta-Kaumudī and Laghu-Siddhānta-Kaumudī, of which the latter is the most popular. Vāsudeva Dīkṣita wrote a commentary named Bālamanoramā on Siddhānta-Kaumudī.

European grammatical scholarship began in the 18th century with Jean François Pons and others, and culminated in the exhaustive expositions by 19th century scholars such as Otto von Böhtlingk, William Dwight Whitney, Jacob Wackernagel and others.

Timeline[edit]

The following is a timeline of notable post-Pāṇinian grammatical figures and approximate dates:[8]

  • Kātyāyana - 300 BCE
  • Patañjali - 150 BCE
  • Bhartṛhari - V CE
  • Kāśikā - VII
  • Śākaṭāyana - IX
  • Kaiyaṭa - XI
  • Hemacandra - XII
  • Śaraṇadeva - XII
  • Vopadeva - XIII
  • Bhattoji-dīkṣita - XVII

Phonology[edit]

The sound system[edit]

The Sanskrit alphabet, or sound system, can be represented in a 2-dimensional matrix arranged on the basis of the articulatory criteria:[9][10]

Sanskrit sounds
voiceless[α] voiced[β]
open h a ā
velar[γ] k kh g gh
palatal[δ] ś c ch j jh ñ y i ī ē ai
retroflex[ε] ṭh ḍh r
dental[ζ] s t th d dh n l
labial[η] p ph b bh m v u ū o au
fric unasp[θ] asp[ι] unasp asp nasal[κ] semiv[λ] short[μ] long[ν][c]
stops[ξ] simple diphth
vocalics
consonants[ο] vowels[π]

Pronunciation examples[edit]

The table below shows the traditional listing of the Sanskrit consonants with the nearest equivalents in English (as pronounced in General American and Received Pronunciation or wherever relevant in Indian English), French, Spanish, Russian or Polish, along with approximate IPA values.[11]

(Further information: IPA chart (vowels and consonants) - 2015. and IPA pulmonic consonant chart with audio Audio content icon)

Sanskrit sound examples
voiceless voiced
open h
/ɦ/;
Eng ahead
a[d] ā
velar k
/k/;
Eng: skip
kh
/kʰ/;
Eng: cow
g
/ɡ/;
Eng: game
gh
/ɡʱ/;
Eng: doghouse

/ŋ/;
Eng: ring
palatal ś
/ɕ/;
similar to Eng: ship
c
/tɕ/;
Eng: reach
ch
/tɕʰ/;
Eng: cheer
j
/dʑ/;
Eng: jeer
jh
/dʑʱ/;
no equivalent
ñ
/ ɲ/;
Fre: agneau, Spa ñ, Rus: осень, Pol: jesień
y
/j/;
Eng: you
i ī ē ai
retroflex
/ʂ/;
Retroflex form of /ʃ/

/ʈ/;
Ind Eng: stop
ṭh
/ʈʰ/;
Ind Eng: cathouse

/ɖ/;
Ind Eng: door
ḍh
/ɖʱ/;
no equivalent

/ɳ/;
(NA/Irish/Scot) morning
r
/ɽ/;
(NA/Irish/Scot) morning

/ɽ/;
(NA/Irish/Scot) int'r'sting
diff'r'nce
dental s
/s/;
Eng: same
t
/t/;
Fre, Spa: tomate
th
/tʰ/;
Aspirated /t/
d
/d/;
Fre: dans, Spa donde
dh
/dʱ/;
Aspirated /d/
n
/n/;
Eng: name
l
/l/;
Fre, Spa: la
labial p
/p/;
Eng: spin
ph
/pʰ/;
Eng: pork
b
/b/;
Eng: cab
bh
/bʱ/;
Eng: bone
m
/m/;
Eng: mine
v
/ʋ/;[e]
u ū o au
fric unasp asp unasp asp nasal semiv short long
stops simple diphth
vocalics
consonants vowels

It should be understood that, while the script commonly associated with Sanskrit is Devanagari, this has no particular importance. It just happens currently to be the most popular script for Sanskrit. The form of the symbols used to write Sanskrit has varied widely geographically and over time, and notably includes modern Indian scripts. What is important is that the adherence to the phonological classification of the symbols elucidated here has remained constant in Sanskrit since classical times. It should be further noted that the phonology of modern Indian languages has evolved, and the values given to Devanagari symbols in modern Indo-Aryan languages, e.g., Hindi, differ somewhat from those of Sanskrit.

