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Sanskrit (English: /ˈsænskrɪt/;[6] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language">Sanskrit: संस्कृतम्, romanizedsaṃskṛtam, IPA: [ˈsɐ̃skr̩tɐm] (About this soundlisten)) is a language of ancient India with a 3,500-year history.[7][8][9] It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India.[10][11][12] In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
migrated to Southeast Asia,[13] parts of East Asia[14] and Central Asia,[15] emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.[16][17]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is an Old Indo-Aryan language.[7] As one of the oldest documented members of the Indo-European family of languages,[18][note 1][note 2] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies.[21] It is related to Greek and Latin,[7] as well as Hittite, Luwian, Avestan
Avestan
language">Old Avestan and many other extinct languages with historical significance to Europe, West Asia, Central Asia
Central Asia
and South Asia. It traces its linguistic ancestry to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, Proto-Indo-Iranian and the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
language"> Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
languages.[22]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest-known composition. A more refined and standardized grammatical form called Classical Sanskrit emerged in the mid-1st millennium BCE with the Aṣṭādhyāyī treatise of Pāṇini.[7] Sanskrit, though not necessarily Classical Sanskrit, is the root language of many Prakrit
Prakrit
languages.[23] Examples include numerous, modern, North Indian, subcontinental daughter languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and Nepali.[24][25][26]

The body of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literature"> Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literature encompasses a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, music, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
drama">drama, scientific, technical and other texts. In the ancient era, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
compositions were orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity, rigour and fidelity.[27][28] The earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are from the 1st century BCE, such as the few discovered in Ayodhya and Ghosundi-Hathibada (Chittorgarh).[29][note 3] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts dated to the 1st millennium CE were written in the Brahmi script, the Nāgarī script, the historic South Indian scripts and their derivative scripts.[33][34][35] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It continues to be widely used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hinduism
Hinduism
and some Buddhist practices such as hymns and chants.

Etymology and nomenclature

Historic Sanskrit
Sanskrit
manuscripts: a religious text (top), and a medical text

In Sanskrit
Sanskrit
verbal adjective Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">sáṃskṛta-
is a compound word consisting of sam (together, good, well, perfected) and krta- (made, formed, work).[36][37] It connotes a work that has been "well prepared, pure and perfect, polished, sacred".[38][39][40] According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal—rather than semantic—qualities. Sound and oral transmission were highly valued qualities in ancient India, and its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit.[37] From the late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic, philosophical and religious literature" in India. Sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself; the "mysterious magnum" of Hindu thought. The search for perfection in thought and the goal of salvation were among the dimensions of sacred sound, and the common thread that weaved all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit.[41][42]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as a language competed with numerous, less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">prākṛta-
). The term prakrta literally means "original, natural, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth.[43] The relationship between Prakrit
Prakrit
and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is found in Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Patañjali acknowledged that Prakrit
Prakrit
is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and later leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding. The purifying structure of the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
removes these imperfections. The early Sanskrit
Sanskrit
grammarian Daṇḍin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit
Prakrit
languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit, but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar". Daṇḍin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit
Prakrit
that thrive independent of Sanskrit. This view is found in the writing of Bharata Muni, the author of the ancient Nāṭyaśāstra text. The early Jain scholar Namisādhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit
Prakrit
language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Namisādhu stated that the Prakrit
Prakrit
language was the pūrvam (came before, origin) and that it came naturally to women and children, while Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was a refinement of Prakrit
Prakrit
through "purification by grammar".[44]

History

Origin and development

Left: The Kurgan hypothesis on Indo-European migrations between 4000 and 1000 BCE; right: The geographical spread of the Indo-European languages, with Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in the Indian subcontinent

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. It is one of three ancient documented languages that arose from a common root language now referred to as Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
language:[19][45][46]

  • Vedic Sanskrit (c. 1500 – 500 BCE).
  • Mycenaean Greek (c. 1450 BCE)[47] and Ancient Greek (c. 750 – 400 BC). Mycenaean Greek
    Mycenaean Greek
    is the oldest recorded form of Greek, but the limited material that has survived has a highly ambiguous writing system. More important to Indo-European studies
    Indo-European studies
    is Ancient Greek, documented extensively beginning with the two Homeric poems (the Iliad and the Odyssey, c. 750 BC).
  • Hittite (c. 1750 – 1200 BCE). This is the earliest-recorded of all Indo-European languages, distinguishable into Old Hittite, Middle Hittite and Neo-Hittite. It is divergent from the others likely due to its early separation. Discovered on clay tablets of central Turkey in cuneiform script, it possesses some highly archaic features found only fragmentarily, if at all, in other languages. At the same time, however, it appears to have undergone a large number of early phonological and grammatical changes along with the ambiguities of its writing system.

Other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
related to Sanskrit
Sanskrit
include archaic and classical Latin (c. 600 BCE – 100 CE, old Italian), Gothic (archaic Germanic language, c. 350 CE), Old Norse (c. 200 CE and after), Old Avestan (c. late 2nd millennium BCE[48]) and Avestan
Avestan
language">Younger Avestan (c. 900 BCE).[45][46] The closest ancient relatives of Vedic Sanskrit in the Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
are the Nuristani language found in the remote Hindu Kush region of the northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Himalayas,[46][49][50] as well as the extinct Avestan and Old Persian—both Iranian languages.[51][52][53] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
belongs to the satem group of the Indo-European languages.

Colonial era scholars familiar with Latin
Latin
and Greek were struck by the resemblance of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language; both in its vocabulary and grammar; to the classical languages of Europe.[note 4] It suggested a common root and historical links between some of the major distant ancient languages of the world. William Jones remarked:

The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists. There is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothick and the Celtick [sic], though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanscrit; and the Old Persian
Old Persian
might be added to the same family.

— William Jones, 1786, quoted by Thomas Burrow in The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Language
[55]

In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and other Indo-European languages, the Indo-Aryan migration theory states that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit
Sanskrit
arrived in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
from the north-west sometime during the early second millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close relationship between the Indo-Iranian tongues and the Baltic and Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European Uralic languages, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words for flora and fauna.[56] The pre-history of Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
which preceded Vedic Sanskrit is unclear and various hypotheses place it over a fairly wide limit. According to Thomas Burrow, based on the relationship between various Indo-European languages, the origin of all these languages may possibly be in what is now Central or Eastern Europe, while the Indo-Iranian group possibly arose in Central Russia.[57] The Iranian and Indo-Aryan branches separated quite early. It is the Indo-Aryan branch that moved into eastern Iran and the south into the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE. Once in ancient India, the Indo-Aryan language underwent rapid linguistic change and morphed into the Vedic Sanskrit language.[58]

Vedic Sanskrit

Rigveda (padapatha) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. The red horizontal and vertical lines mark low and high pitch changes for chanting.

The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is known as Vedic Sanskrit. The earliest attested Sanskrit
Sanskrit
text is the Rigveda, a Hindu scripture, from the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive if they ever existed. However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: they were ceremonial literature where the exact phonetic expression and its preservation were a part of the historic tradition.[59][60][61]

The Rigveda is a collection of books, created by multiple authors from distant parts of ancient India. These authors represented different generations, and the mandalas 2 to 7 are the oldest while the mandalas 1 and 10 are relatively the youngest.[62][63] Yet, the Vedic Sanskrit in these books of the Rigveda "hardly presents any dialectical diversity", states Louis Renou—an Indologist known for his scholarship of the Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
and the Rigveda in particular. According to Renou, this implies that the Vedic Sanskrit language had a "set linguistic pattern" by the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE.[64] Beyond the Rigveda, the ancient literature in Vedic Sanskrit that has survived into the modern age include the Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda along with the embedded and layered Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and the early Upanishads.[59] These Vedic documents reflect the dialects of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
found in the various parts of the northwestern, northern and eastern Indian subcontinent.[7][65]

Vedic Sanskrit was both a spoken and literary language of ancient India. According to Michael Witzel, Vedic Sanskrit was a spoken language of the semi-nomadic Aryas who temporarily settled in one place, maintained cattle herds, practiced limited agriculture and after some time moved by wagon trains they called grama.[66][9] The Vedic Sanskrit language or a closely related Indo-European variant was recognized beyond ancient India
India
as evidenced by the "Mitanni Treaty" between the ancient Hittite and Mitanni
Mitanni
people, carved into a rock, in a region that are now parts of Syria and Turkey.[67][note 5] Parts of this treaty such as the names of the Mitanni
Mitanni
princes and technical terms related to horse training, for reasons not understood, are in early forms of Vedic Sanskrit. The treaty also invokes the gods Varuna, Mitra, Indra and Nasatya found in the earliest layers of the Vedic literature.[67][69]

O Brihaspati, when in giving names
   they first set forth the beginning of Language,
Their most excellent and spotless secret
   was laid bare through love,
When the wise ones formed Language with their mind,
   purifying it like grain with a winnowing fan,
Then friends knew friendships –
   an auspicious mark placed on their language.

Rigveda 10.71.1–4
Translated by Roger Woodard[70]

The Vedic Sanskrit found in the Rigveda is distinctly more archaic than other Vedic texts, and in many respects, the Rigvedic language is notably more similar to those found in the archaic texts of Old Avestan
Old Avestan
Zoroastrian Gathas and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.[71] According to Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton—Indologists known for their translation of the Rigveda—, the Vedic Sanskrit literature "clearly inherited" from Indo-Iranian and Indo-European times, the social structures such as the role of the poet and the priests, the patronage economy, the phrasal equations and some of the poetic meters.[72][note 6] While there are similarities, state Jamison and Brereton, there are also differences between Vedic Sanskrit, the Old Avestan, and the Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
literature. For example, unlike the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
similes in the Rigveda, the Old Avestan
Old Avestan
Gathas lack simile entirely, and it is rare in the later version of the language. The Homerian Greek, like Rigvedic Sanskrit, deploys simile extensively, but they are structurally very different.[74]

Classical Sanskrit

A 17th-century birch bark manuscript of Pāṇini's grammar treatise from Kashmir

The early Vedic form of the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
was far less homogenous, and it evolved over time into a more structured and homogeneous language, ultimately into the Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
by about the mid-1st millennium BCE. According to Richard Gombrich—an Indologist and a scholar of Sanskrit, Pāli and Buddhist Studies—the archaic Vedic Sanskrit found in the Rigveda had already evolved in the Vedic period, as evidenced in the later Vedic literature. The language in the early Upanishads
Upanishads
of Hinduism
Hinduism
and the late Vedic literature approaches Classical Sanskrit, while the archaic Vedic Sanskrit had by the Buddha's time become unintelligible to all except ancient Indian sages, states Gombrich.[75]

