Sanskrit

Sanskrit

Overview
Sanskrit is a historical Indo-Aryan language
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

.Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

: besides Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a modern linguistic category applied to the language used in a class of Indian Buddhist texts, such as the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. BHS is classified as a Middle Indic language...

Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand , formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship...

. In western classical linguistics, Sanskrit occupies a pre-eminent position along with Greek and Latin in Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

.

Classical Sanskrit is the standard register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 as laid out in the grammar of , around the 4th century BCE.
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Encyclopedia
Sanskrit is a historical Indo-Aryan language
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

.Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

: besides Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a modern linguistic category applied to the language used in a class of Indian Buddhist texts, such as the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. BHS is classified as a Middle Indic language...

Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand , formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship...

. In western classical linguistics, Sanskrit occupies a pre-eminent position along with Greek and Latin in Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

.

Classical Sanskrit is the standard register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 as laid out in the grammar of , around the 4th century BCE. Its position in the cultures of Greater India
Greater India
Greater India is a term that refers to the historical spread of the culture of India beyond the Indian subcontinent...

 is akin to that of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Greek in Europe and it has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, particularly in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

.

The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

, with the language of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1500 BCE. This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family, the family which includes English and most European languages.

The corpus of Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama
Sanskrit drama
The earliest-surviving fragments of Sanskrit drama date from the 1st century CE. The Mahābhāṣya by Patañjali contains the earliest reference to what may have been the seeds of Sanskrit drama. This treatise on grammar from 140 BCE provides a feasible date for the beginnings of theatre in India.Its...

 as well as scientific
Scientific literature
Scientific literature comprises scientific publications that report original empirical and theoretical work in the natural and social sciences, and within a scientific field is often abbreviated as the literature. Academic publishing is the process of placing the results of one's research into the...

, technical, philosophical
Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...

 and Hindu religious texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals in the forms of hymns and mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

s. Spoken Sanskrit is still in use in a few traditional institutions in India and there are many attempts at revival
Sanskrit revival
Sanskrit revival is the accumulation of attempts at reviving the Sanskrit language that have been undertaken.-History:In 1891 there was organized activity among the Theosophists in India promoting and participating in the revival of Sanskrit...

.

Name


The Sanskrit verbal adjective may be translated as "put together, constructed, well or completely formed; refined, adorned, highly elaborated". It is derived from the root "to put together, compose, arrange, prepare", where "together" (as English same) and "do, make".

The term in the generic meaning of "made ready, prepared, completed, finished" is found in the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

. Also in Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

, as nominalized neuter , it means "preparation, prepared place" and thus "ritual enclosure, place for a sacrifice".

As a term for "refined or elaborated speech" the adjective appears only in Epic and Classical Sanskrit, in the Manusmriti and in the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

.
The language referred to as "the cultured language" has by definition always been a "sacred" and "sophisticated" language, used for religious and learned discourse in ancient India, and contrasted with the languages spoken by the people, "natural, artless, normal, ordinary".

History


Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

 sub-family of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are the Iranian languages
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 Old Persian and Avestan. Within the wider Indo-European language family, Sanskrit shares characteristic sound changes with the Satem languages (particularly the Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 and Baltic languages
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

), and also with Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

.

In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, many scholars have proposed migration hypotheses
Indo-Aryan migration
Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent...

 asserting that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in what is now India and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 from the north-west some time during the early second millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close relationship of the Indo-Iranian tongues with the Baltic and Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European Uralic languages
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words for flora and fauna.

The earliest attested Sanskrit texts are Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 texts of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, which date to the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive. However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: they were ceremonial literature whose correct pronunciation was considered crucial to its religious efficacy.

From the Rigveda until the time of
{{pp-semi-protected|small=yes}}
Sanskrit ({{lang|sa|संस्कृतम्}} {{IAST|saṃskṛtam}} sə̃skɹ̩t̪əm, originally {{lang|sa|संस्कृता वाक्}} {{IAST|saṃskṛtā vāk
VAC
VAC or Vac may refer to:In arts and entertainment* Velvet Acid Christ, an industrial band* Video Appeals Committee in the United Kingdom, responsible for hearing appeals against decisions by the British Board of Film Classification...

}}, "refined speech"), is a historical Indo-Aryan language
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

.Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

: besides Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a modern linguistic category applied to the language used in a class of Indian Buddhist texts, such as the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. BHS is classified as a Middle Indic language...

Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand , formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship...

. In western classical linguistics, Sanskrit occupies a pre-eminent position along with Greek and Latin in Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

.

Classical Sanskrit is the standard register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 as laid out in the grammar of {{IAST|Pāṇini}}, around the 4th century BCE. Its position in the cultures of Greater India
Greater India
Greater India is a term that refers to the historical spread of the culture of India beyond the Indian subcontinent...

 is akin to that of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Greek in Europe and it has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, particularly in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

.

The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

, with the language of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1500 BCE. This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family, the family which includes English and most European languages.

The corpus of Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama
Sanskrit drama
The earliest-surviving fragments of Sanskrit drama date from the 1st century CE. The Mahābhāṣya by Patañjali contains the earliest reference to what may have been the seeds of Sanskrit drama. This treatise on grammar from 140 BCE provides a feasible date for the beginnings of theatre in India.Its...

 as well as scientific
Scientific literature
Scientific literature comprises scientific publications that report original empirical and theoretical work in the natural and social sciences, and within a scientific field is often abbreviated as the literature. Academic publishing is the process of placing the results of one's research into the...

, technical, philosophical
Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...

 and Hindu religious texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals in the forms of hymns and mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

s. Spoken Sanskrit is still in use in a few traditional institutions in India and there are many attempts at revival
Sanskrit revival
Sanskrit revival is the accumulation of attempts at reviving the Sanskrit language that have been undertaken.-History:In 1891 there was organized activity among the Theosophists in India promoting and participating in the revival of Sanskrit...

.

Name


The Sanskrit verbal adjective {{IAST|sáṃskṛta-}} may be translated as "put together, constructed, well or completely formed; refined, adorned, highly elaborated". It is derived from the root {{IAST|saṃ-skar-}} "to put together, compose, arrange, prepare", where {{IAST|saṃ-}} "together" (as English same) and {{IAST|(s)kar-}} "do, make".

The term in the generic meaning of "made ready, prepared, completed, finished" is found in the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

. Also in Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

, as nominalized neuter {{IAST|saṃskṛtám}}, it means "preparation, prepared place" and thus "ritual enclosure, place for a sacrifice".

As a term for "refined or elaborated speech" the adjective appears only in Epic and Classical Sanskrit, in the Manusmriti and in the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

.
The language referred to as {{IAST|saṃskṛta}} "the cultured language" has by definition always been a "sacred" and "sophisticated" language, used for religious and learned discourse in ancient India, and contrasted with the languages spoken by the people, {{IAST|prākṛta-
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

}} "natural, artless, normal, ordinary".

History


Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

 sub-family of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are the Iranian languages
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 Old Persian and Avestan. Within the wider Indo-European language family, Sanskrit shares characteristic sound changes with the Satem languages (particularly the Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 and Baltic languages
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

), and also with Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

.

In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, many scholars have proposed migration hypotheses
Indo-Aryan migration
Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent...

 asserting that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in what is now India and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 from the north-west some time during the early second millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close relationship of the Indo-Iranian tongues with the Baltic and Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European Uralic languages
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words for flora and fauna.

The earliest attested Sanskrit texts are Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 texts of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, which date to the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive. However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: they were ceremonial literature whose correct pronunciation was considered crucial to its religious efficacy.

From the Rigveda until the time of
{{pp-semi-protected|small=yes}}
Sanskrit ({{lang|sa|संस्कृतम्}} {{IAST|saṃskṛtam}} sə̃skɹ̩t̪əm, originally {{lang|sa|संस्कृता वाक्}} {{IAST|saṃskṛtā vāk
VAC
VAC or Vac may refer to:In arts and entertainment* Velvet Acid Christ, an industrial band* Video Appeals Committee in the United Kingdom, responsible for hearing appeals against decisions by the British Board of Film Classification...

}}, "refined speech"), is a historical Indo-Aryan language
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

.Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

: besides Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a modern linguistic category applied to the language used in a class of Indian Buddhist texts, such as the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. BHS is classified as a Middle Indic language...

Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand , formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship...

. In western classical linguistics, Sanskrit occupies a pre-eminent position along with Greek and Latin in Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

.

Classical Sanskrit is the standard register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 as laid out in the grammar of {{IAST|Pāṇini}}, around the 4th century BCE. Its position in the cultures of Greater India
Greater India
Greater India is a term that refers to the historical spread of the culture of India beyond the Indian subcontinent...

 is akin to that of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Greek in Europe and it has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, particularly in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

.

The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

, with the language of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1500 BCE. This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family, the family which includes English and most European languages.

The corpus of Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama
Sanskrit drama
The earliest-surviving fragments of Sanskrit drama date from the 1st century CE. The Mahābhāṣya by Patañjali contains the earliest reference to what may have been the seeds of Sanskrit drama. This treatise on grammar from 140 BCE provides a feasible date for the beginnings of theatre in India.Its...

 as well as scientific
Scientific literature
Scientific literature comprises scientific publications that report original empirical and theoretical work in the natural and social sciences, and within a scientific field is often abbreviated as the literature. Academic publishing is the process of placing the results of one's research into the...

, technical, philosophical
Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...

 and Hindu religious texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals in the forms of hymns and mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

s. Spoken Sanskrit is still in use in a few traditional institutions in India and there are many attempts at revival
Sanskrit revival
Sanskrit revival is the accumulation of attempts at reviving the Sanskrit language that have been undertaken.-History:In 1891 there was organized activity among the Theosophists in India promoting and participating in the revival of Sanskrit...

.

