Imatges de pàgina


Every consonant is supposed to have short a inherent in it, so that it is never necessary to write short a except at the beginning of a word. Hence, when any of the above simple consonants are seen standing alone in any word, short a must always be pronounced after them; but when they are written in conjunction with any other vowel, this vowel of course takes the place of short a. Thus, such a word as <*<$Mrim would be pronounced kalanataya. The question then arises, how are we to know when consonants have to be pronounced together, without the intervention of any vowel; as, for instance, kl and nty in the word klantya.? This occasions the necessity for compound consonants: kl and nty must then be combined together thus, nH, and the word is written Jupttt. And here we have illustrated the two methods of compounding consonants, viz. 1st, by writing them one * above the other; 2dly, by placing them side by side, omitting in all, except the last, the perpendicular line which lies to the right.

Almost all compound letters are in this way resolvable into their component parts. There are two, however, which are not so, viz. T5f ksha and ^jna. The last is commonly pronounced gya, and may therefore be represented by these letters. The following compound letters, being of very frequent occurrence, and not always obviously resolvable into their parts, are given with a view to attract the first attention of the student. He may afterwards study the list in Prof. Wilson's Grammar.

H kta, as in the word ^ uktam; tf rma, as in the word ^ kurma. And here remark, that when t r is the first letter of a compound consonant, it is written above in the form of a semicircle; when it is the last letter, it is written below in the form of a small stroke, as ^ kra in the word ■gpfoff kramena. Again,

shcha, as in (TiTO tatashcha. Here remark, that 51 sometimes changes its form to v{, when combined with another consonant. T( tra, as in ire tatra; chcha, as in CTTO anyachcha; TT shta, as in egg krishta; 3T dya, as in adya; ^ ddha, as in buddhi; Vjj bhya, as in Than tebhyah; ^ tta, as in SJfWTC sukrittamah; aj vya, as in *irre vyadha; ?f dwa, as in ?fTC. dwara; ^ sya, as in tasya; ^jf sta; my a; JJ dbha; *5tf khya; nka; n-ga; ncha; iff nda; »ff nta.


The following English words, written in the Sanscrit character, will furnish the best clue to the pronunciation of the vowels.

A as in i)^, "Roman"; a as in ^n^, "last"; i and i as in the first and last syllables of ^ , "invalid"; u as in "push"; u as in "rude"; ri as in -^t, "rill"; fi as in <$pr^, "chagrin"; e as in ^, "ere"; o as in "so"; ai as in i^, "aisle"; au as ou in ^t^, "our"; ar and dr as in the words "inward," "regard."

Since short a is inherent in every consonant, the student should be careful to acquire the correct pronunciation of this letter. There are a few words in English which will afford examples of its sound, such as Roman, temperance, husbandman, tolerable. But in English this sound is often represented by w, as in fun, sun; or by o, as in done, son; or even by the other vowels; as by e in her, vernal; by i in bird, sir. The perfection of the Devanagari alphabet, as compared with the Roman, is at once apparent. Every vowel in Sanscrit has one invariable sound, and the beginner can never be in doubt what pronunciation to give it, as in English, or whether to pronounce it long or short, as in Latin.


The consonants are in general pronounced as in English. But g is always pronounced hard, as in give: th is not pronounced as in English, but is only t aspirated, and, when rapidly enunciated, hardly distinguishable from t. The same remark applies to the other aspirated letters. The true sound of th is exemplified by the word anthill; so also ph, by uphill, which might be written yftsjr. The cerebral class of consonants only differs from the dental in being pronounced with a duller and deeper sound. Each class of consonants has its own nasal; thus the sound ink would be written in Sanscrit ^ff; the sound inch, ^; the word under WUf^; the dental n would be written in the word country, pronounced as in Ireland; the sound imp would be written . So, also, three of the classes have sibilants peculiar to them. Thus the final sibilant of the word inr^ tatas, when combined with the word M cha, must be written mra tatashcha; when combined with 2hKT tika, must be written fffftfhm tatashtika; when combined with Tt tarn, must be retained Wirer tatastam. So also each of the letters, h, y, r, I, v, is plainly referrible to its particular class. The ^ h is pronounced from the throat, and therefore allied to the guttural class. The n y belongs to the palatal class, and in Bengali is always corrupted into j. The ^ is allied to the cerebral letters and y, and in Bengali these letters are often hardly distinguishable from r in sound. The ^{is evidently a dental. The ^, although partly dental, belongs to the labial class; and is so allied to ^ b, that, in Bengali, it is always pronounced like b, and, in Sanscrit, is often interchanged with it.*