The formalization of the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
is credited to Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">Pāṇini
, along with Patanjali's Mahabhasya and Katyayana's commentary that preceded Patanjali's work.[76] Panini composed Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">Aṣṭādhyāyī
("Eight-Chapter Grammar"). The century in which he lived is unclear and debated, but his work is generally accepted to be from sometime between 6th and 4th centuries BCE.[77][78][79]

The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">Aṣṭādhyāyī
was not the first description of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
grammar, but it is the earliest that has survived in full. Pāṇini
Pāṇini
cites ten scholars on the phonological and grammatical aspects of the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
before him, as well as the variants in the usage of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in different regions of India.[80] The ten Vedic scholars he quotes are Apisali, Kashyapa, Gargya, Galava, Cakravarmana, Bharadvaja, Sakatayana, Sakalya, Senaka and Sphotayana.[81] The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">Aṣṭādhyāyī
of Panini became the foundation of Vyākaraṇa, a Vedanga.[82] In the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">Aṣṭādhyāyī
, language is observed in a manner that has no parallel among Greek or Latin
Latin
grammarians. Pāṇini's grammar, according to Renou and Filliozat, defines the linguistic expression and a classic that set the standard for the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language.[83] Pāṇini
Pāṇini
made use of a technical metalanguage consisting of a syntax, morphology and lexicon. This metalanguage is organised according to a series of meta-rules, some of which are explicitly stated while others can be deduced.[84]

Pāṇini's comprehensive and scientific theory of grammar is conventionally taken to mark the start of Classical Sanskrit.[85] His systematic treatise inspired and made Sanskrit
Sanskrit
the preeminent Indian language of learning and literature for two millennia.[86] It is unclear whether Pāṇini
Pāṇini
wrote his treatise on Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
or he orally created the detailed and sophisticated treatise then transmitted it through his students. Modern scholarship generally accepts that he knew of a form of writing, based on references to words such as lipi ("script") and lipikara ("scribe") in section 3.2 of the Aṣṭādhyāyī.[87][88][89][note 7]

The Classical Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
formalized by Panini, states Renou, is "not an impoverished language", rather it is "a controlled and a restrained language from which archaisms and unnecessary formal alternatives were excluded".[96] The Classical form of the language simplified the sandhi rules but retained various aspects of the Vedic language, while adding rigor and flexibilities, so that it had sufficient means to express thoughts as well as being "capable of responding to the future increasing demands of an infinitely diversified literature", according to Renou. Panini included numerous "optional rules" beyond the Vedic Sanskrit's bahulam framework, to respect liberty and creativity so that individual writers separated by geography or time would have the choice to express facts and their views in their own way, where tradition followed competitive forms of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language.[97]

The phonetic differences between Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
are negligible when compared to the intense change that must have occurred in the pre-Vedic period between Indo-Aryan language and the Vedic Sanskrit.[98] The noticeable differences between the Vedic and the Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
include the much-expanded grammar and grammatical categories as well as the differences in the accent, the semantics and the syntax.[99] There are also some differences between how some of the nouns and verbs end, as well as the sandhi rules, both internal and external.[99] Quite many words found in the early Vedic Sanskrit language are never found in late Vedic Sanskrit or Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
literature, while some words have different and new meanings in Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
when contextually compared to the early Vedic Sanskrit literature.[99]

Arthur Macdonell was among the early colonial era scholars who summarized some of the differences between the Vedic and Classical Sanskrit.[99][100] Louis Renou published in 1956, in French, a more extensive discussion of the similarities, the differences and the evolution of the Vedic Sanskrit within the Vedic period and then to the Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
along with his views on the history. This work has been translated by Jagbans Balbir.[101]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and Prakrit
Prakrit
languages

The earliest known use of the word samskrta (Sanskrit), in the context of a language, is found in verses 3.16.14 and 5.28.17–19 of the Ramayana.[102][note 8] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
co-existed with numerous other Prakrit
Prakrit
languages of ancient India. The Prakrit
Prakrit
languages of India
India
also have ancient roots and some Sanskrit
Sanskrit
scholars have called these Apabhramsa, literally "spoiled".[104][105] The Vedic literature includes words whose phonetic equivalent are not found in other Indo European languages but which are found in the regional Prakrit
Prakrit
languages, which makes it likely that the interaction, the sharing of words and ideas began early in the Indian history. As the Indian thought diversified and challenged earlier beliefs of Hinduism, particularly in the form of Buddhism
Buddhism
and Jainism, the Prakrit
Prakrit
languages such as Pali
Pali
in Theravada Buddhism
Buddhism
and Ardhamagadhi in Jainism
Jainism
competed with Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in the ancient times.[106][107][108] However, states Paul Dundas, a scholar of Jainism, these ancient Prakrit
Prakrit
languages had "roughly the same relationship to Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as medieval Italian does to Latin."[108] The Indian tradition states that the Buddha
Buddha
and the Mahavira preferred Prakrit
Prakrit
language so that everyone could understand it. However, scholars such as Dundas have questioned this hypothesis. They state that there is no evidence for this and whatever evidence is available suggests that by the start of the common era, hardly anybody other than learned monks had the capacity to understand the old Prakrit
Prakrit
languages such as Ardhamagadhi.[108][note 9]

Sanskrit's link to the Prakrit
Prakrit
languages and other Indo-European languages

Colonial era scholars questioned whether Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was ever a spoken language, or was it only a literary language?[110] Scholars disagree in their answers. A section of Western scholars state that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was never a spoken language, while others and particularly most Indian scholars state the opposite.[111] Those who affirm Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to have been a vernacular language point to the necessity of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
being a spoken language for the oral tradition that preserved the vast number of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
manuscripts from ancient India. Secondly, they state that the textual evidence in the works of Yaksa, Panini and Patanajali affirms that the Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
in their era was a language that is spoken (bhasha) by the cultured and educated. Some sutras expound upon the variant forms of spoken Sanskrit
Sanskrit
versus written Sanskrit.[111] The 7th-century Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang mentioned in his memoir that official philosophical debates in India
India
were held in Sanskrit, not in the vernacular language of that region.[111]

According to Sanskrit
Sanskrit
linguist Madhav Deshpande, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was a spoken language in a colloquial form by the mid-1st millennium BCE which coexisted with a more formal, grammatical correct form of literary Sanskrit.[11] This, states Deshpande, is true for modern languages where colloquial incorrect approximations and dialects of a language are spoken and understood, along with more "refined, sophisticated and grammatically accurate" forms of the same language being found in the literary works.[11] The Indian tradition, states Moriz Winternitz, has favored the learning and the usage of multiple languages from the ancient times. Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was a spoken language in the educated and the elite classes, but it was also a language that must have been understood in a wider circle of society because the widely popular folk epics and stories such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana, the Panchatantra and many other texts are all in the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language.[112] The Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
with its exacting grammar was thus the language of the Indian scholars and the educated classes, while others communicated with approximate or ungrammatical variants of it as well as other natural Indian languages.[11] Sanskrit, as the learned language of Ancient India, thus existed alongside the vernacular Prakrits.[11] Many Sanskrit
Sanskrit
drama"> Sanskrit
Sanskrit
dramas indicate that the language coexisted with the vernacular Prakrits. Centres in Varanasi, Paithan, Pune and Kanchipuram were centers of classical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
learning and public debates until the arrival of the colonial era.[113]

According to Étienne Lamotte—an Indologist and Buddhism
Buddhism
scholar, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
became the dominant literary and inscriptional language because of its precision in communication. It was, states Lamotte, an ideal instrument for presenting ideas and as knowledge in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
multiplied so did its spread and influence.[114] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was adopted voluntarily as a vehicle of high culture, arts, and profound ideas. Pollock disagrees with Lamotte, but concurs that Sanskrit's influence grew into what he terms as " Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Cosmopolis" over a region that included all of South Asia
South Asia
and much of southeast Asia. The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
cosmopolis thrived beyond India
India
between 300 and 1300 CE.[115]

Influence

Extant manuscripts in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
number over 30 million, one hundred times those in Greek and Latin
Latin
combined, constituting the largest cultural heritage that any civilization has produced prior to the invention of the printing press.

— Foreword of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Computational Linguistics
(2009), Gérard Huet, Amba Kulkarni and Peter Scharf[116][117][note 10]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has been the predominant language of Hindu texts encompassing a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, music, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
drama">drama, scientific, technical and others.[119][120] It is the predominant language of one of the largest collection of historic manuscripts. The earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are from the 1st century BCE, such as the Ayodhya
Ayodhya
Inscription of Dhana"> Ayodhya
Ayodhya
Inscription of Dhana and Ghosundi-Hathibada (Chittorgarh).[29]

Though developed and nurtured by scholars of orthodox schools of Hinduism, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has been the language for some of the key literary works and theology of heterodox schools of Indian philosophies such as Buddhism
Buddhism
and Jainism.[121][122] The structure and capabilities of the Classical Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
launched ancient Indian speculations about "the nature and function of language", what is the relationship between words and their meanings in the context of a community of speakers, whether this relationship is objective or subjective, discovered or is created, how individuals learn and relate to the world around them through language, and about the limits of language?[121][123] They speculated on the role of language, the ontological status of painting word-images through sound, and the need for rules so that it can serve as a means for a community of speakers, separated by geography or time, to share and understand profound ideas from each other.[123][note 11] These speculations became particularly important to the Mimamsa and the Nyaya schools of Hindu philosophy, and later to Vedanta
Vedanta
and Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism, states Frits Staal—a scholar of Linguistics with a focus on Indian philosophies and Sanskrit.[121] Though written in a number of different scripts, the dominant language of Hindu texts
Hindu texts
has been Sanskrit. It or a hybrid form of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
became the preferred language of Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhism
Buddhism
scholarship.[126] One of the early and influential Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna (~200 CE), for example, used Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
as the language for his texts.[127] According to Renou, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
had a limited role in the Theravada
Theravada
tradition (formerly known as the Hinayana) but the Prakrit
Prakrit
works that have survived are of doubtful authenticity. Some of the canonical fragments of the early Buddhist traditions, discovered in the 20th century, suggest the early Buddhist traditions used an imperfect and reasonably good Sanskrit, sometimes with a Pali
Pali
syntax, states Renou. The Mahāsāṃghika and Mahavastu, in their late Hinayana forms, used hybrid Sanskrit
Sanskrit
for their literature.[128] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was also the language of some of the oldest surviving, authoritative and much followed philosophical works of Jainism
Jainism
such as the Tattvartha Sutra by Umaswati.[129][130]

A 5th-century Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscription discovered in Java
Java
Indonesia—one of earliest in southeast Asia. The Ciaruteun inscription combines two writing scripts and compares the king to Hindu god Vishnu. It provides a terminus ad quem to the presence of Hinduism
Hinduism
in the Indonesian islands. The oldest southeast Asian Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscription—called the Vo Canh inscription—so far discovered is near Nha Trang, Vietnam, and it is dated to the late 2nd century to early 3rd century CE.[131][132]