Sound classes[edit]

Vowels[edit]

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 .[A] Long syllabic r (ṝ) is also quite marginal, occurring (optionally) in the genitive plural of ṛ-stems (e.g. mātṛ, pitṛmātṝṇām, 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.[14]

The Pratyāhāra Sūtras


a i u·ṇ
ṛ ḷ k
e o·ṅ
ai au·c
ha ya va ra·ṭ
la·ṇ
ña ma ṅa ṇa na·m
jʰa bʰa·ñ
gʰa ḍʰa dʰa·ṣ
ja ba ga ḍa da·ś
kʰa pʰa cʰa ṭʰa tʰa ca ṭa ta·v
ka pa·y
śa ṣa sa·r
ha·l

Pāṇini, The Aṣṭādhyāyī[15]

Visarga and anusvāra[edit]

Visarga is an allophone of r and s, and anusvara ṃ, Devanagari of any nasal, both in pausa (i.e., the nasalised vowel). The exact pronunciation of the three sibilants may vary, but they are distinct phonemes. Voiced sibilants, such as z /z/, ẓ /ʐ/, and ź /ʑ/ as well as its aspirated counterpart źh /ʑʱ/, were inherited by Proto-Indo-Aryan from Proto-Indo-Iranian but lost around or after the time of the Rigveda, as evidenced due to ḷh (an aspirated retroflex lateral consonant) being metrically a cluster (that was most likely of the form ẓḍh; aspirated fricatives are exceedingly rare in any language).[16]

Retroflex consonants[edit]

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[17] or other substrate languages.[16]

Nasals[edit]

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]).[16]

Sandhi[edit]

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).[18]

Phonological processes[edit]

A number of phonological processes have been described in detail. One of them is abhinidhāna (lit. 'adjacent imposition'), (also known as āsthāpita, 'stoppage', bhakṣya or bhukta). It is the incomplete articulation, or ""repressing or obscuring", of a plosive or, according to some texts, a semi-vowel (except r), which occurs before another plosive or a pause.[19] It was described in the various Prātiśākhyas as well as the Cārāyaṇīya Śikṣa.[19] These texts are not unanimous on the environments that trigger abhinidhana, nor on the precise classes of consonants affected.

One ancient grammarian, Vyāḍi (in Ṛgveda Prātiśākhya 6.12), states that abhinidhāna only occurred when a consonant was doubled, whereas according to the text of the Śākalas it was obligatory in this context but optional for plosives before another plosive of a different place of articulation. The Śākalas and the Atharva Veda Prātiśākhya agree on the observation that abhinidhana occurs only if there is a slight pause between the two consonants and not if they are pronounced jointly.[20] Word-finally, plosives undergo abhinidhāna according to the Atharva Veda Prātiśākhya and the Ṛgveda Prātiśākhya. The latter text adds that final semivowels (excluding r) are also incompletely articulated.[21] The Atharva Veda Prātiśākhya 2.38 lists an exception: a plosive at the end of the word will not undergo abhinidhāna and will be fully released if it is followed by a consonant whose place of articulation is further back in the mouth.[22] The Cārāyaṇīya Śikṣa states that the consonants affected by abhinidhāna are the voiceless unaspirated plosives, the nasal consonants and the semivowels l and v.[23][f]

Morphophonology[edit]

Vowel gradation[edit]

Sanskrit inherits from Proto-Indo-European the feature of regular in-word, vowel variations known in the context of the parent language as ablaut or more generally apophony.

