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RegionSanskrit_header_cell_0_1_0 South Asia (ancient and medieval), parts of Southeast Asia (medieval)Sanskrit_cell_0_1_1
EraSanskrit_header_cell_0_2_0 c. 2nd millennium BCE – 600 BCE (Vedic Sanskrit);
700 BCE  – 1350 CE  (Classical Sanskrit)Sanskrit_cell_0_2_1
RevivalSanskrit_header_cell_0_3_0 There are no native speakers of Sanskrit.Sanskrit_cell_0_3_1
Language familySanskrit_header_cell_0_4_0 Indo-EuropeanSanskrit_cell_0_4_1
Early formSanskrit_header_cell_0_5_0 Vedic SanskritSanskrit_cell_0_5_1
Writing systemSanskrit_header_cell_0_6_0 Originally orally transmitted. No attested native script; from 1st-millennium CE, written in various Brahmic scripts.Sanskrit_cell_0_6_1
Official statusSanskrit_header_cell_0_7_0
Official language inSanskrit_header_cell_0_8_0 India, one of 22 Eighth Schedule languages for which the Constitution mandates development.Sanskrit_cell_0_8_1
Language codesSanskrit_header_cell_0_9_0
ISO 639-1Sanskrit_header_cell_0_10_0 Sanskrit_cell_0_10_1
ISO 639-2Sanskrit_header_cell_0_11_0 Sanskrit_cell_0_11_1
ISO 639-3Sanskrit_header_cell_0_12_0 Sanskrit_cell_0_12_1
GlottologSanskrit_header_cell_0_13_0 Sanskrit_cell_0_13_1

Sanskrit (/ˈsænskrɪt/, attributively संस्कृत-, saṃskṛta-, nominally संस्कृतम्, saṃskṛtam) is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Sanskrit_sentence_0

It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had diffused there from the northwest in the late Bronze Age. Sanskrit_sentence_1

Sanskrit is the sacred language of Hinduism, the language of classical Hindu philosophy, and of historical texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit_sentence_2

It was a link language in ancient and medieval South Asia, and upon transmission of Hindu and Buddhist culture to Southeast Asia, East Asia and Central Asia in the early medieval era, it became a language of religion and high culture, and of the political elites in some of these regions. Sanskrit_sentence_3

As a result, Sanskrit had a lasting impact on the languages of South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, especially in their formal and learned vocabularies. Sanskrit_sentence_4

Sanskrit generally connotes several Old Indo-Aryan varieties. Sanskrit_sentence_5

The most archaic of these is Vedic Sanskrit found in the Rig Veda, a collection of 1,028 hymns composed between 1500 BCE and 1200 BCE by Indo-Aryan tribes migrating east from what today is Afghanistan across northern Pakistan and into northern India. Sanskrit_sentence_6

Vedic Sanskrit interacted with the preexisting ancient languages of the subcontinent, absorbing names of newly encountered plants and animals; in addition, the ancient Dravidian languages influenced Sanskrit's phonology and syntax. Sanskrit_sentence_7

"Sanskrit" can also more narrowly refer to Classical Sanskrit, a refined and standardized grammatical form that emerged in the mid-1st millennium BCE and was codified in the most comprehensive of ancient grammars, the Aṣṭādhyāyī ("Eight chapters") of Pāṇini. Sanskrit_sentence_8

The greatest dramatist in Sanskrit Kalidasa wrote in classical Sanskrit, and the foundations of modern arithmetic were first described in classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_9

The two major Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, however, were composed in a range of oral storytelling registers called Epic Sanskrit which was used in northern India between 400 BCE and 300 CE, and roughly contemporary with classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_10

In the following centuries Sanskrit became tradition bound, stopped being learned as a first language, and ultimately stopped developing as a living language. Sanskrit_sentence_11

The hymns of the Rigveda are notably similar to the most archaic poems of the Iranian and Greek language families, the Gathas of old Avestan and Illiad of Homer. Sanskrit_sentence_12

As the Rigveda was orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity, rigour and fidelity, as a single text without variant readings, its preserved archaic syntax and morphology are of vital importance in the reconstruction of the common ancestor language Proto-Indo-European. Sanskrit_sentence_13

Sanskrit does not have an attested native script: from around the turn of the 1st-millennium CE, it has been written in various Brahmic scripts, and in the modern era most commonly in Devanagari. Sanskrit_sentence_14

Sanskrit's status, function, and place in India's cultural heritage are recognized by its inclusion in the Constitution of India's Eighth Schedule languages. Sanskrit_sentence_15

However, despite attempts at revival, there are no first language speakers of Sanskrit in India. Sanskrit_sentence_16

In each of India's recent decadal censuses, several thousand citizens have reported Sanskrit to be their mother tongue, but the numbers are thought to signify a wish to be aligned with the prestige of the language. Sanskrit_sentence_17

Sanskrit has been taught in traditional gurukulas since ancient times; it is widely taught today at the secondary school level. Sanskrit_sentence_18

The oldest Sanskrit college is the Benares Sanskrit College founded in 1791 during East India Company rule. Sanskrit_sentence_19

Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hindu and Buddhist hymns and chants. Sanskrit_sentence_20

Etymology and nomenclature Sanskrit_section_0

In Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- is a compound word consisting of sam (together, good, well, perfected) and krta- (made, formed, work). Sanskrit_sentence_21

It connotes a work that has been "well prepared, pure and perfect, polished, sacred". Sanskrit_sentence_22

According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal—rather than semantic—qualities. Sanskrit_sentence_23

Sound and oral transmission were highly valued qualities in ancient India, and its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_24

From the late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic, philosophical and religious literature" in India. Sanskrit_sentence_25

Sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself; the "mysterious magnum" of Hindu thought. Sanskrit_sentence_26

The search for perfection in thought and the goal of liberation were among the dimensions of sacred sound, and the common thread that weaved all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_27

Sanskrit as a language competed with numerous, less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages (prākṛta-). Sanskrit_sentence_28

The term prakrta literally means "original, natural, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth. Sanskrit_sentence_29

The relationship between Prakrit and Sanskrit is found in Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Sanskrit_sentence_30

Patañjali acknowledged that Prakrit is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and later leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding. Sanskrit_sentence_31

The purifying structure of the Sanskrit language removes these imperfections. Sanskrit_sentence_32

The early Sanskrit grammarian Daṇḍin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit, but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar". Sanskrit_sentence_33

Daṇḍin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit that thrive independent of Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_34

This view is found in the writing of Bharata Muni, the author of the ancient Nāṭyaśāstra text. Sanskrit_sentence_35

The early Jain scholar Namisādhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_36

Namisādhu stated that the Prakrit language was the pūrvam (came before, origin) and that it came naturally to children, while Sanskrit was a refinement of Prakrit through "purification by grammar". Sanskrit_sentence_37

History Sanskrit_section_1

Origin and development Sanskrit_section_2

See also: Indo-European vocabulary Sanskrit_sentence_38

Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. Sanskrit_sentence_39

It is one of the three earliest ancient documented languages that arose from a common root language now referred to as Proto-Indo-European language: Sanskrit_sentence_40


Other Indo-European languages distantly related to Sanskrit include archaic and Classical Latin (c. 600 BCE–100 CE, Italic languages), Gothic (archaic Germanic language, c. 350 CE), Old Norse (c. 200 CE and after), Old Avestan (c. late 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (c. 900 BCE). Sanskrit_sentence_41

The closest ancient relatives of Vedic Sanskrit in the Indo-European languages are the Nuristani languages found in the remote Hindu Kush region of the northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Himalayas, as well as the extinct Avestan and Old Persian — both are Iranian languages. Sanskrit_sentence_42

Sanskrit belongs to the satem group of the Indo-European languages. Sanskrit_sentence_43

Colonial era scholars familiar with Latin and Greek were struck by the resemblance of the Sanskrit language, both in its vocabulary and grammar, to the classical languages of Europe. Sanskrit_sentence_44

In The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World Mallory and Adams illustrate the resemblance with the following examples: Sanskrit_sentence_45


  • Sanskrit_item_1_3
    • English   Latin   Greek   Sanskrit   mother   māter   mētēr   mātár-   father   pater   pater   pitár-   brother   frāter   phreter   bhrātar-   sister   soror   eor   svásar-   son   fīlius   huius   sūnú-   daughter   fīlia   thugátēr   duhitár-   cow   bōs   bous   gáu-   house   domus   do   dām-Sanskrit_item_1_4

The correspondences suggest some common root, and historical links between some of the distant major ancient languages of the world. Sanskrit_sentence_46

The Indo-Aryan migrations theory explains the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages by proposing that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in South Asia from a region of common origin, somewhere north-west of the Indus region, during the early 2nd millennium BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_47

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. Sanskrit_sentence_48

The pre-history of Indo-Aryan languages which preceded Vedic Sanskrit is unclear and various hypotheses place it over a fairly wide limit. Sanskrit_sentence_49

According to Thomas Burrow, based on the relationship between various Indo-European languages, the origin of all these languages may possibly be in what is now Central or Eastern Europe, while the Indo-Iranian group possibly arose in Central Russia. Sanskrit_sentence_50

The Iranian and Indo-Aryan branches separated quite early. Sanskrit_sentence_51

It is the Indo-Aryan branch that moved into eastern Iran and then south into South Asia in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_52

Once in ancient India, the Indo-Aryan language underwent rapid linguistic change and morphed into the Vedic Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_53

Vedic Sanskrit Sanskrit_section_3

Main article: Vedic Sanskrit Sanskrit_sentence_54

The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_55

The earliest attested Sanskrit text is the Rigveda, a Hindu scripture, from the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_56

No written records from such an early period survive, if any ever existed, but scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: They are ceremonial literature, where the exact phonetic expression and its preservation were a part of the historic tradition. Sanskrit_sentence_57

The Rigveda is a collection of books, created by multiple authors from distant parts of ancient India. Sanskrit_sentence_58

These authors represented different generations, and the mandalas 2 to 7 are the oldest while the mandalas 1 and 10 are relatively the youngest. Sanskrit_sentence_59

Yet, the Vedic Sanskrit in these books of the Rigveda "hardly presents any dialectical diversity", states Louis Renou — an Indologist known for his scholarship of the Sanskrit literature and the Rigveda in particular. Sanskrit_sentence_60

According to Renou, this implies that the Vedic Sanskrit language had a "set linguistic pattern" by the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_61

Beyond the Rigveda, the ancient literature in Vedic Sanskrit that has survived into the modern age include the Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, along with the embedded and layered Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and the early Upanishads. Sanskrit_sentence_62

These Vedic documents reflect the dialects of Sanskrit found in the various parts of the northwestern, northern, and eastern Indian subcontinent. Sanskrit_sentence_63

Vedic Sanskrit was both a spoken and literary language of ancient India. Sanskrit_sentence_64

According to Michael Witzel, Vedic Sanskrit was a spoken language of the semi-nomadic Aryas who temporarily settled in one place, maintained cattle herds, practiced limited agriculture, and after some time moved by wagon trains they called grama. Sanskrit_sentence_65

The Vedic Sanskrit language or a closely related Indo-European variant was recognized beyond ancient India as evidenced by the "Mitanni Treaty" between the ancient Hittite and Mitanni people, carved into a rock, in a region that are now parts of Syria and Turkey. Sanskrit_sentence_66

Parts of this treaty such as the names of the Mitanni princes and technical terms related to horse training, for reasons not understood, are in early forms of Vedic Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_67

The treaty also invokes the gods Varuna, Mitra, Indra, and Nasatya found in the earliest layers of the Vedic literature. Sanskrit_sentence_68

The Vedic Sanskrit found in the Rigveda is distinctly more archaic than other Vedic texts, and in many respects, the Rigvedic language is notably more similar to those found in the archaic texts of Old Avestan Zoroastrian Gathas and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Sanskrit_sentence_69

According to Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton — Indologists known for their translation of the Rigveda — the Vedic Sanskrit literature "clearly inherited" from Indo-Iranian and Indo-European times the social structures such as the role of the poet and the priests, the patronage economy, the phrasal equations, and some of the poetic meters. Sanskrit_sentence_70

While there are similarities, state Jamison and Brereton, there are also differences between Vedic Sanskrit, the Old Avestan, and the Mycenaean Greek literature. Sanskrit_sentence_71

For example, unlike the Sanskrit similes in the Rigveda, the Old Avestan Gathas lack simile entirely, and it is rare in the later version of the language. Sanskrit_sentence_72

The Homerian Greek, like Rigvedic Sanskrit, deploys simile extensively, but they are structurally very different. Sanskrit_sentence_73

Classical Sanskrit Sanskrit_section_4

The early Vedic form of the Sanskrit language was far less homogenous, and it evolved over time into a more structured and homogeneous language, ultimately into the Classical Sanskrit by about the mid-1st millennium BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_74

According to Richard Gombrich—an Indologist and a scholar of Sanskrit, Pāli and Buddhist Studies—the archaic Vedic Sanskrit found in the Rigveda had already evolved in the Vedic period, as evidenced in the later Vedic literature. Sanskrit_sentence_75

The language in the early Upanishads of Hinduism and the late Vedic literature approaches Classical Sanskrit, while the archaic Vedic Sanskrit had by the Buddha's time become unintelligible to all except ancient Indian sages, states Gombrich. Sanskrit_sentence_76

The formalization of the Sanskrit language is credited to Pāṇini, along with Patanjali's Mahabhasya and Katyayana's commentary that preceded Patanjali's work. Sanskrit_sentence_77

Panini composed Aṣṭādhyāyī ("Eight-Chapter Grammar"). Sanskrit_sentence_78

The century in which he lived is unclear and debated, but his work is generally accepted to be from sometime between 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_79

