Imatges de pàgina

be regarded either as nasal or non-nasal, according as it is pronounced with the nose and mouth, or with the mouth alone. Hence result eighteen varieties of every vowel, excepting Iri, e, ai, o, au, which have only twelve, because the first does not possess the long and the last four have not the short prosodial time. A prolated vowel is marked with three lines underneath or with 3 on one side, thus w, or WT 5


The arrangement of most of the consonants in the table at page 1 under the five heads of gutturals (kan(hya), palatals (tdlavya), cerebrals (murdhanya), dentals (dantya), and labials (oshthya), refers of course to the organ principally employed in pronouncing them, whether the throat, the palate, the top of the palate, the teeth, or the lips. This classification is more fully explained at 18.

12. ~*ka, ^ la, st ja, H pa, * ba are pronounced as in English. Observe that ^ la is a simple consonantal sound, although represented in English words by ch. It is a modification or softening of ka, just as ja is of ga, the organ of utterance being in the palate, a little in advance of the throat. Hence, in Sanskrit and its cognate languages, the palatals I and j are often exchanged with the gutturals k and g. See note t, p. 15.

a. T\ Sega has always the sound of g in gun, give, never of g in gin.

b. Tt ta. <* da are more dental than in English, t being something like t in stick, and d like th in this; thus veda ought to be pronounced rather like vetha. But in real fact we have no sound exactly equivalent to the Indian dentals / and d. The sound of th in thin, this, is really dental, but, so to speak, over-dentalised, the tongue being forced through the teeth instead of against them. Few Englishmen acquire the correct pronunciation of the Indian dentals. They are said to be best pronounced by resting the end of the tongue against the inside of the front teeth and then suddenly removing it.

13. z in. T o. The sound of these cerebral letters is in practice hardly to be distinguished from the sound of our English t and d. Properly, however, the Sanskrit cerebrals should be uttered with a duller and deeper intonation, produced by keeping the tongue as far back in the head [cerebrum) as possible—that is, it should strike the palate rather above the front gums, not as in English, the gums themselves. A Hindu, however, would always write any English word or name containing t and d with the cerebral letters. Thus such words as trust, drip, London would be written ZW, ftnj, mnr.

o. Observe—The cerebral letters have probably been introduced into Sanskrit through the aboriginal dialects with which it came in contact. In Bengal the cerebral "3da and "Z dha have nearly the sound of a dull r. Thus ClsirtJ viddlah, 'a cat,' is pronounced virdlah. In fact in some words both Z and ? seem interchangeable with T and ST; thus >Sfc^, 'to be lame,' may also be written ^ft?, 'H^, 'H^. In corruptions of Sanskrit (especially in Prakrit) cerebral letters often take the place of dentals. In Sanskrit the cerebrals are rarely found at the beginning of words.

14. Sr kha, Vffha, n cha, Wj'ha, z (ha, "g dha, V tha, v dha, thpha, « bah. These are the aspirated forms of the preceding consonants. In pronouncing them the sound of h must be distinctly added to the unaspirated consonantal sound. Thus w is pronounced like kh in ink-horn, not like the Greek X ; vj as /// in ant-hill, not as in think; x& as ph in uphill, not as in physics. Care must be taken not to interpolate a vowel before the aspirate. Indeed it is most important to acquire the habit of pronouncing the aspirated consonants distinctly. Dd and dha, prishta and prish(ha, samba and stambha, kara and khara have very different meanings, and are pronounced very differently. Few Englishmen pay sufficient attention to this, although the correct sound is easily attainable. The simple rule is to breathe hard while uttering the aspirated consonant, and then an aspirated sound will come out with the consonant before the succeeding vowel.

a. The Sanskrit XT th may be represented by T in Greek, and V dh by 6, while "& (h may answer to <?K, W AA to <p and/, or sometimes in Latin (in declension) to A.

b. With a view to the comparison of Sanskrit words with Greek and Latin, it is important to remember that the aspirates of the different classes are easily interchangeable in different languages; thus dh and AA in Sanskrit may be/(or;>A) in Latin; gh in Sanskrit may be 6 in Greek &c.

15. "J? na, *r na, vt na, tf na, R ma. Each of the five classes of consonants in Sanskrit has its own nasal sound, represented by a separate nasal letter. In English and most other languages the same fivefold division of nasal sounds might be made, though we have only one nasal letter to express the guttural, palatal, cerebral, and dental nasal sounds. The truth is, that in all languages the nasal letters take their sound from the organ employed in uttering the consonant that follows them. Thus in English it will be found that guttural, palatal, cerebral, dental, and labial nasals arc followed by consonants of the same classes, as in ink, sing, inch, under, plinth, imp. If such words existed in Sanskrit, the distinction of nasal sounds would be represented by distinct letters; thus, M, ftcff, ^, ^TCRT, ftn*(, %**{. Compare 6.

a. It should be observed, however, that the guttural nasal T, which is rarely found by itself at the end of a word in Sanskrit, never at the beginning, probably has, when standing alone, the sound of ng in sing, where the sound of g is almost imperceptible. So that the English sing might be written ftr^. This may be inferred from the fact that words like HT^(r. 176) make in the nominative case not TTTS or VXff, but VT^. The palatal R is only found in conjunction with palatal consonants, as in 5J tit, ^ nj, J (k, and min. This last may be pronounced like ng, or like gn in the French campagne. In Bengal, however, it always has the sound of gyI thus TTsTf is pronounced rdgyd. The cerebral nasal VJ n is found at the beginning of words and before vowels, as well as in conjunction with cerebral consonants. It is then pronounced, as the other cerebrals, by turning the tip of the tongue rather upwards. The dental and labial nasals «T na and T ma are pronounced with the same organs as the class of letters to which they belong. (See 21.)