The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
has been one of the major means for the transmission of knowledge and ideas in Asian history. Indian texts in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
were already in China by 402 CE, carried by the influential Buddhist pilgrim Faxian who translated them into Chinese by 418 CE.[133] Xuanzang, another Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, learnt Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in India
India
and carried 657 Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts to China in the 7th century where he established a major center of learning and language translation under the patronage of Emperor Taizong.[134][135] By the early 1st millennium CE, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
had spread Buddhist and Hindu ideas to Southeast Asia,[13] parts of the East Asia[14] and the Central Asia.[15] It was accepted as a language of high culture and the preferred language by some of the local ruling elites in these regions.[136] According to the Dalai Lama, the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
is a parent language that is at the foundation of many modern languages of India
India
and the one that promoted Indian thought to other distant countries. In Tibetan Buddhism, states the Dalai Lama, Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
has been a revered one and called legjar lhai-ka or "elegant language of the gods". It has been the means of transmitting the "profound wisdom of Buddhist philosophy" to Tibet.[137]

The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
created a pan-Indic accessibility to information and knowledge in the ancient and medieval times, in contrast to the Prakrit
Prakrit
languages which were understood just regionally.[113][138] It created a cultural bond across the subcontinent.[138] As local languages and dialects evolved and diversified, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
served as the common language.[138] It connected scholars from distant parts of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
such as Tamil Nadu and Kashmir, states Deshpande, as well as those from different fields of studies, though there must have been differences in its pronunciation given the first language of the respective speakers. The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
brought Indic people together, particularly its elite scholars.[113] Some of these scholars of Indian history regionally produced vernacularized Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to reach wider audiences, as evidenced by texts discovered in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Once the audience became familiar with the easier to understand vernacularized version of Sanskrit, those interested could graduate from colloquial Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to the more advanced Classical Sanskrit. Rituals and the rites-of-passage ceremonies have been and continue to be the other occasions where a wide spectrum of people hear Sanskrit, and occasionally join in to speak some Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words such as "namah".[113]

Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
is the standard register as laid out in the grammar of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">Pāṇini
, around the fourth century BCE.[139] Its position in the cultures of Greater India is akin to that of Latin and Ancient Greek in Europe. Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent, particularly the languages of the northern, western, central and eastern Indian subcontinent.[24][25][26]

Decline

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
declined starting about and after the 13th century.[115][140] This coincides with the beginning of Islamic invasions of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
to create, thereafter expand the Muslim rule in the form of Sultanates and later the Mughal Empire.[141] With the fall of Kashmir around the 13th century, a premier center of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literary creativity, Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
there disappeared,[142] perhaps in the "fires that periodically engulfed the capital of Kashmir" or the "Mongol invasion of 1320" states Sheldon Pollock.[143]:397–398 The Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
which was once widely disseminated out of the northwest regions of the subcontinent, stopped after the 12th century.[143]:398 As Hindu kingdoms fell in the eastern and the South India, such as the great Vijayanagara Empire, so did Sanskrit.[142] There were exceptions and short periods of imperial support for Sanskrit, mostly concentrated during the reign of the tolerant Mughal emperor Akbar.[144] Muslim rulers patronized the Middle Eastern language and scripts found in Persia and Arabia, and the Indians linguistically adapted to this Persianization to gain employment with the Muslim rulers.[145] Hindu rulers such as Shivaji of the Maratha Empire, reversed the process, by re-adopting Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and re-asserting their socio-linguistic identity.[145][146][147] After Islamic rule disintegrated in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
and the colonial rule era began, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
re-emerged but in the form of a "ghostly existence" in regions such as Bengal. This decline was the result of "political institutions and civic ethos" that did not support the historic Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literary culture.[142]

Scholars are divided on whether or when Sanskrit
Sanskrit
died. Western authors such as John Snelling state that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and Pali
Pali
are both dead Indian languages.[148] Indian authors such as M Ramakrishnan Nair state that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was a dead language by the 1st millennium BCE.[149] Sheldon Pollock states that in some crucial way, " Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is dead".[143]:393 After the 12th century, the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literary works were reduced to "reinscription and restatements" of ideas already explored, and any creativity was restricted to hymns and verses. This contrasted with the previous 1,500 years when "great experiments in moral and aesthetic imagination" marked the Indian scholarship using Classical Sanskrit, states Pollock.[143]:398

Other scholars state that Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
did not die, only declined. Hanneder disagrees with Pollock, finding his arguments elegant but "often arbitrary". According to Hanneder, a decline or regional absence of creative and innovative literature constitutes a negative evidence to Pollock's hypothesis, but it is not positive evidence. A closer look at Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in the Indian history after the 12th century suggests that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
survived despite the odds. According to Hanneder,[150]

On a more public level the statement that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is a dead language is misleading, for Sanskrit
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
Sanskrit
is dead."[142]

Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
manuscripts exist in many scripts. Above from top: Isha Upanishad (Devanagari), Samaveda (Tamil Grantha), Bhagavad Gita (Gurmukhi), Vedanta
Vedanta
Sara
(Telugu), Jatakamala (early Sharada). All are Hindu texts
Hindu texts
except the last Buddhist text.

The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language, states Moriz Winternitz, was never a dead language and it is still alive though its prevalence is lesser than ancient and medieval times. Sanskrit
Sanskrit
remains an integral part of Hindu journals, festivals, Ramlila plays, drama, rituals and the rites-of-passage.[151] Similarly, Brian Hatcher states that the "metaphors of historical rupture" by Pollock are not valid, that there is ample proof that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was very much alive in the narrow confines of surviving Hindu kingdoms between the 13th and 18th centuries, and its reverence and tradition continues.[152]

Hanneder states that modern works in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are either ignored or their "modernity" contested.[153] There are over 11,000 articles in the Sanskrit , 4,000 more than in the Cambodian.[154]

According to Robert Goldman and Sally Sutherland, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is neither "dead" nor "living" in the conventional sense. It is a special, timeless language that lives in the numerous manuscripts, daily chants and ceremonial recitations, a heritage language that Indians contextually prize and some practice.[155]

When the British introduced English to India
India
in the 19th century, knowledge of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and ancient literature continued to flourish as the study of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
changed from a more traditional style into a form of analytical and comparative scholarship mirroring that of Europe.[156]

Modern Indic languages

The relationship of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to the Prakrit
Prakrit
languages, particularly the modern form of Indian languages, is complex and spans about 3,500 years, states Colin Masica—a linguist specializing in South Asian languages. A part of the difficulty is the lack of sufficient textual, archaeological and epigraphical evidence for the ancient Prakrit
Prakrit
languages with rare exceptions such as Pali, leading to a tendency of anachronistic errors.[157] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and Prakrit
Prakrit
languages may be divided into Old Indo-Aryan (1500 BCE–600 BCE), Middle Indo-Aryan (600 BCE–1000 CE) and New Indo-Aryan (1000 CE–current), each can further be subdivided in early, middle or second, and late evolutionary substages.[157]

Vedic Sanskrit belongs to the early Old Indo-Aryan while Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
to the later Old Indo-Aryan stage. The evidence for Prakrits such as Pali
Pali
( Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism) and Ardhamagadhi (Jainism), along with Magadhi, Maharashtri, Sinhala, Sauraseni and Niya (Gandhari), emerge in the Middle Indo-Aryan stage in two versions—archaic and more formalized—that may be placed in early and middle substages of the 600 BCE–1000 CE period.[157] Two literary Indic languages
Indic languages
can be traced to the late Middle Indo-Aryan stage and these are Apabhramsa and Elu
Elu
(a form of literary Sinhalese). Numerous North, Central, Eastern and Western Indian languages, such as Hindi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Nepali, Braj, Awadhi, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Marathi, and others belong to the New Indo-Aryan stage.[157]

There is an extensive overlap in the vocabulary, phonetics and other aspects of these New Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
with Sanskrit, but it is neither universal nor identical across the languages. They likely emerged from a synthesis of the ancient Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
traditions and an admixture of various regional dialects. Each language has some unique and regionally creative aspects, with unclear origins. Prakrit
Prakrit
languages do have a grammatical structure, but like the Vedic Sanskrit, it is far less rigorous than Classical Sanskrit. The roots of all Prakrit
Prakrit
languages may be in the Vedic Sanskrit and ultimately the Indo-Aryan language, their structural details vary from the Classical Sanskrit.[23][157] It is generally accepted by scholars and widely believed in India
India
that the modern Indic languages, such as Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi
Hindi
and Punjabi are descendants of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language.[158][159][160] Sanskrit, states Burjor Avari, can be described as "the mother language of almost all the languages of north India".[161]

Geographic distribution

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language's historical presence has been attested in many countries. The evidence includes manuscript pages and inscriptions discovered in South Asia, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
and Central Asia. These have been dated between 300 and 1800 CE.

The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language's historic presence is attested across a wide geography beyond the Indian subcontinent. Inscriptions and literary evidence suggests that Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
was already being adopted in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
and Central Asia
Central Asia
in the 1st millennium CE, through monks, religious pilgrims and merchants.[162][163][164]

The Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
has been the geographic range of the largest collection of the ancient and pre-18th-century Sanskrit
Sanskrit
manuscripts and inscriptions.[118] Beyond ancient India, significant collections of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
manuscripts and inscriptions have been found in China (particularly the Tibetan monasteries),[165][166] Myanmar,[167] Indonesia,[168] Cambodia,[169] Laos,[170] Vietnam,[171] Thailand,[172] and Malaysia.[170] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions, manuscripts or its remnants, including some of the oldest known Sanskrit
Sanskrit
written texts, have been discovered in dry high deserts and mountainous terrains such as in Nepal,[173][174][note 12] Tibet,[166][175] Afghanistan,[176][177] Mongolia,[178] Uzbekistan,[179] Turkmenistan, Tajikistan,[179] and Kazakhstan.[180] Some Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts and inscriptions have also been discovered in Korea and Japan.[181][182][183]

Official status

In India, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is among the 22 official languages of India
India
in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.[184] In 2010, Uttarakhand became the first state in India
India
to make Sanskrit
Sanskrit
its second official language.[185] In 2019, Himachal Pradesh made Sanskrit
Sanskrit
its second official language, becoming the second state in India
India
to do so.[186]

Phonology

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
shares many Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
phonological features, although it features a larger inventory of distinct phonemes. The consonantal system is the same, though it systematically enlarged the inventory of distinct sounds. For example, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
added a voiceless aspirated "tʰ", to the voiceless "t", voiced "d" and voiced aspirated "dʰ" found in PIE languages.[187]