The Aṣṭādhyāyī was not the first description of Sanskrit grammar, but it is the earliest that has survived in full. Sanskrit_sentence_80

Pāṇini cites ten scholars on the phonological and grammatical aspects of the Sanskrit language before him, as well as the variants in the usage of Sanskrit in different regions of India. Sanskrit_sentence_81

The ten Vedic scholars he quotes are Apisali, Kashyapa, Gargya, Galava, Cakravarmana, Bharadvaja, Sakatayana, Sakalya, Senaka and Sphotayana. Sanskrit_sentence_82

The Aṣṭādhyāyī of Panini became the foundation of Vyākaraṇa, a Vedanga. Sanskrit_sentence_83

In the Aṣṭādhyāyī, language is observed in a manner that has no parallel among Greek or Latin grammarians. Sanskrit_sentence_84

Pāṇini's grammar, according to Renou and Filliozat, defines the linguistic expression and a classic that set the standard for the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_85

Pāṇini made use of a technical metalanguage consisting of a syntax, morphology and lexicon. Sanskrit_sentence_86

This metalanguage is organised according to a series of meta-rules, some of which are explicitly stated while others can be deduced. Sanskrit_sentence_87

Pāṇini's comprehensive and scientific theory of grammar is conventionally taken to mark the start of Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_88

His systematic treatise inspired and made Sanskrit the preeminent Indian language of learning and literature for two millennia. Sanskrit_sentence_89

It is unclear whether Pāṇini wrote his treatise on Sanskrit language or he orally created the detailed and sophisticated treatise then transmitted it through his students. Sanskrit_sentence_90

Modern scholarship generally accepts that he knew of a form of writing, based on references to words such as lipi ("script") and lipikara ("scribe") in section 3.2 of the Aṣṭādhyāyī. Sanskrit_sentence_91

The Classical Sanskrit language formalized by Pāṇini, states Renou, is "not an impoverished language", rather it is "a controlled and a restrained language from which archaisms and unnecessary formal alternatives were excluded". Sanskrit_sentence_92

The Classical form of the language simplified the sandhi rules but retained various aspects of the Vedic language, while adding rigor and flexibilities, so that it had sufficient means to express thoughts as well as being "capable of responding to the future increasing demands of an infinitely diversified literature", according to Renou. Sanskrit_sentence_93

Pāṇini included numerous "optional rules" beyond the Vedic Sanskrit's bahulam framework, to respect liberty and creativity so that individual writers separated by geography or time would have the choice to express facts and their views in their own way, where tradition followed competitive forms of the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_94

The phonetic differences between Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit are negligible when compared to the intense change that must have occurred in the pre-Vedic period between Indo-Aryan language and the Vedic Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_95

The noticeable differences between the Vedic and the Classical Sanskrit include the much-expanded grammar and grammatical categories as well as the differences in the accent, the semantics and the syntax. Sanskrit_sentence_96

There are also some differences between how some of the nouns and verbs end, as well as the sandhi rules, both internal and external. Sanskrit_sentence_97

Quite many words found in the early Vedic Sanskrit language are never found in late Vedic Sanskrit or Classical Sanskrit literature, while some words have different and new meanings in Classical Sanskrit when contextually compared to the early Vedic Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit_sentence_98

Arthur Macdonell was among the early colonial era scholars who summarized some of the differences between the Vedic and Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_99

Louis Renou published in 1956, in French, a more extensive discussion of the similarities, the differences and the evolution of the Vedic Sanskrit within the Vedic period and then to the Classical Sanskrit along with his views on the history. Sanskrit_sentence_100

This work has been translated by Jagbans Balbir. Sanskrit_sentence_101

Sanskrit and Prakrit languages Sanskrit_section_5

The earliest known use of the word Saṃskṛta (Sanskrit), in the context of a speech or language, is found in verses 5.28.17–19 of the Ramayana. Sanskrit_sentence_102

Outside the learned sphere of written Classical Sanskrit, vernacular colloquial dialects (Prakrits) continued to evolve. Sanskrit_sentence_103

Sanskrit co-existed with numerous other Prakrit languages of ancient India. Sanskrit_sentence_104

The Prakrit languages of India also have ancient roots and some Sanskrit scholars have called these Apabhramsa, literally "spoiled". Sanskrit_sentence_105

The Vedic literature includes words whose phonetic equivalent are not found in other Indo-European languages but which are found in the regional Prakrit languages, which makes it likely that the interaction, the sharing of words and ideas began early in the Indian history. Sanskrit_sentence_106

As the Indian thought diversified and challenged earlier beliefs of Hinduism, particularly in the form of Buddhism and Jainism, the Prakrit languages such as Pali in Theravada Buddhism and Ardhamagadhi in Jainism competed with Sanskrit in the ancient times. Sanskrit_sentence_107

However, states Paul Dundas, a scholar of Jainism, these ancient Prakrit languages had "roughly the same relationship to Sanskrit as medieval Italian does to Latin." Sanskrit_sentence_108

The Indian tradition states that the Buddha and the Mahavira preferred the Prakrit language so that everyone could understand it. Sanskrit_sentence_109

However, scholars such as Dundas have questioned this hypothesis. Sanskrit_sentence_110

They state that there is no evidence for this and whatever evidence is available suggests that by the start of the common era, hardly anybody other than learned monks had the capacity to understand the old Prakrit languages such as Ardhamagadhi. Sanskrit_sentence_111

Colonial era scholars questioned whether Sanskrit was ever a spoken language, or just a literary language. Sanskrit_sentence_112

Scholars disagree in their answers. Sanskrit_sentence_113

A section of Western scholars state that Sanskrit was never a spoken language, while others and particularly most Indian scholars state the opposite. Sanskrit_sentence_114

Those who affirm Sanskrit to have been a vernacular language point to the necessity of Sanskrit being a spoken language for the oral tradition that preserved the vast number of Sanskrit manuscripts from ancient India. Sanskrit_sentence_115

Secondly, they state that the textual evidence in the works of Yaksa, Panini and Patanajali affirms that the Classical Sanskrit in their era was a language that is spoken (bhasha) by the cultured and educated. Sanskrit_sentence_116

Some sutras expound upon the variant forms of spoken Sanskrit versus written Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_117

The 7th-century Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang mentioned in his memoir that official philosophical debates in India were held in Sanskrit, not in the vernacular language of that region. Sanskrit_sentence_118

According to Sanskrit linguist Madhav Deshpande, Sanskrit was a spoken language in a colloquial form by the mid-1st millennium BCE which coexisted with a more formal, grammatically correct form of literary Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_119

This, states Deshpande, is true for modern languages where colloquial incorrect approximations and dialects of a language are spoken and understood, along with more "refined, sophisticated and grammatically accurate" forms of the same language being found in the literary works. Sanskrit_sentence_120

The Indian tradition, states Moriz Winternitz, has favored the learning and the usage of multiple languages from the ancient times. Sanskrit_sentence_121

Sanskrit was a spoken language in the educated and the elite classes, but it was also a language that must have been understood in a wider circle of society because the widely popular folk epics and stories such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana, the Panchatantra and many other texts are all in the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_122

The Classical Sanskrit with its exacting grammar was thus the language of the Indian scholars and the educated classes, while others communicated with approximate or ungrammatical variants of it as well as other natural Indian languages. Sanskrit_sentence_123

Sanskrit, as the learned language of Ancient India, thus existed alongside the vernacular Prakrits. Sanskrit_sentence_124

Many Sanskrit dramas indicate that the language coexisted with the vernacular Prakrits. Sanskrit_sentence_125

Centres in Varanasi, Paithan, Pune and Kanchipuram were centers of classical Sanskrit learning and public debates until the arrival of the colonial era. Sanskrit_sentence_126

According to Étienne Lamotte, an Indologist and Buddhism scholar, Sanskrit became the dominant literary and inscriptional language because of its precision in communication. Sanskrit_sentence_127

It was, states Lamotte, an ideal instrument for presenting ideas, and as knowledge in Sanskrit multiplied, so did its spread and influence. Sanskrit_sentence_128

Sanskrit was adopted voluntarily as a vehicle of high culture, arts, and profound ideas. Sanskrit_sentence_129

Pollock disagrees with Lamotte, but concurs that Sanskrit's influence grew into what he terms a "Sanskrit Cosmopolis" over a region that included all of South Asia and much of southeast Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_130

The Sanskrit language cosmopolis thrived beyond India between 300 and 1300 CE. Sanskrit_sentence_131

Dravidian influence on Sanskrit Sanskrit_section_6

Reinöhl mentions that not only have the Dravidian languages borrowed from Sanskrit vocabulary, but they have also impacted Sanskrit on deeper levels of structure, "for instance in the domain of phonology where Indo-Aryan retroflexes have been attributed to Dravidian influence". Sanskrit_sentence_132

Hock et al. Sanskrit_sentence_133

quoting George Hart states that there was influence of Old Tamil on Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_134

Hart compared Old Tamil and Classical Sanskrit to arrive at a conclusion that there was a common language from which these features both derived – "that both Tamil and Sanskrit derived their shared conventions, metres, and techniques from a common source, for it is clear that neither borrowed directly from the other." Sanskrit_sentence_135

Reinöhl further states that there is a symmetric relationship between Dravidian languages like Kannada or Tamil with Indo-Aryan languages like Bengali or Hindi, whereas the same is not found in Persian or English sentences into non-Indo-Aryan languages. Sanskrit_sentence_136

To quote from Reinöhl – "A sentence in a Dravidian language like Tamil or Kannada becomes ordinarily good Bengali or Hindi by substituting Bengali or Hindi equivalents for the Dravidian words and forms, without modifying the word order, but the same thing is not possible in rendering a Persian or English sentence into a non-Indo-Aryan language". Sanskrit_sentence_137

Shulman mentions that "Dravidian nonfinite verbal forms (called vinaiyeccam in Tamil) shaped the usage of the Sanskrit nonfinite verbs (originally derived from inflected forms of action nouns in Vedic). Sanskrit_sentence_138

This particularly salient case of possible influence of Dravidian on Sanskrit is only one of many items of syntactic assimilation, not least among them the large repertoire of morphological modality and aspect that, once one knows to look for it, can be found everywhere in classical and postclassical Sanskrit". Sanskrit_sentence_139

Influence Sanskrit_section_7

Sanskrit has been the predominant language of Hindu texts encompassing a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, music, drama, scientific, technical and others. Sanskrit_sentence_140

It is the predominant language of one of the largest collection of historic manuscripts. Sanskrit_sentence_141

The earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit are from the 1st century BCE, such as the Ayodhya Inscription of Dhana and Ghosundi-Hathibada (Chittorgarh). Sanskrit_sentence_142

Though developed and nurtured by scholars of orthodox schools of Hinduism, Sanskrit has been the language for some of the key literary works and theology of heterodox schools of Indian philosophies such as Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit_sentence_143

The structure and capabilities of the Classical Sanskrit language launched ancient Indian speculations about "the nature and function of language", what is the relationship between words and their meanings in the context of a community of speakers, whether this relationship is objective or subjective, discovered or is created, how individuals learn and relate to the world around them through language, and about the limits of language? Sanskrit_sentence_144

They speculated on the role of language, the ontological status of painting word-images through sound, and the need for rules so that it can serve as a means for a community of speakers, separated by geography or time, to share and understand profound ideas from each other. Sanskrit_sentence_145

These speculations became particularly important to the Mīmāṃsā and the Nyaya schools of Hindu philosophy, and later to Vedanta and Mahayana Buddhism, states Frits Staal—a scholar of Linguistics with a focus on Indian philosophies and Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_146

Though written in a number of different scripts, the dominant language of Hindu texts has been Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_147

It or a hybrid form of Sanskrit became the preferred language of Mahayana Buddhism scholarship; for example, one of the early and influential Buddhist philosophers, Nagarjuna (~200 CE), used Classical Sanskrit as the language for his texts. Sanskrit_sentence_148

According to Renou, Sanskrit had a limited role in the Theravada tradition (formerly known as the Hinayana) but the Prakrit works that have survived are of doubtful authenticity. Sanskrit_sentence_149

Some of the canonical fragments of the early Buddhist traditions, discovered in the 20th century, suggest the early Buddhist traditions used an imperfect and reasonably good Sanskrit, sometimes with a Pali syntax, states Renou. Sanskrit_sentence_150

The Mahāsāṃghika and Mahavastu, in their late Hinayana forms, used hybrid Sanskrit for their literature. Sanskrit_sentence_151

Sanskrit was also the language of some of the oldest surviving, authoritative and much followed philosophical works of Jainism such as the Tattvartha Sutra by Umaswati. Sanskrit_sentence_152

The Sanskrit language has been one of the major means for the transmission of knowledge and ideas in Asian history. Sanskrit_sentence_153

Indian texts in Sanskrit were already in China by 402 CE, carried by the influential Buddhist pilgrim Faxian who translated them into Chinese by 418 CE. Sanskrit_sentence_154

Xuanzang, another Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, learnt Sanskrit in India and carried 657 Sanskrit texts to China in the 7th century where he established a major center of learning and language translation under the patronage of Emperor Taizong. Sanskrit_sentence_155

By the early 1st millennium CE, Sanskrit had spread Buddhist and Hindu ideas to Southeast Asia, parts of the East Asia and the Central Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_156

It was accepted as a language of high culture and the preferred language by some of the local ruling elites in these regions. Sanskrit_sentence_157

According to the Dalai Lama, the Sanskrit language is a parent language that is at the foundation of many modern languages of India and the one that promoted Indian thought to other distant countries. Sanskrit_sentence_158