This feature, which can be seen in the English forms sing, sang, sung, and song, themselves a direct continuation of the PIE ablaut, is fundamental[g] in Sanskrit both for inflexion and derivation.[26][27]

Vowels within stems may change to other related vowels on the basis of the morphological operation being performed on it. There are three such grades, named the zero grade, first grade, and second grade. The first and second grades are also termed guṇa[ρ] and vṛddhi[σ] respectively. The full pattern of gradation, followed by example usage:[28]

Vowel gradation
Zero grade 1st grade 2nd grade
Open a ā
Palatal i/ī
y
i/ī
e[h]
ay
ya
ai[i]
āy
Labial u/ū
v
u/ū
o[j]
av
va
au[k]
āv
Retroflex
r
ar
ar
ra
ār
ār
Dental al āl
Vowel gradation examples
Zero grade 1st grade 2nd grade
Open rā́·as rā́jan rā́jān·am
Palatal ji·tá-
niny·ús
iṣ·ṭá-
·tum
náy·ana-
yáj·ana-
á·jai·ṣ·am
nā́y·aya·ti
yā́j·aya·ti
Labial śru·tá-
śṛṇv·é
ud·i·tá-
śró·tum
śráv·aṇa-
vád·ana-
á·śrau·ṣ·am
śuśrā́v·a
vā́d·aya·ti
Retroflex kṛ·tá-
cakr·ús
gṛhī·tá
kár·tum
kár·aṇa-
gráh·aṇa-
ca·kā́r·a
kā́r·aya·ti
grā́h·aya·ti
Dental kḷp·tá- kálp·ana- kā́lpa-

As per the internal and historical structure of the system, the guṇa grade can be seen as the normal grade, whence proceeds either a strengthening[l] to form the second grade, or a weakening to form the zero-grade. The ancient grammarians however took the zero-grade as the natural form on which to apply guṇa or vṛddhi.

Whilst with the 1-grade-based system it is possible to derive the 0-grades thus:

  • ghóṣ·a·ti ⇒ ghuṣ·ṭá-
  • sráv·a·ti ⇒ sru·tá-
  • sváp·a·ti[m] ⇒ sup·tá-

the approach used by the ancient grammarians does not always work:

  • sup·tá- ≠ *sóp·a·ti

To overcome this, the ancient grammarians, while formulating most roots in zero-grade form, make an exception for some, and prescribe a treatment called samprasāraṇa on these:

  • ghóṣ·a·ti, ghuṣ·ṭá- ⇒ ghuṣ-
  • sráv·a·ti, sru·tá- ⇒ sru-
  • sváp·a·ti, sup·tá- ⇒ svap-

Thus, unlike most others, the root 'svap-' does not hold a 0-grade vowel, and is subject to samprasāraṇa before the past participle 'sup·tá-' can be formed.[29][30]

Besides *r̥, *l̥, Proto-Indo-European also had *m̥, *n̥,[n] all of which, in capacity of zero-grade vowels, participated in the gradation system. Whilst the latter two did not survive in Sanskrit (they ended up as a instead), their effects can be seen in verb-formation steps such as just seen above.[29][31]

Therefore, it is possible to analogically expand the above vowel-gradation table thus:

Vowel gradation
Zero grade 1st grade 2nd grade
Labial nasal a
ga·tá-
am
gám·ana
ām
jagā́ma
Dental nasal a
ha·tá-
an
hán·ti
ān
jaghā́na

The proto-forms of ga·tá- and ha·tá- would thus have *m̥ and *n̥ respectively: *gʷm̥·tó-[o] and *gʷʰn̥·tó-[p]

Accent[edit]

Sanskrit inherited a pitch accent (see Vedic accent) from Proto-Indo-European, as well as vowel gradation, both of which, in Sanskrit, just as in the parent language, go hand in hand.

As a general rule, a root bearing the accent takes the first (guṇa) or second (vṛddhi) grade, and when unaccented, reduces to zero grade.[32]

  • i- ⇒ éti (0 ⇒ 1st grade)
  • i·tá ⇒ áy·anam (0 ⇒ 2nd grade)

The gradation examples given in the previous sections demonstrate several more instances of this phenomenon with verbs.