The most significant and distinctive phonological development in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is vowel-merger, states Stephanie Jamison—an Indo-European linguist specializing in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literature.[187] The short *e, *o and *a, all merge as a (अ) in Sanskrit, while long , and , all merge as long ā (आ). These mergers occurred very early and significantly impacted Sanskrit's morphological system.[187] Some phonological developments in it mirror those in other PIE languages. For example, the labiovelars merged with the plain velars as in other satem languages. The secondary palatalization of the resulting segments is more thorough and systematic within Sanskrit, states Jamison.[187] A series of retroflex dental stops were innovated in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to more thoroughly articulate sounds for clarity. For example, unlike the loss of the morphological clarity from vowel contraction that is found in early Greek and related southeast European languages, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
deployed *y, *w, and *s intervocalically to provide morphological clarity.[187]

Vowels

The cardinal vowels (svaras) i (इ), u (उ), a (अ) distinguish length in Sanskrit, states Jamison.[188][189] The short a (अ) in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is a closer vowel than ā, equivalent to schwa. The mid-vowels ē (ए) and ō (ओ) in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are monophthongizations of the Indo-Iranian diphthongs *ai and *au. The Old Iranian language preserved *ai and *au.[188] The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
vowels are inherently long, though often transcribed e and o without the diacritic. The vocalic liquid in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is a merger of PIE *r̥ and *l̥. The long is an innovation and it is used in a few analogically generated morphological categories.[188][190][191]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
(828 CE). Discovered in Nepal, the bottom leaf shows all the vowels and consonants of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
(the first five consonants are highlighted in blue and yellow).">A palm leaf manuscript published in 828 CE with the 
			<a class= Sanskrit
Sanskrit
alphabet" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/828_CE_Paramesvaratantra_Sanskrit_palm_leaf_manuscipt%2C_Late_Gupta_script%2C_Nepal.jpg/500px-828_CE_Paramesvaratantra_Sanskrit_palm_leaf_manuscipt%2C_Late_Gupta_script%2C_Nepal.jpg" decoding="async" width="500" height="208" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/828_CE_Paramesvaratantra_Sanskrit_palm_leaf_manuscipt%2C_Late_Gupta_script%2C_Nepal.jpg/750px-828_CE_Paramesvaratantra_Sanskrit_palm_leaf_manuscipt%2C_Late_Gupta_script%2C_Nepal.jpg 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/828_CE_Paramesvaratantra_Sanskrit_palm_leaf_manuscipt%2C_Late_Gupta_script%2C_Nepal.jpg/1000px-828_CE_Paramesvaratantra_Sanskrit_palm_leaf_manuscipt%2C_Late_Gupta_script%2C_Nepal.jpg 2x" data-file-width="2744" data-file-height="1140" />
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
palm leaf manuscipt, Late Gupta script, Nepal.jpg">
This is one of the oldest surviving and dated palm-leaf manuscript in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
(828 CE). Discovered in Nepal, the bottom leaf shows all the vowels and consonants of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
(the first five consonants are highlighted in blue and yellow).
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
vowels in the Devanagari
Devanagari
script[192][note 13]
Independent form IAST/
ISO
Independent form IAST/
ISO
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">kaṇṭhya

(Guttural)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">a
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ā
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">tālavya

(Palatal)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">i
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ī
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">oṣṭhya

(Labial)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">u
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ū
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">mūrdhanya

(Retroflex)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ṛ
/r̥
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ṝ
/r̥̄
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">dantya

(Dental)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ḷ
/l̥
() ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ḹ
/l̥̄)[193]
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">kaṇṭhatālavya

(Palatoguttural)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">e
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ai
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">kaṇṭhoṣṭhya

(Labioguttural)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">o
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">au
(consonantal allophones) अं Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">aṃ
/aṁ[194]
अः Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">aḥ
[195]

According to Masica, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has four traditional semivowels, with which were classed, "for morphophonemic reasons, the liquids: y, r, l, and v; that is, as y and v were the non-syllabics corresponding to i, u, so were r, l in relation to r̥ and l̥".[196] The northwestern, the central and the eastern Sanskrit
Sanskrit
dialects have had a historic confusion between "r" and "l". The Paninian system that followed the central dialect preserved the distinction, likely out of reverence for the Vedic Sanskrit that distinguished the "r" and "l". However, the northwestern dialect only had "r", while the eastern dialect probably only had "l", states Masica. Thus literary works from different parts of ancient India
India
appear inconsistent in their use of "r" and "l", resulting in doublets that is occasionally semantically differentiated.[196]

Consonants

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
possesses a symmetric consonantal phoneme structure based on how the sound is articulated, though the actual usage of these sounds conceals the lack of parallelism in the apparent symmetry possibly from historical changes within the language.[197] The glides and liquids regularly alternate with vowels in Sanskrit, for example, i ≈ y; u ≈ ʋ ([w]); r̥ ≈ r ; l̥ ≈ l, states Jamison.[197][198]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
consonants in the Devanagari
Devanagari
script[192][note 14]
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">sparśa

(Plosive)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">anunāsika

(Nasal)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">antastha

(Approximant)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ūṣman/saṃgharṣhī

(Fricative)
Voicing Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">aghoṣa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ghoṣa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">aghoṣa
Aspiration Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">alpaprāṇa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">mahāprāṇa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">alpaprāṇa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">mahāprāṇa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">alpaprāṇa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">mahāprāṇa
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">kaṇṭhya

(Guttural)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ka
/k/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">kha
/kʰ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ga
/g/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">gha
/gʱ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ṅa
/ŋ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ha
/ɦ/
tālavya
(Palatal)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ca
/t͡ɕ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">cha
/t͡ɕʰ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ja
/d͡ʑ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">jha
/d͡ʑʱ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ña
/ɲ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ya
/j/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">śa
/ɕ/
mūrdhanya
(Retroflex)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ṭa
/ʈ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ṭha
/ʈʰ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ḍa
/ɖ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ḍha
/ɖʱ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ṇa
/ɳ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ra
/ɽ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ṣa
/ʂ/
dantya
(Dental)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ta
// Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">tha
/ʰ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">da
// Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">dha
/ʱ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">na
/n/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">la
/l/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">sa
/s/
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">oṣṭhya

(Labial)
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">pa
/p/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">pha
/pʰ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ba
/b/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">bha
/bʱ/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">ma
/m/ Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">va
/ʋ/

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
had a series of retroflex stops. All the retroflexes in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are in "origin conditioned alternants of dentals, though from the beginning of the language they have a qualified independence", states Jamison.[197]

The palatals are affricates in Sanskrit, not stops. The palatal nasal is a conditioned variant of n occurring next to palatal obstruents.[197] The anusvara that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
deploys is a conditioned alternant of postvocalic nasals, under certain sandhi conditions.[199] Its visarga is a word-final or morpheme-final conditioned alternant of s and r under certain sandhi conditions.[199]

The system of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sounds

[The] order of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
sounds works along three principles: it goes from simple to complex; it goes from the back to the front of the mouth; and it groups similar sounds together. [...] Among themselves, both the vowels and consonants are ordered according to where in the mouth they are pronounced, going from back to front.

— A. M. Ruppel, The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit[200]

The voiceless aspirated series is also an innovation in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
but is significantly rarer than the other three series.[197]

While the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
organizes sounds for expression beyond those found in the PIE language, it retained many features found in the Iranian and Balto-Slavic languages. An example of a similar process in all three, states Jamison, is the retroflex sibilant ʂ being the automatic product of dental s following i, u, r, and k (mnemonically "ruki").[199]

Phonological alternations, sandhi rules

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
deploys extensive phonological alternations on different linguistic levels through sandhi rules (literally, the rules of "putting together, union, connection, alliance"). This is similar to the English alteration of "going to" as gonna, states Jamison.[201] The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
accepts such alterations within it, but offers formal rules for the sandhi of any two words next to each other in the same sentence or linking two sentences. The external sandhi rules state that similar short vowels coalesce into a single long vowel, while dissimilar vowels form glides or undergo diphthongization.[201] Among the consonants, most external sandhi rules recommend regressive assimilation for clarity when they are voiced. According to Jamison, these rules ordinarily apply at compound seams and morpheme boundaries.[201] In Vedic Sanskrit, the external sandhi rules are more variable than in Classical Sanskrit.[202]

The internal sandhi rules are more intricate and account for the root and the canonical structure of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word. These rules anticipate what are now known as the Bartholomae's law and Grassmann's law. For example, states Jamison, the "voiceless, voiced, and voiced aspirated obstruents of a positional series regularly alternate with each other (p ≈ b ≈ bʰ; t ≈ d ≈ dʰ, etc.; note, however, c ≈ j ≈ h), such that, for example, a morpheme with an underlying voiced aspirate final may show alternants[clarification needed] with all three stops under differing internal sandhi conditions".[203] The velar series (k, g, gʰ) alternate with the palatal series (c, j, h), while the structural position of the palatal series is modified into a retroflex cluster when followed by dental. This rule create two morphophonemically distinct series from a single palatal series.[203]

Vocalic alternations in the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
morphological system is termed "strengthening", and called guna and vriddhi in the preconsonantal versions. There is an equivalence to terms deployed in Indo-European descriptive grammars, wherein Sanskrit's unstrengthened state is same as the zero-grade, guna corresponds to normal-grade, while vriddhi is same as the lengthened-state.[204] The qualitative ablaut is not found in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
just like it is absent in Iranian, but Sanskrit
Sanskrit
retains quantitative ablaut through vowel strengthening.[204] The transformations between unstrengthened to guna is prominent in the morphological system, states Jamison, while vriddhi is a particularly significant rule when adjectives of origin and appurtenance are derived. The manner in which this is done slightly differs between the Vedic and the Classical Sanskrit.[204][205]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
grants a very flexible syllable structure, where they may begin or end with vowels, be single consonants or clusters. Similarly, the syllable may have an internal vowel of any weight. The Vedic Sanskrit shows traces of following the Sievers-Edgerton Law, but Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
doesn't. Vedic Sanskrit has a pitch accent system, states Jamison, which were acknowledged by Panini, but in his Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
the accents disappear.[206] Most Vedic Sanskrit words have one accent. However, this accent is not phonologically predictable, states Jamison.[206] It can fall anywhere in the word and its position often conveys morphological and syntactic information.[206] According to Masica, the presence of an accent system in Vedic Sanskrit is evidenced from the markings in the Vedic texts. This is important because of Sanskrit's connection to the PIE languages and comparative Indo-European linguistics.[207]

Sanskrit, like most early Indo-European languages, lost the so-called "laryngeal consonants (cover-symbol *H) present in the Proto-Indo-European", states Jamison.[206] This significantly impacted the evolutionary path of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
phonology and morphology, particularly in the variant forms of roots.[208]

Morphology

The basis of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
morphology is the root, states Jamison, "a morpheme bearing lexical meaning".[209] The verbal and nominal stems of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words are derived from this root through the phonological vowel-gradation processes, the addition of affixes, verbal and nominal stems. It then adds an ending to establish the grammatical and syntactic identity of the stem. According to Jamison, the "three major formal elements of the morphology are (i) root, (ii) affix, and (iii) ending; and they are roughly responsible for (i) lexical meaning, (ii) derivation, and (iii) inflection respectively".[210]

A Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word has the following canonical structure:[209]

Root + Affix
0-n
+ Ending
0–1

The root structure has certain phonological constraints. Two of the most important constraints of a "root" is that it does not end in a short "a" (अ) and that it is monosyllabic.[209] In contrast, the affixes and endings commonly do. The affixes in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are almost always suffixes, with exceptions such as the augment "a-" added as prefix to past tense verb forms and the "-na/n-" infix in single verbal present class, states Jamison.[209]

A verb in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has the following canonical structure:[211]

Root + Suffix
Tense-Aspect
+ Suffix
Mood
+ Ending
Personal-Number-Voice

According to Ruppel, verbs in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
express the same information as other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
such as English.[212] Sanskrit verbs describe an action or occurrence or state, its embedded morphology informs as to "who is doing it" (person or persons), "when it is done" (tense) and "how it is done" (mood, voice). The Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
differ in the detail. For example, the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
attaches the affixes and ending to the verb root, while the English language
English language
adds small independent words before the verb. In Sanskrit, these elements co-exist within the word.[212][note 15]

Word morphology in Sanskrit, A. M. Ruppel[212][note 16]
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word equivalent
English expression IAST/ISO Devanagari
you carry bharasi भरसि
they carry bharanti भरन्ति
you will carry bhariṣyasi भरिष्यसि

Both verbs and nouns in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are either thematic or athematic, states Jamison.[214] Guna (strengthened) forms in the active singular regularly alternate in athematic verbs. The finite verbs of Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
have the following grammatical categories: person, number, voice, tense-aspect, and mood. According to Jamison, a portmanteau morpheme generally expresses the person-number-voice in Sanskrit, and sometimes also the ending or only the ending. The mood of the word is embedded in the affix.[214]

These elements of word architecture are the typical building blocks in Classical Sanskrit, but in Vedic Sanskrit these elements fluctuate and are unclear. For example, in the Rigveda preverbs regularly occur in tmesis, states Jamison, which means they are "separated from the finite verb".[209] This indecisiveness is likely linked to Vedic Sanskrit's attempt to incorporate accent. With nonfinite forms of the verb and with nominal derivatives thereof, states Jamison, "preverbs show much clearer univerbation in Vedic, both by position and by accent, and by Classical Sanskrit, tmesis is no longer possible even with finite forms".[209]

While roots are typical in Sanskrit, some words do not follow the canonical structure.[210] A few forms lack both inflection and root. Many words are inflected (and can enter into derivation) but lack a recognizable root. Examples from the basic vocabulary include kinship terms such as mātar- (mother), nas- (nose), śvan- (dog). According to Jamison, pronouns and some words outside the semantic categories also lack roots, as do the numerals. Similarly, the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
is flexible enough to not mandate inflection.[210]

The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words can contain more than one affix that interact with each other. Affixes in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
can be athematic as well as thematic, according to Jamison.[215] Athematic affixes can be alternating. Sanskrit
Sanskrit
deploys eight cases, namely nominative, accusative, instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, locative, vocative.[215]

Stems, that is "root + affix", appear in two categories in Sanskrit: vowel stems and consonant stems. Unlike some Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
such as Latin
Latin
or Greek, according to Jamison, " Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has no closed set of conventionally denoted noun declensions". Sanskrit
Sanskrit
includes a fairly large set of stem-types.[216] The linguistic interaction of the roots, the phonological segments, lexical items and the grammar for the Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
consist of four Paninian components. These, states Paul Kiparsky, are the Astadhyaayi, a comprehensive system of 4,000 grammatical rules, of which a small set are frequently used; Sivasutras, an inventory of anubandhas (markers) that partition phonological segments for efficient abbreviations through the pratyharas technique; Dhatupatha, a list of 2,000 verbal roots classified by their morphology and syntactic properties using diacritic markers, a structure that guides its writing systems; and, the Ganapatha, an inventory of word groups, classes of lexical systems.[217] There are peripheral adjuncts to these four, such as the Unadisutras, which focus on irregularly formed derivatives from the roots.[217]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
morphology is generally studied in two broad fundamental categories: the nominal forms and the verbal forms. These differ in the types of endings and what these endings mark in the grammatical context.[210] Pronouns and nouns share the same grammatical categories, though they may differ in inflection. Verb-based adjectives and participles are not formally distinct from nouns. Adverbs are typically frozen case forms of adjectives, states Jamison, and "nonfinite verbal forms such as infinitives and gerunds also clearly show frozen nominal case endings".[210]

Tense and voice

The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
includes five tenses: present, future, past imperfect, past aorist and past perfect.[213] It outlines three types of voices: active, passive and the middle.[213] The middle is also referred to as the mediopassive, or more formally in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as parasmaipada (word for another) and atmanepada (word for oneself).[211]

Voice in Sanskrit, Stephanie Jamison[211][note 17]
Active Middle
(Mediopassive)
Person Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
1st -mi -vas -mas -e -vahe -mahe
2nd -si -thas -tha -se -āthe -dhve
3rd -ti -tas -anti -te -āte -ante

The paradigm for the tense-aspect system in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is the three-way contrast between the "present", the "aorist" and the "perfect" architecture.[218] Vedic Sanskrit is more elaborate and had several additional tenses. For example, the Rigveda includes perfect and a marginal pluperfect. Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
simplifies the "present" system down to two tenses, the perfect and the imperfect, while the "aorist" stems retain the aorist tense and the "perfect" stems retain the perfect and marginal pluperfect.[218] The classical version of the language has elaborate rules for both voice and the tense-aspect system to emphasize clarity, and this is more elaborate than other Indo-European languages. The evolution of these systems can be seen from the earliest layers of the Vedic literature to the late Vedic literature.[219]

Gender, mood

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
recognizes three numbers—singular, dual, and plural.[215] The dual is a fully functioning category, used beyond naturally paired objects such as hands or eyes, extending to any collection of two. The elliptical dual is notable in the Vedic Sanskrit, according to Jamison, where a noun in the dual signals a paired opposition.[215] Illustrations include dyāvā (literally, "the two heavens" for heaven-and-earth), mātarā (literally, "the two mothers" for mother-and-father).[215] A verb may be singular, dual or plural, while the person recognized in the language are forms of "I", "you", "he/she/it", "we" and "they".[213]

There are three persons in Sanskrit: first, second and third.[211] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
uses the 3×3 grid formed by the three numbers and the three persons parameters as the paradigm and the basic building block of its verbal system.[219]

The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
incorporates three genders: feminine, masculine and neuter.[215] All nouns have inherent gender, but with some exceptions, personal pronouns have no gender. Exceptions include demonstrative and anaphoric pronouns.[215] Derivation of a word is used to express the feminine. Two most common derivations come from feminine-forming suffixes, the -ā- (आ, Rādhā) and -ī- (ई, Rukmīnī). The masculine and neuter are much simpler, and the difference between them is primarily inflectional.[215][220] Similar affixes for the feminine are found in many Indo-European languages, states Burrow, suggesting links of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to its PIE heritage.[221]

Pronouns in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
include the personal pronouns of the first and second persons, unmarked for gender, and a larger number of gender-distinguishing pronouns and adjectives.[214] Examples of the former include ahám (first singular), vayám (first plural) and yūyám (second plural). The latter can be demonstrative, deictic or anaphoric.[214] Both the Vedic and Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
share the sá/tám pronominal stem, and this is the closest element to a third person pronoun and an article in the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language, states Jamison.[214]

Indicative, potential and imperative are the three mood forms in Sanskrit.[213]

Prosody, meter

The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
formally incorporates poetic metres.[222] By the late Vedic era, this developed into a field of study and it was central to the composition of the Hindu literature including the later Vedic texts. This study of Sanskrit prosody
Sanskrit prosody
is called chandas and considered as one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies.[222][223]

Sanskrit prosody
Sanskrit prosody
includes linear and non-linear systems.[224] The system started off with seven major metres, according to Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, called the "seven birds" or "seven mouths of Brihaspati", and each had its own rhythm, movements and aesthetics wherein a non-linear structure (aperiodicity) was mapped into a four verse polymorphic linear sequence.[225] A syllable in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is classified as either laghu (light) or guru (heavy). This classification is based on a matra (literally, "count, measure, duration"), and typically a syllable that ends in a short vowel is a light syllable, while those that end in consonant, anusvara or visarga are heavy. The classical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
found in Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and many texts are so arranged that the light and heavy syllables in them follow a rhythm, though not necessarily a rhyme.[226][227][note 18]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
metres include those based on a fixed number of syllables per verse, and those based on fixed number of morae per verse.[229] The Vedic Sanskrit employs fifteen metres, of which seven are common, and the most frequent are three (8-, 11- and 12-syllable lines).[230] The Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
deploys both linear and non-linear metres, many of which are based on syllables and others based on diligently crafted verses based on repeating numbers of morae (matra per foot).[230]

There is no word without meter,
nor is there any meter without words.

Natya Shastra[231]

Meter and rhythm is an important part of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language. It may have played a role in helping preserve the integrity of the message and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts. The verse perfection in the Vedic texts such as the verse Upanishads[note 19] and post-Vedic Smriti texts are rich in prosody. This feature of the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
led some Indologists from the 19th century onwards to identify suspected portions of texts where a line or sections are off the expected metre.[232][233][note 20]

The meter-feature of the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
embeds another layer of communication to the listener or reader. A change in metres has been a tool of literary architecture and an embedded code to inform the reciter and audience that it marks the end of a section or chapter.[237] Each section or chapter of these texts uses identical metres, rhythmically presenting their ideas and making it easier to remember, recall and check for accuracy.[237] Authors coded a hymn's end by frequently using a verse of a metre different than that used in the hymn's body.[237] However, Hindu tradition does not use the Gayatri metre to end a hymn or composition, possibly because it has enjoyed a special level of reverence in Hinduism.[237]

Writing system

One of the oldest surviving Sanskrit
Sanskrit
manuscript pages in Gupta script (~828 CE), discovered in Nepal

The early history of writing Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and other languages in ancient India
India
is a problematic topic despite a century of scholarship, states Richard Salomon—an epigraphist and Indologist specializing in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and Pali
Pali
literature.[238] The earliest possible script from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
is from the Indus Valley Civilization (3rd/2nd millennium BCE), but this script – if it is a script – remains undeciphered. If any scripts existed in the Vedic period, they have not survived. Scholars generally accept that Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was spoken in an oral society, and that an oral tradition preserved the extensive Vedic and Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
literature.[239] Other scholars such as Jack Goody state that the Vedic Sanskrit texts are not the product of an oral society, basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek, Serbian, and other cultures, then noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down.[240][241]