In Tibetan Buddhism, states the Dalai Lama, Sanskrit language has been a revered one and called legjar lhai-ka or "elegant language of the gods". Sanskrit_sentence_159

It has been the means of transmitting the "profound wisdom of Buddhist philosophy" to Tibet. Sanskrit_sentence_160

The Sanskrit language created a pan-Indo-Aryan accessibility to information and knowledge in the ancient and medieval times, in contrast to the Prakrit languages which were understood just regionally. Sanskrit_sentence_161

It created a cultural bond across the subcontinent. Sanskrit_sentence_162

As local languages and dialects evolved and diversified, Sanskrit served as the common language. Sanskrit_sentence_163

It connected scholars from distant parts of South Asia such as Tamil Nadu and Kashmir, states Deshpande, as well as those from different fields of studies, though there must have been differences in its pronunciation given the first language of the respective speakers. Sanskrit_sentence_164

The Sanskrit language brought Indo-Aryan speaking people together, particularly its elite scholars. Sanskrit_sentence_165

Some of these scholars of Indian history regionally produced vernacularized Sanskrit to reach wider audiences, as evidenced by texts discovered in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Sanskrit_sentence_166

Once the audience became familiar with the easier to understand vernacularized version of Sanskrit, those interested could graduate from colloquial Sanskrit to the more advanced Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_167

Rituals and the rites-of-passage ceremonies have been and continue to be the other occasions where a wide spectrum of people hear Sanskrit, and occasionally join in to speak some Sanskrit words such as "namah". Sanskrit_sentence_168

Classical Sanskrit is the standard register as laid out in the grammar of Pāṇini, around the fourth century BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_169

Its position in the cultures of Greater India is akin to that of Latin and Ancient Greek in Europe. Sanskrit_sentence_170

Sanskrit has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent, particularly the languages of the northern, western, central and eastern Indian subcontinent. Sanskrit_sentence_171

Decline Sanskrit_section_8

Sanskrit declined starting about and after the 13th century. Sanskrit_sentence_172

This coincides with the beginning of Islamic invasions of South Asia to create, and thereafter expand the Muslim rule in the form of Sultanates, and later the Mughal Empire. Sanskrit_sentence_173

With the fall of Kashmir around the 13th century, a premier center of Sanskrit literary creativity, Sanskrit literature there disappeared, perhaps in the "fires that periodically engulfed the capital of Kashmir" or the "Mongol invasion of 1320" states Sheldon Pollock. Sanskrit_sentence_174

The Sanskrit literature which was once widely disseminated out of the northwest regions of the subcontinent, stopped after the 12th century. Sanskrit_sentence_175

As Hindu kingdoms fell in the eastern and the South India, such as the great Vijayanagara Empire, so did Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_176

There were exceptions and short periods of imperial support for Sanskrit, mostly concentrated during the reign of the tolerant Mughal emperor Akbar. Sanskrit_sentence_177

Muslim rulers patronized the Middle Eastern language and scripts found in Persia and Arabia, and the Indians linguistically adapted to this Persianization to gain employment with the Muslim rulers. Sanskrit_sentence_178

Hindu rulers such as Shivaji of the Maratha Empire, reversed the process, by re-adopting Sanskrit and re-asserting their socio-linguistic identity. Sanskrit_sentence_179

After Islamic rule disintegrated in South Asia and the colonial rule era began, Sanskrit re-emerged but in the form of a "ghostly existence" in regions such as Bengal. Sanskrit_sentence_180

This decline was the result of "political institutions and civic ethos" that did not support the historic Sanskrit literary culture. Sanskrit_sentence_181

Scholars are divided on whether or when Sanskrit died. Sanskrit_sentence_182

Western authors such as John Snelling state that Sanskrit and Pali are both dead Indian languages. Sanskrit_sentence_183

Indian authors such as M Ramakrishnan Nair state that Sanskrit was a dead language by the 1st millennium BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_184

Sheldon Pollock states that in some crucial way, "Sanskrit is dead". Sanskrit_sentence_185

After the 12th century, the Sanskrit literary works were reduced to "reinscription and restatements" of ideas already explored, and any creativity was restricted to hymns and verses. Sanskrit_sentence_186

This contrasted with the previous 1,500 years when "great experiments in moral and aesthetic imagination" marked the Indian scholarship using Classical Sanskrit, states Pollock. Sanskrit_sentence_187

Other scholars state that the Sanskrit language did not die, only declined. Sanskrit_sentence_188

Hanneder disagrees with Pollock, finding his arguments elegant but "often arbitrary". Sanskrit_sentence_189

According to Hanneder, a decline or regional absence of creative and innovative literature constitutes a negative evidence to Pollock's hypothesis, but it is not positive evidence. Sanskrit_sentence_190

A closer look at Sanskrit in the Indian history after the 12th century suggests that Sanskrit survived despite the odds. Sanskrit_sentence_191

According to Hanneder, Sanskrit_sentence_192

The Sanskrit language scholar Moriz Winternitz states, Sanskrit was never a dead language and it is still alive though its prevalence is lesser than ancient and medieval times. Sanskrit_sentence_193

Sanskrit remains an integral part of Hindu journals, festivals, Ramlila plays, drama, rituals and the rites-of-passage. Sanskrit_sentence_194

Similarly, Brian Hatcher states that the "metaphors of historical rupture" by Pollock are not valid, that there is ample proof that Sanskrit was very much alive in the narrow confines of surviving Hindu kingdoms between the 13th and 18th centuries, and its reverence and tradition continues. Sanskrit_sentence_195

Hanneder states that modern works in Sanskrit are either ignored or their "modernity" contested. Sanskrit_sentence_196

According to Robert Goldman and Sally Sutherland, Sanskrit is neither "dead" nor "living" in the conventional sense. Sanskrit_sentence_197

It is a special, timeless language that lives in the numerous manuscripts, daily chants and ceremonial recitations, a heritage language that Indians contextually prize and some practice. Sanskrit_sentence_198

When the British introduced English to India in the 19th 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. Sanskrit_sentence_199

Modern Indo-Aryan languages Sanskrit_section_9

The relationship of Sanskrit to the Prakrit languages, particularly the modern form of Indian languages, is complex and spans about 3,500 years, states Colin Masica—a linguist specializing in South Asian languages. Sanskrit_sentence_200

A part of the difficulty is the lack of sufficient textual, archaeological and epigraphical evidence for the ancient Prakrit languages with rare exceptions such as Pali, leading to a tendency of anachronistic errors. Sanskrit_sentence_201

Sanskrit and Prakrit languages may be divided into Old Indo-Aryan (1500 BCE–600 BCE), Middle Indo-Aryan (600 BCE–1000 CE) and New Indo-Aryan (1000 CE–current), each can further be subdivided in early, middle or second, and late evolutionary substages. Sanskrit_sentence_202

Vedic Sanskrit belongs to the early Old Indo-Aryan while Classical Sanskrit to the later Old Indo-Aryan stage. Sanskrit_sentence_203

The evidence for Prakrits such as Pali (Theravada Buddhism) and Ardhamagadhi (Jainism), along with Magadhi, Maharashtri, Sinhala, Sauraseni and Niya (Gandhari), emerge in the Middle Indo-Aryan stage in two versions—archaic and more formalized—that may be placed in early and middle substages of the 600 BCE – 1000 CE period. Sanskrit_sentence_204

Two literary Indo-Aryan languages can be traced to the late Middle Indo-Aryan stage and these are Apabhramsa and Elu (a form of literary Sinhalese). Sanskrit_sentence_205

Numerous North, Central, Eastern and Western Indian languages, such as Hindi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Nepali, Braj, Awadhi, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Marathi, and others belong to the New Indo-Aryan stage. Sanskrit_sentence_206

There is an extensive overlap in the vocabulary, phonetics and other aspects of these New Indo-Aryan languages with Sanskrit, but it is neither universal nor identical across the languages. Sanskrit_sentence_207

They likely emerged from a synthesis of the ancient Sanskrit language traditions and an admixture of various regional dialects. Sanskrit_sentence_208

Each language has some unique and regionally creative aspects, with unclear origins. Sanskrit_sentence_209

Prakrit languages do have a grammatical structure, but like the Vedic Sanskrit, it is far less rigorous than Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_210

The roots of all Prakrit languages may be in the Vedic Sanskrit and ultimately the Indo-Aryan language, their structural details vary from the Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_211

It is generally accepted by scholars and widely believed in India that the modern Indo-Aryan languages, such as Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi and Punjabi are descendants of the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_212

Sanskrit, states Burjor Avari, can be described as "the mother language of almost all the languages of north India". Sanskrit_sentence_213

Geographic distribution Sanskrit_section_10

See also: Sanskritisation and Indosphere Sanskrit_sentence_214

The Sanskrit language's historic presence is attested across a wide geography beyond South Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_215

Inscriptions and literary evidence suggests that Sanskrit language was already being adopted in Southeast Asia and Central Asia in the 1st millennium CE, through monks, religious pilgrims and merchants. Sanskrit_sentence_216

South Asia has been the geographic range of the largest collection of the ancient and pre-18th-century Sanskrit manuscripts and inscriptions. Sanskrit_sentence_217

Beyond ancient India, significant collections of Sanskrit manuscripts and inscriptions have been found in China (particularly the Tibetan monasteries), Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. Sanskrit_sentence_218

Sanskrit inscriptions, manuscripts or its remnants, including some of the oldest known Sanskrit written texts, have been discovered in dry high deserts and mountainous terrains such as in Nepal, Tibet, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. Sanskrit_sentence_219

Some Sanskrit texts and inscriptions have also been discovered in Korea and Japan. Sanskrit_sentence_220

Official status Sanskrit_section_11

See also: Sanskrit revival and Sanskrit universities in India Sanskrit_sentence_221

In India, Sanskrit is among the 22 official languages of India in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. Sanskrit_sentence_222

In 2010, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to make Sanskrit its second official language. Sanskrit_sentence_223

In 2019, Himachal Pradesh made Sanskrit its second official language, becoming the second state in India to do so. Sanskrit_sentence_224

Phonology Sanskrit_section_12

Sanskrit shares many Proto-Indo-European phonological features, although it features a larger inventory of distinct phonemes. Sanskrit_sentence_225

The consonantal system is the same, though it systematically enlarged the inventory of distinct sounds. Sanskrit_sentence_226

For example, Sanskrit added a voiceless aspirated "tʰ", to the voiceless "t", voiced "d" and voiced aspirated "dʰ" found in PIE languages. Sanskrit_sentence_227

The most significant and distinctive phonological development in Sanskrit is vowel-merger, states Stephanie Jamison—an Indo-European linguist specializing in Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit_sentence_228

The short *e, *o and *a, all merge as a (अ) in Sanskrit, while long *ē, *ō and *ā, all merge as long ā (आ). Sanskrit_sentence_229

These mergers occurred very early and significantly impacted Sanskrit's morphological system. Sanskrit_sentence_230

Some phonological developments in it mirror those in other PIE languages. Sanskrit_sentence_231

For example, the labiovelars merged with the plain velars as in other satem languages. Sanskrit_sentence_232

The secondary palatalization of the resulting segments is more thorough and systematic within Sanskrit, states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_233

A series of retroflex dental stops were innovated in Sanskrit to more thoroughly articulate sounds for clarity. Sanskrit_sentence_234

For example, unlike the loss of the morphological clarity from vowel contraction that is found in early Greek and related southeast European languages, Sanskrit deployed *y, *w, and *s intervocalically to provide morphological clarity. Sanskrit_sentence_235

Vowels Sanskrit_section_13

The cardinal vowels (svaras) i (इ), u (उ), a (अ) distinguish length in Sanskrit, states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_236

The short a (अ) in Sanskrit is a closer vowel than ā, equivalent to schwa. Sanskrit_sentence_237

The mid-vowels ē (ए) and ō (ओ) in Sanskrit are monophthongizations of the Indo-Iranian diphthongs *ai and *au. Sanskrit_sentence_238

The Old Iranian language preserved *ai and *au. Sanskrit_sentence_239

The Sanskrit vowels are inherently long, though often transcribed e and o without the diacritic. Sanskrit_sentence_240

The vocalic liquid r̥ in Sanskrit is a merger of PIE *r̥ and *l̥. Sanskrit_sentence_241

The long r̥ is an innovation and it is used in a few analogically generated morphological categories. Sanskrit_sentence_242


Sanskrit vowels in the Devanagari scriptSanskrit_table_caption_1
Sanskrit_header_cell_1_0_0 Sanskrit_cell_1_0_1 Independent formSanskrit_header_cell_1_0_2 IAST/


IPASanskrit_header_cell_1_0_4 Sanskrit_cell_1_0_5 Independent formSanskrit_header_cell_1_0_6 IAST/




Sanskrit_cell_1_1_1 aSanskrit_cell_1_1_2 /ə/


Sanskrit_cell_1_1_4 āSanskrit_cell_1_1_5 /aː/Sanskrit_cell_1_1_6


Sanskrit_cell_1_2_1 iSanskrit_cell_1_2_2 /ɪ/Sanskrit_cell_1_2_3 Sanskrit_cell_1_2_4 īSanskrit_cell_1_2_5 /iː/Sanskrit_cell_1_2_6


Sanskrit_cell_1_3_1 uSanskrit_cell_1_3_2 /ʊ/Sanskrit_cell_1_3_3 Sanskrit_cell_1_3_4 ūSanskrit_cell_1_3_5 /uː/Sanskrit_cell_1_3_6