With nouns, the pattern does not always hold, as even from the earliest stage of the language, there has been a tendency to fix a single form, thus while kṣam has kṣā́mas (2-g) and kṣmás (0-g), vāc has 2nd-grade forms throughout.[32]

Nouns whose stem vary between strong, middle and weak forms may correspondingly reflect 2nd, 1st and zero-grade vowels respectively. This may not always be matched by the accent:[32]

  • rā́jan, rā́jānam, rā́jnā (1, 2, 0 grades)

The above system of accent disappeared completely at some point during the classical stage. It was still alive in Pāṇini's time and even after Patañjali.[q] The author of the Kāśikā commentary (c. 700 CE) declares its use optional, and it might have disappeared from popular speech in the early centuries of the Common Era.[33]

Verbs[edit]

Background[edit]

Sanskrit has inherited from its parent the Proto-Indo-European language an elaborate system of verbal morphology, more of which has been preserved in Sanskrit as a whole than in other kindred languages such as Ancient Greek or Latin.

Some of the features of the verbal system, however, have been lost in the classical language, compared to the older Vedic Sanskrit, and in other cases, distinctions that have existed between different tenses have been blurred in the later language. Classical Sanskrit thus does not have the subjunctive or the injunctive mood, has dropped a variety of infinitive forms, and the distinctions in meaning between the imperfect, perfect and aorist forms are barely maintained and ultimately lost.[34][35]

Conjugation[edit]

Verb conjugation in Sanskrit involves the interplay of five 'dimensions', number[τ], person[υ], voice[φ], mood[χ] and tense[ψ], with the following variables:[36]

1 3 numbers singular[ω], dual[αα], plural[αβ]
2 3 persons first[αγ], second[αδ], third[αε]
3 3 voices active[αζ], middle[αη], passive[αθ]
4 3 moods indicative, optative, imperative
5 7 tenses present, imperfect, perfect, aorist,

periphrastic future, simple future, conditional

Further, participles are considered part of the verbal systems although they are not verbs themselves.[37] Classical Sanskrit has only one infinitive, of accusative case-form.[38]

Formation[edit]

The starting point for the morphological analysis of the Sanskrit verb is the root. Before the final endings—to denote number, person etc can be applied, additional elements may be added to the root. Whether such elements are affixed or not, the resulting component here is the stem, to which these final endings can then be added.[39][40]

Based on the treatment they undergo to form the stem, the roots of the Sanskrit language are arranged by the ancient grammarians in ten classes [αι], based on how they form the present stem, and named after a verb typical to each class.

No discoverable grammatical principle has been found for the ordering of these classes. This can be rearranged for greater clarity into non-thematic and thematic groups as summarized below:[41][42][43]

Thematic verb classes
Root Treatment Stem gaṇa Conjugation samples[r] Remarks
√bhū- [B] Root accent, gunated [s] bháv- First bháv·a·ti The commonest of all classes, with nearly half of the roots in the language.[44]
√tud- [C] None (ending accent) tud- Sixth tud·á·ti
√dív- [D] -ya- suffix dī́v·ya- Fourth dī́v·ya·ti
√cur- [E] -aya- with root gradation, or -áya- without cór·aya- Tenth cór·aya·ti Usually to form causatives, not strictly a class per se[45]
Athematic verb classes
Root Treatment Stem gaṇa Conjugation samples[t] Remarks
√ad- [F] None ad- Second at·ti
at·tas
ad·anti
√hu- [G] Reduplication, accent varies juhó-
juhu-
júhv-[u]
Third juhó·ti
juhu·tás
júhv·ati
√su- [H] -no- suffix su·nó-
su·nu-
su·nv-[u]
Fifth su·nó·ti
su·nu·tás
su·nv·ánti
√tan- [I] -o- suffix tan·ó-
tan·u-
tan·v-[u]
Eighth[v] tan·ó·ti
tan·u·tás
tan·v·ánti
√krī- [J] -nā- suffix krī·ṇā́-
krī·ṇī-
krī·ṇ-
Ninth krī·ṇā́·ti
krī·ṇī·tás
krī·ṇ-ánti
√rudh- [K] Nasal infix ru·ṇá·dh-
ru·n·dh-
Seventh ru·ṇá·d·dhi
ru·n·d·dhás
ru·n·dh·ánti