Name


The Sanskrit verbal adjective {{IAST|sáṃskṛta-}} may be translated as "put together, constructed, well or completely formed; refined, adorned, highly elaborated". It is derived from the root {{IAST|saṃ-skar-}} "to put together, compose, arrange, prepare", where {{IAST|saṃ-}} "together" (as English same) and {{IAST|(s)kar-}} "do, make".

The term in the generic meaning of "made ready, prepared, completed, finished" is found in the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

. Also in Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

, as nominalized neuter {{IAST|saṃskṛtám}}, it means "preparation, prepared place" and thus "ritual enclosure, place for a sacrifice".

As a term for "refined or elaborated speech" the adjective appears only in Epic and Classical Sanskrit, in the Manusmriti and in the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

.
The language referred to as {{IAST|saṃskṛta}} "the cultured language" has by definition always been a "sacred" and "sophisticated" language, used for religious and learned discourse in ancient India, and contrasted with the languages spoken by the people, {{IAST|prākṛta-
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

}} "natural, artless, normal, ordinary".

History


Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

 sub-family of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are the Iranian languages
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 Old Persian and Avestan. Within the wider Indo-European language family, Sanskrit shares characteristic sound changes with the Satem languages (particularly the Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 and Baltic languages
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

), and also with Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

.

In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, many scholars have proposed migration hypotheses
Indo-Aryan migration
Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent...

 asserting that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in what is now India and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 from the north-west some time during the early second millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close relationship of the Indo-Iranian tongues with the Baltic and Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European Uralic languages
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words for flora and fauna.

The earliest attested Sanskrit texts are Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 texts of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, which date to the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive. However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: they were ceremonial literature whose correct pronunciation was considered crucial to its religious efficacy.

From the Rigveda until the time of {{IAST (fl. 4th century BCE) the development of the Sanskrit language may be observed in other Vedic texts: the Samaveda
Samaveda
The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

, Yajurveda
Yajurveda
The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

, Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

, Brahmanas, and Upanishads. During this time, the prestige of the language, its use for sacred purposes, and the importance attached to its correct enunciation
Enunciation
In phonetics, enunciation is the act of speaking. Good enunciation is the act of speaking clearly and concisely. The opposite of good enunciation is mumbling or slurring. See also pronunciation which is a component of enunciation. Pronunciation is to pronounce sounds of words correctly....

 all served as powerful conservative forces resisting the normal processes of linguistic change. However, there is a clear, five-level linguistic development of Vedic from the Rigveda to the language of the Upanishads and the earliest Sutras (such as Baudhayana
Baudhayana
Baudhāyana, was an Indian mathematician, whowas most likely also a priest. He is noted as the author of the earliest Sulba Sūtra—appendices to the Vedas giving rules for the construction of altars—called the , which contained several important mathematical results. He is older than the other...

)

The oldest surviving Sanskrit grammar is {{IAST's {{IAST|Aṣṭādhyāyī}} ("Eight-Chapter Grammar"). It is essentially a prescriptive grammar, i.e., an authority that defines correct Sanskrit, although it contains descriptive parts, mostly to account for some Vedic forms that had become rare in {{IAST|Pāṇini}}'s time.

The term "Sanskrit" was not thought of as a specific language set apart from other languages, but rather as a particularly refined or perfected manner of speaking. Knowledge of Sanskrit was a marker of social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

 and education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

al attainment in ancient India and the language was taught mainly to members of the higher castes, through close analysis of Sanskrit grammarians such as {{IAST|Pāṇini}}. Sanskrit, as the learned language of Ancient India, thus existed alongside the Prakrit
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

s (vernaculars), also called Middle Indic dialects, and eventually into the contemporary modern Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

.

Vedic Sanskrit



{{Main|Vedic Sanskrit}}
Sanskrit, as defined by {{IAST|Pāṇini}}, had evolved out of the earlier "Vedic" form. The beginning of Vedic Sanskrit can be traced as early as 1500-1200 BCE (for Rg-vedic
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 and Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni
Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni
Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion....

). Scholars often distinguish Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 and Classical or "Pāṇinian" Sanskrit as separate 'dialects'. Though they are quite similar, they differ in a number of essential points of phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

, vocabulary
Vocabulary
A person's vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person. A vocabulary usually develops with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge...

, grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 and syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

. Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

, a large collection of hymns, incantations (Samhitas), theological and religio-philosophical discussions in the Brahmanas and Upanishads. Modern linguists consider the metrical hymns of the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 Samhita to be the earliest, composed by many authors over several centuries of oral tradition. The end of the Vedic period is marked by the composition of the Upanishads, which form the concluding part of the Vedic corpus in the traditional view; however the early Sutras are Vedic, too, both in language and content. Around the mid 1st millennium BCE, Vedic Sanskrit began the transition from a first language to a second language of religion and learning.

Classical Sanskrit


For nearly 2,000 years, a cultural order existed that exerted influence across South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, Inner Asia
Inner Asia
Inner Asia has a range of meanings among different researchers and in different countries. Denis Sinor defined Inner Asia broadly as the homelands of the Altaic peoples and the Uralic peoples .German makes a distinction between "Zentralasien", meaning Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, and...

, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, and to a certain extent, East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

. A significant form of post-Vedic Sanskrit is found in the Sanskrit of the Hindu Epics—the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 and Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

. The deviations from {{IAST|Pāṇini}} in the epics are generally considered to be on account of interference from Prakrits, or "innovations" and not because they are pre-Paninean. Traditional Sanskrit scholars call such deviations ārṣa (आर्ष), meaning 'of the ṛṣi
Rishi
Rishi denotes the composers of Vedic hymns. However, according to post-Vedic tradition, the rishi is a "seer" to whom the Vedas were "originally revealed" through states of higher consciousness. The rishis were prominent when Vedic Hinduism took shape, as far back as some three thousand years...

s', the traditional title for the ancient authors. In some contexts, there are also more "prakritisms" (borrowings from common speech) than in Classical Sanskrit proper. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a modern linguistic category applied to the language used in a class of Indian Buddhist texts, such as the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. BHS is classified as a Middle Indic language...

 is a literary language heavily influenced by Middle Indic, based on early Buddhist prakrit
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

 texts which subsequently assimilated to the Classical Sanskrit standard in varying degrees.

According to {{Harvcoltxt|Tiwari|1955}}, there were four principal dialects of classical Sanskrit: {{IAST|paścimottarī}} (Northwestern, also called Northern or Western), {{IAST|madhyadeśī}} (lit., middle country), {{IAST|pūrvi}} (Eastern) and {{IAST|dakṣiṇī}} (Southern, arose in the Classical period). The predecessors of the first three dialects are even attested in Vedic {{IAST|Brāhmaṇa
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

s}}, of which the first one was regarded as the purest ({{IAST|Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa, 7.6}}).

Decline


{{See also|Termination of spoken Sanskrit}}
There are a number of sociolinguistic studies of spoken Sanskrit which strongly suggest that oral use of Sanskrit is limited, with its development having ceased sometime in the past. Accordingly, says {{Harvcoltxt|Pollock|2001}}, "most observers would agree that, in some crucial way, Sanskrit is dead". He describes it in comparison with the "dead" language of Latin:

Both died slowly, and earliest as a vehicle of literary expression, while much longer retaining significance for learned discourse with its universalist claims. Both were subject to periodic renewals or forced rebirths, sometimes in connection with a politics of translocal aspiration… At the same time… both came to be ever more exclusively associated with narrow forms of religion and priestcraft, despite centuries of a secular aesthetic.


The decline of Sanskrit use in literary and political circles was likely due to a weakening of the political institutions that supported it, and to heightened competition with vernacular languages seeking literary-cultural dignity. There was regional variation in the forcefulness of these vernacular movements and Sanskrit declined in different ways across the Indian subcontinent. For example, in Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Kashmiri
Kashmiri language
Kashmiri is a language from the Dardic sub-group and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir. There are approximately 5,554,496 speakers in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000 speakers or so in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir...

 was used alongside Sanskrit as the language of literature after the 13th century. Sanskrit works from the Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 failed to circulate outside their place and time of composition. By contrast, works in Kannada
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

 and Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 flourished.

Despite this presumed "death" of Sanskrit and the literary use of vernacular languages, Sanskrit continued to be used in literary cultures in India, and those who could read vernacular languages could also read Sanskrit. It did mean that Sanskrit was not used to express changing forms of subjectivity and sociality embodied and conceptualized in the modern age. Instead, it was reduced to "reinscription and restatements" of ideas already explored, and any creativity in Sanskrit was restricted to religious hymns and verses. When the British imposed a Western-style education system in India in the nineteenth 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.

{{Harvcoltxt|Hanneder|2002}} and {{Harvcoltxt|Hatcher|2007}} contest Pollock's characterization, pointing out that modern works continue to be produced in Sanskrit: {{quote|On a more public level the statement that Sanskrit is a dead language is misleading, for Sanskrit is quite obviously not as dead as other dead languages and the fact that it is spoken, written and read will probably convince most people that it cannot be a dead language in the most common usage of the term. Pollock’s notion of the “death of Sanskrit” remains in this unclear realm between academia and public opinion when he says that “most observers would agree that, in some crucial way, Sanskrit is dead”|{{Harvcoltxt|Hanneder|2002|p=294}}}}
{{Harvcoltxt|Hanneder|2009}} argues that modern works in Sanskrit are either ignored or their "modernity" contested. The Sahitya Akademi
Sahitya Akademi
The Sahitya Akademi ', India's National Academy of Letters, is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of literature in the languages of India...

 has had, since 1967, an award for the best creative work written that year in Sanskrit. In 2009, Satyavrat Shastri became the first Sanskrit author to win the Jnanpith Award
Jnanpith Award
The Jnanpith Award is a literary award in India. Along with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, it is one of the two most prestigious literary honours in the country...