Sanskrit_cell_1_4_1 ṛ/r̥Sanskrit_cell_1_4_2 /ɽ̩/Sanskrit_cell_1_4_3 Sanskrit_cell_1_4_4 ṝ/r̥̄Sanskrit_cell_1_4_5 /ɽ̩ː/Sanskrit_cell_1_4_6


Sanskrit_cell_1_5_1 ḷ/l̥Sanskrit_cell_1_5_2 /l̩/Sanskrit_cell_1_5_3 (ॡ)Sanskrit_cell_1_5_4 (ḹ/l̥̄)Sanskrit_cell_1_5_5 /l̩ː/Sanskrit_cell_1_5_6


Sanskrit_cell_1_6_1 e/ēSanskrit_cell_1_6_2 /eː/Sanskrit_cell_1_6_3 Sanskrit_cell_1_6_4 aiSanskrit_cell_1_6_5 /aːi/Sanskrit_cell_1_6_6


Sanskrit_cell_1_7_1 o/ōSanskrit_cell_1_7_2 /oː/Sanskrit_cell_1_7_3 Sanskrit_cell_1_7_4 auSanskrit_cell_1_7_5 /aːu/Sanskrit_cell_1_7_6
(consonantal allophones)Sanskrit_header_cell_1_8_0 अंSanskrit_cell_1_8_1 aṃ/aṁSanskrit_cell_1_8_2 /ɐ̃/Sanskrit_cell_1_8_3 अःSanskrit_cell_1_8_4 aḥSanskrit_cell_1_8_5 /ɐh/Sanskrit_cell_1_8_6

According to Masica, Sanskrit has four traditional semivowels, with which were classed, "for morphophonemic reasons, the liquids: y, r, l, and v; that is, as y and v were the non-syllabics corresponding to i, u, so were r, l in relation to r̥ and l̥". Sanskrit_sentence_243

The northwestern, the central and the eastern Sanskrit dialects have had a historic confusion between "r" and "l". Sanskrit_sentence_244

The Paninian system that followed the central dialect preserved the distinction, likely out of reverence for the Vedic Sanskrit that distinguished the "r" and "l". Sanskrit_sentence_245

However, the northwestern dialect only had "r", while the eastern dialect probably only had "l", states Masica. Sanskrit_sentence_246

Thus literary works from different parts of ancient India appear inconsistent in their use of "r" and "l", resulting in doublets that is occasionally semantically differentiated. Sanskrit_sentence_247

Consonants Sanskrit_section_14

Sanskrit possesses a symmetric consonantal phoneme structure based on how the sound is articulated, though the actual usage of these sounds conceals the lack of parallelism in the apparent symmetry possibly from historical changes within the language. Sanskrit_sentence_248


Sanskrit consonants in the Devanagari scriptSanskrit_table_caption_2
Sanskrit_header_cell_2_0_0 sparśa








VoicingSanskrit_header_cell_2_1_0 aghoṣaSanskrit_cell_2_1_1 ghoṣaSanskrit_cell_2_1_7 aghoṣaSanskrit_cell_2_1_19
AspirationSanskrit_header_cell_2_2_0 alpaprāṇaSanskrit_cell_2_2_1 mahāprāṇaSanskrit_cell_2_2_4 alpaprāṇaSanskrit_cell_2_2_7 mahāprāṇaSanskrit_cell_2_2_10 alpaprāṇaSanskrit_cell_2_2_13 mahāprāṇaSanskrit_cell_2_2_19


Sanskrit_cell_2_3_1 kaSanskrit_cell_2_3_2 /k/Sanskrit_cell_2_3_3 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_4 khaSanskrit_cell_2_3_5 /kʰ/Sanskrit_cell_2_3_6 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_7 gaSanskrit_cell_2_3_8 /g/Sanskrit_cell_2_3_9 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_10 ghaSanskrit_cell_2_3_11 /gʱ/Sanskrit_cell_2_3_12 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_13 ṅaSanskrit_cell_2_3_14 /ŋ/Sanskrit_cell_2_3_15 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_16 haSanskrit_cell_2_3_17 /ɦ/Sanskrit_cell_2_3_18 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_19 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_20 Sanskrit_cell_2_3_21


Sanskrit_cell_2_4_1 caSanskrit_cell_2_4_2 /c/


Sanskrit_cell_2_4_4 chaSanskrit_cell_2_4_5 /cʰ/


Sanskrit_cell_2_4_7 jaSanskrit_cell_2_4_8 /ɟ/


Sanskrit_cell_2_4_10 jhaSanskrit_cell_2_4_11 /ɟʱ/


Sanskrit_cell_2_4_13 ñaSanskrit_cell_2_4_14 /ɲ/Sanskrit_cell_2_4_15 Sanskrit_cell_2_4_16 yaSanskrit_cell_2_4_17 /j/Sanskrit_cell_2_4_18 Sanskrit_cell_2_4_19 śaSanskrit_cell_2_4_20 /ɕ/Sanskrit_cell_2_4_21


Sanskrit_cell_2_5_1 ṭaSanskrit_cell_2_5_2 /ʈ/Sanskrit_cell_2_5_3 Sanskrit_cell_2_5_4 ṭhaSanskrit_cell_2_5_5 /ʈʰ/Sanskrit_cell_2_5_6 Sanskrit_cell_2_5_7 ḍaSanskrit_cell_2_5_8 /ɖ/Sanskrit_cell_2_5_9 Sanskrit_cell_2_5_10 ḍhaSanskrit_cell_2_5_11 /ɖʱ/Sanskrit_cell_2_5_12 Sanskrit_cell_2_5_13 ṇaSanskrit_cell_2_5_14 /ɳ/Sanskrit_cell_2_5_15 Sanskrit_cell_2_5_16 raSanskrit_cell_2_5_17 /ɽ/Sanskrit_cell_2_5_18 Sanskrit_cell_2_5_19 ṣaSanskrit_cell_2_5_20 /ʂ/Sanskrit_cell_2_5_21


Sanskrit_cell_2_6_1 taSanskrit_cell_2_6_2 /t/Sanskrit_cell_2_6_3 Sanskrit_cell_2_6_4 thaSanskrit_cell_2_6_5 /tʰ/Sanskrit_cell_2_6_6 Sanskrit_cell_2_6_7 daSanskrit_cell_2_6_8 /d/Sanskrit_cell_2_6_9 Sanskrit_cell_2_6_10 dhaSanskrit_cell_2_6_11 /dʱ/Sanskrit_cell_2_6_12 Sanskrit_cell_2_6_13 naSanskrit_cell_2_6_14 /n/Sanskrit_cell_2_6_15 Sanskrit_cell_2_6_16 laSanskrit_cell_2_6_17 /l/Sanskrit_cell_2_6_18 Sanskrit_cell_2_6_19 saSanskrit_cell_2_6_20 /s/Sanskrit_cell_2_6_21


Sanskrit_cell_2_7_1 paSanskrit_cell_2_7_2 /p/Sanskrit_cell_2_7_3 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_4 phaSanskrit_cell_2_7_5 /pʰ/Sanskrit_cell_2_7_6 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_7 baSanskrit_cell_2_7_8 /b/Sanskrit_cell_2_7_9 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_10 bhaSanskrit_cell_2_7_11 /bʱ/Sanskrit_cell_2_7_12 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_13 maSanskrit_cell_2_7_14 /m/Sanskrit_cell_2_7_15 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_16 vaSanskrit_cell_2_7_17 /ʋ/Sanskrit_cell_2_7_18 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_19 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_20 Sanskrit_cell_2_7_21

Sanskrit had a series of retroflex stops. Sanskrit_sentence_249

All the retroflexes in Sanskrit are in "origin conditioned alternants of dentals, though from the beginning of the language they have a qualified independence", states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_250

Regarding the palatal plosives, the pronunciation is a matter of debate. Sanskrit_sentence_251

In contemporary attestation, the palatal plosives are a regular series of palatal stops, supported by most Sanskrit sandhi rules. Sanskrit_sentence_252

However, the reflexes in descendant languages, as well as a few of the sandhi rules regarding ch, could suggest an affricate pronunciation. Sanskrit_sentence_253

jh was a marginal phoneme in Sanskrit, hence its phonology is more difficult to reconstruct; it was more commonly employed in the Middle Indo-Aryan languages as a result of phonological processes resulting in the phoneme. Sanskrit_sentence_254

The palatal nasal is a conditioned variant of n occurring next to palatal obstruents. Sanskrit_sentence_255

The anusvara that Sanskrit deploys is a conditioned alternant of postvocalic nasals, under certain sandhi conditions. Sanskrit_sentence_256

Its visarga is a word-final or morpheme-final conditioned alternant of s and r under certain sandhi conditions. Sanskrit_sentence_257

The voiceless aspirated series is also an innovation in Sanskrit but is significantly rarer than the other three series. Sanskrit_sentence_258

While the Sanskrit language organizes sounds for expression beyond those found in the PIE language, it retained many features found in the Iranian and Balto-Slavic languages. Sanskrit_sentence_259

An example of a similar process in all three, states Jamison, is the retroflex sibilant ʂ being the automatic product of dental s following i, u, r, and k (mnemonically "ruki"). Sanskrit_sentence_260

Phonological alternations, sandhi rules Sanskrit_section_15

Sanskrit deploys extensive phonological alternations on different linguistic levels through sandhi rules (literally, the rules of "putting together, union, connection, alliance"). Sanskrit_sentence_261

This is similar to the English alteration of "going to" as gonna, states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_262

The Sanskrit language accepts such alterations within it, but offers formal rules for the sandhi of any two words next to each other in the same sentence or linking two sentences. Sanskrit_sentence_263

The external sandhi rules state that similar short vowels coalesce into a single long vowel, while dissimilar vowels form glides or undergo diphthongization. Sanskrit_sentence_264

Among the consonants, most external sandhi rules recommend regressive assimilation for clarity when they are voiced. Sanskrit_sentence_265

According to Jamison, these rules ordinarily apply at compound seams and morpheme boundaries. Sanskrit_sentence_266

In Vedic Sanskrit, the external sandhi rules are more variable than in Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_267

The internal sandhi rules are more intricate and account for the root and the canonical structure of the Sanskrit word. Sanskrit_sentence_268

These rules anticipate what are now known as the Bartholomae's law and Grassmann's law. Sanskrit_sentence_269

For example, states Jamison, the "voiceless, voiced, and voiced aspirated obstruents of a positional series regularly alternate with each other (p ≈ b ≈ bʰ; t ≈ d ≈ dʰ, etc.; note, however, c ≈ j ≈ h), such that, for example, a morpheme with an underlying voiced aspirate final may show alternants with all three stops under differing internal sandhi conditions". Sanskrit_sentence_270

The velar series (k, g, gʰ) alternate with the palatal series (c, j, h), while the structural position of the palatal series is modified into a retroflex cluster when followed by dental. Sanskrit_sentence_271

This rule create two morphophonemically distinct series from a single palatal series. Sanskrit_sentence_272

Vocalic alternations in the Sanskrit morphological system is termed "strengthening", and called guna and vriddhi in the preconsonantal versions. Sanskrit_sentence_273

There is an equivalence to terms deployed in Indo-European descriptive grammars, wherein Sanskrit's unstrengthened state is same as the zero-grade, guna corresponds to normal-grade, while vriddhi is same as the lengthened-state. Sanskrit_sentence_274

The qualitative ablaut is not found in Sanskrit just like it is absent in Iranian, but Sanskrit retains quantitative ablaut through vowel strengthening. Sanskrit_sentence_275

The transformations between unstrengthened to guna is prominent in the morphological system, states Jamison, while vriddhi is a particularly significant rule when adjectives of origin and appurtenance are derived. Sanskrit_sentence_276

The manner in which this is done slightly differs between the Vedic and the Classical Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_277

Sanskrit grants a very flexible syllable structure, where they may begin or end with vowels, be single consonants or clusters. Sanskrit_sentence_278

Similarly, the syllable may have an internal vowel of any weight. Sanskrit_sentence_279

The Vedic Sanskrit shows traces of following the Sievers-Edgerton Law, but Classical Sanskrit doesn't. Sanskrit_sentence_280

Vedic Sanskrit has a pitch accent system, states Jamison, which were acknowledged by Panini, but in his Classical Sanskrit the accents disappear. Sanskrit_sentence_281

Most Vedic Sanskrit words have one accent. Sanskrit_sentence_282

However, this accent is not phonologically predictable, states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_283

It can fall anywhere in the word and its position often conveys morphological and syntactic information. Sanskrit_sentence_284

According to Masica, the presence of an accent system in Vedic Sanskrit is evidenced from the markings in the Vedic texts. Sanskrit_sentence_285

This is important because of Sanskrit's connection to the PIE languages and comparative Indo-European linguistics. Sanskrit_sentence_286

Sanskrit, like most early Indo-European languages, lost the so-called "laryngeal consonants (cover-symbol *H) present in the Proto-Indo-European", states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_287

This significantly impacted the evolutionary path of the Sanskrit phonology and morphology, particularly in the variant forms of roots. Sanskrit_sentence_288

Pronunciation Sanskrit_section_16

Because Sanskrit is not anyone's native language, it does not have a fixed pronunciation. Sanskrit_sentence_289

People tend to pronounce it as they do their native language. Sanskrit_sentence_290

The articles on Hindustani, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya and Bengali phonology will give some indication of the variation that is encountered. Sanskrit_sentence_291

When Sanskrit was a spoken language, its pronunciation varied regionally and also over time. Sanskrit_sentence_292

Nonetheless, Panini described the sound system of Sanskrit well enough that people have a fairly good idea of what he intended. Sanskrit_sentence_293