Scope[edit]

As in kindred Indo-European languages, conjugation is effected across the tenses, moods, voices, persons and numbers stated, yielding, in Sanskrit, a huge number of combinations.[46][47]

Conjugation - standard finite verbs
System Tense Mood Endings Conventional term
Present Present Indicative Primary 'Present'
Optative Secondary 'Optative'
Imperative Imperative 'Imperative'
Imperfect Indicative Secondary 'Imperfect'
Perfect Perfect Indicative Perfect
Aorist Aorist Indicative Secondary
Benedictive [w] Optative[x] Secondary
Future Future [y] Indicative Primary
Conditional Indicative Secondary

Furthermore, Sanskrit has so-called Secondary conjugations:[49]

  • Passive
  • Intensive
  • Desiderative
  • Causative
  • Denominative

The non-finite forms are:

  • Participles [z]
  • Infinitive
  • Gerund

Nominals[edit]

Declension[edit]

Declension of a noun in Sanskrit involves the interplay of two 'dimensions': 3 numbers and 8 cases.[50] Further, nouns themselves in Sanskrit, like its parent Proto-Indo-European, can be in one of three genders.

In addition, adjectives behave much the same way morphologically as nouns do, and can conveniently be considered together. While the same noun cannot be seen to be of more than one gender, adjectives change gender on the basis of the noun they are being applied to, along with case and number, thus giving the following variables:[51][52]

1 3 numbers singular, dual, plural
2 3 genders masculine, feminine, neuter
3 8 cases nominative, accusative, instrumental,

dative, ablative, genitive, locative, vocative

The oldest system of declension was in Proto-Indo-European, inherited by Sanskrit, to affix the endings directly to the nominal root. In later stages, a new system developed wherein an intermediary called the thematic vowel is inserted to the root before the final endings are appended: *-o- which in Sanskrit becomes -a-, producing the thematic stem.[53][54]

Stem classification[edit]

Substantives may be divided into different classes on the basis of the stem vowel before they are declined on the above basis. The general classification is:

  • a-stems
  • i- and u-stems
  • ā-, ī- and ū-stems
  • ṛ-stems
  • Consonant stems

When the nominal endings are being affixed to a noun of each class, they may undergo, in some cases, some changes, including being entirely replaced by other forms.[55][56][57]

Numerals[edit]

Personal pronouns and determiners[edit]

Sanskrit pronouns and determiners behave in their declension largely like other declinable classes such as nouns, adjectives and numerals, so that they can all be classed together under nominals. However, pronouns and determiners display certain peculiarities of their own compared to the other nominal classes.[58][59]

Furthermore, personal pronouns have an additional dimension not present in the other nominals, but shared by verbs: person.[60]

Pronouns[ακ] are declined for case[αλ], number[αμ], and gender[αν]. The pronominal declension applies to a few adjectives as well. Many pronouns have alternative enclitic forms.

Derivation[edit]

Derivation or word-formation in Sanskrit can be divided into the following types:[61][62]

  1. Primary derivation - suffixes directly appended to roots[αξ]
  2. Secondary derivation - suffixes appended to derivative stems[αο]
  3. Word-compounding - combining one more word stems

Compounds[edit]

Sanskrit inherits form its parent Proto-Indo-European the capability of forming compound nouns[απ], also widely seen in kindred languages such as especially German, Greek and also English.

However, Sanskrit, especially in the later stages of the language, significantly expands on this both in terms of the number of elements making up a single compound and the volume of compound-usage in the literature, a development which has no parallels elsewhere.[63][64]

Indeclinables[edit]

Words that change no form across cases, numbers, genders are classified as indeclinables[αρ]. Indeclinables may be divided into either simple and compound. The latter is treated under Sanskrit compounds and the term indeclinable usually implies only the former type.[65]

Indeclinables can be classified as follows:[66]

  1. Prepositions
  2. Adverbs
  3. Particles
  4. Conjunctions
  5. Interjections
  6. Miscellaneous

Prepositions[edit]

In Sanskrit, a preposition[ασ] is an indeclinable with an independent meaning that is prefixed to verbs and their derivatives with the result of modifying, intensifying, or in some cases, totally altering the sense of the roots.[67]

Adverbs[edit]

In Sanskrit, adverbs are either inherited as set forms from the parent language or may be derived from nouns, pronouns or numeral.