, India's highest literary award.

European scholarship


{{See also|Sanskrit in the West|Sanskrit revival}}
European scholarship in Sanskrit, begun by Heinrich Roth
Heinrich Roth
Heinrich Roth was a missionary and pioneering Sanskrit scholar.- Life :...

 (1620–1668) and Johann Ernst Hanxleden
Johann Ernst Hanxleden
Johann Ernst Hanxleden , known as Arnos Paathiri was a German Jesuit priest, missionary in India and a Malayalam/Sanskrit poet, grammarian, lexicographer, and philologist.-Journey to India:After doing philosophical studies in his...

 (1681–1731), is regarded as responsible for the discovery of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 by Sir William Jones
William Jones (philologist)
Sir William Jones was an English philologist and scholar of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among Indo-European languages...

. This scholarship played an important role in the development of Western philology
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

, or historical linguistics.{{Citation needed|date=August 2008}}

Sir William Jones
William Jones (philologist)
Sir William Jones was an English philologist and scholar of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among Indo-European languages...

, speaking to the Asiatic Society
Asiatic Society
The Asiatic Society was founded by Sir William Jones on January 15, 1784 in a meeting presided over by Sir Robert Chambers, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the Fort William in Calcutta, then capital of the British Raj, to enhance and further the cause of Oriental research. At the time of...

 in Calcutta (now Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

) on February 2, 1786, said:
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, more copious than the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

, which, perhaps, no longer exists.

Phonology


{{See|Śikṣā}}
Classical Sanskrit distinguishes about 36 phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

s. There is, however, some allophony
Allophone
In phonology, an allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme. For example, and are allophones for the phoneme in the English language...

 and the writing systems used for Sanskrit generally indicate this, thus distinguishing 48 sounds.

The sounds are traditionally listed in the order vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

s (Ach), diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s (Hal), anusvara
Anusvara
Anusvara is the diacritic used to mark a type of nasalization used in a number of Indic languages. Depending on the location of the anusvara in the word and the language within which it is used, its exact pronunciation can vary greatly....

 and visarga
Visarga
Visarga is a Sanskrit word meaning "sending forth, discharge". In Sanskrit phonology , is the name of a phone, , written as IAST , Harvard-Kyoto , Devanagari . Visarga is an allophone of and in pausa...

, plosives (Sparśa) and nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

s (starting in the back of the mouth and moving forward), and finally the liquids and fricatives, written in IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

 as follows (see the tables below for details):
{{IAST|a ā i ī u ū ṛ ṝ ḷ ḹ }}; {{IAST|e ai o au}}
{{IAST|ṃ ḥ}}
{{IAST|k kh g gh ṅ; c ch j jh ñ; ṭ ṭh ḍ ḍh ṇ; t th d dh n; p ph b bh m}}
{{IAST|y r l v}}; {{IAST|ś ṣ s h}}

An alternate traditional ordering is that of the Shiva Sutra
Shiva Sutra
The Shiva Sutras or Māheshvara Sutras are fourteen verses that organize the phonemes of the Sanskrit language as referred to in the of , the foundational text of Sanskrit grammar...

 of {{IAST|Pāṇini}}.

Vowels


The vowels of Classical Sanskrit with their word-initial Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 symbol, diacritical mark with the consonant
Consonant
In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the tongue; , pronounced in the throat; and ,...

 {{lang|sa|प्}} (/p/), pronunciation (of the vowel alone and of /p/+vowel) in IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

, equivalent in IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

 and (approximate) equivalents in English are listed below:
Letter |sa|प्}} Pronunciation Pronunciation with /p/ IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

 equiv.
English equivalent (GA
General American
General American , also known as Standard American English , is a major accent of American English. The accent is not restricted to the United States...

 unless stated otherwise)
{{Unicode|अ}} {{Unicode|प}} /ɐ/ or /ə/ /pɐ/ or /pə/ a short near-open central vowel or schwa
Schwa
In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean the following:*An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel...

: u in bunny or a in about
{{Unicode|आ}} {{Unicode|पा}} /ɑː/ /pɑː/ ā long open back unrounded vowel: a in father (RP
Received Pronunciation
Received Pronunciation , also called the Queen's English, Oxford English or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms...

)
{{Unicode|इ}} {{Unicode|पि}} /i/ /pi/ i short close front unrounded vowel
Close front unrounded vowel
The close front unrounded vowel, or high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ....

: e in england
{{Unicode|ई}} {{Unicode|पी}} /iː/ /piː/ ī long close front unrounded vowel
Close front unrounded vowel
The close front unrounded vowel, or high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ....

: ee in feet
{{Unicode|उ}} {{Unicode|पु}} /u/ /pu/ u short close back rounded vowel
Close back rounded vowel
The close back rounded vowel, or high back rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is u....

: oo in foot
{{Unicode|ऊ}} {{Unicode|पू}} /uː/ /puː/ ū long close back rounded vowel
Close back rounded vowel
The close back rounded vowel, or high back rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is u....

: oo in cool
{{Unicode|ऋ}} {{Unicode|पृ}} /ɻ/ /pɻ/ {{Unicode|ṛ}} short retroflex approximant: r in run
{{Unicode|ॠ}} {{Unicode|पॄ}} /ɻː/ /pɻː/ {{Unicode|ṝ}} long retroflex approximant r in run
{{Unicode|ऌ}} {{Unicode|पॢ}} /ɭ/ /pɭ/ {{Unicode|ḷ}} short retroflex lateral approximant (no English equivalent)
{{Unicode|ॡ}} {{Unicode|पॣ}} /ɭː/ /pɭː/ {{Unicode|ḹ}} long retroflex lateral approximant
{{Unicode|ए}} {{Unicode|पे}} /eː/ /peː/ e long close-mid front unrounded vowel
Close-mid front unrounded vowel
The close-mid front unrounded vowel, or high-mid front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ....

: a in bane (some speakers)
{{Unicode|ऐ}} {{Unicode|पै}} /əi/ /pəi/ ai a long diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

: i in ice, i in kite (Canadian
Canadian English
Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians , and more than 28 million are fluent in the language...

 and Scottish English
Scottish English
Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not be considered distinct from the Scots language. It is always considered distinct from Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language....

)
{{Unicode|ओ}} {{Unicode|पो}} /oː/ /poː/ o long close-mid back rounded vowel: o in bone (some speakers)
{{Unicode|औ}} {{Unicode|पौ}} /əu/ /pəu/ au a long diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

: Similar to the ou in house (Canadian English)


The long vowels
Vowel length
In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may etymologically be one, such as in Australian English. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, vowel length is an important phonemic factor in...

 are pronounced twice as long as their short counterparts. Also, there exists a third, extra-long length for most vowels, called pluti
Pluti
Pluti is the term for overlong vowels in Sanskrit. Pluti vowels are usually noted with a numeral "3" , , also ....

, which is used in various cases, but particularly in the vocative. The pluti is not accepted by all grammarians.

The vowels /e/ and /o/ continue as allophonic variants of Proto-Indo-Iranian /ai/, /au/ and are categorized as diphthongs by Sanskrit grammarians even though they are realized phonetically as simple long vowels. (See above).

Additional points:
  • There are some additional signs traditionally listed in tables of the Devanagari script:
    • The diacritic {{Unicode|ं}} called anusvāra, (IAST
      IAST
      The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

      : {{Unicode|ṃ}}). It is used both to indicate the nasalization
      Nasalization
      In phonetics, nasalization is the production of a sound while the velum is lowered, so that some air escapes through the nose during the production of the sound by the mouth...

       of the vowel in the syllable ([◌̃] and to represent the sound of a syllabic /n/ or /m/; e.g. {{Unicode|पं}} /pəŋ/.
    • The diacritic {{Unicode|ः}} called visarga, represents /əh/ (IAST
      IAST
      The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

      : {{Unicode|ḥ}}); e.g. {{Unicode|पः}} /pəh/.
    • The diacritic {{Unicode|ँ}} called chandrabindu, not traditionally included in Devanagari charts for Sanskrit, is used interchangeably with the anusvāra to indicate nasalization of the vowel, primarily in Vedic notation; e.g. {{Unicode|पँ}} /pə̃/.
  • If a lone consonant needs to be written without any following vowel, it is given a halanta/virāma diacritic below ({{Unicode|प्}}).
  • The vowel /aː/ in Sanskrit is realized as being more central and less back than the closest English approximation, which is /ɑː/. But the grammarians have classified it as a back vowel.
  • The ancient Sanskrit grammarians classified the vowel system as velars, retroflexes, palatals and plosives rather than as back, central and front vowels. Hence {{Unicode|ए}} and {{Unicode|ओ}} are classified respectively as palato-velar (a+i) and labio-velar (a+u) vowels respectively. But the grammarians have classified them as diphthong
    Diphthong
    A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

    s and in prosody, each is given two mātrās. This does not necessarily mean that they are proper diphthongs, but neither excludes the possibility that they could have been proper diphthongs at a very ancient stage (see above). These vowels are pronounced as long /eː/ and /oː/ respectively by learned Sanskrit Brahmans and priests of today. Other than the "four" diphthongs, Sanskrit usually disallows any other diphthong—vowels in succession, where they occur, are converted to semivowel
    Semivowel
    In phonetics and phonology, a semivowel is a sound, such as English or , that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary rather than as the nucleus of a syllable.-Classification:...

    s according to sandhi
    Sandhi
    Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

     rules.

Consonants


IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

 and Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 notations are given, with approximate IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

 values in square brackets.
Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...


Ōshtya
Labiodental
Labiodental consonant
In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.-Labiodental consonant in IPA:The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...


Dantōshtya
Dental
Dantya
Retroflex
Retroflex consonant
A retroflex consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants, especially in Indology...


