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Sanskrit is an ancient Indo-Aryan language. It is a classical language of India with a rich linguistic and cultural heritage. Sanskrit is considered the mother of many modern Indo-Aryan languages and has played a significant role in the development of Indian culture, literature, philosophy, and religious texts. While it is no longer a spoken language in daily life, it continues to be studied and used for religious, scholarly, and literary purposes. Sanskrit holds a unique place in the history of languages and is highly revered for its contributions to human knowledge and culture.
Structure of Sanskrit Alphabet
The Sanskrit script is written in the Devanagari script, which is also used for languages like Hindi and Nepali. The Sanskrit alphabet consists of a set of consonants and vowels, which are written from left to right. Here is the structure of the Sanskrit alphabet in Devanagari script:
Sanskrit Vowels (Swar)/Independent Vowels
Sanskrit vowels, also known as “Swar (स्वर)” or Independent vowels are written before the consonants. This is because the vowels are considered to be more important than the consonants in the Devanagari script. The vowels determine the sound of the consonant, and the consonants are simply modifiers of the vowel sound.
Sanskrit vowels have 13 basic vowels that can stand alone at the beginning of a syllable. They are:
Sanskrit Vowel Signs (Matras)/Dependent Vowel
Sanskrit vowel signs also known as Dependent vowels are the vowels that are attached to consonants. They are written as diacritics above or below the consonant. The following are the dependent vowels:
|Sanskrit Vowel Signs
|Type a after the consonant
|ee (Hraswa ekaar)
|Type i after the consonant
|ii (Dirgha ekaar)
|Type ii after the consonant
|oo (Hraswa ukaar)
|Type u after the consonant
|uu (Dirgha ukaar)
|Type uu after the consonant
|Type e after the consonant
|Type ai after the consonant
|Type o after the consonant
|Type au after the consonant
|Type am after the consonant
|Type r after the consonant
The Sanskrit alphabet also includes special characters that convey specific sounds and meanings:
|Type n after the consonant
|N/A *Copy this sign from here
Sanskrit Consonants (Vyanjan)
Consonants are the basic building blocks of the Sanskrit alphabet. They represent the primary sounds used in forming words. Consonants in the Sanskrit alphabet are organized based on their place and manner of articulation.
The Baahrakhari system is a unique feature of the Sanskrit script that combines consonants and vowel signs to form complete syllables. This system allows for the creation of various sounds and is crucial for accurately representing the Sanskrit language.
Here’s an example of how the Baahrakhari system is structured for some Sanskrit consonants:
|Consonant + Vowel Combination
And that’s the Sanskrit alphabet, covered!
Now you know the Vowels (Swar), Vowel Signs (Matra), Consonants (Vyanjan), and Baahrakhari of the Sanskrit alphabet. You’re practically a master of Sanskrit letters and sounds. But, of course, that’s only the beginning.