Sanskrit alphabet, pronunciation and language

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Sanskrit (संस्कृतम्)

Sanskrit is the classical language of Indian and the liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is also one of the 22 official languages of India. The name Sanskrit means "refined", "consecrated" and "sanctified". It has always been regarded as the 'high' language and used mainly for religious and scientific discourse.

Vedic Sanskrit, the pre-Classical form of the language and the liturgical language of the Vedic religion, is one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family. The oldest known text in Sanskrit, the Rigveda, a collection of over a thousand Hindu hymns, composed during the 2nd millenium BC.

Today Sanskrit is used mainly in Hindu religious rituals as a ceremonial language for hymns and mantras. Efforts are also being made to revive Sanskrit as an everyday spoken language in the village of Mattur near Shimoga in Karnataka. A modern form of Sanskrit is one of the 17 official home languages in India.

Since the late 19th century, Sanskrit has been written mostly with the Devanāgarī alphabet. However it has also been written with all the other alphabets of India, except Gurmukhi and Tamil, and with other alphabets such as Thai and Tibetan. The Grantha, Sharda and Siddham alphabets are used only for Sanskrit.

Since the late 18th century, Sanskrit has also been written with the Latin alphabet. The most commonly used system is the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST), which was been the standard for academic work since 1912.

Devanāgarī alphabet for Sanskrit

Vowels and vowel diacritics (घोष / ghoṣa)

Sanskrit vowels and vowel diacritics

Consonants (व्यञ्जन / vyajjana)

Sanskrit consonants

Conjunct consonants (संयोग / saṅyoga)

There are about a thousand conjunct consonants, most of which combine two or three consonants. There are also some with four-consonant conjuncts and at least one well-known conjunct with five consonants. Here's a selection of commonly-used conjuncts:

A selection of Sanskrit conjunct consonants

You can find a full list of conjunct consonants used for Sanskrit at:
http://sanskrit.gde.to/learning_tutorial_wikner/P058.html

Numerals (संख्या / saṇkhyā)

Sanskrit numerals and numbers from 0-10

Sample text in Sanskrit

सर्वे मानवाः स्वतन्त्राः समुत्पन्नाः वर्तन्ते अपि च, गौरवदृशा अधिकारदृशा च समानाः एव वर्तन्ते। एते सर्वे चेतना-तर्क-शक्तिभ्यां सुसम्पन्नाः सन्ति। अपि च, सर्वेऽपि बन्धुत्व-भावनया परस्परं व्यवहरन्तु।

Translated into Sanskrit by Arvind Iyengar

Transliteration
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu.

A recording of this text by Muralikrishnan Ramasamy

Another version of this text

सर्वे मानवाः जन्मना स्वतन्त्राः वैयक्तिकगौरवेण अधिकारेण च तुल्याः एव । सर्वेषां विवेकः आत्मसाक्षी च वर्तते । सर्वे परस्परं भ्रातृभावेन व्यवहरेयुः ॥

Transliteration (by Stefán Steinsson)
Sarvē mānavāḥ janmanā svatantrāḥ vaiyaktikagauravēṇa adhikārēṇa ca tulyāḥ ēva, sarvēṣāṃ vivēkaḥ ātmasākṣī ca vartatē, sarvē parasparaṃ bhrātṛbhāvēna vyavaharēyuḥ.

A recording of this text

Translation and recording by Shriramana Sharma

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Sanskrit | Sanskrit phrases | Tower of Babel in Sanskrit

Sanskrit Translation
Sanskrit Translation
of names and phrases

Links

Information about the Sanskrit language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit
http://www.sanskrit-sanscrito.com.ar
http://sanskritroots.com
http://omkarananda-ashram.org/Sanskrit/Itranslt.html
http://www.samskrtam.org/
http://www.americansanskrit.com
http://www.sanskritstudies.org

Online Sanskrit lessons
http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/eieol/vedol-0-X.html
http://www.elportaldelaindia.com/El_Portal_de_la_India_Antigua/Sánscrito.html

Sanskrit phrases
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Sanskrit/Everyday_Phrases
http://or.girgit.chitthajagat.in/samskrit.wordpress.com/

Sanskrit dictionaries
http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/indologie/tamil/cap_search.html
http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/eieol/vedol-0-X.html
http://www.elportaldelaindia.com/El_Portal_de_la_India_Antigua/Sánscrito.html
http://sourceforge.net/projects/dhatu-patha/

Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon
http://webapps.uni-koeln.de/tamil/

Devanagari fonts and keyboards
http://www.wazu.jp/gallery/Fonts_Devanagari.html
http://www.kiranfont.com
http://www.devanagarifonts.net
http://www.sanskritweb.net/cakram/

Sanskrit Library - contains digitized Sanskrit texts and various tools to analyse them
http://sanskritlibrary.org/

Samskrita Bharati - an organisation established as an experiment in 1981 in Bangalore to bring Sanskrit back into daily life: http://www.samskrita-bharati.org/

Sanskrit Voice - a community of Sanskrit lovers
http://sanskritvoice.com

An archive of Sanskrit dictionaries, readers & grammars in German, English & Russian. (circa 4000 Mb Book Scans, devanagari fonts): http://groups.google.com/group/Nagari

Free Diwali Cards
http://www.diwali-cards.com
http://www.123diwali.com/

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