Mūrdhanya
Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...


Tālavya
Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....


Kanthya
Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Stop
Sparśa
Unaspirated
Aspiration (phonetics)
In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...


Alpaprāna
{{Unicode|p}} {{Unicode|प}} [p] {{Unicode|b}} {{Unicode|ब}} [b] {{Unicode|t}} {{Unicode|त}} [t̪] {{Unicode|d}} {{Unicode|द}} [d̪] {{Unicode|ṭ}} {{Unicode|ट}} [ʈ] {{Unicode|ḍ}} {{Unicode|ड}} [ɖ] {{Unicode|c}} {{Unicode|च}} [c͡ç] {{Unicode|j}} {{Unicode|ज}} [ɟ͡ʝ] {{Unicode|k}} {{Unicode|क}} [k] {{Unicode|g}} {{Unicode|ग}} [ɡ]
Aspirated
Aspiration (phonetics)
In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...


Mahāprāna
{{Unicode|ph}} {{Unicode|फ}} [pʰ] {{Unicode|bh}} {{Unicode|भ}} [bʱ] {{Unicode|th}} {{Unicode|थ}} [t̪ʰ] {{Unicode|dh}} {{Unicode|ध}} [d̪ʱ] {{Unicode|ṭh}} {{Unicode|ठ}} [ʈʰ] {{Unicode|ḍh}} {{Unicode|ढ}} [ɖʱ] {{Unicode|ch}} {{Unicode|छ}} [c͡çʰ] {{Unicode|jh}} {{Unicode|झ}} [ɟ͡ʝʱ] {{Unicode|kh}} {{Unicode|ख}} [kʰ] {{Unicode|gh}} {{Unicode|घ}} [ɡʱ]
Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...


Anunāsika
m {{Unicode|म}} [m] {{Unicode|n}} {{Unicode|न}} [n̪] {{Unicode|ṇ}} {{Unicode|ण}} [ɳ] {{Unicode|ñ}} {{Unicode|ञ}} [ɲ] {{Unicode|ṅ}} {{Unicode|ङ}} [ŋ]
Semivowel
Semivowel
In phonetics and phonology, a semivowel is a sound, such as English or , that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary rather than as the nucleus of a syllable.-Classification:...


Antastha
v {{Unicode|व}} [ʋ] y {{Unicode|य}} [j]
Liquid
Liquid consonant
In phonetics, liquids or liquid consonants are a class of consonants consisting of lateral consonants together with rhotics.-Description:...


Drava
l {{Unicode|ल}} [l] r {{Unicode|र}} [r]
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...


Ūshman
{{Unicode|s}} {{Unicode|स}} [s̪] {{unicode|ṣ}} {{Unicode|ष}} [ʂ] {{unicode|ś}} {{Unicode|श}} [ɕ] {{unicode|ḥ}} {{Unicode|ः}} [h] {{unicode|h}} {{Unicode|ह}} [ɦ]


The table below shows the traditional listing of the Sanskrit consonants with the (nearest) equivalents in English (as pronounced in General American
General American
General American , also known as Standard American English , is a major accent of American English. The accent is not restricted to the United States...

 and Received Pronunciation
Received Pronunciation
Received Pronunciation , also called the Queen's English, Oxford English or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms...

) and Spanish. Each consonant shown below is deemed to be followed by the neutral vowel schwa
Schwa
In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean the following:*An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel...

 (/ə/), and is named in the table as such.
Plosives—Sprshta
Unaspirated
Voiceless
Voiceless
In linguistics, voicelessness is the property of sounds being pronounced without the larynx vibrating. Phonologically, this is a type of phonation, which contrasts with other states of the larynx, but some object that the word "phonation" implies voicing, and that voicelessness is the lack of...

 
Alpaprāna Śvāsa
Aspirated
Aspiration (phonetics)
In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...


Voiceless
Voiceless
In linguistics, voicelessness is the property of sounds being pronounced without the larynx vibrating. Phonologically, this is a type of phonation, which contrasts with other states of the larynx, but some object that the word "phonation" implies voicing, and that voicelessness is the lack of...


Mahāprāna Śvāsa
Unaspirated
Voiced
Voice (phonetics)
Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics and phonology to characterize speech sounds, with sounds described as either voiceless or voiced. The term, however, is used to refer to two separate concepts. Voicing can refer to the articulatory process in which the vocal cords vibrate...

 
Alpaprāna Nāda
Aspirated
Aspiration (phonetics)
In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...


Voiced
Mahāprāna Nāda
Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

 
Anunāsika Nāda
Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....


Kanthya
{{Unicode|क}}
/kə/; English: skip
{{Unicode|ख}}
/kʰə/; English: cat
{{Unicode|ग}}
/ɡə/; English: game
{{Unicode|घ}}
/ɡʱə/; somewhat similar to English: doghouse
{{Unicode|ङ}}
/ŋə/; English: ring
Palatal
Tālavya
{{Unicode|च}}
/cə/; English: exchange
{{Unicode|छ}}
/cʰə/; English: church
{{Unicode|ज}}
/ɟə/; ≈English: jam
{{Unicode|झ}}
/ɟʱə/; somewhat similar to English: hedgehog
{{Unicode|ञ}}
/ɲə/; English: bench
Retroflex
Mūrdhanya
{{Unicode|ट}}
/ʈə/; No English equivalent
{{Unicode|ठ}}
/ʈʰə/; No English equivalent
{{Unicode|ड}}
/ɖə/; No English equivalent
{{Unicode|ढ}}
/ɖʱə/; No English equivalent
{{Unicode|ण}}
/ɳə/; No English equivalent
Apico-Dental
Dantya
{{Unicode|त}}
/t̪ə/; Spanish: tomate
{{Unicode|थ}}
/t̪ʰə/; Aspirated /t̪/
{{Unicode|द}}
/d̪ə/; Spanish: donde
{{Unicode|ध}}
/d̪ʱə/; Aspirated /d̪/
{{Unicode|न}}
/n̪ə/; English: name
Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

 
Ōshtya
{{Unicode|प}}
/pə/; English: spin
{{Unicode|फ}}
/pʰə/; English: pit
{{Unicode|ब}}
/bə/; English: bone
{{Unicode|भ}}
/bʱə/; somewhat similar to English: clubhouse
{{Unicode|म}}
/mə/; English: mine

Non-Plosives/Sonorants
Palatal
Tālavya
Retroflex
Mūrdhanya
Dental
Dantya
Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

/
Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

 
Ōshtya
Approximant
Antastha
{{Unicode|य}}
/jə/; English: you
{{Unicode|र}}
/rə/; English: trip
{{Unicode|ल}}
/l̪ə/; English: love
{{Unicode|व}} (labio-dental)
/ʋə/; English: vase
Sibilant/
Fricative 
Ūshman
{{Unicode|श}}
/ɕə/; English: ship
{{Unicode|ष}}
/ʂə/; Retroflex form of /ʃ/
{{Unicode|स}}
/s̪ə/; English: same
{{Unicode|ह}} (glottal)
/ɦə/; English behind

Phonology and Sandhi


The Sanskrit vowels are as discussed in the section above. The long syllabic l ({{unicode|ḹ}}) is not attested, and is only discussed by grammarians for systematic reasons. Its short counterpart {{unicode|ḷ}} occurs in a single root only, {{unicode|kḷp}} "to order, array". Long syllabic r ({{unicode|ṝ}}) is also quite marginal, occurring in the genitive plural of r-stems (e.g. {{unicode|mātṛ}} "mother" and {{unicode|pitṛ}} "father" have gen.pl. {{unicode|mātṝṇām}} and {{unicode|pitṝṇām}}). {{unicode|i, u, ṛ, ḷ}} are vocalic allophones of consonantal {{unicode|y, v, r, l}}. There are thus only 5 invariably vocalic phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

s,
{{unicode|a, ā, ī, ū, ṝ}}.


Visarga
Visarga
Visarga is a Sanskrit word meaning "sending forth, discharge". In Sanskrit phonology , is the name of a phone, , written as IAST , Harvard-Kyoto , Devanagari . Visarga is an allophone of and in pausa...

 {{unicode|ḥ}} {{Unicode|ः}} is an allophone
Allophone
In phonology, an allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme. For example, and are allophones for the phoneme in the English language...

 of {{unicode|r}} and {{unicode|s}}, and anusvara
Anusvara
Anusvara is the diacritic used to mark a type of nasalization used in a number of Indic languages. Depending on the location of the anusvara in the word and the language within which it is used, its exact pronunciation can vary greatly....

 {{unicode|ṃ}}, Devanagari {{Unicode| ं}} of any nasal, both in pausa
Pausa
In linguistics, pausa is the end of a prosodic unit, such as an utterance. Some sound laws specifically operate in pausa only; for example, certain phonemes may be pronounced differently at the end of a word, when no other word follows within the same prosodic unit, such as in citation form...

 (i.e., the nasalized vowel). The exact pronunciation of the three sibilants may vary, but they are distinct phonemes. An aspirated voiced sibilant /zʱ/ was inherited by Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 from Proto-Indo-Iranian but lost shortly before the time of the Rigveda (aspirated fricatives are exceedingly rare in any language). The retroflex consonant
Retroflex consonant
A retroflex consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants, especially in Indology...

s are somewhat marginal phonemes, often being conditioned by their phonetic environment; they do not continue a PIE
Pie
A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients....

 series and are often ascribed by some linguists to the substratal
Substratum
In linguistics, a stratum or strate is a language that influences, or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum is a language which has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum is the language that has higher power or prestige. Both substratum and superstratum...

 influence of Dravidian
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

 or other substrate languages. The nasal [ɲ] is a conditioned allophone of /n/ (/n/ and /ɳ/ are distinct phonemes—{{unicode|aṇu}} 'minute', 'atomic' [nom. sg. neutr. of an adjective] is distinctive from {{unicode|anu}} 'after', 'along'; phonologically independent {{unicode|/ŋ/}} occurs only marginally, e.g. in {{unicode|prāṅ}} 'directed forwards/towards' [nom. sg. masc. of an adjective]). There are thus 31 consonantal or semi-vocalic phonemes, consisting of four/five kinds of stops realized both with or without aspiration and both voiced and voiceless, three nasals, four semi-vowels or liquids, and four fricatives, written in IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

 transliteration as follows:
{{unicode|k, kh, g, gh; c, ch, j, jh; ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh; t, th, d, dh; p, ph, b, bh; m, n, ṇ; y, r, l, v; ś, ṣ, s, h}}

or a total of 36 unique Sanskrit phonemes altogether.