"f It may here be remarked, that although the column of nasals in the Table of Consonants (p. 1) has reference to the sibilants, aspirate, and semi-vowels, as well as to the other consonants; yet the mark Anuswara (*) is the proper nasal of these letters, and must always take the place of any other nasal that may be combined with them in the same word. Thus the preposition ^ and the participle ^Jjff, when united in one word, are written *m and ^R., Wf and Tjrr,

TOFT, and so on. But in every one of these cases the Anuswara takes the sound of the nasal of the class to which the following letter belongs. Thus «tJjrf is sounded as if written ^ *jpr; tf^Tt as if written ^ ^R; «<$IH as if written ^ t£P». For the sake of brevity, however, the Anuswara is, in many books, written as the representative of the nasal of any letter, and not merely of the aspirate, semi-vowels, and sibilants.

* In Sanscrit, however, the letter ^ is always pronounced either like v or to; like v when it stands by itself, or as the first member of a compound consonant, as in ^1 vd, ^JTV vyddha; like to, when it forms the last member of a compound consonant, as in "gjtdwdra.

t (Rmr, "an universal monarch," and t(U[<*, "properly," are the only words which violate this rule.



We are accustomed in Greek and Latin to certain euphonic changes of letters. Thus in, combined with rogo, becomes irrogo; rego makes, in the perfect, not regsi but rekxi, contracted into rexi; veho becomes veksi or vexi; aw with yvcipt] becomes (ri/yyvtoju);; ev with XdfJLTru), e\A.a/x7rw. These laws for the combination of letters are applied very extensively throughout the Sanscrit language; and that, too, not only in combining two parts of one word, but in combining all the words in the same sentence. Thus the sentence "Bara avis in terris" would require, by the laws of combination (called, in Sanscrit, Sandhi) to be written thus, Baravir ins terrih; and would, moreover, be written without separating the words, Baravirinsterrih. The learner must not be discouraged if he is not able thoroughly to understand all the numerous laws of combination at first. He is recommended, after reading them over with attention, to pass at once to the declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs: for to oblige him to learn by heart a number of rules, the use of which is not fully seen till he comes to read and construct sentences, must only lead to a waste of time and labour.


1. Nevertheless, there are some changes of letters which come into immediate application in the formation and declension of nouns, and the conjugation of verbs; and amongst these, the changes of vowels called Guna and Vriddhi should be impressed on the memory of the student, before he takes a single step in the study of the Grammar. When the vowels i and i are changed to e, this is called the Guna change, or a change in quality; when i and i are changed to ai, this is called the Vriddhi change, or an increase. Similarly, u and u are often changed to their Guna o, and Vriddhi au; ri and ri to their Guna ar, and Vriddhi ar; and a, though it have no corresponding Guna change, has a Vriddhi substitute in a.

2. Let the Student, therefore, never forget the following rule, or he will be confused at every step. There is no Guna substitute for a, but a is the Vriddhi substitute for a; e is the Guna, and ai the Vriddhi substitute for i and i; o is the Guna, and au the Vriddhi substitute for u and u; ar is the Guna, and ar the Vriddhi substitute for ri and ri.

Again, let him never forget that y is the semi-vowel of i and i; v is the semi-vowel of M and u; r is the semi-vowel of ri and ri.

3. Lastly let him bear in mind that the Guna dipthong e is supposed to be made up of a and i, and the Guna o, of a and u ;* so that a and i may often coalesce into e, and a and u into o.

He will now understand the reason for the arrangement of vowels and semi-vowels given in the first Table. This Table is here repeated in the Roman character.



4. If a word end with a or a, when the next begins with a or a, the two vowels are contracted into one long similar vowel. Thus na asti become nasti.

A similar rule applies to the other vowels i, u, ri, short or long. Thus, adhi ishwara, adhishwara; kintu upaya, kintupaya; pitri riddhih (faff ^jf^T:), pitriddhih (fwfe:).

5. If a word end with a or a, when the next begins with i, u, ri, short or long, then « and i coalesce into e; a and u into o;

* In the same way the Vriddhi diphthong ai is supposed to he made up of a or a and e, and the Vriddhi au of a or <Z and o.

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