The typical way of forming an adverb is to simply use the accusative singular neutral form[aa] of nouns and adjectives.[68]

Particles[edit]

Particles are used either as expletives or intesives.[69]

The most common ones are:[70]

  1. a-, an- - generally the same meaning as English 'un-' and 'a-', but with some extended senses
  2. sma - when used with the present form of a verb, it conveys the past tense
  3. kā-, ku- - prefixed to give a negative, inadequate or pejorative connotation.

Conjunctions[edit]

The following is an enumeration of the main types of Sanskrit conjunctions:[71]

  1. atha - marks the beginning of a work
  2. Copulative - atha, atho, uta, ca, etc
  3. Disjunctive - vā, vā... vā, etc
  4. Adversative - athavā, tu, kintu, etc
  5. Conditional - cet, yadi, yadāpi, net, etc
  6. Causal - hi, tat, tena, etc
  7. Interrogative - āho, uta, utāho, kim, etc
  8. Affirmative and negative - atha kim, ām, addhā, etc
  9. Conjunctions of time - yāvat-tāvat, yadā-tadā, etc
  10. iti - marks the end of a work

Interjections[edit]

The main ones in Sanskrit expressing the various emotions are:[72]

  1. Wonder, grief, regret, etc: ā, aho, ha, etc
  2. Contempt: kim, dhik, etc
  3. Sorrow, dejection, grief: hā, hāhā, hanta, etc
  4. Joy: hanta etc
  5. Respectfully calling attention: aho, bhoḥ, he, ho, etc
  6. Disrespectfully calling attention: are, rere, etc

Miscellaneous[edit]

A few nouns have only one inflection and thus behave like indeclinables. The most common ones are:[73]

Syntax[edit]

Because of Sanskrit's complex declension system, the word order is free.[74] 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.[75]

Notably, Pāṇini did not fix syntax in the Aṣtādhyāyī, as to do so explicitly would be difficult in any language, given several ways of expressing the same idea and various other ways of expressing similar ideas. Thus within the bounds of phonological and morphological definition wrought by Pāṇini, the syntax of Sanskrit has continued to evolve in the course of its productive literary history.[76]

Peculiar characteristics[edit]

In the introduction to his celebrated translation of Vidyakara's Subhāṣitaratnakośa, Daniel H.H. Ingalls describes some peculiar characteristics of the Sanskrit language.

He refers to the enormous vocabulary of Sanskrit, and also of the presence of a larger choice of synonyms in Sanskrit than any other language he knew of. Further, just as there exist a vast number of synonyms for almost any word in Sanskrit, there also exist synonymous constructions. In his elementary Sanskrit examinations he would ask his students to write in Sanskrit the sentence 'You must fetch the horse' in ten different ways. Actually, it is possible to write the sentence in Sanskrit in around fifteen different ways 'by using active or passive constructions, imperative or optative, an auxiliary verb, or any of the three gerundive forms, each of which, by the way, gives a different metrical pattern'.

He emphasizes that while these constructions differ formally, emotionally they are identical and completely interchangeable, that in any natural language this would be impossible. This and other arguments are used to show that Sanskrit is not a natural language, but an 'artificial' language. By 'artificial' is meant that it was learned after some other Indian language had been learned the natural way.