Lipi is the term in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
which means "writing, letters, alphabet". It contextually refers to scripts, the art or any manner of writing or drawing.[242] The term, in the sense of a writing system, appears in some of the earliest Buddhist, Hindu, and Jaina texts. Pāṇini's Astadhyayi, composed sometime around the 5th or 4th century BCE, for example, mentions lipi in the context of a writing script and education system in his times, but he does not name the script.[242][88][243] Several early Buddhist and Jaina texts, such as the Lalitavistara Sūtra and Pannavana Sutta include lists of numerous writing scripts in ancient India.{{Inda.{{r=fng1=oup=noteThe Buddhist text Lalitavistara Sūtra describes the young Siddhartha—the future Buddha—to have mastered philology and scripts at a school from Brahmin Lipikara and Deva Vidyasinha.[244] The Buddhist texts
Buddhist texts
list the sixty four lipi that the Buddha
Buddha
knew as a child, with the Brahmi script
Brahmi script
topping the list. "The historical value of this list is however limited by several factors", states Salomon. The list may be a later interpolation.[245][note 21] The Jain canonical texts such as the Pannavana Sutta—probably older than the Buddhist texts—list eighteen writing systems, with the Brahmi topping the list and Kharotthi (Kharoshthi) listed as fourth. The Jaina text elsewhere states that the "Brahmi is written in 18 different forms", but the details are lacking.[247] However, the reliability of these lists has been questioned and the empirical evidence of writing systems in the form of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
or Prakrit
Prakrit
inscriptions dated prior to the 3rd century BCE has not been found. If the ancient surface for writing Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was palm leaves, tree bark and cloth—the same as those in later times, these have not survived.[248][note 22] According to Salomon, many find it difficult to explain the "evidently high level of political organization and cultural complexity" of ancient India
India
without a writing system for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and other languages.[248][note 23]

The oldest datable writing systems for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are the Brāhmī script, the related Kharoṣṭhī script and the Brahmi derivatives.[251][252] The Kharosthi
Kharosthi
was used in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
and it became extinct, while the Brahmi was used in all over the subcontinent along with regional scripts such as Old Tamil.[253] Of these, the earliest records in the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
are in Brahmi, a script that later evolved into numerous related Indic scripts for Sanskrit, along with Southeast Asian scripts (Burmese, Thai, Lao, Khmer, others) and many extinct Central Asian scripts such as those discovered along with the Kharosthi
Kharosthi
in the Tarim Basin of western China and in Uzbekistan.[254] The most extensive inscriptions that have survived into the modern era are the rock edicts and pillar inscriptions of the 3rd-century BCE Mauryan emperor Ashoka, but these are not in Sanskrit.[255][note 24]

Scripts

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
does not have its own script. Over the centuries, and across countries, a number of scripts have been used to write it.

Brahmi script

One of the oldest Hindu Sanskrit[note 25] inscriptions, the broken pieces of this early-1st-century BCE Hathibada Brahmi Inscription were discovered in Rajasthan. It is a dedication to deities Vasudeva-Samkarshana (Krishna-Balarama) and mentions a stone temple.[29][256]

The Brahmi script
Brahmi script
for writing Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is a "modified consonant-syllabic" script. The graphic syllable is its basic unit, and this consists of a consonant with or without diacritic modifications.[257] Since the vowel is an integral part of the consonants, and given the efficiently compacted, fused consonant cluster morphology for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words and grammar, the Brahmi and its derivative writing systems deploy ligatures, diacritics and relative positioning of the vowel to inform the reader how the vowel is related to the consonant and how it is expected to be pronounced for clarity.[252][258][note 26] This feature of Brahmi and its modern Indic script derivatives makes it difficult to classify it under the main script types used for the writing systems for most of the world's languages, namely logographic, syllabic and alphabetic.[252]

The Brahmi script
Brahmi script
evolved into "a vast number of forms and derivatives", states Richard Salomon, and in theory, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
"can be represented in virtually any of the main Brahmi-based scripts and in practice it often is".[259] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
does not have a native script. Being a phonetic language, it can be written in any precise script that efficiently maps unique human sounds to unique symbols. From the ancient times, it has been written in numerous regional scripts in South and Southeast Asia. Most of these are descendants of the Brahmi script.[260] The earliest datable varnamala Brahmi alphabet system, found in later Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts, is from the 2nd century BCE, in the form of terracotta plaques found in Haryana. It shows a "schoolboy's writing lessons", states Salomon.[261][262]

Nagari script

Many modern era manuscripts are written and available in the Nagari script, whose form is attestable to the 1st millennium CE.[263] The Nagari script
Nagari script
is the ancestor of Devanagari (north India), Nandinagari (south India) and other variants. The Nāgarī script
Nāgarī script
was in regular use by 7th century CE, and had fully evolved into Devanagari
Devanagari
and Nandinagari[264] scripts by about the end of the first millennium of the common era.[265][266] The Devanagari
Devanagari
script, states Banerji, became more popular for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in India
India
since about the 18th century.[267] However, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
does have special historical connection to the Nagari script
Nagari script
as attested by the epigraphical evidence.[268]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in modern Indian and other Brahmi scripts: May Śiva bless those who take delight in the language of the gods. (Kālidāsa)

The Nagari script
Nagari script
has been thought as a north Indian script for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as well as the regional languages such as Hindi, Marathi and Nepali. However, it has had a "supra-local" status as evidenced by 1st-millennium CE epigraphy and manuscripts discovered all over India
India
and as far as Sri Lanka, Burma, Indonesia
Indonesia
and in its parent form called the Siddhamatrka script found in manuscripts of East Asia.[269] The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and Balinese languages Sanur inscription on Belanjong pillar of Bali (Indonesia), dated to about 914 CE, is in part in the Nagari script.[270]

The Nagari script
Nagari script
used for Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
has the fullest repertoire of characters consisting of fourteen vowels and thirty three consonants. For the Vedic Sanskrit, it has two more allophonic consonantal characters (the intervocalic ळ ḷa, and ळ्ह ḷha).[269] To communicate phonetic accuracy, it also includes several modifiers such as the anusvara dot and the visarga double dot, punctuation symbols and others such as the halanta sign.[269]

Other writing systems

Other scripts such as Gujarati, Bangla, Odia and major south Indian scripts, states Salomon, "have been and often still are used in their proper territories for writing Sanskrit".[263] These and many Indian scripts look different to the untrained eye, but the differences between Indic scripts is "mostly superficial and they share the same phonetic repertoire and systemic features", states Salomon.[271] They all have essentially the same set of eleven to fourteen vowels and thirty-three consonants as established by the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
and attestable in the Brahmi script. Further, a closer examination reveals that they all have the similar basic graphic principles, the same varnamala (literally, "garland of letters") alphabetic ordering following the same logical phonetic order, easing the work of historic skilled scribes writing or reproducing Sanskrit
Sanskrit
works across the Indian subcontinent.[272][note 27] The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
written in some Indic scripts exaggerate angles or round shapes, but this serves only to mask the underlying similarities. Nagari script
Nagari script
favours symmetry set with squared outlines and right angles. In contrast, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
written in the Bangla script emphasizes the acute angles while the neighbouring Odia script
Odia script
emphasizes rounded shapes and uses cosmetically appealing "umbrella-like curves" above the script symbols.[274]

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

Transliteration
Transliteration
schemes, Romanisation

Since the late 18th century, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has been transliterated using the Latin
Latin
alphabet"> Latin
Latin
alphabet. The system most commonly used today is the IAST
IAST
( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Transliteration">International Alphabet of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Transliteration), which has been the academic standard since 1888. ASCII-based transliteration schemes have also evolved because of difficulties representing Sanskrit
Sanskrit
characters in computer systems. These include Harvard-Kyoto and ITRANS, a transliteration scheme that is used widely on the Internet, especially in Usenet and in email, for considerations of speed of entry as well as rendering issues. With the wide availability of Unicode-aware web browsers, IAST
IAST
has become common online. It is also possible to type using an alphanumeric keyboard and transliterate to Devanagari
Devanagari
using software like Mac OS X's international support.

European scholars in the 19th century generally preferred Devanagari
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, because of production costs, textual editions edited by Western scholars have mostly been in Romanised transliteration.[275]

Epigraphy

The earliest known stone inscriptions in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are in the Brahmi script
Brahmi script
from the first century BCE.[29][note 28][note 29] These include the Ayodhya
Ayodhya
Inscription of Dhana">Ayodhyā (Uttar Pradesh) and Hāthībādā-Ghosuṇḍī (near Chittorgarh, Rajasthan) inscriptions.[29][278] Both of these, states Salomon, are "essentially standard" and "correct Sanskrit", with a few exceptions reflecting an "informal Sanskrit
Sanskrit
usage".[29] Other important Hindu inscriptions dated to the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE, in relatively accurate classical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and Brahmi script
Brahmi script
are the Yavanarajya inscription on a red sandstone slab and the long Naneghat inscription on the wall of a cave rest stop in the Western Ghats.[279]

Besides these few examples from the 1st century BCE, the earliest Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and hybrid dialect inscriptions are found in Mathura
Mathura
(Uttar Pradesh).[280] These date to the 1st and 2nd century CE, states Salomon, from the time of the Saka Ksatrapas of the early Kushan Empire.[note 30] These are also in the Brahmi script.[282] The earliest of these, states Salomon, are attributed to Ksatrapa Sodasa from the early years of 1st century CE. Of the Mathura
Mathura
inscriptions, the most significant is the Mora Well Inscription.[282] In a manner similar to the Hathibada inscription, the Mora well inscription is a dedication inscription and is linked to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. It mentions a stone shrine (temple), pratima (murti, images) and calls the five Vrishnis as bhagavatam.[282][283] There are many other Mathura
Mathura
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions in Brahmi script
Brahmi script
overlapping the era of Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps
Northern Satraps
and early Kushanas.[284] Other significant 1st-century inscriptions in reasonably good classical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in the Brahmi script
Brahmi script
include the Vasu Doorjamb Inscription and the Mountain Temple inscription.[285] The early ones are related to the Brahmanical, except for the inscription from Kankali Tila which may be Jaina, but none are Buddhist.[286][287] A few of the later inscriptions from the 2nd century CE include Buddhist Sanskrit, while others are in "more or less" standard Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and related to the Brahmanical tradition.[288]

Starting in about the 1st century BCE, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has been written in many South Asian, Southeast Asian and Central Asian scripts.