Morphology Sanskrit_section_17

Main article: Sanskrit grammar Sanskrit_sentence_294

See also: Vedic Sanskrit grammar Sanskrit_sentence_295

The basis of Sanskrit morphology is the root, states Jamison, "a morpheme bearing lexical meaning". Sanskrit_sentence_296

The verbal and nominal stems of Sanskrit words are derived from this root through the phonological vowel-gradation processes, the addition of affixes, verbal and nominal stems. Sanskrit_sentence_297

It then adds an ending to establish the grammatical and syntactic identity of the stem. Sanskrit_sentence_298

According to Jamison, the "three major formal elements of the morphology are (i) root, (ii) affix, and (iii) ending; and they are roughly responsible for (i) lexical meaning, (ii) derivation, and (iii) inflection respectively". Sanskrit_sentence_299

A Sanskrit word has the following canonical structure: Sanskrit_sentence_300


  • Root + Affix 0-n + Ending 0–1Sanskrit_item_2_5

The root structure has certain phonological constraints. Sanskrit_sentence_301

Two of the most important constraints of a "root" is that it does not end in a short "a" (अ) and that it is monosyllabic. Sanskrit_sentence_302

In contrast, the affixes and endings commonly do. Sanskrit_sentence_303

The affixes in Sanskrit are almost always suffixes, with exceptions such as the augment "a-" added as prefix to past tense verb forms and the "-na/n-" infix in single verbal present class, states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_304

A verb in Sanskrit has the following canonical structure: Sanskrit_sentence_305


  • Root + Suffix Tense-Aspect + Suffix Mood + Ending Personal-Number-VoiceSanskrit_item_3_6

According to Ruppel, verbs in Sanskrit express the same information as other Indo-European languages such as English. Sanskrit_sentence_306

Sanskrit verbs describe an action or occurrence or state, its embedded morphology informs as to "who is doing it" (person or persons), "when it is done" (tense) and "how it is done" (mood, voice). Sanskrit_sentence_307

The Indo-European languages differ in the detail. Sanskrit_sentence_308

For example, the Sanskrit language attaches the affixes and ending to the verb root, while the English language adds small independent words before the verb. Sanskrit_sentence_309

In Sanskrit, these elements co-exist within the word. Sanskrit_sentence_310


Word morphology in Sanskrit, A. M. RuppelSanskrit_table_caption_3
Sanskrit_header_cell_3_0_0 Sanskrit word equivalentSanskrit_header_cell_3_0_1
English expressionSanskrit_header_cell_3_1_0 IAST/ISOSanskrit_header_cell_3_1_1 DevanagariSanskrit_header_cell_3_1_2
you carrySanskrit_cell_3_2_0 bharasiSanskrit_cell_3_2_1 भरसिSanskrit_cell_3_2_2
they carrySanskrit_cell_3_3_0 bharantiSanskrit_cell_3_3_1 भरन्तिSanskrit_cell_3_3_2
you will carrySanskrit_cell_3_4_0 bhariṣyasiSanskrit_cell_3_4_1 भरिष्यसिSanskrit_cell_3_4_2

Both verbs and nouns in Sanskrit are either thematic or athematic, states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_311

Guna (strengthened) forms in the active singular regularly alternate in athematic verbs. Sanskrit_sentence_312

The finite verbs of Classical Sanskrit have the following grammatical categories: person, number, voice, tense-aspect, and mood. Sanskrit_sentence_313

According to Jamison, a portmanteau morpheme generally expresses the person-number-voice in Sanskrit, and sometimes also the ending or only the ending. Sanskrit_sentence_314

The mood of the word is embedded in the affix. Sanskrit_sentence_315

These elements of word architecture are the typical building blocks in Classical Sanskrit, but in Vedic Sanskrit these elements fluctuate and are unclear. Sanskrit_sentence_316

For example, in the Rigveda preverbs regularly occur in tmesis, states Jamison, which means they are "separated from the finite verb". Sanskrit_sentence_317

This indecisiveness is likely linked to Vedic Sanskrit's attempt to incorporate accent. Sanskrit_sentence_318

With nonfinite forms of the verb and with nominal derivatives thereof, states Jamison, "preverbs show much clearer univerbation in Vedic, both by position and by accent, and by Classical Sanskrit, tmesis is no longer possible even with finite forms". Sanskrit_sentence_319

While roots are typical in Sanskrit, some words do not follow the canonical structure. Sanskrit_sentence_320

A few forms lack both inflection and root. Sanskrit_sentence_321

Many words are inflected (and can enter into derivation) but lack a recognizable root. Sanskrit_sentence_322

Examples from the basic vocabulary include kinship terms such as mātar- (mother), nas- (nose), śvan- (dog). Sanskrit_sentence_323

According to Jamison, pronouns and some words outside the semantic categories also lack roots, as do the numerals. Sanskrit_sentence_324

Similarly, the Sanskrit language is flexible enough to not mandate inflection. Sanskrit_sentence_325

The Sanskrit words can contain more than one affix that interact with each other. Sanskrit_sentence_326

Affixes in Sanskrit can be athematic as well as thematic, according to Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_327

Athematic affixes can be alternating. Sanskrit_sentence_328

Sanskrit deploys eight cases, namely nominative, accusative, instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, locative, vocative. Sanskrit_sentence_329

Stems, that is "root + affix", appear in two categories in Sanskrit: vowel stems and consonant stems. Sanskrit_sentence_330

Unlike some Indo-European languages such as Latin or Greek, according to Jamison, "Sanskrit has no closed set of conventionally denoted noun declensions". Sanskrit_sentence_331

Sanskrit includes a fairly large set of stem-types. Sanskrit_sentence_332

The linguistic interaction of the roots, the phonological segments, lexical items and the grammar for the Classical Sanskrit consist of four Paninian components. Sanskrit_sentence_333

These, states Paul Kiparsky, are the Astadhyaayi, a comprehensive system of 4,000 grammatical rules, of which a small set are frequently used; Sivasutras, an inventory of anubandhas (markers) that partition phonological segments for efficient abbreviations through the pratyharas technique; Dhatupatha, a list of 2,000 verbal roots classified by their morphology and syntactic properties using diacritic markers, a structure that guides its writing systems; and, the Ganapatha, an inventory of word groups, classes of lexical systems. Sanskrit_sentence_334

There are peripheral adjuncts to these four, such as the Unadisutras, which focus on irregularly formed derivatives from the roots. Sanskrit_sentence_335

Sanskrit morphology is generally studied in two broad fundamental categories: the nominal forms and the verbal forms. Sanskrit_sentence_336

These differ in the types of endings and what these endings mark in the grammatical context. Sanskrit_sentence_337

Pronouns and nouns share the same grammatical categories, though they may differ in inflection. Sanskrit_sentence_338

Verb-based adjectives and participles are not formally distinct from nouns. Sanskrit_sentence_339

Adverbs are typically frozen case forms of adjectives, states Jamison, and "nonfinite verbal forms such as infinitives and gerunds also clearly show frozen nominal case endings". Sanskrit_sentence_340

Tense and voice Sanskrit_section_18

The Sanskrit language includes five tenses: present, future, past imperfect, past aorist and past perfect. Sanskrit_sentence_341

It outlines three types of voices: active, passive and the middle. Sanskrit_sentence_342

The middle is also referred to as the mediopassive, or more formally in Sanskrit as parasmaipada (word for another) and atmanepada (word for oneself). Sanskrit_sentence_343


Voice in Sanskrit, Stephanie JamisonSanskrit_table_caption_4
Sanskrit_header_cell_4_0_0 ActiveSanskrit_header_cell_4_0_1 Middle


PersonSanskrit_header_cell_4_1_0 SingularSanskrit_header_cell_4_1_1 DualSanskrit_header_cell_4_1_2 PluralSanskrit_header_cell_4_1_3 SingularSanskrit_header_cell_4_1_4 DualSanskrit_header_cell_4_1_5 PluralSanskrit_header_cell_4_1_6
1stSanskrit_cell_4_2_0 -miSanskrit_cell_4_2_1 -vasSanskrit_cell_4_2_2 -masSanskrit_cell_4_2_3 -eSanskrit_cell_4_2_4 -vaheSanskrit_cell_4_2_5 -maheSanskrit_cell_4_2_6
2ndSanskrit_cell_4_3_0 -siSanskrit_cell_4_3_1 -thasSanskrit_cell_4_3_2 -thaSanskrit_cell_4_3_3 -seSanskrit_cell_4_3_4 -ātheSanskrit_cell_4_3_5 -dhveSanskrit_cell_4_3_6
3rdSanskrit_cell_4_4_0 -tiSanskrit_cell_4_4_1 -tasSanskrit_cell_4_4_2 -antiSanskrit_cell_4_4_3 -teSanskrit_cell_4_4_4 -āteSanskrit_cell_4_4_5 -anteSanskrit_cell_4_4_6

The paradigm for the tense-aspect system in Sanskrit is the three-way contrast between the "present", the "aorist" and the "perfect" architecture. Sanskrit_sentence_344

Vedic Sanskrit is more elaborate and had several additional tenses. Sanskrit_sentence_345

For example, the Rigveda includes perfect and a marginal pluperfect. Sanskrit_sentence_346

Classical Sanskrit simplifies the "present" system down to two tenses, the perfect and the imperfect, while the "aorist" stems retain the aorist tense and the "perfect" stems retain the perfect and marginal pluperfect. Sanskrit_sentence_347

The classical version of the language has elaborate rules for both voice and the tense-aspect system to emphasize clarity, and this is more elaborate than in other Indo-European languages. Sanskrit_sentence_348

The evolution of these systems can be seen from the earliest layers of the Vedic literature to the late Vedic literature. Sanskrit_sentence_349

Gender, mood Sanskrit_section_19

Sanskrit recognizes three numbers—singular, dual, and plural. Sanskrit_sentence_350

The dual is a fully functioning category, used beyond naturally paired objects such as hands or eyes, extending to any collection of two. Sanskrit_sentence_351

The elliptical dual is notable in the Vedic Sanskrit, according to Jamison, where a noun in the dual signals a paired opposition. Sanskrit_sentence_352

Illustrations include dyāvā (literally, "the two heavens" for heaven-and-earth), mātarā (literally, "the two mothers" for mother-and-father). Sanskrit_sentence_353

A verb may be singular, dual or plural, while the person recognized in the language are forms of "I", "you", "he/she/it", "we" and "they". Sanskrit_sentence_354

There are three persons in Sanskrit: first, second and third. Sanskrit_sentence_355

Sanskrit uses the 3×3 grid formed by the three numbers and the three persons parameters as the paradigm and the basic building block of its verbal system. Sanskrit_sentence_356

The Sanskrit language incorporates three genders: feminine, masculine and neuter. Sanskrit_sentence_357

All nouns have inherent gender, but with some exceptions, personal pronouns have no gender. Sanskrit_sentence_358

Exceptions include demonstrative and anaphoric pronouns. Sanskrit_sentence_359

Derivation of a word is used to express the feminine. Sanskrit_sentence_360

Two most common derivations come from feminine-forming suffixes, the -ā- (आ, Rādhā) and -ī- (ई, Rukmīnī). Sanskrit_sentence_361

The masculine and neuter are much simpler, and the difference between them is primarily inflectional. Sanskrit_sentence_362

Similar affixes for the feminine are found in many Indo-European languages, states Burrow, suggesting links of the Sanskrit to its PIE heritage. Sanskrit_sentence_363

Pronouns in Sanskrit include the personal pronouns of the first and second persons, unmarked for gender, and a larger number of gender-distinguishing pronouns and adjectives. Sanskrit_sentence_364

Examples of the former include ahám (first singular), vayám (first plural) and yūyám (second plural). Sanskrit_sentence_365

The latter can be demonstrative, deictic or anaphoric. Sanskrit_sentence_366

Both the Vedic and Classical Sanskrit share the sá/tám pronominal stem, and this is the closest element to a third person pronoun and an article in the Sanskrit language, states Jamison. Sanskrit_sentence_367

Indicative, potential and imperative are the three mood forms in Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_368

Prosody, meter Sanskrit_section_20

Main article: Sanskrit prosody Sanskrit_sentence_369

The Sanskrit language formally incorporates poetic metres. Sanskrit_sentence_370

By the late Vedic era, this developed into a field of study and it was central to the composition of the Hindu literature including the later Vedic texts. Sanskrit_sentence_371

This study of Sanskrit prosody is called chandas and considered as one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies. Sanskrit_sentence_372

Sanskrit prosody includes linear and non-linear systems. Sanskrit_sentence_373

The system started off with seven major metres, according to Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, called the "seven birds" or "seven mouths of Brihaspati", and each had its own rhythm, movements and aesthetics wherein a non-linear structure (aperiodicity) was mapped into a four verse polymorphic linear sequence. Sanskrit_sentence_374

A syllable in Sanskrit is classified as either laghu (light) or guru (heavy). Sanskrit_sentence_375

This classification is based on a matra (literally, "count, measure, duration"), and typically a syllable that ends in a short vowel is a light syllable, while those that end in consonant, anusvara or visarga are heavy. Sanskrit_sentence_376

The classical Sanskrit found in Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and many texts are so arranged that the light and heavy syllables in them follow a rhythm, though not necessarily a rhyme. Sanskrit_sentence_377

Sanskrit metres include those based on a fixed number of syllables per verse, and those based on fixed number of morae per verse. Sanskrit_sentence_378

The Vedic Sanskrit employs fifteen metres, of which seven are common, and the most frequent are three (8-, 11- and 12-syllable lines). Sanskrit_sentence_379

