Update: 2017-08-14 07:14 PM -0400


Sanskrit in Devanagari : Grammar


by Dr. Pankaja Rajagopal , Shaale.com: School of Traditional  Indian Arts and Literature
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAbHLSL4kFs&list=PLZ83joYJYmWSFgcg-r0nOwnWPEqmvoaN4 151120
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-ZRhg4pEMrNHVgVUKqpqKJ2FWBbusosK 170520

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UKT 170518: Be sure to differentiate the two writing systems: Abugida-Akshara and Alphabet-Letter. They are fundamentally different because of the presence of inherent-vowel in the Akshara (fundamental unit of the Abugida) which makes it pronounceable, whereas Letter (fundamental unit of the Alphabet) is mute. There is a mix-up between the two writing systems in most of the lessons presented by modern Indian grammarians. The similarity between the 4 languages of BEPS can only be brought out if only the difference between Akshara and Alphabet is realized.

The words of Poet Dandin, a 6th - 7th century Sanskrit author of prose, romances, and expounder on poetics :

" संरकृतं नाम दैवी वाक् / अन्वाख्याता महार्षिभिः "


Part 01 : Akshara
  UKT note to Part 01

Part 02 : Words
  UKT note to Part 02

UKT 170518: In my work on the Grammars of BEPS languages, whenever I am in need of a work on Grammar for reference, I always refer to Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899
by A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1899 xii, 461, in two parts. 
- BG1899-indx.htm - update 160930
Part 1. Orthoepy (pronunciation) and orthography (spelling )--  BG1899-1-indx.htm - update 160930
Part 2. Accidence and syntax --  BG1899-2-indx.htm - update 121117

With regard to Bur-Myan grammar, A. W. Lonsdale, in his Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis , Rangoon 1899, wrote:
"The Burmese language is constructed on scientific principles, and there is no reason why its grammar should not be dealt with also from a scientific standpoint. But it may be safely said that Burmese grammar as a science has not received that attention it deserves.
"With regard to the grammatical treatises by native writers, ... not content with merely borrowing the grammatical nomenclature of the Pali language, ... assimilate the grammatical principles of the uninflected Burmese to those of the inflected Pali; so that they produced, not Burmese grammars, but modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress." (UKT: Is it really that Bur-Myan are modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress? Since Burmese grammarians of pre-Annexation days were conversant in Sanskrit as well, I expect there are connections to Sanskrit as well.). Continue reading below:


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Part 01

UKT 170522: Bookmarks of original SND files have been changed to conform to TIL standard. Remember, my work is on BEPS, and not only on Skt-Dev (Abugida-Akshara system), nor only on Eng-Lat (Alphabet-Letter system). This requires that I give my views also as short notes on each lecture which is a slow ongoing process.

101. The Alphabet Abugida in Sanskrit: an Introduction
  - Lesson101<> - Lesson101<))
Abugida and Alphabet are the names of the Language systems of speech-to-script recording, in which Akshara and Letter are the basic units of the respective systems. In the first stage, both the Akshara and Letter are sound (or speech) units uttered by the human mouth. Remember sound or speech is lost as soon as it is uttered. Rules governing them are oral grammars, which were remembered by Ancient grammarians and passed down to their students orally. The students had to remember these sounds and reproduce them as their teachers did without any alternations. That is why these units are known as Akshara {ak~hka.ra.} 'unchanging'. Of course, this has led the religionists to worship them as gods. Most of the Ancient grammarians were Rishis {ra..} (pre-Buddhistic eras to present Buddhist and Hindu), and Monks {ra.hn:} (Buddhistic). Then comes the problem of how to record these units as scratches, and marks on leaf of plant, paper, metal sheet, and stone.

UKT 170525: Unlike the present Indian views, Rishis {ra..} are not singers and bards singing hymns to gods and goddesses. They are hermits dedicated to a single cause, which may astronomy, mathematics and esoteric sciences, and religions. They are technically {I.i.}* who may be male or female and with or without a family. However, the Buddhist Rishis {ra..} are without families: they practise celibacy.
  {I.i.}* - UHS-PMD0195
UKT from UHS: m. rishi, Buddha, and holy persons