Ingalls writes: 'Every Indian, one may suppose, grew up learning naturally the language of his mother and his playmates. Only after this, and if he belonged to the priesthood or the nobility or to such a professional caste as that of the clerks, the physicians, or the astrologers, would he learn Sanskrit. As a general rule, Sanskrit was not the language of the family. It furnished no subconscious symbols for the impressions which we receive in childhood nor for the emotions which form our character in early adolescence.'[77]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A special type of sacrifice, the Sarasvatī, was devised to expiate errors of speech.[1]
  2. ^ Pāṇini's full treatise was also referred to as śabdānuśāsana - a means of instruction (anuśāsana) of proper speech forms (śabda) [5]
  3. ^ twice as long as the shorts
  4. ^ more central and less back than the closest English approximation
  5. ^ In the earlier language, v was pronounced as the labio-velar approximant [w], but it later developed into a labio-dental sound.[12] To an English speaker's ear, this sound may be interpreted as the English "v" or the English "w", depending on context and precise articulation. Moreover, the Sanskrit v व has a considerable range of articulation depending on position.[13] It is nonetheless understood in the Sanskrit writing system, as well as perceived by speakers of modern Indian languages, as one and the same phoneme.
  6. ^ These differences may indicate geographical variation.[24] It is not clear whether abhinidhana was present in the early spoken Sanskrit or it developed at a later stage.[25] In Prakrit and Pāli abhinidhana was carried a step forward into complete assimilation, as for example Sanskrit: sapta to Jain Prakrit: satta.
  7. ^ The very first of the sūtras in Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī define vowel gradation!
  8. ^ originally 'ai'
  9. ^ originally 'āi'
  10. ^ originally 'au'
  11. ^ originally 'āu'
  12. ^ vṛddhi indeed means growth
  13. ^ or svapiti
  14. ^ See Proto-Indo-European phonology#Sonorants
  15. ^ gʷm̥tó-
  16. ^ *gʷʰn̥-tó-
  17. ^ Śāntanava discusses this in his Phiṭsūtra.
  18. ^ Present-tense third-person singular
  19. ^ Occasionally vriddhied
  20. ^ Present-tense third-person singular, dual and plural
  21. ^ a b c variant of the u- form when followed by a vowel
  22. ^ Very similar to the Fifth class
  23. ^ or Precative
  24. ^ Very rare in Classical Sanskrit[48]
  25. ^ 2 forms: Simple & Periphrastic
  26. ^ may take both active and middle voice
  27. ^ occasionally other singular cases are used

Glossary[edit]

  1. ^ to order, array
  2. ^ be
  3. ^ strike
  4. ^ cast, throw, especially of dice
  5. ^ steal
  6. ^ eat
  7. ^ call, invoke, sacrifice
  8. ^ press (of juice)
  9. ^ extend, spread
  10. ^ buy
  11. ^ stop, arrest, check
  12. ^ another (reason)
  13. ^ that exists
  14. ^ non-existence
  15. ^ year
  16. ^ earth
  17. ^ sky
  18. ^ food offered to the gods
  19. ^ a bow
  20. ^ well-being, happiness

Traditional glossary and notes[edit]

  1. ^ śvāsa
  2. ^ nāda
  3. ^ kaṇṭhya
  4. ^ tālavya
  5. ^ mūrdhanya
  6. ^ dantya
  7. ^ oṣṭhya
  8. ^ alpa·prāṇa
  9. ^ mahā·prāṇa
  10. ^ anunāsika
  11. ^ antastha
  12. ^ hrasva
  13. ^ dīrgha
  14. ^ sparśa
  15. ^ svara
  16. ^ vyañjana
  17. ^ "ad·eṄ guṇaḥ" - Pāṇini I 2
  18. ^ "vṛddhir·ād·aiC" - Pāṇini I 1
  19. ^ vacana
  20. ^ puruṣa
  21. ^ prayoga
  22. ^ artha
  23. ^ kāla
  24. ^ eka·vacana
  25. ^ dvi·vacana
  26. ^ bahu·vacana
  27. ^ prathama·puruṣa
  28. ^ dvitīya·puruṣa
  29. ^ tṛtīya·puruṣa
  30. ^ kartari·prayoga
  31. ^ karmaṇi·prayoga
  32. ^ bhāve·prayoga
  33. ^ gaṇas
  34. ^ sarva·nāman
  35. ^ vibhakti
  36. ^ vacana
  37. ^ liṅga
  38. ^ kṛt
  39. ^ taddhita
  40. ^ samāsa
  41. ^ avyaya
  42. ^ upasarga or gāti

