Sanskrit, one of the world's oldest languages, originated over 3,500 years ago as the language of the Vedas. Evolving into Classical Sanskrit, it became the medium for a wealth of philosophical, religious, and literary works.

Over time, its influence extended beyond the Indian subcontinent, spreading knowledge, culture, and religion throughout Asia. Today, it's still spoken by over 2.3 million people in South Asia.

Throughout its history, various scripts like Brahmi, Gupta, and Siddham were used to write Sanskrit. Currently, Devanagari serves as its writing system and it comprises 14 vowels, 42 consonants, and its unique numerical system.

Sanskrit Vowels

In Sanskrit they are also known as “svara” or “swar” (स्वराः). Vowels, in Sanskrit, can be categorised into two groups: independent vowels and Dependent vowels.

Independent vowels, also known as “Svaras” in Sanskrit, are the standalone vowel sounds that can be pronounced by themselves. They have distinct, pure and unmodified sounds which are not obstructed by the mouth, teeth, or tongue.

Dependent vowels, also known as “Matras” or “Anusvaras” in Sanskrit, are the partial vowel sounds that appear in conjunction with consonants. They are used to modify the pronunciation of the consonant to which they are attached. To give you an example, the dependent vowel “ि” is attached with the consonant “स” to form a word “सि” which is pronounced as “si”.

Independent Vowels:

[a]
[aa]
[e]
[i]
[u]
[oo]
[a]
[ai]
[o]
[au]
अं
[am]
अः
[a:]
[ri]
[rr]

Dependent Vowels:

[aa]
ि
[i]
[ii]
[u]
[uu]
[r]
[rr]
[e]
[e]
[e]
[ai]
[o]
[o]
[o]
[au]

Sanskrit Consonants

In Sanskrit they are also known as “vyanjanaani” (व्यञ्जनानि). The way consonants are pronounced in Sanskrit depends on where in the mouth they are made and how the movement of different parts of the mouth like the lips, tongue, teeth, palate, and uvula are controlled.

Consonants in Sanskrit also interact with vowels to form syllables. These syllables come together to create meaningful words. For example, when you combine the consonant syllable "क" (ka) with vowel syllables "त" (ta), you get a word "कत" (kat), which means "cut" in Sanskrit.

Below is the list of consonants in Sanskrit.

[k]
[kha]
[g]
[gha]
[nga]
[ch]
[chha]
[ja]
[jha]
[nya]
[ta]
[thh]
[da]
[dh]
[n]
[t]
[tha]
[d]
[dha]
[na]
[p]
[fa]
[b]
[bha]
[ma]
[ya]
[ra]
[la]
[va]
[sha]
[shha]
[sa]
[ha]
क्ष
[ksh]
त्र
[tra]
ज्ञ
[gya]
श्र
[sra]
ट्ट
[tta]
ड्ड
[dda]
ढ्ढ
[ddha]
छ्य
[chya]
ठ्य
[thya]

Numerals in Sanskrit

The numeral in Sanskrit is based on a decimal system. Each position in a number represents a power of ten. Below are the Sanskrit numerals from 0 to 9.

[sunya]
[eka]
[dvi]
[tri]
[catur]
[panca]
[ṣaṭ]
[sapta]
[aṣṭa]
[nava]
.

Features

  • It is written from left to right.
  • In Sanskrit, each character represents a consonant with an inherent vowel sound.
  • Each character is typically joined to the next, creating a continuous flow of text, forming words.
  • Sanskrit has its own numeral system for writing numbers.
  • A vertical right stroke is used at the end of a sentence to indicate a period or full stop.

Interesting Facts about Sanskrit Language

  • Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages, with roots dating back over 3,500 years.
  • Sanskrit is considered to be one of the most structured languages in the world, because of its systematic and precise grammar.
  • Sanskrit greatly influenced the development of modern Indian languages and even had an impact on some European languages like English.
  • Sanskrit is the language of key Hindu texts, including the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
  • Despite its ancient roots, Sanskrit is still studied and taught at universities and institutions worldwide. For example, 14 universities in Germany alone offer Sanskrit as a subject, and Germany is finding it hard to meet the demand of people wanting to learn Sanskrit.
  • Before the invasion of Arab, Sanskrit served as the national language of the Indian subcontinent.
  • According to Forbes Magazine, Sanskrit is the most computer-friendly language.

Sanskrit at a glance

Sanskrit (हिन्दी, Hindī), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in South Asia by over 2.3 million people. At present, Devanagari is used as a writing system for Sanskrit. However, throughout the history various other scripts has been used. Some of them include the Brahmi script, the Gupta Script, and the Siddham script. Below is the quick summary:

Pronunciation: [sænskrɪt]
Native Name: Sanskrit (संस्कृत)
Number of Speakers: 2.3 million
Language family: Indo-Aryan
Writing System: Devanagari Script (देवनागरी) in Present Day. Originally, it was written in Brahmic Script.
Spoken in: South Asia.
Status: Official language of the Government of India.
Two digit language code: sa

A Complete Sanskrit Alphabet Chart

Below is a list of complete Sanskrit Aksharamala Chart

Independent Vowels:

[a]
[aa]
[e]
[i]
[u]
[oo]
[a]
[ai]
[o]
[au]
अं
[am]
अः
[a:]
[ri]
[rr]

Dependent Vowels:

[aa]
ि
[i]
[ii]
[u]
[uu]
[r]
[rr]
[e]
[e]
[e]
[ai]
[o]
[o]
[o]
[au]

Consonants:

[k]
[kha]
[g]
[gha]
[nga]
[ch]
[chha]
[ja]
[jha]
[nya]
[ta]
[thh]
[da]
[dh]
[n]
[t]
[tha]
[d]
[dha]
[na]
[p]
[fa]
[b]
[bha]
[ma]
[ya]
[ra]
[la]
[va]
[sha]
[shha]
[sa]
[ha]
क्ष
[ksh]
त्र
[tra]
ज्ञ
[gya]
श्र
[sra]
ट्ट
[tta]
ड्ड
[dda]
ढ्ढ
[ddha]
छ्य
[chya]
ठ्य
[thya]

Sanskrit Digit:

[sunya]
[eka]
[dvi]
[tri]
[catur]
[panca]
[ṣaṭ]
[sapta]
[aṣṭa]
[nava]
.

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