The phonological
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

 rules which are applied when combining morphemes to a word, and when combining words to a sentence, are collectively called sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

 "composition". Texts are written phonetically, with sandhi applied (except for the so-called {{Unicode|padapāṭha}}).

Writing system



{{about|how Sanskrit came to be written using various systems|details of Sanskrit as written using devanāgari|Devanagari}}
Sanskrit was spoken in an oral society, and the oral tradition was maintained through the development of early classical Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

. Writing was not introduced to India until after Sanskrit had evolved into the Prakrits; when it was written, the choice of writing system was influenced by the regional scripts of the scribes. Therefore, Sanskrit has no native script of its own. As such, virtually all of the major writing systems of South Asia have been used for the production of Sanskrit manuscripts. Since the late 19th century, devanāgari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 has become the de facto standard writing system for Sanskrit publication, quite possibly because of the European practice of printing Sanskritic texts in this script. Devanāgari is written from left to right, lacks distinct letter cases, and is recognizable by a distinctive horizontal line running along the tops of the letters that links them together.

The earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit date to the 1st century BCE. They are in the Brahmi
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

 script, which was originally used for Prakrit
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

, not Sanskrit. It has been described as a "paradox" that the first evidence of written Sanskrit occurs centuries later than that of the Prakrit languages which are its linguistic descendants. When Sanskrit was written down, it was first used for texts of an administrative, literary or scientific nature. The sacred texts were preserved orally, and were set down in writing, "reluctantly" (according to one commentator), and at a comparatively late date.

Brahmi evolved into a multiplicity of scripts of the Brahmic family
Brahmic family
The Brahmic or Indic scripts are a family of abugida writing systems. They are used throughout South Asia , Southeast Asia, and parts of Central and East Asia, and are descended from the Brāhmī script of the ancient Indian subcontinent...

, many of which were used to write Sanskrit. Roughly contemporary with the Brahmi, the Kharosthi script was used in the northwest of the subcontinent. Later (around the 4th to 8th centuries CE) the Gupta script
Gupta script
The Gupta script was used for writing Sanskrit and is associated with the Gupta Empire of India which was a period of material prosperity and great religious and scientific developments. The Gupta script was descended from Brahmi and gave rise to the Nagari, Sharada and Siddham scripts...

, derived from Brahmi, became prevalent. From ca. the 8th century, the Sharada script evolved out of the Gupta script. The latter was displaced in its turn by Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 from ca. the 11/12th century, with intermediary stages such as the Siddham script. In Eastern India, the Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 script and, later, the Oriya script
Oriya script
The Oriya script or Utkala Lipi or Utkalakshara is used to write the Oriya language, and can be used for several other Indian languages, for example, Sanskrit.- History :...

, were used. In the south where Dravidian languages
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

 predominate, scripts used for Sanskrit include Kannada
Kannada script
The Kannada script is an alphasyllabary of the Brahmic family, used primarily to write the Kannada language, one of the Dravidian languages of southern India and also Sanskrit in the past. The Telugu script is derived from Old Kannada, and resembles Kannada script...

, Telugu
Telugu script
Telugu script, an abugida from the Brahmic family of scripts, is used to write the Telugu language, a language found in the South-Central Indian state of Andhra Pradesh as well as several other neighboring states. The Telugu script is derived from the Bhattiprolu script...

, Tamil
Tamil script
The Tamil script is a script that is used to write the Tamil language as well as other minority languages such as Badaga, Irulas, and Paniya...

, Malayalam
Malayalam language
Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

 and Grantha.


Romanization


{{Main|Devanagari transliteration}}
Since the late 18th century, Sanskrit has been transliterated
Transliteration
Transliteration is a subset of the science of hermeneutics. It is a form of translation, and is the practice of converting a text from one script into another...

 using the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

. The system most commonly used today is the IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

 (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration), which has been the academic standard since 1888/1912. ASCII
ASCII
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange is a character-encoding scheme based on the ordering of the English alphabet. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text...

-based transliteration schemes have evolved due to difficulties representing Sanskrit characters in computer systems. These include Harvard-Kyoto
Harvard-Kyoto
The Harvard-Kyoto Convention is a system for transliterating in ASCII the Sanskrit language and other languages that use the Devanāgarī script...

 and ITRANS
ITRANS
The "Indian languages TRANSliteration" is an ASCII transliteration scheme for Indic scripts, particularly for Devanagari script. It was developed by Avinash Chopde. The latest version of ITRANS is version 5.30 released in July, 2001...

, 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. With the wide availability of Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 aware web browsers, IAST has become common online.

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

European scholars in the 19th century generally preferred Devanagari for the transcription and reproduction of whole texts and lengthy excerpts. However, references to individual words and names in texts composed in European languages were usually represented with Roman transliteration. From the 20th century onwards, due to production costs, textual editions edited by Western scholars have mostly been in Romanized transliteration.

Grammatical tradition


{{Main|Sanskrit grammarians}}

Sanskrit grammatical tradition ({{unicode|vyākaraṇa}}, one of the six Vedanga
Vedanga
The Vedanga are six auxiliary disciplines traditionally associated with the study and understanding of the Vedas.#Shiksha : phonetics, phonology and morphophonology #Kalpa : ritual#Vyakarana : grammar...

 disciplines) began in late Vedic India and culminated in the {{unicode|Aṣṭādhyāyī}} of {{unicode|Pāṇini}}, which consists of 3990 sutras (ca.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 5th century BCE). About a century after {{unicode|Pāṇini}} (around 400 BCE) Kātyāyana composed Vārtikas on Pāṇinian sũtras. Patañjali
Patañjali
Patañjali is the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice. According to tradition, the same Patañjali was also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a commentary on Kātyāyana's vārttikas on Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as an unspecified work of medicine .In...

, who lived three centuries after Pāṇini, wrote the {{unicode|Mahābhāṣya}}, the "Great Commentary" on the {{unicode|Aṣṭādhyāyī}} and Vārtikas. Because of these three ancient Sanskrit grammarians this grammar is called Trimuni Vyākarana. To understand the meaning of sutras Jayaditya and Vāmana wrote the commentary named Kāsikā 600 CE. Pāṇinian grammar is based on 14 Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 sutras (aphorisms). Here whole Mātrika (alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

) is abbreviated. This abbreviation is called Pratyāhara.

Verbs


{{Main|Sanskrit verbs}}
Sanskrit has ten classes of verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

s divided into in two broad groups: athematic
Athematic
In the Indo-European languages, thematic stems are stems ending in a theme vowel, a vowel sound that is always present between the stem of the word and the attached ending...

 and thematic. The thematic verbs are so called because an a, called the theme vowel, is inserted between the stem and the ending. This serves to make the thematic verbs generally more regular. Exponents
Exponent (linguistics)
An exponent is a phonological manifestation of a morphosyntactic property. In non-technical language, it is the expression of one or more grammatical properties by sound...

 used in verb conjugation
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

 include prefixes, suffix
Suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

es, infix
Infix
An infix is an affix inserted inside a word stem . It contrasts with adfix, a rare term for an affix attached to the end of a stem, such as a prefix or suffix.-Indonesian:...

es, and reduplication
Reduplication
Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word is repeated exactly or with a slight change....

. Every root has (not necessarily all distinct) zero, {{Unicode
Guna
' means 'string' or 'a single thread or strand of a cord or twine'. In more abstract uses, it may mean 'a subdivision, species, kind, quality', or an operational principle or tendency....

, and {{Unicode
Vrddhi
' is a Sanskrit word meaning "growth" . In Panini's grammar, it is also a technical term for a group of long vowels. In Indo-European linguistics, it has become a term for the lengthened grade of the ablaut vowel gradation peculiar to the Indo-European languages...

 grades. If V is the vowel of the zero grade, the {{Unicode|guṇa}}-grade vowel is traditionally thought of as a + V, and the {{Unicode|vṛddhi}}-grade vowel as ā + V.

The verb tenses
Grammatical tense
A tense is a grammatical category that locates a situation in time, to indicate when the situation takes place.Bernard Comrie, Aspect, 1976:6:...