In Maharashtra and Gujarat, Brahmi script
Brahmi script
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions from the early centuries of the common era exist at the Nasik Caves site, near the Girnar mountain of Junagadh and elsewhere such as at Kanakhera, Kanheri, and Gunda.[289] The Nasik inscription dates to the mid-1st century CE, is a fair approximation of standard Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and has hybrid features.[289] The Junagadh rock inscription of Western Satraps ruler Rudradaman I (c. 150 CE, Gujarat) is the first long poetic-style inscription in "more or less" standard Sanskrit
Sanskrit
that has survived into the modern era. It represents a turning point in the history of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
epigraphy, states Salomon.[290][note 31] Though no similar inscriptions are found for about two hundred years after the Rudradaman reign, it is important because its style is the prototype of the eulogy-style Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions found in the Gupta Empire era.[290] These inscriptions are also in the Brahmi script.[291]

The Nagarjunakonda inscriptions are the earliest known substantial South Indian Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions, probably from the late 3rd century or early 4th century CE, or both.[292] These inscriptions are related to Buddhism
Buddhism
and the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism.[293] A few of these inscriptions from both traditions are verse-style in the classical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language, while some such as the pillar inscription is written in prose and a hybridized Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language.[292] An earlier hybrid Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscription found on Amaravati slab is dated to the late 2nd century, while a few later ones include Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions along with Prakrit
Prakrit
inscriptions related to Hinduism
Hinduism
and Buddhism.[294] After the 3rd century CE, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions dominate and many have survived.[295] Between the 4th and 7th centuries CE, south Indian inscriptions are exclusively in the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language.[296] In the eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent, scholars report minor Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions from the 2nd century, these being fragments and scattered. The earliest substantial true Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
inscription of Susuniya (West Bengal) is dated to the 4th century.[297] Elsewhere, such as Dehradun (Uttarakhand), inscriptions in more or less correct classical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions are dated to the 3rd century.[297]

According to Salomon, the 4th-century reign of Samudragupta was the turning point when the classical Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
became established as the "epigraphic language par excellence" of the Indian world.[298] These Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
inscriptions are either "donative" or "panegyric" records. Generally in accurate classical Sanskrit, they deploy a wide range of regional Indic writing systems extant at the time.[299] They record the donation of a temple or stupa, images, land, monasteries, pilgrim's travel record, public infrastructure such as water reservoir and irrigation measures to prevent famine. Others praise the king or the donor in lofty poetic terms.[300] The Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
of these inscriptions is written on stone, various metals, terracotta, wood, crystal, ivory, shell and cloth.[301][note 32]

The evidence of the use of the Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
in Indic writing systems appears in southeast Asia in the first half of the 1st millennium CE.[304] A few of these in Vietnam
Vietnam
are bilingual where both the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and the local language is written in the Indian alphabet. Early Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
inscriptions in Indic writing systems are dated to the 4th century in Malaysia, 5th to 6th centuries in Thailand
Thailand
near Si Thep and the Sak River, early 5th century in Kutai (east Borneo) and mid-5th century in west Java (Indonesia).[304] Both major writing systems for Sanskrit, the North Indian and South Indian scripts, have been discovered in southeast Asia, but the Southern variety with its rounded shapes are far more common.[305] The Indic scripts, particularly the Pallava script prototype,[306] spread and ultimately evolved into Mon-Burmese, Khmer, Thai, Laos, Sumatran, Celebes, Javanese and Balinese scripts.[307][308] From about the 5th century, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscriptions become common in many parts of South Asia
South Asia
and Southeast Asia, with significant discoveries in Nepal, Vietnam
Vietnam
and Cambodia.[298]

Texts

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has been written in various scripts on a variety of media such as palm leaves, cloth, paper, rock and metal sheets, from ancient times.[309]

Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
by tradition
Tradition Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts, genre or collection
Example References
Hinduism Scriptures Vedas, Upanishads, Agamas, Bhagavad Gita [310][311]
Language, Grammar Ashtadhyayi [312][313]
Law Dharmasutras, Dharmasastras [314]
State craft, politics Arthasastra [315]
Timekeeping and Mathematics Kalpa, Jyotisha, Ganitasastra [316][317]
Life sciences, health Ayurveda, Sushruta samhita, Caraka samhita [318][319]
Sex, emotions Kamasastra [320]
Epics Ramayana, Mahabharata, Raghuvamsa [321][322]
Gnomic and didactic literature Subhashitas [323]
Drama, dance and performance arts Natyasastra [324][325][326]
Music Sangitasastra [327][328]
Poetics Kavyasastra [329]
Mythology Puranas [330]
Mystical speculations, Philosophy Darsana, Samkhya, Yoga (philosophy), Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Vedanta, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Smarta Tradition and others [331]
Krishi (Agriculture and food) Krsisastra [332]
Vastu, Shilpa (Design, Architecture) Shilpasastra [333][334]
Temples, Sculpture Brihatsamhita [335]
Samskara (rites-of-passage) Grhyasutras [336]
Buddhism Scripture, Monastic law Tripitaka,[note 33] Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhist texts, others
[337][338][339]
Jainism Theology, philosophy Tattvartha Sutra, Mahapurana and others [340][341]

Influence on other languages

For nearly 2,000 years, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was the language of a cultural order that exerted influence across South Asia, Inner Asia, Southeast Asia, and to a certain extent East Asia.[143] A significant form of post- Vedic Sanskrit is found in the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
of Indian epic poetry—the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The deviations from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">Pāṇini
in the epics are generally considered to be on account of interference from Prakrits, or innovations, and not because they are pre-Paninian.[342] Traditional Sanskrit
Sanskrit
scholars call such deviations ārṣa (आर्ष), meaning 'of the ṛṣis', the traditional title for the ancient authors. In some contexts, there are also more "prakritisms" (borrowings from common speech) than in Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
proper. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a literary language heavily influenced by the Middle Indo-Aryan languages, based on early Buddhist Prakrit texts which subsequently assimilated to the Classical Sanskrit
Classical Sanskrit
standard in varying degrees.[343]

Indic languages

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has had a historical presence and influence in many parts of Asia. Above (top clockwise): [i] a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
manuscript from Turkestan, [ii] another from Miran-China, [iii] the Kūkai calligraphy of Siddham- Sanskrit
Sanskrit
in Japan, [iv] a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
inscription in Cambodia, [v] the Thai script, and [vi] a bell with Sanskrit
Sanskrit
engravings in South Korea.

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has greatly influenced the languages of India
India
that grew from its vocabulary and grammatical base; for instance, Hindi is a "Sanskritised register" of Hindustani. All modern Indo-Aryan languages, as well as Munda and Dravidian languages have borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
(tatsama words), or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
(tadbhava words). Words originating in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are estimated at roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern Indo-Aryan languages, as well as the literary forms of Malayalam and Kannada
Kannada
language">Kannada.[344] Literary texts in Telugu are lexically Sanskrit
Sanskrit
or Sanskritised to an enormous extent, perhaps seventy percent or more.[345] Marathi is another prominent language in Western India, that derives most of its words and Marathi grammar from Sanskrit.[346] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words are often preferred in the literary texts in Marathi over corresponding colloquial Marathi word.[347]

Interaction with other languages

Buddhist Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has had a considerable influence on East Asian languages such as Chinese, state William Wang and Chaofen Sun.[348] Many words have been adopted from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
into the Chinese, both in its historic religious discourse and everyday use.[348][note 34] This process likely started about 200 CE and continued through about 1400 CE, with the efforts of monks such as Yuezhi, Anxi, Kangju, Tianzhu, Yan Fodiao, Faxian, Xuanzang
Xuanzang
and Yijing.[348] Further, as the Chinese language and culture influenced the rest of East Asia, the ideas in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts and some of its linguistic elements migrated further.[349][350]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has also influenced Sino-Tibetan languages, mostly through translations of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. Many terms were transliterated directly and added to the Chinese vocabulary. Chinese words like 剎那 chànà (Devanagari: क्षण Sanskrit
Sanskrit
transliteration">kṣaṇa
'instantaneous period') were borrowed from Sanskrit. Many Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts survive only in Tibetan collections of commentaries to the Buddhist teachings, the Tengyur.[351]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
was a language for religious purposes and for the political elite in parts of medieval era Southeast Asia, Central Asia
Central Asia
and East Asia.[136] In Southeast Asia, languages such as Thai and Lao contain many loanwords from Sanskrit, as do Khmer. Many Sanskrit
Sanskrit
loanwords are also found in Austronesian languages, such as Javanese, particularly the older form in which nearly half the vocabulary is borrowed.[352] Other Austronesian languages, such as traditional Malay and modern Indonesian, also derive much of their vocabulary from Sanskrit. Similarly, Philippine languages such as Tagalog have some Sanskrit
Sanskrit
loanwords, although more are derived from Spanish. A Sanskrit
Sanskrit
loanword encountered in many Southeast Asian languages is the word bhāṣā, or spoken language, which is used to refer to the names of many languages.[353] English also has Sanskrit
Sanskrit
origin">words of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
origin.

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
has also influenced the religious register of Japanese mostly through transliterations.These were borrowed from Chinese transliterations.[354] In particular, the Shingon (lit. "True Words") sect of esoteric Buddhism
Buddhism
has been relying on Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and original Sanskrit
Sanskrit
mantras and writings, as a means of realizing Buddhahood.[355]

Modern era

Liturgy, ceremonies and meditation

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is the sacred language of various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. It is used during worship in Hindu temples. In Newar Buddhism, it is used in all monasteries, while Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhist religious texts and sutras are in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as well as vernacular languages. Some of the revered texts of Jainism
Jainism
including the Tattvartha sutra, Ratnakaranda śrāvakācāra, the Bhaktamara Stotra and the Agamas are in Sanskrit. Further, states Paul Dundas, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
mantras and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as a ritual language was commonplace among Jains throughout their medieval history.[356]

Many Hindu rituals and rites-of-passage such as the "giving away the bride" and mutual vows at weddings, a baby's naming or first solid food ceremony and the goodbye during a cremation invoke and chant Sanskrit
Sanskrit
hymns.[357] Major festivals such as the Durga Puja ritually recite entire Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts such as the Devi Mahatmya every year particularly amongst the numerous communities of eastern India.[358][359] In the south, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts are recited at many major Hindu temples such as the Meenakshi Temple.[360] According to Richard H. Davis, a scholar of Religion and South Asian studies, the breadth and variety of oral recitations of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
text Bhagavad Gita is remarkable. In India
India
and beyond, its recitations include "simple private household readings, to family and neighborhood recitation sessions, to holy men reciting in temples or at pilgrimage places for passersby, to public Gita discourses held almost nightly at halls and auditoriums in every Indian city".[361]

Literature and arts

More than 3,000 Sanskrit
Sanskrit
works have been composed since India's independence in 1947.[362] Much of this work has been judged of high quality, in comparison to both classical Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
and modern literature in other Indian languages.[363][364]

The Sahitya Akademi has given an Sahitya Akademi
Sahitya Akademi
Award winners for Sanskrit">award for the best creative work in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
every year since 1967. In 2009, Satya Vrat Shastri became the first Sanskrit
Sanskrit
author to win the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award.[365]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is used extensively in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches of classical music. Kirtanas, bhajans, stotras, and shlokas of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
are popular throughout India. The samaveda uses musical notations in several of its recessions.[366]

In Mainland China, musicians such as Sa Dingding have written pop songs in Sanskrit.[367]

Numerous loan Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words are found in other major Asian languages. For example, Filipino,[368] Cebuano,[369] Lao, Khmer[370] Thai and its alphabets, Malay, Indonesian (old Javanese-English dictionary by P.J. Zoetmulder contains over 25,500 entries), and even in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
origin">English.