References[edit]

  1. ^ Keith, p. 4
  2. ^ a b Burrow, §2.1.
  3. ^ Coulson, p. xv.
  4. ^ Whitney, p. xii.
  5. ^ Cardona §1.6
  6. ^ Whitney, p. xiii
  7. ^ Coulson, p xvi.
  8. ^ Staal (1972) p. 0
  9. ^ Bucknell, p. 73.
  10. ^ Whitney, §19-79.
  11. ^ Stiehl 2011
  12. ^ Allen 1953, p. 57.
  13. ^ Allen 1953, p. 28,58.
  14. ^ Whitney, §19-30.
  15. ^ Bohtlingk, (1887), p.1.
  16. ^ a b c Whitney, §31-75.
  17. ^ Hamp, Eric P. (October–December 1996). "On the Indo-European origins of the retroflexes in Sanskrit". The Journal of the American Oriental Society. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
  18. ^ Whitney, §98-101.
  19. ^ a b Varma 1961, p. 137.
  20. ^ Varma 1961, p. 138.
  21. ^ Varma 1961, p. 140.
  22. ^ Varma 1961, pp. 141–2.
  23. ^ Varma 1961, p. 142.
  24. ^ Varma 1961, p. 139.
  25. ^ Varma 1961, pp. 137–8.
  26. ^ Fortson, §4.12.
  27. ^ Burrow, §3.22.
  28. ^ Bucknell, tb. 5.
  29. ^ a b Coulson, p. 22.
  30. ^ Burrow, p. 109.
  31. ^ Burrow, p. 110.
  32. ^ a b c Coulson, §98.
  33. ^ Burrow, pp 115.
  34. ^ Macdonnell, Vedic p.118.
  35. ^ Fortson, §10.41.
  36. ^ Bucknell, p. 34.
  37. ^ Burrow, p. 367
  38. ^ Whitney, §538
  39. ^ Burrow, §7.3.
  40. ^ Whitney, ch 8.
  41. ^ Burrow, §7.8
  42. ^ Whitney, ch. 8.
  43. ^ Monier Williams - word meanings
  44. ^ Burrow, p. 328
  45. ^ Whitney, §775
  46. ^ Whitney, §527-541.
  47. ^ Bucknell, §2.B.
  48. ^ Bucknell, p. 53.
  49. ^ Whitney, §540.
  50. ^ Bucknell, p. 11.
  51. ^ Bucknell, p. 12-16.
  52. ^ Whitney, §261-266.
  53. ^ Fortson, §6.43.
  54. ^ Burrow, §4.3
  55. ^ Whitney, §321-322.
  56. ^ Fortson, §10.46.
  57. ^ Burrow, §4.3-4.4.
  58. ^ Whitney, §490.
  59. ^ Bucknell, p. 11.
  60. ^ Bucknell, p. 32.
  61. ^ Whitney, §1138.
  62. ^ Kale, §179, 337.
  63. ^ Coulson, p. xxi.
  64. ^ Burrow, p. 209.
  65. ^ Kale, §362.
  66. ^ Kale, §363.
  67. ^ Kale, §365.
  68. ^ Kale, §372.
  69. ^ Kale, §374.
  70. ^ Kale, §375.
  71. ^ Kale, §376.
  72. ^ Kale, §377.
  73. ^ Kale, §364.
  74. ^ J.F. Staal (31 January 1967). Word Order in Sanskrit and Universal Grammar. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 978-90-277-0549-5.
  75. ^ Gillon, B.S (25 March 1996), "Word order in Classical Sanskrit", Indian Linguistics, 57 (1–4): 1, ISSN 0378-0759
  76. ^ Coulson, p. xxi.
  77. ^ Vidyākara (1965). An anthology of Sanskrit court poetry; Vidyākara's. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 5–8. ISBN 978-0-674-03950-6.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]