The Classical Sanskrit deploys both linear and non-linear metres, many of which are based on syllables and others based on diligently crafted verses based on repeating numbers of morae (matra per foot). Sanskrit_sentence_380

Meter and rhythm is an important part of the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_381

It may have played a role in helping preserve the integrity of the message and Sanskrit texts. Sanskrit_sentence_382

The verse perfection in the Vedic texts such as the verse Upanishads and post-Vedic Smriti texts are rich in prosody. Sanskrit_sentence_383

This feature of the Sanskrit language led some Indologists from the 19th century onwards to identify suspected portions of texts where a line or sections are off the expected metre. Sanskrit_sentence_384

The meter-feature of the Sanskrit language embeds another layer of communication to the listener or reader. Sanskrit_sentence_385

A change in metres has been a tool of literary architecture and an embedded code to inform the reciter and audience that it marks the end of a section or chapter. Sanskrit_sentence_386

Each section or chapter of these texts uses identical metres, rhythmically presenting their ideas and making it easier to remember, recall and check for accuracy. Sanskrit_sentence_387

Authors coded a hymn's end by frequently using a verse of a metre different than that used in the hymn's body. Sanskrit_sentence_388

However, Hindu tradition does not use the Gayatri metre to end a hymn or composition, possibly because it has enjoyed a special level of reverence in Hinduism. Sanskrit_sentence_389

Writing system Sanskrit_section_21

Further information: Brahmi script and Devanagari Sanskrit_sentence_390

The early history of writing Sanskrit and other languages in ancient India is a problematic topic despite a century of scholarship, states Richard Salomon—an epigraphist and Indologist specializing in Sanskrit and Pali literature. Sanskrit_sentence_391

The earliest possible script from South Asia is from the Indus Valley Civilization (3rd/2nd millennium BCE), but this script – if it is a script – remains undeciphered. Sanskrit_sentence_392

If any scripts existed in the Vedic period, they have not survived. Sanskrit_sentence_393

Scholars generally accept that Sanskrit was spoken in an oral society, and that an oral tradition preserved the extensive Vedic and Classical Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit_sentence_394

Other scholars such as Jack Goody state that the Vedic Sanskrit texts are not the product of an oral society, basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek, Serbian, and other cultures, then noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down. Sanskrit_sentence_395

Lipi is the term in Sanskrit which means "writing, letters, alphabet". Sanskrit_sentence_396

It contextually refers to scripts, the art or any manner of writing or drawing. Sanskrit_sentence_397

The term, in the sense of a writing system, appears in some of the earliest Buddhist, Hindu, and Jaina texts. Sanskrit_sentence_398

Pāṇini's Astadhyayi, composed sometime around the 5th or 4th century BCE, for example, mentions lipi in the context of a writing script and education system in his times, but he does not name the script. Sanskrit_sentence_399

Several early Buddhist and Jaina texts, such as the Lalitavistara Sūtra and Pannavana Sutta include lists of numerous writing scripts in ancient India. Sanskrit_sentence_400

The Buddhist texts list the sixty four lipi that the Buddha knew as a child, with the Brahmi script topping the list. Sanskrit_sentence_401

"The historical value of this list is however limited by several factors", states Salomon. Sanskrit_sentence_402

The list may be a later interpolation. Sanskrit_sentence_403

The Jain canonical texts such as the Pannavana Sutta—probably older than the Buddhist texts—list eighteen writing systems, with the Brahmi topping the list and Kharotthi (Kharoshthi) listed as fourth. Sanskrit_sentence_404

The Jaina text elsewhere states that the "Brahmi is written in 18 different forms", but the details are lacking. Sanskrit_sentence_405

However, the reliability of these lists has been questioned and the empirical evidence of writing systems in the form of Sanskrit or Prakrit inscriptions dated prior to the 3rd century BCE has not been found. Sanskrit_sentence_406

If the ancient surface for writing Sanskrit was palm leaves, tree bark and cloth—the same as those in later times, these have not survived. Sanskrit_sentence_407

According to Salomon, many find it difficult to explain the "evidently high level of political organization and cultural complexity" of ancient India without a writing system for Sanskrit and other languages. Sanskrit_sentence_408

The oldest datable writing systems for Sanskrit are the Brāhmī script, the related Kharoṣṭhī script and the Brahmi derivatives. Sanskrit_sentence_409

The Kharosthi was used in the northwestern part of South Asia and it became extinct, while the Brahmi was used in all over the subcontinent along with regional scripts such as Old Tamil. Sanskrit_sentence_410

Of these, the earliest records in the Sanskrit language are in Brahmi, a script that later evolved into numerous related Indic scripts for Sanskrit, along with Southeast Asian scripts (Burmese, Thai, Lao, Khmer, others) and many extinct Central Asian scripts such as those discovered along with the Kharosthi in the Tarim Basin of western China and in Uzbekistan. Sanskrit_sentence_411

The most extensive inscriptions that have survived into the modern era are the rock edicts and pillar inscriptions of the 3rd-century BCE Mauryan emperor Ashoka, but these are not in Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_412

Scripts Sanskrit_section_22

Over the centuries, and across countries, a number of scripts have been used to write Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_413

Brahmi script Sanskrit_section_23

Main article: Brahmi script Sanskrit_sentence_414

The Brahmi script for writing Sanskrit is a "modified consonant-syllabic" script. Sanskrit_sentence_415

The graphic syllable is its basic unit, and this consists of a consonant with or without diacritic modifications. Sanskrit_sentence_416

Since the vowel is an integral part of the consonants, and given the efficiently compacted, fused consonant cluster morphology for Sanskrit words and grammar, the Brahmi and its derivative writing systems deploy ligatures, diacritics and relative positioning of the vowel to inform the reader how the vowel is related to the consonant and how it is expected to be pronounced for clarity. Sanskrit_sentence_417

This feature of Brahmi and its modern Indic script derivatives makes it difficult to classify it under the main script types used for the writing systems for most of the world's languages, namely logographic, syllabic and alphabetic. Sanskrit_sentence_418

The Brahmi script evolved into "a vast number of forms and derivatives", states Richard Salomon, and in theory, Sanskrit "can be represented in virtually any of the main Brahmi-based scripts and in practice it often is". Sanskrit_sentence_419

Sanskrit does not have a native script. Sanskrit_sentence_420

Being a phonetic language, it can be written in any precise script that efficiently maps unique human sounds to unique symbols. Sanskrit_sentence_421

From the ancient times, it has been written in numerous regional scripts in South and Southeast Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_422

Most of these are descendants of the Brahmi script. Sanskrit_sentence_423

The earliest datable varnamala Brahmi alphabet system, found in later Sanskrit texts, is from the 2nd century BCE, found in Sughana, Haryana. Sanskrit_sentence_424

It shows a "schoolboy's writing lessons", states Salomon. Sanskrit_sentence_425

Nagari script Sanskrit_section_24

Main articles: Devanagari, Nandinagari, and Nagari script Sanskrit_sentence_426

Many modern era manuscripts are written and available in the Nagari script, whose form is attestable to the 1st millennium CE. Sanskrit_sentence_427

The Nagari script is the ancestor of Devanagari (north India), Nandinagari (south India) and other variants. Sanskrit_sentence_428

The Nāgarī script was in regular use by 7th century CE, and had fully evolved into Devanagari and Nandinagari scripts by about the end of the first millennium of the common era. Sanskrit_sentence_429

The Devanagari script, states Banerji, became more popular for Sanskrit in India since about the 18th century. Sanskrit_sentence_430

However, Sanskrit does have special historical connection to the Nagari script as attested by the epigraphical evidence. Sanskrit_sentence_431

The Nagari script (नागरीय ग्रंथम) has been thought as a north Indian script for Sanskrit as well as the regional languages such as Hindi, Marathi and Nepali. Sanskrit_sentence_432

However, it has had a "supra-local" status as evidenced by 1st-millennium CE epigraphy and manuscripts discovered all over India and as far as Sri Lanka, Burma, Indonesia and in its parent form called the Siddhamatrka script found in manuscripts of East Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_433

The Sanskrit and Balinese languages Sanur inscription on Belanjong pillar of Bali (Indonesia), dated to about 914 CE, is in part in the Nagari script. Sanskrit_sentence_434

The Nagari script used for Classical Sanskrit has the fullest repertoire of characters consisting of fourteen vowels and thirty three consonants. Sanskrit_sentence_435

For the Vedic Sanskrit, it has two more allophonic consonantal characters (the intervocalic ळ ḷa, and ळ्ह ḷha). Sanskrit_sentence_436

To communicate phonetic accuracy, it also includes several modifiers such as the anusvara dot and the visarga double dot, punctuation symbols and others such as the halanta sign. Sanskrit_sentence_437

Other writing systems Sanskrit_section_25

Other scripts such as Gujarati, Bangla, Odia and major south Indian scripts, states Salomon, "have been and often still are used in their proper territories for writing Sanskrit". Sanskrit_sentence_438

These and many Indian scripts look different to the untrained eye, but the differences between Indic scripts is "mostly superficial and they share the same phonetic repertoire and systemic features", states Salomon. Sanskrit_sentence_439

They all have essentially the same set of eleven to fourteen vowels and thirty-three consonants as established by the Sanskrit language and attestable in the Brahmi script. Sanskrit_sentence_440

Further, a closer examination reveals that they all have the similar basic graphic principles, the same varnamala (literally, "garland of letters") alphabetic ordering following the same logical phonetic order, easing the work of historic skilled scribes writing or reproducing Sanskrit works across South Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_441

The Sanskrit language written in some Indic scripts exaggerate angles or round shapes, but this serves only to mask the underlying similarities. Sanskrit_sentence_442

Nagari script favours symmetry set with squared outlines and right angles. Sanskrit_sentence_443

In contrast, Sanskrit written in the Bangla script emphasizes the acute angles while the neighbouring Odia script emphasizes rounded shapes and uses cosmetically appealing "umbrella-like curves" above the script symbols. Sanskrit_sentence_444

In the south, where Dravidian languages predominate, scripts used for Sanskrit include the Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Grantha alphabets. Sanskrit_sentence_445

Transliteration schemes, Romanisation Sanskrit_section_26

Main articles: Devanagari transliteration and International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration Sanskrit_sentence_446

Since the late 18th century, Sanskrit has been transliterated using the Latin alphabet. Sanskrit_sentence_447

The system most commonly used today is the IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration), which has been the academic standard since 1888. Sanskrit_sentence_448

ASCII-based transliteration schemes have also evolved because of difficulties representing Sanskrit characters in computer systems. Sanskrit_sentence_449

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. Sanskrit_sentence_450

With the wide availability of Unicode-aware web browsers, IAST has become common online. Sanskrit_sentence_451

It is also possible to type using an alphanumeric keyboard and transliterate to Devanagari using software like Mac OS X's international support. Sanskrit_sentence_452

European scholars in the 19th century generally preferred Devanagari for the transcription and reproduction of whole texts and lengthy excerpts. Sanskrit_sentence_453

However, references to individual words and names in texts composed in European Languages were usually represented with Roman transliteration. Sanskrit_sentence_454

From the 20th century onwards, because of production costs, textual editions edited by Western scholars have mostly been in Romanised transliteration. Sanskrit_sentence_455

Epigraphy Sanskrit_section_27

The earliest known stone inscriptions in Sanskrit are in the Brahmi script from the first century BCE. Sanskrit_sentence_456

These include the Ayodhyā (Uttar Pradesh) and Hāthībādā-Ghosuṇḍī (near Chittorgarh, Rajasthan) inscriptions. Sanskrit_sentence_457

Both of these, states Salomon, are "essentially standard" and "correct Sanskrit", with a few exceptions reflecting an "informal Sanskrit usage". Sanskrit_sentence_458

Other important Hindu inscriptions dated to the 1st century BCE, in relatively accurate classical Sanskrit and Brahmi script are the Yavanarajya inscription on a red sandstone slab and the long Naneghat inscription on the wall of a cave rest stop in the Western Ghats. Sanskrit_sentence_459

Besides these few examples from the 1st century BCE, the earliest Sanskrit and hybrid dialect inscriptions are found in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh). Sanskrit_sentence_460

These date to the 1st and 2nd century CE, states Salomon, from the time of the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps and the subsequent Kushan Empire. Sanskrit_sentence_461

These are also in the Brahmi script. Sanskrit_sentence_462

The earliest of these, states Salomon, are attributed to Ksatrapa Sodasa from the early years of 1st century CE. Sanskrit_sentence_463

Of the Mathura inscriptions, the most significant is the Mora Well Inscription. Sanskrit_sentence_464

In a manner similar to the Hathibada inscription, the Mora well inscription is a dedicatory inscription and is linked to the cult of the Vrishni heroes: it mentions a stone shrine (temple), pratima (murti, images) and calls the five Vrishnis as bhagavatam. Sanskrit_sentence_465

There are many other Mathura Sanskrit inscriptions in Brahmi script overlapping the era of Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps and early Kushanas. Sanskrit_sentence_466

Other significant 1st-century inscriptions in reasonably good classical Sanskrit in the Brahmi script include the Vasu Doorjamb Inscription and the Mountain Temple inscription. Sanskrit_sentence_467

The early ones are related to the Brahmanical, except for the inscription from Kankali Tila which may be Jaina, but none are Buddhist. Sanskrit_sentence_468

A few of the later inscriptions from the 2nd century CE include Buddhist Sanskrit, while others are in "more or less" standard Sanskrit and related to the Brahmanical tradition. Sanskrit_sentence_469

In Maharashtra and Gujarat, Brahmi script Sanskrit inscriptions from the early centuries of the common era exist at the Nasik Caves site, near the Girnar mountain of Junagadh and elsewhere such as at Kanakhera, Kanheri, and Gunda. Sanskrit_sentence_470