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102. Letters Akshara in Sanskrit
  - Lesson102<> - Lesson102<))
Aksharas are pronounceable and are technically syllables, but Letters are mute. To turn the Akshara into a Letter, a vowel killer known as Virama (shortened to Viram) in Skt-Dev is used to kill the "inherent-vowel" of the Akshara. The vowel killer is called A'thut {a.t} in Bur-Myan, Halant in Hindi-Dev, and Pulli in Tamil.
In this lesson, you will hear वर्ण:  varṇa: 'letter' or {wN~Na.} 
and the instructor saying "Letters make the alphabet of a language. The term for <Letter> is varṇa in Sanskrit. The etymology of the word is: " 
. clearly meaning that it is syllable {sa.ka:n-su.} 
Eng: letter - n. . A written symbol or character representing a speech sound and being a component of an alphabet. . ... - AHTD
Pal: {wN~Na.} - UHS PMD0845
  UKT from UHS: - m. beauty ... akshara, printed glyph, ...
Bur: {wN~Na.} - n. . appearance, . letter, syllable - MLC MED2006-480
Because of mix-up in meanings in Bur-Myan, TIL has to come up with its own definitions as shown.

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103. Vowels in Sanskrit
  - Lesson103<> - Lesson103<))
The oldest inscription found in India are those of the edicts of the Buddhist-emperor Aksoka.
The writing system of the inscriptions are now wrongly called Brahmi, which makes us in Theravada-Buddhist Myanmarpr think that it is the language of Hindus.

Based on F. Edgerton, author of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, I am now re-labelling Brahmi as Asokan in my works. Almost all languages of the Indian-subcontinent extending into Myanmarpr and SEAsia are now thought to be Asokan-derived language. The effective unit of these writing systems is the orthographic syllable, CV , where C is the onset-consonant, V the nuclear-vowel of the syllable, and is the coda-consonant. Be careful to differentiate the nuclear-vowel of the syllable, from the inherent-vowel of the Akshara.

The inherent-vowel is likened to the English short a , and there are various ways to represent it. IPA (International Phonetic Assoc.) lists them as /a/ (long), // (short), and /ə/ (central).

In all human speeches there are about 10 to 12 oral vowels, represented by orthographic vowels which differ from language to language: 5 in English; 8 in Pali; 8 or 9 in Sanskrit, 11 in Bur-Myan, 16 in BEPS (as given by the table above) . See: Wikipedia

Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_orthography 170522
"English orthography is the system of writing conventions used to represent spoken English in written form [1] [2] that allows readers to connect spelling to sound to meaning. [3] "

 This lesson deals with the nuclear-vowel of the syllable. There are 9 vowels: {a.}, {i.}, {u.}, {iRi.}, ? {iLi.}, {}, {}, {AU}, {AO}.
Note: In actuality, the back-vowels are in close proximity to each other in the vowel-space, and individuals tend to mix them.
See TIL HD-PDF & SD-PDF libraries:
- Unicode-ch09<>  Bkp<> (link chk 170522)


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104. Varieties of vowels in Sanskrit 
  - Lesson104<> - Lesson104<)) 
Vowel lengths are defined by the time-duration it takes to sing a vowel. The unit of time measurement is in Matra {mt~ta.} 'the time it takes for you to blink your eye (blnk)'.
A short vowel takes 1 matra or 1 blnk , and a long vowel takes 2 matras or 2 blnk. Using the time-duration we can distinguish 3 varieties of vowels.

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105. What happens if we lengthen a short vowel or shorten a long vowel?
  - Lesson105<> - Lesson105<))
It affects the prosody or छन्द chanda {hsn~da.} 'pleasing, alluring, lovely, delightful or charming' of the sound'.
See Wikipedia: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit_prosody 170523

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106. Consonants in Sanskrit
  - Lesson106<> - Lesson106<)) 
Basic consonants in Bur-Myan are Live consonants, i.e. they are pronounceable. However, in this lesson, because they are represented attached to virama or halant they are Dead consonants, i.e. not pronounceable unless coupled to vowel: Vyanyjanaani व्यञ्जनानि vyajanāni. There are 33 consonants made up of two groups: the 25 classifiable consonants {wag} वर्ग varg, and the 8 unclassifiable consonants {a.wag} . Note: in these lessons, the consonants are given combined with the vowel-killer virama, e.g. क + ् --> क् , and are therefore Dead consonants which are the same as Letters in Alphabet-Letter system. In BEPS, we give only Live consonants of the Abugida-Akshara system.

In this lesson you will hear the word हलन्त halanta
- adj. 'ending in a consonant' - SpkSkt
Ordinarily, consonant (grammar) is known as व्यञ्जन vyajana = व ् य ञ ् ज न .
It should be noted that perhaps there was no /b/ in Skt-Dev. It has to be derived from /w/:

   {wa.} व + diagonal --> {ba.} ब bilabial /b/

Even then Skt-Dev speakers could only produce the labio-dental {va.} /v/ . The result is there is {wya.} becomes {bya.} in Bur-Myan. In the word <consonant>,
Bur: {by:} - n. consonant - MLC MED2006-317
Pal: {byi~za.na.} n. consonant - UHS PMD0712
Note: Bur-Myan Nya'gyi stands being under virama, whereas in Pal-Myan, Nya'gyi breaks up into two Nya'l.