 (a very inexact application of the word, since more distinctions than simply tense are expressed) are organized into four 'systems' (as well as gerund
Gerund
In linguistics* As applied to English, it refers to the usage of a verb as a noun ....

s and infinitive
Infinitive
In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and to be, and so on are infinitives...

s, and such creatures as intensive
Intensive
In grammar, an intensive word form is one which denotes stronger or more forceful action relative to the root on which the intensive is built. Intensives are usually lexical formations, but there may be a regular process for forming intensives from a root...

s/frequentative
Frequentative
In grammar, a frequentative form of a word is one which indicates repeated action. The frequentative form can be considered a separate, but not completely independent word, called a frequentative...

s, desiderative
Desiderative
In linguistics, a desiderative form is one that has the meaning of "wanting to X". Desiderative forms are often verbs, derived from a more basic verb through a process of morphological derivation.-Sanskrit:...

s, causative
Causative
In linguistics, a causative is a form that indicates that a subject causes someone or something else to do or be something, or causes a change in state of a non-volitional event....

s, and benedictive
Benedictive
The benedictive mood is found in Sanskrit, although extremely rarely. For verbs in the active voice , it is formed by adding endings very similar to the athematic optative endings directly to the verb root itself. Essentially, the sibilant -s is inserted between the optative marker -yā and the...

s derived from more basic forms) based on the different stem forms (derived from verbal roots) used in conjugation. There are four tense systems:
  • Present (Present
    Present tense
    The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

    , Imperfect,{{Citation needed|date=September 2010}} Imperative
    Imperative mood
    The imperative mood expresses commands or requests as a grammatical mood. These commands or requests urge the audience to act a certain way. It also may signal a prohibition, permission, or any other kind of exhortation.- Morphology :...

    , Optative
    Optative mood
    The optative mood is a grammatical mood that indicates a wish or hope. It is similar to the cohortative mood, and closely related to the subjunctive mood....

    )
  • Perfect
  • Aorist
    Aorist
    Aorist is a philological term originally from Indo-European studies, referring to verb forms of various languages that are not necessarily related or similar in meaning...

  • Future
    Future
    The future is the indefinite time period after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the nature of the reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist is temporary and will come...

     (Future
    Future tense
    In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

    , Conditional
    Conditional mood
    In linguistics, the conditional mood is the inflectional form of the verb used in the independent clause of a conditional sentence to refer to a hypothetical state of affairs, or an uncertain event, that is contingent on another set of circumstances...

    )

Nouns


{{Main|Sanskrit nouns}}
Sanskrit is a highly inflected
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

 language with three grammatical gender
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

s (masculine, feminine, neuter) and three numbers (singular, plural, dual). It has eight cases
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

: nominative
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

, vocative
Vocative case
The vocative case is the case used for a noun identifying the person being addressed and/or occasionally the determiners of that noun. A vocative expression is an expression of direct address, wherein the identity of the party being spoken to is set forth expressly within a sentence...

, accusative
Accusative case
The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

, instrumental
Instrumental case
The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action...

, dative
Dative case
The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given, as in "George gave Jamie a drink"....

, ablative
Ablative case
In linguistics, ablative case is a name given to cases in various languages whose common characteristic is that they mark motion away from something, though the details in each language may differ...

, genitive
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

, and locative
Locative case
Locative is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by"...

.

The number of actual declension
Declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

s is debatable. Pāṇini identifies six karakas corresponding to the nominative, accusative, dative, instrumental, locative, and ablative cases. Pāṇini defines them as follows (Ashtadhyayi, I.4.24–54):
  1. Apadana (lit. 'take off'): "(that which is) firm when departure (takes place)." This is the equivalent of the ablative case, which signifies a stationary object from which movement proceeds.
  2. Sampradana ('bestowal'): "he whom one aims at with the object". This is equivalent to the dative case, which signifies a recipient in an act of giving or similar acts.
  3. Karana ("instrument") "that which effects most." This is equivalent to the instrumental case.
  4. Adhikarana ('location'): or "substratum." This is equivalent to the locative case.
  5. Karman ('deed'/'object'): "what the agent seeks most to attain". This is equivalent to the accusative case.
  6. Karta ('agent'): "he/that which is independent in action". This is equivalent to the nominative case. (On the basis of Scharfe, 1977: 94)

Personal pronouns and determiners


{{Main|Sanskrit pronouns and determiners}}
Sanskrit pronouns are declined for case
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

, number
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

, and gender. The pronominal declension
Declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

 applies to a few adjectives as well. Many pronouns have alternative enclitic forms.

The first and second person
Grammatical person
Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to a participant in an event; such as the speaker, the addressee, or others. Grammatical person typically defines a language's set of personal pronouns...

 pronouns are declined for the most part alike, having by analogy
Analogy
Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject to another particular subject , and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process...

 assimilated themselves with one another. Where two forms are given, the second is enclitic and an alternative form. Ablatives in singular and plural may be extended by the syllable -tas; thus mat or mattas, asmat or asmattas. Sanskrit does not have true third person pronouns, but its demonstratives fulfill this function instead by standing independently without a modified substantive.

There are four different demonstrative
Demonstrative
In linguistics, demonstratives are deictic words that indicate which entities a speaker refers to and distinguishes those entities from others...

s in Sanskrit: tat, etat, idam, and adas. etat indicates greater proximity than tat. While idam is similar to etat, adas refers to objects that are more remote than tat. eta, is declined almost identically to ta. Its paradigm is obtained by prefixing e- to all the forms of ta. As a result of sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

, the masculine and feminine singular forms transform into {{IAST|eṣas}} and {{IAST|eṣã}}.

The enclitic pronoun ena is found only in a few oblique cases and numbers. Interrogative pronouns all begin with k-, and decline just as tat does, with the initial t- being replaced by k-. The only exception to this are the singular neuter nominative and accusative forms, which are both kim and not the expected *kat. For example, the singular feminine genitive interrogative pronoun, "of whom?", is {{IAST|kasyãḥ}}. Indefinite pronoun
Indefinite pronoun
An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that refers to one or more unspecified beings, objects, or places.-List of English indefinite pronouns:Note that many of these words can function as other parts of speech too, depending on context...

s are formed by adding the participles api, cid, or cana after the appropriate interrogative pronouns. All relative pronouns begin with y-, and decline just as tat does. The correlative pronouns are identical to the tat series.

In addition to the pronouns described above, some adjective
Adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

s follow the pronominal declension. Unless otherwise noted, their declension is identical to tat.
  • eka: "one", "a certain". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both ekam)
  • anya: "another".
  • sarva: "all", "every". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both sarvam)
  • para: "the other". (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both param)
  • sva: "self" (a reflexive adjective). (singular neuter nominative and accusative forms are both svam)

Compounds


{{Main|Sanskrit compounds}}
One other notable feature of the nominal system is the very common use of nominal compounds, which may be huge (10+ words) as in some modern languages such as German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

. Nominal compounds occur with various structures, however morphologically speaking they are essentially the same. Each noun (or adjective) is in its (weak) stem form, with only the final element receiving case inflection. The four principle categories of nominal compounds are:

{{unicode|Dvandva
Dvandva
A dvandva or twin or Siamese compound refers to one or more objects that could be connected in sense by the conjunction 'and', where the objects refer to the parts of an agglomeration described by the compound...

}} (co-ordinative)
These consist of two or more noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 stems, connected in sense with 'and'. Examples are rāma-lakşmaņau—Rama and Lakshmana, rāma-lakşmaņa-bharata-śatrughnāh—Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna, and pāņipādam—limbs, literally hands and feet, from pāņi = hand and pāda = foot.

{{unicode (determinative)
There are many {{Unicode|tatpuruṣas}}; in a {{Unicode|tatpuruṣa}} the first component is in a case relationship with another. For example, a doghouse is a dative compound, a house for a dog; other examples include instrumental relationships ("thunderstruck") and locative relationships ("towndwelling").

{{unicode|Karmadhāraya}} (descriptive)
A compound where the relation of the first member to the last is apposition
Apposition
Apposition is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases, are placed side by side, with one element serving to define or modify the other. When this device is used, the two elements are said to be in apposition...

al, attributive or adverbial
Adverbial
In grammar an adverbial is a word or a group of words that modifies or tells us something about the sentence or the verb. The word adverbial is also used as an adjective, meaning 'having the same function as an adverb'...

; e.g., uluka-yatu (owl+demon) is a demon in the shape of an owl. {{unicode|Karmadhārayas}} are considered by some to be {{unicode|tatpuruṣas}}.

{{unicode|Bahuvrīhi
Bahuvrihi
A bahuvrihi compound is a type of compound that denotes a referent by specifying a certain characteristic or quality the referent possesses. A bahuvrihi is exocentric, so that the compound is not a hyponym of its head...

}} (possessive/exocentric)
Bahuvrīhi compounds refer to a compound noun that refers to a thing which is itself not part of the compound. For example the word bahuvrīhi itself, from bahu = much and vrīhi = rice, denotes a rich person—one who has much rice.

Syntax


{{Expand section|date=June 2008}}
Because of Sanskrit's complex declension
Declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

 system the word order
Word order
In linguistics, word order typology refers to the study of the order of the syntactic constituents of a language, and how different languages can employ different orders. Correlations between orders found in different syntactic subdomains are also of interest...

 is free. In usage, there is a strong tendency toward subject–object–verb (SOV), which was the original system in place in Vedic prose. However, there are exceptions when word pairs cannot be transposed.