16. Tj ya, T ra, 75 la, ^ va {antah\stha, see r. 22) are pronounced as in English. Their relationship to and interchangeableness with (samprasdrana) the vowels i, ri, Iri, u, respectively, should never be forgotten. See rule 22. a. When ^ v is the last member of a conjunct consonant it is pronounced like w, as 'gxt is pronounced dwdra; but not after r, as *rf sarva. To prevent confusion, however, ^ will in all cases be represented by v, thus "SVC dvdra.

a. The character as Ira (represented by /) is peculiar to the Vedas. It appears to be a mixture of the W I and T r, representing a liquid sound formed like the cerebrals by turning the tip of the tongue upwards; and it is often in Ijhe Veda a substitute for the cerebral T when between two vowels, as 55? is for T.

b. The semivowels are so soft and vowel-like in their nature that they readily flow into each other. Hence I and r are sometimes exchangeable.

17. Ji So, usha, n sa, ^ha (called in native grammars ushmdnas). Of these, jl sa is a palatal sibilant, and is pronounced like sfi or like s in sure; (compounded with r it is sounded more like * in sun, but the pronunciation of & varies in different provinces and different words.) If sha is a cerebral, rather softer than our sh, but that its pronunciation is hardly to be distinguished from that of the palatal is proved by the number of words written indiscriminately with ^1 or it; as, ^S^r or ^sta. The dental H sa is pronounced as the common English s. The same three sibilants exist in English, though represented by one character, as in the words sure, session, sun. •£ ha is pronounced as in English, and is guttural.

a. The guttural origin of ? ha is proved by its passing into k at the end of Sanskrit words, and answering to %, K, and c, in Greek and Latin; as, %<^<i, Kapoia, ear. It is probably not an original letter in Sanskrit, but arose out of the soft aspirates V, V, H; thus tn the Veda jp^ is used for ?Tf, and in classical Sanskrit the rules of euphony frequently require the change of ? to a soft aspirated consonant.

b. Note that 3T 4a, although B palatal, might be called half a guttural. It is certainly guttural in its origin, as all the palatals are. This is well illustrated by its constantly answering to K and Q in Greek and Latin words. Compare WW oeuepv, WVequus, '^PtKvwv. It is moreover interchanged with V k in Sanskrit words.

i c. According to Professor Benfey, the following are the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, which are probably original, the others being either derived from them, in the development of the phonetic system, or introduced from other languages,—w, *,T; *, w, n, u; TT, V, ?, V; V, U, *, W; *, *; *, t, *; M.


18. In the first arrangement of the alphabet all the consonants, excepting the semivowels, sibilants, and h, were distributed under the five heads of gutturals, palatals, cerebrals, dentals, and labials. We are now to show that all the forty-seven letters, vowels, semivowels, and consonants, may be referred to one or other of these five grand classes, according to the organ principally concerned in their pronunciation, whether the throat, the palate, the upper part of the palate, the teeth, or the lips.

a. We are, moreover, to point out that all the letters may be regarded according to another principle of division, and may be all arranged under the head of either Hard or Soft, according as the effort of utterance is attended with expansion (vivdra), or contraction (samvdra), of the throat.

b. The following tables exhibit this twofold classification, the comprehension of which is of the utmost importance to the study of Sanskrit grammar.


The first two consonants in each of the above five classes and the sibilants are hard; all the other letters are soft, as in the following table:


Note — Hindu grammarians begin with the letters pronounced by the organ furthest from the mouth, and so take the other organs in order, ending with the lifts. This as a technical arrangement is perhaps the best, but the order of creation would be that of the Hebrew alphabet; ist, the labials; 2d, the gutturals; 3d, the dentals.

c. Observe, that although ? e, ai, are more conveniently connected with the palatal class, and ^ft 0, WT au, with the labial, these letters are really diphthongal, being made up of a + i, d + i, a + u, a + u, respectively. Their first element is therefore guttural.

d. Note also, that it is most important to observe which hard letters have kindred soft letters, and vice versa. The kindred hard and soft are those in the same line marked with a star in the above table; thus g, gh, are the corresponding soft letters to k, kh; j, jh, to i, ih, and so with the others.

In order that the foregoing classification may be clearly understood, it is necessary to remind the student of the proper meaning of the term vowel and consonant, and of the relationship which the nasals, semivowels, and sibilants, bear to the other letters.

19. A vowel is defined to be a vocal emission of breath from the lungs, modified or modulated by the play of one or other of five organs, viz. the throat, the palate, the tongue, the teeth, or the lips t, but not interrupted or stopped by the actual contact of any of these organs.

a. Hence ^r a, \ i, "3 «, N ri, Tb; M, with their respective long forms, are simple vowels, belonging to the guttural, palatal, labial,

t See Proposals for a Missionary Alphabet, by Prof. Max Midler.

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