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107. The Importance of pronunciation - how Sanskrit is perfectly phonetic
  - Lesson107<> - Lesson107<)) 
Within one language, phonetics is important for 1-to-1 mapping. However when we go from one language to another, say Bur-Myan (a Tib-Myan language) to Mon-Myan (an Aus-Asi or Austro-Asiatic language), there bound to be different phonologies, which make a common transcription impossible. Thus, Romabama the transcription between Bur-Myan and Eng-Latin is not tenable for Mon-Myan. Yet, if are dealing with a common subject such as Pali terms of Buddhism, a common transcription - though not perfect - is a possibility.

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108. Birth places of letters in Sanskrit
  - Lesson108<> - Lesson108<))
These places are known as POA (Places of Articulation) aka articulators in Phonetics. See articulatory phonetics
- Eng-phon-indx.htm > prod-snd.htm (link chk 170525)

They are: Pharynx - {l-hkyan:wa.} / {l-hkyan:prwun}, Velum - {a-hkan pyau.}, Hard palate - {a-hkang ma}, Alveolar ridge - {wa:rn:ro:} , Tongue - {lhya}, Teeth - {wa:}, Lips - {nhoat-hkm:}


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109. GuNitakshara गुणिताक्षराणि guṇita akshara 'augmented akshara' in Sanskrit
  - Lesson109<> - Lesson109<))


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110. Conjunct Consonants in Sanskrit संयुक्ताक्षराणि saṃyukta akshara 'conjunct'
  - Lesson110<> - Lesson110<))


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111. How conjunct consonants are written in Devanagari
  - Lesson111<> - Lesson111<))
Don't be fooled by alternate ways of rendering. Arial Unicode MS gives only one way of rendering each example:
1. क ् त --> क्त
2. त ् र --> त्र


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112. Avagraha in Sanskrit:  
  - Lesson112<> - Lesson112<))


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113. Summary
  - Lesson113<> - Lesson113<))

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UKT note to Part 01

UKT 170519: There are two special conjuncts that had sent me into a tail-spin in earlier days:


The first is what I am calling Pseudo-Kha and the second Pseudo-Za. The second is of the same kind as Mon-Myan Za. In Bur-Myan, Za is found in very common words such as {Z:} for 'bazaar' and {Zaan}* for special 'knowledge' of esoteric powers such as "flying through the air". The word in Skt-Dev ज्ञानम् means 'knowledge' as well.
- * MED2006-155c1 - n. jhana : intense concentration of mind .

I sure would like to relate such Bur-Myan words to the words of the same or similar meaning in neighbouring languages. So far my effort is still a wild goose chase! I may have to change my present views also.

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Part 02

201. Introduction to words in Sanskrit 
  - Lesson201<> - Lesson201<))
A meaning bearing word is known as Padam पदम् padam in Skt-Dev.
Pal: pada - n. step, stride, footprint, trace, track, mark, site, office, rank, abode, business, part, foot of a stanza; m. word, sentence, the foot. - UPMT PalEngDict-136

A word can be made up of one syllable (monosyllabic word), two syllables (disyllabic), or many syllables (polysyllabic word). A word is made up of two parts, a Base  प्रकृतिः prakṛtiḥ, and an Inflection (suffix) प्रत्ययः pratyayaḥ or विकृतिः vikṛtiḥ .