Numerals


The numbers from one to ten:
  1. {{IAST|éka-}}
  2. {{IAST|dva-}}
  3. {{IAST|tri-}}
  4. {{IAST|catúr-}}
  5. {{IAST|páñcan-}}
  6. {{IAST|ṣáṣ-}}
  7. {{IAST|saptán-}}
  8. {{IAST|aṣṭá-}}
  9. {{IAST|návan-}}
  10. {{IAST|dáśan-}}


The numbers one through four are declined. Éka is declined like a pronominal adjective, though the dual form does not occur. Dvá appears only in the dual. Trí and catúr are declined irregularly:
Three Four
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative tráyas {{Unicode|trī́ṇi}} tisrás catvā́ras catvā́ri cátasras
Accusative trīn {{Unicode|trī́ṇi}} tisrás catúras catvā́ri cátasras
Instrumental tribhís {{Unicode|tisṛ́bhis}} catúrbhis {{Unicode|catasṛ́bhis}}
Dative tribhyás {{Unicode|tisṛ́bhyas}} catúrbhyas {{Unicode|catasṛ́bhyas}}
Ablative tribhyás {{Unicode|tisṛ́bhyas}} catúrbhyas {{Unicode|catasṛ́bhyas}}
Genitive {{Unicode|triyāṇā́m}} {{Unicode|tisṛṇā́m}} {{Unicode|caturṇā́m}} {{Unicode|catasṛṇā́m}}
Locative {{Unicode|triṣú}} {{Unicode|tisṛ́ṣu}} {{Unicode|catúrṣu}} {{Unicode|catasṛ́ṣu}}

Influence on vernaculars


Sanskrit's greatest influence, presumably, is that which it exerted on languages of India
Languages of India
The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languages—Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages...

 that grew from its vocabulary and grammatical base; for instance, Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 is a "Sanskritized register" of the Khariboli dialect. However, all modern Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

, as well as Munda
Munda languages
-Anderson :Gregory Anderson's 1999 proposal is as follows. Individual languages are highlighted in italics.*North Munda **Korku**Kherwarian***Santhali***Mundari*South Munda **Kharia–Juang***Juang***Kharia...

 and Dravidian languages
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

, have borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit (tatsama
Tatsama
Tatsama are Sanskrit loanwords in modern Indic languages like Bengali, Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Sinhala and Central Dravidian language Telugu. They belong to a higher and more erudite register than common words. That register can be compared to the use of words of Greek origin in English Tatsama...

 words), or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan languages (tadbhava
Tadbhava
' is one of three etymological classes defined by native grammarians of middle Indo-Aryan languages. A "tadbhava" is a word which had been borrowed from Sanskrit, but which had changed to fit the phonology of the Prakrit or Apabhramsa in question...

 words). Words originating in Sanskrit are estimated to constitute roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern Indo-Aryan languages, and the literary forms of (Dravidian) Malayalam and Kannada
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

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

Sanskrit is prized as a storehouse of scripture and as the language of prayers in Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. Like Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

's influence on European languages and Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Chinese, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese...

's influence on East Asian languages, Sanskrit has influenced most Indian languages. While vernacular prayer is common, Sanskrit mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

s are recited by millions of Hindus, and most temple functions are conducted entirely in Sanskrit, often Vedic in form. Of modern day Indian languages, Nepali
Nepali language
Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

, Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

, Assamese
Assamese language
Assamese is the easternmost Indo-Aryan language. It is used mainly in the state of Assam in North-East India. It is also the official language of Assam. It is also spoken in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and other northeast Indian states. Nagamese, an Assamese-based Creole language is widely used in...

, Konkani
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

 and Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

 still retain a largely Sanskrit and Prakrit vocabulary base, while Hindi and Urdu tend to be more heavily weighted with Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 influence. The Indian national anthem, Jana Gana Mana
Jana Gana Mana
Jana Gana Mana is the national anthem of India. Written in highly Sanskritized Bengali, it is the first of five stanzas of a Brahmo hymn composed and scored by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It was first sung at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911...

, is written in a literary form of Bengali (known as sadhu bhasha); it is Sanskritized to be recognizable but is still archaic to the modern ear. The national song of India, Vande Mataram
Vande Mataram
Vande Mataram is a poem from the famed novel Anandamath which was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1882. It was written in Bengali and Sanskrit....

, which was originally a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and taken from his book called 'Anandamath
Anandamath
Anandamath is a Bengali novel, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterji and published in 1882. Set in the background of the Sannyasi Rebellion in the late 18th century, it is considered one of the most important novels in the history of Bengali and Indian literature...

', is in a similarly highly Sanskritized Bengali. Malayalam
Malayalam language
Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

, Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 and Kannada
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

 also combine a great deal of Sanskrit vocabulary. Sanskrit also has influence on Chinese through Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 Sutras. Chinese words like 剎那 chànà (Skt. क्षन {{IAST|kṣana}} 'instantaneous period of time') were borrowed from Sanskrit.

Revival attempts


{{Main|Sanskrit revival}}
The 1991 and 2001, census of India recorded 49,736 and 14,135 persons, respectively, with Sanskrit as their native language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

. Since the 1990s, efforts to revive spoken Sanskrit have been increasing. Many organizations like the Samskrta Bharati are conducting Speak Sanskrit workshops to popularize the language. The state of Uttarakhand in India has ruled Sanskrit as its second official language. The CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) of India has made Sanskrit a third language (though it is an option for the school to adopt it or not, the other choice being the state's own official language) in the schools it governs. In such schools, learning Sanskrit is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). This is true of most schools affiliated to the ICSE
Indian Certificate of Secondary Education
The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education or ICSE examination is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, a private, non-governmental board of school education in India, for class 10, i.e., grade 10...

 board too, especially in those states where the official language is Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

. Sudharma
Sudharma
Sudharma is the only daily newspaper published in Sanskrit, a liturgical language for many Indian religions. The paper is published from the city of Mysore in the Indian state of Karnataka...

, the only daily newspaper in Sanskrit has been published out of Mysore in India since the year 1970. Since 1974, there has been a short daily news broadcast on state-run All India Radio
All India Radio
All India Radio , officially known since 1956 as Akashvani , is the radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. Established in 1936, it is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster. All India Radio is one of the largest radio networks...

.

In these Indian villages, inhabitants of all castes speak Sanskrit natively since childhood:
  1. Mattur
    Mattur
    Mattur is a small village near the city of Shivamogga in Karnataka, South India, known for the usage of Sanskrit for day-to-day communication....

     in Karnataka
    Karnataka
    Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

  2. Mohad, District: Narasinhpur, Madhya Pradesh
  3. Jhiri, District: Rajgadh, Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

  4. Kaperan, District: Bundi, Rajasthan
  5. Khada, District: Banswada, Rajasthan
  6. Ganoda, District: Banswada, Rajasthan
    Rajasthan
    Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

  7. Bawali, District: Bagapat, Uttar Pradesh
  8. Shyamsundarpur, District: Kendujhar, Orissa
    Orissa
    Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...


Symbolic usage


In the Republic of India, in Nepal and Indonesia, Sanskrit phrases are widely used as mottoes for various educational and social organizations (much as Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 is used by some institutions in the West). The motto
Motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 of the Republic is also in Sanskrit.

Republic of India: '{{lang|sa|सत्यमेव जयते}}' Satyameva Jayate
Satyameva Jayate
"Satyameva Jayate" is a Hindu mantra from the ancient scripture Mundaka Upanishad. Upon independence of India, it was adopted as the national motto of India. It is inscribed in Devanagari script at the base of the national emblem. The emblem and words 'Satyameva Jayate' are inscribed on one side...

 "Truth alone triumphs"
Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

: '{{lang|sa|जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी}}' Janani Janmabhūmisca Svargādapi garīyasi "Mother and motherland are greater than heaven"
Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

: '{{lang|sa|सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्‌भवेत्}}' Sarve Bhadrāni Paśyantu Mā Kaścid Duhkhabhāg bhavet "May all perceive good, may not anyone attain unhappiness"
Life Insurance Corporation of India
Life Insurance Corporation of India
The Life Insurance Corporation of India is the largest state-owned life insurance company in India, and also the country's largest investor. It is fully owned by the Government of India. It also funds close to 24.6% of the Indian Government's expenses. It has assets estimated of...

: '{{lang|sa|योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम्}}', Yogakshemam Vahāmyaham "I shall take care of welfare" (taken from the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

)
Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

: '{{lang|sa|शं नो वरुणः}}' Shanno Varuna "May Varuna
Varuna
In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

 be peaceful to us"
Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict...

: '{{lang|sa|नभःस्पृशं दीप्तम्}}' {{IAST|Nabhaḥ-Spṛśaṃ Dīptam}} "Touching the Sky with Glory" (from Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

: XI, Verse 24)
Mumbai Police
Mumbai Police
The Mumbai Police is the police force of the city of Mumbai, India. It has the primary responsibilities of law enforcement and investigation within the limits of Mumbai. The department's motto is ""...

: '{{lang|sa|सद्रक्षणाय खलनिग्रहणाय}}' Sadrakshanaaya Khalanigrahanaaya "For protection of the good and control of the wicked"
Indian Coast Guard
Indian Coast Guard
The Indian Coast Guard is a branch of the Indian Armed Forces. Its mission is the protection of India's maritime interests and maritime law enforcement with jurisdiction over both territorial and international waters....

: '{{lang|sa|वयं रक्षामः}}' Vayam Rakshāmaha "We protect"
All India Radio
All India Radio
All India Radio , officially known since 1956 as Akashvani , is the radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. Established in 1936, it is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster. All India Radio is one of the largest radio networks...

: '{{lang|sa|बहुजनहिताय बहुजन‍सुखाय‌}}' Bahujana-hitāya bahujana-sukhāya "For the benefit of all, for the comfort of all"
Indonesian Navy
Indonesian Navy
The role of the Indonesian Navy is to patrol of Indonesia's immense coastline, to ensure safeguard the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone , to protect Indonesia's maritime strategic interests, to protect the islands surrounded Indonesia and to defend against seaborne threats. The TNI...

: '{{lang|sa|जलेष्वेव जयामहे}}' Jalesveva Jayamahe "On the Sea We Are Glorious"
Rajputana Rifles
Rajputana Rifles
The Rajputana Rifles is the most senior rifle regiment of the Indian Army. It was originally raised in 1921 as part of the British Indian Army, when six previously existing regiments were amalgamated together to form six battalions of the 6th Rajputana Rifles...

: '{{lang|sa|वीरभोग्या वसुन्धरा}}' Veerabhogya Vasundhara "The earth is fit to be ruled by the brave"
Aceh Province: '{{lang|sa|पञ्चचित}}' Pancacita "Five Goals"

Many of the post–Independence educational institutions of national importance in India and Sri Lanka have Sanskrit mottoes. For a fuller list of such educational institutions, see List of educational institutions which have Sanskrit phrases as their mottoes.