The Nasik inscription dates to the mid-1st century CE, is a fair approximation of standard Sanskrit and has hybrid features. Sanskrit_sentence_471

The Junagadh rock inscription of Western Satraps ruler Rudradaman I (c. 150 CE, Gujarat) is the first long poetic-style inscription in "more or less" standard Sanskrit that has survived into the modern era. Sanskrit_sentence_472

It represents a turning point in the history of Sanskrit epigraphy, states Salomon. Sanskrit_sentence_473

Though no similar inscriptions are found for about two hundred years after the Rudradaman reign, it is important because its style is the prototype of the eulogy-style Sanskrit inscriptions found in the Gupta Empire era. Sanskrit_sentence_474

These inscriptions are also in the Brahmi script. Sanskrit_sentence_475

The Nagarjunakonda inscriptions are the earliest known substantial South Indian Sanskrit inscriptions, probably from the late 3rd century or early 4th century CE, or both. Sanskrit_sentence_476

These inscriptions are related to Buddhism and the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism. Sanskrit_sentence_477

A few of these inscriptions from both traditions are verse-style in the classical Sanskrit language, while some such as the pillar inscription is written in prose and a hybridized Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_478

An earlier hybrid Sanskrit inscription found on Amaravati slab is dated to the late 2nd century, while a few later ones include Sanskrit inscriptions along with Prakrit inscriptions related to Hinduism and Buddhism. Sanskrit_sentence_479

After the 3rd century CE, Sanskrit inscriptions dominate and many have survived. Sanskrit_sentence_480

Between the 4th and 7th centuries CE, south Indian inscriptions are exclusively in the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit_sentence_481

In the eastern regions of South Asia, scholars report minor Sanskrit inscriptions from the 2nd century, these being fragments and scattered. Sanskrit_sentence_482

The earliest substantial true Sanskrit language inscription of Susuniya (West Bengal) is dated to the 4th century. Sanskrit_sentence_483

Elsewhere, such as Dehradun (Uttarakhand), inscriptions in more or less correct classical Sanskrit inscriptions are dated to the 3rd century. Sanskrit_sentence_484

According to Salomon, the 4th-century reign of Samudragupta was the turning point when the classical Sanskrit language became established as the "epigraphic language par excellence" of the Indian world. Sanskrit_sentence_485

These Sanskrit language inscriptions are either "donative" or "panegyric" records. Sanskrit_sentence_486

Generally in accurate classical Sanskrit, they deploy a wide range of regional Indic writing systems extant at the time. Sanskrit_sentence_487

They record the donation of a temple or stupa, images, land, monasteries, pilgrim's travel record, public infrastructure such as water reservoir and irrigation measures to prevent famine. Sanskrit_sentence_488

Others praise the king or the donor in lofty poetic terms. Sanskrit_sentence_489

The Sanskrit language of these inscriptions is written on stone, various metals, terracotta, wood, crystal, ivory, shell, and cloth. Sanskrit_sentence_490

The evidence of the use of the Sanskrit language in Indic writing systems appears in southeast Asia in the first half of the 1st millennium CE. Sanskrit_sentence_491

A few of these in Vietnam are bilingual where both the Sanskrit and the local language is written in the Indian alphabet. Sanskrit_sentence_492

Early Sanskrit language inscriptions in Indic writing systems are dated to the 4th century in Malaysia, 5th to 6th centuries in Thailand near Si Thep and the Sak River, early 5th century in Kutai (east Borneo) and mid-5th century in west Java (Indonesia). Sanskrit_sentence_493

Both major writing systems for Sanskrit, the North Indian and South Indian scripts, have been discovered in southeast Asia, but the Southern variety with its rounded shapes are far more common. Sanskrit_sentence_494

The Indic scripts, particularly the Pallava script prototype, spread and ultimately evolved into Mon-Burmese, Khmer, Thai, Laos, Sumatran, Celebes, Javanese and Balinese scripts. Sanskrit_sentence_495

From about the 5th century, Sanskrit inscriptions become common in many parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia, with significant discoveries in Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia. Sanskrit_sentence_496

Texts Sanskrit_section_28

Main articles: Hindu texts, Buddhist texts, Jain texts, and Vedic and Sanskrit literature Sanskrit_sentence_497

Sanskrit has been written in various scripts on a variety of media such as palm leaves, cloth, paper, rock and metal sheets, from ancient times. Sanskrit_sentence_498


Sanskrit literature by traditionSanskrit_table_caption_5
TraditionSanskrit_header_cell_5_0_0 Sanskrit texts, genre or collectionSanskrit_header_cell_5_0_1 ExampleSanskrit_header_cell_5_0_2 ReferencesSanskrit_header_cell_5_0_3
HinduismSanskrit_cell_5_1_0 ScripturesSanskrit_cell_5_1_1 Vedas, Upanishads, Agamas, Bhagavad GitaSanskrit_cell_5_1_2 Sanskrit_cell_5_1_3
Language, GrammarSanskrit_cell_5_2_0 AshtadhyayiSanskrit_cell_5_2_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_2_2
LawSanskrit_cell_5_3_0 Dharmasutras, DharmasastrasSanskrit_cell_5_3_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_3_2
State craft, politicsSanskrit_cell_5_4_0 ArthasastraSanskrit_cell_5_4_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_4_2
Timekeeping and MathematicsSanskrit_cell_5_5_0 Kalpa, Jyotisha, GanitasastraSanskrit_cell_5_5_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_5_2
Life sciences, healthSanskrit_cell_5_6_0 Ayurveda, Sushruta samhita, Caraka samhitaSanskrit_cell_5_6_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_6_2
Sex, emotionsSanskrit_cell_5_7_0 KamasastraSanskrit_cell_5_7_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_7_2
EpicsSanskrit_cell_5_8_0 Ramayana, Mahabharata, RaghuvamsaSanskrit_cell_5_8_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_8_2
Gnomic and didactic literatureSanskrit_cell_5_9_0 SubhashitasSanskrit_cell_5_9_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_9_2
Drama, dance and performance artsSanskrit_cell_5_10_0 NatyasastraSanskrit_cell_5_10_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_10_2
MusicSanskrit_cell_5_11_0 SangitasastraSanskrit_cell_5_11_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_11_2
PoeticsSanskrit_cell_5_12_0 KavyasastraSanskrit_cell_5_12_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_12_2
MythologySanskrit_cell_5_13_0 PuranasSanskrit_cell_5_13_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_13_2
Mystical speculations, PhilosophySanskrit_cell_5_14_0 Darsana, Samkhya, Yoga (philosophy), Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Vedanta, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Smarta Tradition and othersSanskrit_cell_5_14_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_14_2
Krishi (Agriculture and food)Sanskrit_cell_5_15_0 KrsisastraSanskrit_cell_5_15_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_15_2
Vastu, Shilpa (Design, Architecture)Sanskrit_cell_5_16_0 ShilpasastraSanskrit_cell_5_16_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_16_2
Temples, SculptureSanskrit_cell_5_17_0 BrihatsamhitaSanskrit_cell_5_17_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_17_2
Samskara (rites-of-passage)Sanskrit_cell_5_18_0 GrhyasutrasSanskrit_cell_5_18_1 Sanskrit_cell_5_18_2
BuddhismSanskrit_cell_5_19_0 Scripture, Monastic lawSanskrit_cell_5_19_1 Tripitaka, Mahayana Buddhist texts, othersSanskrit_cell_5_19_2 Sanskrit_cell_5_19_3
JainismSanskrit_cell_5_20_0 Theology, philosophySanskrit_cell_5_20_1 Tattvartha Sutra, Mahapurana and othersSanskrit_cell_5_20_2 Sanskrit_cell_5_20_3

Influence on other languages Sanskrit_section_29

See also: Indosphere and Greater India Sanskrit_sentence_499

For nearly 2,000 years, Sanskrit was the language of a cultural order that exerted influence across South Asia, Inner Asia, Southeast Asia, and to a certain extent East Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_500

A significant form of post-Vedic Sanskrit is found in the Sanskrit of Indian epic poetry—the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Sanskrit_sentence_501

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. Sanskrit_sentence_502

Traditional Sanskrit scholars call such deviations ārṣa (आर्ष), meaning 'of the ṛṣis', the traditional title for the ancient authors. Sanskrit_sentence_503

In some contexts, there are also more "prakritisms" (borrowings from common speech) than in Classical Sanskrit proper. Sanskrit_sentence_504

Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a literary language heavily influenced by the Middle Indo-Aryan languages, based on early Buddhist Prakrit texts which subsequently assimilated to the Classical Sanskrit standard in varying degrees. Sanskrit_sentence_505

Indic languages Sanskrit_section_30

Sanskrit has greatly influenced the languages of India that grew from its vocabulary and grammatical base; for instance, Hindi is a "Sanskritised register" of Hindustani. Sanskrit_sentence_506

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). Sanskrit_sentence_507

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. Sanskrit_sentence_508

Literary texts in Telugu are lexically Sanskrit or Sanskritised to an enormous extent, perhaps seventy percent or more. Sanskrit_sentence_509

Marathi is another prominent language in Western India, that derives most of its words and Marathi grammar from Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_510

Sanskrit words are often preferred in the literary texts in Marathi over corresponding colloquial Marathi word. Sanskrit_sentence_511

There has been a profound influence of Sanskrit on the lexical and grammatical systems of Dravidian languages. Sanskrit_sentence_512

As per Dalby, India has been a single cultural area for about two millennia which has helped Sanskrit influence on all the Indic languages. Sanskrit_sentence_513

Emeneau and Burrow mention the tendency “for all four of the Dravidian literary languages in South to make literary use of total Sanskrit lexicon indiscriminately”. Sanskrit_sentence_514

There are a large number of loanwords found in the vocabulary of the three major Dravidian languages Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu. Sanskrit_sentence_515

Tamil also has significant loanwords from Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_516

Krishnamurthi mentions that although it is not clear when the Sanskrit influence happened on the Dravidian languages, it can perhaps be around 5th century BCE at the time of separation of Tamil and Kannada from a proto-dravidian language. Sanskrit_sentence_517

‌The borrowed words are classified into two types based on phonological integration – tadbhava – those words derived from Prakrit and tatsama – unassimilated loanwords from Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_518

Strazny mentions that “so massive has been the influence that it is hard to utter Sanskrit words have influenced Kannada from the early times”. Sanskrit_sentence_519

The first document in Kannada, the Halmidi inscription has a large number of Sanskrit words. Sanskrit_sentence_520

As per Kachru, the influence has not only been on single lexical items in Kannada but also on “long nominal compounds and complicated syntactic expressions”. Sanskrit_sentence_521

New words have been created in Kannada using Sanskrit derivational prefixes and suffixes like vike:ndri:karaNa, anili:karaNa, bahi:skruTa. Sanskrit_sentence_522

Similar stratification is found in verb morphology. Sanskrit_sentence_523

Sanskrit words readily undergo verbalization in Kannada, verbalizing suffixes as in: cha:pisu, dowDa:yisu, rava:nisu. Sanskrit_sentence_524

George mentions that “no other Dravidian language has been so deeply influenced by Sanskrit as Malayalam”. Sanskrit_sentence_525

Loanwords have been integrated into Malayalam by “prosodic phonological” changes as per Grant. Sanskrit_sentence_526

These phonological changes are either by replacement of a vowel as in Sant-am coming from Sanskrit Santa-h, Sagar-am from Sagara-h, or addition of prothetic vowel as in aracan from rajan, uruvam from rupa, codyam from sodhya. Sanskrit_sentence_527

Hans Henrich et al. Sanskrit_sentence_528

note that, the language of the pre-modern Telugu literature was also highly influenced by Sanskrit and was standardized between 11th and 14th centuries. Sanskrit_sentence_529

Aiyar has shown that in a class of tadbhavas in Telugu the first and second letters are often replaced by the third and fourth letters and fourth again replaced often by h. Examples of the same are: Sanskrit arthah becomes ardhama, vithi becomes vidhi, putrah becomes bidda, mukham becomes muhamu. Sanskrit_sentence_530

Tamil language also has been influenced from Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_531

Hans Henrich et al. Sanskrit_sentence_532

mention that propagation of Jainism and Buddhism into south India had its influence on Old Tamil Cankam Anthologies, Sanskrit poetical literature influenced Old Tamil literature Cilappatikaram and Maniemakalai. Sanskrit_sentence_533

Middle Tamil has shown a significantly higher influence of Sanskrit into the Bhakti poems. Sanskrit_sentence_534

Shulman mentions that although contrary to the views held by Tamil purists, modern Tamil has been significantly influenced from Sanskrit, further states that "Indeed there may well be more Sanskrit in Tamil than in the Sanskrit derived north-Indian vernaculars". Sanskrit_sentence_535

Sanskrit words have been Tamilized through the "Tamil phonematic grid". Sanskrit_sentence_536

Interaction with other languages Sanskrit_section_31

Buddhist Sanskrit has had a considerable influence on East Asian languages such as Chinese, state William Wang and Chaofen Sun. Sanskrit_sentence_537

Many words have been adopted from Sanskrit into the Chinese, both in its historic religious discourse and everyday use. Sanskrit_sentence_538

This process likely started about 200 CE and continued through about 1400 CE, with the efforts of monks such as Yuezhi, Anxi, Kangju, Tianzhu, Yan Fodiao, Faxian, Xuanzang and Yijing. Sanskrit_sentence_539

Further, as the Chinese language and culture influenced the rest of East Asia, the ideas in Sanskrit texts and some of its linguistic elements migrated further. Sanskrit_sentence_540