202. Classification of words
  - Lesson202<> - Lesson202<))


203. Subantam
  - Lesson203<> - Lesson203<))


204. Derivation of words in Sanskrit
  - Lesson204<> - Lesson204<))


205. Cases
  - Lesson205<> - Lesson205<))


206. Numbers and Genders
  - Lesson206<> - Lesson206<))


207. Words in multiple genders
  - Lesson207<> - Lesson207<))


208. How to judge the gender of the word
  - Lesson208<> - Lesson208<))


209. Adjective : Visheshanam in Sanskrit
  - Lesson209<> - Lesson209<))


210. Sanskrit Gender is of word not its meaning - not sex
  - Lesson210<> - Lesson210<))


211. Case Termination in Sanskrit - 1
  - Lesson211<> - Lesson211<))


212. Classification of Subantam in Sanskrit
  - Lesson212<> - Lesson212<))


213. Ajanta sabdah in Sanskrit
  - Lesson213<> - Lesson213<))


214. Masculine words in Sanskrit - Ending in उ {a.} and इ {i.}
  - Lesson214<> - Lesson214<))


215. Irregular bases in Sanskrit
  - Lesson215<> - Lesson215<))


216. Masculine words in Sanskrit - Ending in उ {u.}
  - Lesson216<> - Lesson216<))


217. The word गो {gau:} in Sanskrit
  - Lesson217<> - Lesson217<))


218. Feminine words in Sanskrit - Ending in आ {a}
  - Lesson218<> - Lesson218<))


219. Feminine words in Sanskrit - Ending in इ {i.}, ई {i}, उ {u.}, ऊ  {u}, and ऋ {iRi.}
  - Lesson219<> - Lesson219<))


220. Neuter words in Sanskrit - Ending in उ {a.}
  - Lesson220<> - Lesson220<))


221. Neuter words in Sanskrit - Ending in इ {i.} and उ {u.}
  - Lesson221<> - Lesson221<))


222. Neuter words in Sanskrit - Ending in ऋ {iRi.}
  - Lesson222<> - Lesson222<))


223. Up next - Halanta Shabdah : Bases ending in consonant
  - Lesson223<> - Lesson223<))


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Continuation from above

- UKT 151121, 170518

Remember, our main concern is find the rules governing human speech which concerns the human mouth and human ear only. Only after that comes the problem of representing human speech in writing or script. In BEPS we use two writing systems, Abugida-Akshara and Alphabet-Letter. Be sure to differentiate these two writing systems. They are fundamentally different because of the presence of inherent-vowel in the Akshara (fundamental unit of the Abugida) which makes it pronounceable, whereas Letter (fundamental unit of the Alphabet) is mute.

There is a mix-up between the two writing systems in most of the lessons presented by modern Indian grammarians. The similar-relationship between the 4 languages of BEPS can only be brought out if only the difference between Akshara and Alphabet is realized. 

संरकृतं नाम दैवी वाक् / अन्वाख्याता महार्षिभिः 

The words of Poet Dandin, a 6th - 7the century Sanskrit author of prose, romances, and expounder on poetics.

Be sure also to differentiate the inherent-vowel of the Akshara (vowels and consonants), and the peak-vowel in the orthographical syllable CV of the Abugida-Akshara system. See Unicode Consortium on South Asian scripts (Devanagari, Gujarati, Telugu, Bengali, Oriya, Kannada, Gurmukhi, Tamil, Malayalam) in my downloaded files in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- Unicode-Ch09<> / Bkp<> (link chk 170518)

The basic unit of Abugida-Akshara is an Akshara (which is pronounceable or syllabic), whereas in Alphabet-Letter system the basic unit is a Letter (non-pronounceable or mute). I now quote Unicode Consortium:

"The effective unit of these writing systems is the orthographic syllable, [spelling to represent human speech] consisting of a consonant and vowel (CV) core and, optionally, one or more preceding consonants, with a canonical structure of (((C)C)C)V. The orthographic syllable need not correspond exactly with a phonological syllable, especially when a consonant cluster is involved, but the writing system is built on phonological principles and tends to correspond quite closely to pronunciation."

I write the canonical form of the orthographic syllable as CV, where Onset-consonant C may be 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, V is the peak-vowel of the orthographic syllable, and the Coda-consonant (shown with a visible Viram {a.t}) which may be 0 or 1.

The Letter has to be coupled to a vowel to become a syllable. On the other hand, in the Abugida-Akshara system, the vowel in the Akshara has to be killed by a vowel-killer to turn it into a Letter. This vowel-killer is known as Virama (shortened to "viram") in Sanskrit, Halant in Hindi, Pulli puḷḷi in Tamil, and {a.t} in Bur-Myan.

The difference in Abugida-Akshara system and Alphabet-Letter can be illustrated by Burmese and Georgian:

{ta.} त + viram-sign /्  --> {t} + त्

In the country of Georgia the Myanmar akshara has been turned into a letter. In Georgian alphabet, there is a reversed viram - a life-giving vowel - in the form of ა

თ + ა --> თა (pronounced like Pali-Myan {ta.})

Asokan (the script found on King Asoka's pillars) wrongly named Brahmi is deemed to the oldest script in India. But the /t/ of Asokan did not go to Georgia, whereas {ta.} of Myanmar did. In order that you may day-dream on the problem - just as the famed German chemist Kekul (1829-1896) did sitting and dozing off before a coal-fire watching the flying sparks** on the problem of the structure of Benzene did - I present you with the consonants involved below.

** UKT 170518: I always like the story which I learned as a "dreaming" chemistry student. Whether the story is true or not is not important - it serves to impress on us - the little monkeys - the endeavours of the old thinkers!
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Kekul%C3%A9 170518

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