Interaction with other languages


{{See|Silk Road transmission of Buddhism|Hinduism in Southeast Asia|Indianized kingdom|Sanskritisation}}
Sanskrit and related languages have also influenced their Sino-Tibetan-speaking neighbors to the north through the spread of Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 texts in translation. Buddhism was spread to China by Mahayanist
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 missionaries sent by Emperor Ashoka mostly through translations of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a modern linguistic category applied to the language used in a class of Indian Buddhist texts, such as the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. BHS is classified as a Middle Indic language...

 and Classical Sanskrit texts, and many terms were transliterated directly and added to the Chinese vocabulary. (Although Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is not Sanskrit, properly speaking, its grammar and vocabulary are substantially the same, both because of genetic relationship, and because of conscious implementation of Pāṇinian standardizations on the part of composers. Buddhist texts composed in Sanskrit proper were primarily found in philosophical schools like the Madhyamaka
Madhyamaka
Madhyamaka refers primarily to a Mahāyāna Buddhist school of Buddhist philosophy systematized by Nāgārjuna. Nāgārjuna may have arrived at his positions from a desire to achieve a consistent exegesis of the Buddha's doctrine as recorded in the āgamas...

.) The situation in Tibet is similar; many Sanskrit texts survive only in Tibetan translation (in the Tanjur).

The Thai language
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

 contains many loan words from Sanskrit. For example, in Thai, the Rāvana—the emperor of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 is called 'Thosakanth' which is a derivation of his Sanskrit name 'Dashakanth' ("of ten necks"). Many Sanskrit loanwords are also found in traditional Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

, Modern Indonesian
Indonesian language
Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. Indonesian is a normative form of the Riau Islands dialect of Malay, an Austronesian language which has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries....

, and numerous Philippine languages
Philippine languages
The Philippine languages are a 1991 proposal by Robert Blust that all the languages of the Philippines and northern Sulawesi—except Sama–Bajaw and a few languages of Palawan—form a subfamily of Austronesian languages...

, Old Javanese language (nearly half) and to a lesser extent, Cambodian, Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

, through Sinified hybrid Sanskrit.

Usage in modern times


{{See also|Sanskrit in the West}}
Many of India's and Nepal's scientific and administrative terms are named in Sanskrit, as a counterpart of the western practice of naming scientific developments in Latin or Greek.{{Citation needed|date=October 2008}} The Indian guided missile program that was commenced in 1983 by DRDO has named the five missiles (ballistic and others) that it has developed as Prithvi
Prithvi missile
Prithvi is a tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile developed by DRDO of India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.- Development and History :...

, Agni
Agni missile system
The Agni missile is a family of Medium to Intercontinental range ballistic missiles developed by India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program...

, Akash
Akash missile
Akash is India's medium range surface-to-air missile defense system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Bharat Electronics Limited as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The missile can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to...

, Nag
Nag missile
Nag is a Fourth generation "Fire-and-forget" anti-tank missile developed in India. It is one of five missile systems developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program...

 and Trishul. India's first modern fighter aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 is named HAL Tejas
Tejas
Tejas may refer to:* Tejas, a Sanskrit synonym for fire; light; brightness; sharp; brilliance; lord of speed; name meaning- People with this name tend to be natural leaders, self-sufficient, and ambitious. They generally want to make their own decisions in life and are not afraid to take charge or...

.

Recital of Sanskrit shloka
Shloka
A ' is a category of verse line developed from the Vedic Anuṣṭubh. It is the basis for Indian Epic verse, and may be considered the Indian verse form par excellence, occurring, as it does, far more frequently than any other meter in classical Sanskrit poetry. The Mahabharata and Ramayana, for...

s as background chorus in films, television advertisements and as slogans for corporate organizations has become a trend. The opera Satyagraha
Satyagraha (opera)
Satyagraha is a 1979 opera in three acts for orchestra, chorus and soloists, composed by Philip Glass, with a libretto by Glass and Constance DeJong.Loosely based on the life of Mohandas K...

 by Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

 uses texts from the Bhagavad Gita, sung in the original Sanskrit.

Recently, Sanskrit also made an appearance in Western pop music in two recordings by Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

. One, "Shanti/Ashtangi", from the 1998 album "Ray of Light
Ray of Light
Ray of Light is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on March 3, 1998 by Maverick Records and distributed by Warner Bros. Records. After giving birth to her daughter Lourdes, Madonna collaborated with Patrick Leonard and William Orbit in developing the album...

", is the traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga is a system of yoga popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois, and which is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga...

 chant referenced above set to music. The second, "Cyber-raga", released in 2000 as a B-side to Madonna's album "Music
Music (Madonna album)
Music is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on September 19, 2000 by Maverick Records and distributed by Warner Bros. Records...

", is a Sanskrit-language ode of devotion to a higher power and a wish for peace on earth. The climactic battle theme of The Matrix Revolutions features a choir singing a Sanskrit prayer from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
The Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads. It is contained within the Shatapatha Brahmana, and its status as an independent Upanishad may be considered a secondary extraction of a portion of the Brahmana text. This makes it one of the oldest texts of the Upanishad corpus...

 in the closing titles of the movie. Composer John Williams
John Williams
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In a career spanning almost six decades, he has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T...

 also featured choirs singing in Sanskrit for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second film in the Indiana Jones franchise and prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark . After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone...

 and in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a 1999 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the fourth film to be released in the Star Wars saga, as the first of a three-part prequel to the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as the first film in the saga in terms...

. {{Citation needed|date=August 2010}}

The Sky1 version of the title sequence in season one of Battlestar Galactica 2004
Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)
Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore as a re-imagining of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series created by Glen A. Larson...

 features the Gayatri Mantra
Gayatri Mantra
The Gāyatrī Mantra is a highly revered mantra, based on a Vedic Sanskrit verse from a hymn of the Rigveda , attributed to the rishi . The mantra is named for its vedic gāyatrī metre. As the verse can be interpreted to invoke the deva Savitr, it is often called Sāvitrī...

, taken from the Rig Veda (3.62.10). The composition was written by miniseries composer Richard Gibbs
Richard Gibbs
Richard “Ribbs” Gibbs is an American film composer and music producer whose credits include the films Sweet Hearts Dance, Dr...

.

Sanskrit has also seen a significant revival in China. Musicians such as Sa Dingding have written pop songs
Popular Songs
Popular Songs is the twelfth full-length album by Hoboken-based rock band Yo La Tengo, released digitally, on CD, and double LP on September 8, 2009. It is their 7th album released on Matador and the eighth album to be given Matador's Buy Early Get Now treatment...

 in Sanskrit.

Computational linguistics


There have been suggestions to use Sanskrit as a metalanguage
Metalanguage
Broadly, any metalanguage is language or symbols used when language itself is being discussed or examined. In logic and linguistics, a metalanguage is a language used to make statements about statements in another language...

 for knowledge representation in e.g. machine translation
Machine translation
Machine translation, sometimes referred to by the abbreviation MT is a sub-field of computational linguistics that investigates the use of computer software to translate text or speech from one natural language to another.On a basic...

, and other areas of natural language processing
Natural language processing
Natural language processing is a field of computer science and linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human languages; it began as a branch of artificial intelligence....

 because of its relatively high regular structure. This is due to Classical Sanskrit being a regularized, prescriptivist
Linguistic prescription
In linguistics, prescription denotes normative practices on such aspects of language use as spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and syntax. It includes judgments on what usages are socially proper and politically correct...

 form abstracted from the much more complex and richer Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

. This leveling of the grammar of Classical Sanskrit began during the Brahmana phase, and had not yet completed by the time of Pāṇini, when the language had fallen out of popular use.{{Citation needed|date=March 2009}}

Introductions


|isbn=0-944613-40-3
|year=1999
|publisher=Center for South Asia Studies, University of California
|location=Berkeley
}}

Grammars

  • Whitney, William Dwight The Roots, Verb-Forms and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language: (A Supplement to His Sanskrit Grammar)
  • Wackernagel, Debrunner, Altindische Grammatik
    Altindische Grammatik
    The Altindische Grammatik is the monumental Sanskrit grammar by Jacob Wackernagel , after his death continued by Albert Debrunner, published in Göttingen between 1896 and 1957. The work presents a full discussion of Sanskrit phonology and nominal morphology, but a treatment of the verb is lacking...

    , Göttingen.
    • vol. I. Phonology Jacob Wackernagel
      Jacob Wackernagel
      Jacob Wackernagel was an Indo-Europeanist and scholar of Sanskrit. He was born in Basel, son of the philologist Wilhelm Wackernagel.He studied classical and Germanic philology and history in...

       (1896)
    • vol. II.1. Introduction to morphology, nominal composition, Wackernagel (1905)
    • vol. II.2. nominal suffixes, J. Wackernagel and Albert Debrunner (1954)
    • vol. III. nominal inflection, numerals, pronouns, Wackernagel and Debrunner (1930)
  • Delbrück, B. Altindische Tempuslehre (1876)

Dictionaries

  • Otto Böhtlingk, Rudolph Roth, Petersburger Wörterbuch, 7 vols., 1855–75
  • Otto Böhtlingk, Sanskrit Wörterbuch in kürzerer Fassung 1883–86 (1998 reprint, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi)
  • Manfred Mayrhofer
    Manfred Mayrhofer
    Manfred Mayrhofer is an Indo-Europeanist specialized on Indo-Iranian languages. Mayrhofer is professor emeritus at the University of Vienna. He is noted for his etymological dictionary of Sanskrit....

    , Kurzgefasstes etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindischen, 1956–76
  • Manfred Mayrhofer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen, 3 vols., 2742 pages, 2001, ISBN 3-8253-1477-4

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