Sanskrit has also influenced Sino-Tibetan languages, mostly through translations of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_541

Many terms were transliterated directly and added to the Chinese vocabulary. Sanskrit_sentence_542

Chinese words like 剎那 chànà (Devanagari: क्षण kṣaṇa 'instantaneous period') were borrowed from Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_543

Many Sanskrit texts survive only in Tibetan collections of commentaries to the Buddhist teachings, the Tengyur. Sanskrit_sentence_544

Sanskrit was a language for religious purposes and for the political elite in parts of medieval era Southeast Asia, Central Asia and East Asia. Sanskrit_sentence_545

In Southeast Asia, languages such as Thai and Lao contain many loanwords from Sanskrit, as does Khmer. Sanskrit_sentence_546

Many Sanskrit loanwords are also found in Austronesian languages, such as Javanese, particularly the older form in which nearly half the vocabulary is borrowed. Sanskrit_sentence_547

Other Austronesian languages, such as Malay (descended into modern Malaysian and Indonesian standards) also derive much of their vocabulary from Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_548

Similarly, Philippine languages such as Tagalog have some Sanskrit loanwords, although more are derived from Spanish. Sanskrit_sentence_549

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. Sanskrit_sentence_550

English also has words of Sanskrit origin. Sanskrit_sentence_551

Sanskrit has also influenced the religious register of Japanese mostly through transliterations. Sanskrit_sentence_552

These were borrowed from Chinese transliterations. Sanskrit_sentence_553

In particular, the Shingon (lit. Sanskrit_sentence_554

'True Words') sect of esoteric Buddhism has been relying on Sanskrit and original Sanskrit mantras and writings, as a means of realizing Buddhahood. Sanskrit_sentence_555

Modern era Sanskrit_section_32

Liturgy, ceremonies and meditation Sanskrit_section_33

Sanskrit is the sacred language of various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Sanskrit_sentence_556

It is used during worship in Hindu temples. Sanskrit_sentence_557

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. Sanskrit_sentence_558

Some of the revered texts of Jainism including the Tattvartha sutra, Ratnakaranda śrāvakācāra, the Bhaktamara Stotra and the Agamas are in Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_559

Further, states Paul Dundas, Sanskrit mantras and Sanskrit as a ritual language was commonplace among Jains throughout their medieval history. Sanskrit_sentence_560

Many Hindu rituals and rites-of-passage such as the "giving away the bride" and mutual vows at weddings, a baby's naming or first solid food ceremony and the goodbye during a cremation invoke and chant Sanskrit hymns. Sanskrit_sentence_561

Major festivals such as the Durga Puja ritually recite entire Sanskrit texts such as the Devi Mahatmya every year particularly amongst the numerous communities of eastern India. Sanskrit_sentence_562

In the south, Sanskrit texts are recited at many major Hindu temples such as the Meenakshi Temple. Sanskrit_sentence_563

According to Richard H. Davis, a scholar of Religion and South Asian studies, the breadth and variety of oral recitations of the Sanskrit text Bhagavad Gita is remarkable. Sanskrit_sentence_564

In India and beyond, its recitations include "simple private household readings, to family and neighborhood recitation sessions, to holy men reciting in temples or at pilgrimage places for passersby, to public Gita discourses held almost nightly at halls and auditoriums in every Indian city". Sanskrit_sentence_565

Literature and arts Sanskrit_section_34

See also: List of Sahitya Akademi Award winners for Sanskrit Sanskrit_sentence_566

More than 3,000 Sanskrit works have been composed since India's independence in 1947. Sanskrit_sentence_567

Much of this work has been judged of high quality, in comparison to both classical Sanskrit literature and modern literature in other Indian languages. Sanskrit_sentence_568

The Sahitya Akademi has given an award for the best creative work in Sanskrit every year since 1967. Sanskrit_sentence_569

In 2009, Satya Vrat Shastri became the first Sanskrit author to win the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award. Sanskrit_sentence_570

Sanskrit is used extensively in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches of classical music. Sanskrit_sentence_571

Kirtanas, bhajans, stotras, and shlokas of Sanskrit are popular throughout India. Sanskrit_sentence_572

The samaveda uses musical notations in several of its recessions. Sanskrit_sentence_573

In Mainland China, musicians such as Sa Dingding have written pop songs in Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_574

Numerous loan Sanskrit words are found in other major Asian languages. Sanskrit_sentence_575

For example, Filipino, Cebuano, Lao, Khmer Thai and its alphabets, Malay (including Malaysian and Indonesian), Javanese (old Javanese-English dictionary by P.J. Sanskrit_sentence_576 Zoetmulder contains over 25,500 entries), and even in English. Sanskrit_sentence_577

Media Sanskrit_section_35

Since 1974, there has been a short daily news broadcast on state-run All India Radio. Sanskrit_sentence_578

These broadcasts are also made available on the internet on AIR's website. Sanskrit_sentence_579

Sanskrit news is broadcast on TV and on the internet through the DD National channel at 6:55 AM IST. Sanskrit_sentence_580

Over 90 weeklies, fortnightlies and quarterlies are published in Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_581

Sudharma, a daily printed newspaper in Sanskrit, has been published out of Mysore, India, since 1970. Sanskrit_sentence_582

It was started by K.N. Sanskrit_sentence_583

Varadaraja Iyengar, a Sanskrit scholar from Mysore. Sanskrit_sentence_584

Sanskrit Vartman Patram and Vishwasya Vrittantam started in Gujarat during the last five years. Sanskrit_sentence_585

Schools and contemporary status Sanskrit_section_36

See also: Sanskrit revival Sanskrit_sentence_586

Sanskrit has been taught in schools from time immemorial in India. Sanskrit_sentence_587

In modern times, the first Sanskrit University was Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, established in 1791 in the Indian city of Varanasi. Sanskrit_sentence_588

Sanskrit is taught in 5,000 traditional schools (Pathashalas), and 14,000 schools in India, where there are also 22 colleges and universities dedicated to the exclusive study of the language. Sanskrit_sentence_589

Sanskrit is one the 22 scheduled languages of India. Sanskrit_sentence_590

Despite it being a studied school subject in contemporary India, Sanskrit is scarce as a first language. Sanskrit_sentence_591

In the 2001 Census of India, 14,135 Indians reported Sanskrit to be their mother tongue, while in the 2011 census, 24,821 people out of about 1.21 billion reported this to be the case. Sanskrit_sentence_592

According to the 2011 national census of Nepal, 1,669 people use Sanskrit as their first language. Sanskrit_sentence_593

The Central Board of Secondary Education of India (CBSE), 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. Sanskrit_sentence_594

In such schools, learning Sanskrit is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). Sanskrit_sentence_595

This is true of most schools affiliated with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) board, especially in states where the official language is Hindi. Sanskrit_sentence_596

Sanskrit is also taught in traditional gurukulas throughout India. Sanskrit_sentence_597

A number of colleges and universities in India have dedicated departments for Sanskrit studies. Sanskrit_sentence_598

In March 2020, the Indian Parliament passed the Central Sanskrit Universities Act, 2020 which upgraded three universities, National Sanskrit University, Central Sanskrit University and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, from the deemed to be university status to a central university status. Sanskrit_sentence_599

In the West Sanskrit_section_37

See also: Academic teaching of Sanskrit outside India Sanskrit_sentence_600

St James Junior School in London, England, offers Sanskrit as part of the curriculum. Sanskrit_sentence_601

Since September 2009, US 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. Sanskrit_sentence_602

In Australia, the private boys' high school Sydney Grammar School offers Sanskrit from years 7 through to 12, including for the Higher School Certificate. Sanskrit_sentence_603

Other schools that offer Sanskrit include the Ficino School in Auckland, New Zealand; St James Preparatory Schools in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa; John Colet School, Sydney, Australia; Erasmus School, Melbourne, Australia. Sanskrit_sentence_604

European studies and discourse Sanskrit_section_38

See also: Sanskrit studies Sanskrit_sentence_605

European scholarship in Sanskrit, begun by Heinrich Roth (1620–1668) and Johann Ernst Hanxleden (1681–1731), is considered responsible for the discovery of an Indo-European language family by Sir William Jones (1746–1794). Sanskrit_sentence_606

This research played an important role in the development of Western philology, or historical linguistics. Sanskrit_sentence_607

The 18th- and 19th-century speculations about the possible links of Sanskrit to ancient Egyptian language were later proven to be wrong, but it fed an orientalist discourse both in the form Indophobia and Indophilia, states Trautmann. Sanskrit_sentence_608

Sanskrit writings, when first discovered, were imagined by Indophiles to potentially be "repositories of the primitive experiences and religion of the human race, and as such confirmatory of the truth of Christian scripture", as well as a key to "universal ethnological narrative". Sanskrit_sentence_609

The Indophobes imagined the opposite, making the counterclaim that there is little of any value in Sanskrit, portraying it as "a language fabricated by artful [Brahmin] priests", with little original thought, possibly copied from the Greeks who came with Alexander or perhaps the Persians. Sanskrit_sentence_610

Scholars such as William Jones and his colleagues felt the need for systematic studies of Sanskrit language and literature. Sanskrit_sentence_611

This launched the Asiatic Society, an idea that was soon transplanted to Europe starting with the efforts of Henry Thomas Colebrooke in Britain, then Alexander Hamilton who helped expand its studies to Paris and thereafter his student Friedrich Schlegel who introduced Sanskrit to the universities of Germany. Sanskrit_sentence_612

Schlegel nurtured his own students into influential European Sanskrit scholars, particularly through Franz Bopp and Friedrich Max Muller. Sanskrit_sentence_613

As these scholars translated the Sanskrit manuscripts, the enthusiasm for Sanskrit grew rapidly among European scholars, states Trautmann, and chairs for Sanskrit "were established in the universities of nearly every German statelet" creating a competition for Sanskrit experts. Sanskrit_sentence_614

Symbolic usage Sanskrit_section_39

See also: Educational institutions with Sanskrit mottos, Non-educational institutions which Sanskrit mottoes, Sanskrit honorifics in Southeast Asia, Sanskritised naming of people across the world, and Sanskritised naming of places across the world Sanskrit_sentence_615

In India, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia, Sanskrit phrases are widely used as mottoes for various national, educational and social organisations: Sanskrit_sentence_616


  • India: Satyameva Jayate (सत्यमेव जयते) meaning: Truth alone triumphs.Sanskrit_item_4_7
  • Nepal: Janani Janmabhūmischa Swargādapi Garīyasī meaning: Mother and motherland are superior to heaven.Sanskrit_item_4_8
  • Indonesia: In Indonesia, Sanskrit is usually widely used as terms and mottoes of the armed forces and other national organizations (See: Indonesian Armed Forces mottoes). Rastra Sewakottama (राष्ट्र सेवकोत्तम; People's Main Servants) is the official motto of the Indonesian National Police, Tri Dharma Eka Karma (त्रिधर्म एक कर्म) is the official motto of the Indonesian Military, Kartika Eka Paksi (कार्तिक एक पक्षी; Unmatchable Bird with Noble Goals) is the official motto of the Indonesian Army, Adhitakarya Mahatvavirya Nagarabhakti (अधीतकार्य महत्ववीर्य नगरभक्ति; "Hard-working Knights Serving Bravery as Nations Hero") is the official motto of the Indonesian Military Academy, Upakriya Labdha Prayojana Balottama (उपक्रिया लब्ध प्रयोजन बालोत्तम; "Purpose of The Unit is to Give The Best Service to The Nation by Finding The Perfect Soldier") is the official motto of the Army Psychological Corps, Karmanye Vadikaraste Mafalesu Kadatjana (कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन; "Working Without Counting The Profit and Loss") is the official motto of the Air-Force Special Forces (Paskhas), Jalesu Bhumyamca Jayamahe (जलेषु भूम्यम्च जयमहे; "On The Sea and Land We Are Glorious") is the official motto of the Indonesian Marine Corps, and there are more units and organizations in Indonesia either Armed Forces or civil which use the Sanskrit language respectively as their mottoes and other purposes.Sanskrit_item_4_9
  • Many of India's and Nepal's scientific and administrative terms use Sanskrit. The Indian guided missile program that was commenced in 1983 by the Defence Research and Development Organisation has named the five missiles (ballistic and others) that it developed Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Nag and the Trishul missile system. India's first modern fighter aircraft is named HAL Tejas.Sanskrit_item_4_10

In popular culture Sanskrit_section_40

The song My Sweet Lord by George Harrison includes The Hare Krishna mantra, also referred to reverentially as the Maha Mantra, is a 16-word Vaishnava mantra which is mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upanishad. Sanskrit_sentence_617

Satyagraha, an opera by Philip Glass, uses texts from the Bhagavad Gita, sung in Sanskrit. Sanskrit_sentence_618

The closing credits of The Matrix Revolutions has a prayer from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Sanskrit_sentence_619

The song "Cyber-raga" from Madonna's album Music includes Sanskrit chants, and Shanti/Ashtangi from her 1998 album Ray of Light, which won a Grammy, is the ashtanga vinyasa yoga chant. Sanskrit_sentence_620

The lyrics include the mantra Om shanti. Sanskrit_sentence_621

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. Sanskrit_sentence_622

The theme song of Battlestar Galactica 2004 is the Gayatri Mantra, taken from the Rigveda. Sanskrit_sentence_623

The lyrics of "The Child in Us" by Enigma also contains Sanskrit verses. Sanskrit_sentence_624

In 2006, Mexican singer Paulina Rubio was influenced in Sanskrit for her concept album Ananda. Sanskrit_sentence_625

See also Sanskrit_section_41


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