Over 90 weeklies, fortnightlies and quarterlies are published in Sanskrit. Sudharma, a daily newspaper in Sanskrit, has been published out of Mysore, India, since 1970, while Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Vartman Patram and Vishwasya Vrittantam started in Gujarat
Gujarat
during the last five years.[371] Since 1974, there has been a short daily news broadcast on state-run India
India
Radio">All India
India
Radio.[371] These broadcasts are also made available on the internet on AIR's website.[372][373] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
news is broadcast on TV and on the internet through the DD National channel at 6:55 AM IST.[374]

11th-century Nepalese Sanskrit
Sanskrit
text Devi Mahatmya palm leaf page. Bhujimol script, which is now extinct. It is related to Devanagari, Kutila and Newari scripts.[375]

Schools and contemporary status

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is one the 15 languages of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.[250]

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
festival at Pramati Hillview Academy, Mysore, India

The Central Board of Secondary Education of India
India
(CBSE), along with several other state education boards, has made Sanskrit
Sanskrit
an alternative option to the state's own official language as a second or third language choice in the schools it governs. In such schools, learning Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). This is true of most schools affiliated with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) board, especially in states where the official language is Hindi. Sanskrit
Sanskrit
is also taught in traditional gurukulas throughout India.[376]

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

In the West

St James Junior School in London, England, offers Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as part of the curriculum.[377] In the United States, since September 2009, high school students have been able to receive credits as Independent Study or toward Foreign Language requirements by studying Sanskrit, as part of the "SAFL: Samskritam as a Foreign Language" program coordinated by Samskrita Bharati.[378] In Australia, the Sydney private boys' high school Sydney
Sydney
Grammar School"> Sydney
Sydney
Grammar School offers Sanskrit
Sanskrit
from years 7 through to 12, including for the Higher School Certificate.[379] Other schools included the Ficino School in Auckland, New Zealand; St James Preparatory Schools in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa; John Colet School, Sydney, Australia; Erasmus School, Melbourne, Australia.[380][381][382]

European studies and discourse

European scholarship in Sanskrit, begun by Heinrich Roth (1620–1668) and Johann Ernst Hanxleden (1681–1731), is considered responsible for the discovery of an Indo-European language family by Sir William Jones (1746–1794). This research played an important role in the development of Western philology, or historical linguistics.[383]

The 18th- and 19th-century speculations about the possible links of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to ancient Egyptian language were later proven to be wrong, but it fed an orientalist discourse both in the form Indophobia and Indophilia, states Trautmann.[384] Sanskrit
Sanskrit
writings, when first discovered, were imagined by Indophiles to potentially be "repositories of the primitive experiences and religion of the human race, and as such confirmatory of the truth of Christian scripture", as well as a key to "universal ethnological narrative".[385] The Indophobes imagined the opposite, making the counterclaim that there is little of any value in Sanskrit, portraying it as "a language fabricated by artful [Brahmin] priests", with little original thought, possibly copied from the Greeks who came with Alexander or perhaps the Persians.[386]

Scholars such as William Jones and his colleagues felt the need for systematic studies of Sanskrit language
Sanskrit language
and literature. This launched the Asiatic Society, an idea that was soon transplanted to Europe starting with the efforts of Henry Thomas Colebrooke in Britain, then Alexander Hamilton who helped expand its studies to Paris and thereafter his student Friedrich Schlegel who introduced Sanskrit
Sanskrit
to the universities of Germany. Schlegel nurtured his own students into influential European Sanskrit
Sanskrit
scholars, particularly through Franz Bopp and Friedrich Max Muller. As these scholars translated the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
manuscripts, the enthusiasm for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
grew rapidly among European scholars, states Trautmann, and chairs for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
"were established in the universities of nearly every German statelet" creating a competition for Sanskrit
Sanskrit
experts.[387]

Symbolic usage

In Nepal, India
India
and Indonesia, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
phrases are widely used as mottoes for various national, educational and social organisations:

In popular culture

Satyagraha, an opera by Philip Glass, uses texts from the Bhagavad Gita, sung in Sanskrit.[393][394] The closing credits of The Matrix Revolutions has a prayer from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The song "Cyber-raga" from Madonna's album Music
Music
(Madonna album)">Music
includes Sanskrit
Sanskrit
chants,[395] and Shanti/Ashtangi from her 1998 album Ray of Light, which won a Grammy, is the ashtanga vinyasa yoga chant.[396] The lyrics include the mantra Om shanti.[397] Composer John Williams featured choirs singing in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.[398][399] Template
Template
noprint noexcerpt Template-Fact" style="white-space:nowrap;">[better source needed]
The theme song of Battlestar Galactica 2004 is the Gayatri Mantra, taken from the Rigveda.[400] The lyrics of "The Child In Us" by Enigma also contains Sanskrit
Sanskrit
verses.[401] Template
Template
noprint noexcerpt Template-Fact" style="white-space:nowrap;">[better source needed]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Old Hittite language and Mycenaean Greek, along with the Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    language, are the oldest documented IE languages; of these, Old Hittite is dated to be the oldest.[19][20]
  2. ^ The oldest documented South Asian language is not Sanskrit, however. It is the language evidenced by the undeciphered Harappan script from the 3rd millennium BCE.[19]
  3. ^ More numerous inscribed Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    records in Brahmi have been found near Mathura and elsewhere, but these are from the 1st century CE onwards.[30] Indian texts in Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    were already in China by 402 CE, carried by the influential Buddhist pilgrim Faxian, who translated them into Chinese by 418 CE.[31][32]
  4. ^ Mallory and Adams illustrate the resemblance with the following words:
    English  Latin   Greek  Sanskrit
    mother   māter   mētēr   mātár-
    father   pater   pater   pitár-
    brother  frāter  phreter  bhrātar-
    sister    soror    eor     svásar-
    son      fīlius  huius   sūnú-
    daughter  fīlia  thugátēr  duhitár-
    cow      bōs     bous     gáu-
    house   domus   do   dām-
    – James Mallory and Douglas Adams,The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European
    Proto-Indo-European
    and the Proto-Indo-European
    Proto-Indo-European
    World
    [54]
  5. ^ The Mitanni
    Mitanni
    treaty is generally dated to the 16th century BCE, but this date and its significance remains much debated.[68]
  6. ^ An example of the shared phrasal equations is the dyaus pita in Vedic Sanskrit, which means "father Heaven". The Mycenaean Greek
    Mycenaean Greek
    equivalent is Zeus Pater, which evolved to Jupiter in Latin. Equivalent "paternal Heaven" phrasal equation is found in many Indo-European languages.[73]
  7. ^ Pāṇini's use of the term lipi has been a source of scholarly disagreements. Harry Falk in his 1993 overview states that ancient Indians neither knew nor used writing script, and Pāṇini's mention is likely a reference to Semitic and Greek scripts.[90] In his 1995 review, Salomon questions Falk's arguments and writes it is "speculative at best and hardly constitutes firm grounds for a late date for Kharoṣṭhī. The stronger argument for this position is that we have no specimen of the script before the time of Ashoka, nor any direct evidence of intermediate stages in its development; but of course this does not mean that such earlier forms did not exist, only that, if they did exist, they have not survived, presumably because they were not employed for monumental purposes before Ashoka".[91] According to Hartmut Scharfe, Lipi of Pāṇini
    Pāṇini
    may be borrowed from the Old Persian
    Old Persian
    Dipi, in turn derived from Sumerian Dup. Scharfe adds that the best evidence, at the time of his review, is that no script was used in India, aside from the Northwest Indian subcontinent, before around 300 BCE because Indian tradition "at every occasion stresses the orality of the cultural and literary heritage."[92] Kenneth Norman states writing scripts in ancient India
    India
    evolved over the long period of time like other cultures, that it is unlikely that ancient Indians developed a single complete writing system at one and the same time in the Maurya era. It is even less likely, states Norman, that a writing script was invented during Ashoka's rule, starting from nothing, for the specific purpose of writing his inscriptions and then it was understood all over South Asia
    South Asia
    where the Ashoka
    Ashoka
    pillars are found.[93] Jack Goody states that ancient India
    India
    likely had a "very old culture of writing" along with its oral tradition of composing and transmitting knowledge, because the Vedic literature is too vast, consistent and complex to have been entirely created, memorized, accurately preserved and spread without a written system.[94] Falk disagrees with Goody, and suggests that it is a Western presumption and inability to imagine that remarkably early scientific achievements such as Pāṇini's grammar (5th to 4th century BCE), and the creation, preservation and wide distribution of the large corpus of the Brahmanic Vedic literature and the Buddhist canonical literature, without any writing scripts. Johannes Bronkhorst disagrees with Falk, and states, "Falk goes too far. It is fair to expect that we believe that Vedic memorisation—though without parallel in any other human society—has been able to preserve very long texts for many centuries without losing a syllable. [...] However, the oral composition of a work as complex as Pāṇini's grammar is not only without parallel in other human cultures, it is without parallel in India
    India
    itself. [...] It just will not do to state that our difficulty in conceiving any such thing is our problem".[95]
  8. ^ Scholars have variously dated the Ramayana from about 750 BCE to 300 CE, the wide range depending on whether the estimate is for the earliest version or for the versions that have survived into the modern era. According to Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    epics scholar John Brockington, the earliest layer of the Ramayana epic was composed about the 5th to the 4th centuries BCE. Other recent scholarly estimates are around the 4th century BCE, give or take a century.[103]
  9. ^ Pali
    Pali
    is also an extinct language.[109]
  10. ^ The Indian Mission for Manuscripts initiative has already counted over 5 million manuscripts. The thirty million estimate is of David Pingree, a manuscriptologist and historian. – Peter M. Scharf[118]
  11. ^ A celebrated work on the philosophy of language is the Vakyapadiya by the 5th-century Hindu scholar Bhartrhari.[121][124][125]
  12. ^ The oldest surviving Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    inscription in the Kathmandu valley is dated to 464 CE.[174]
  13. ^ Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    is written in many scripts. Sounds in grey are not phonemic.
  14. ^ Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    is written in many scripts. Sounds in grey are not phonemic.
  15. ^ The "root + affix" is called the "stem".[213]
  16. ^ Other equivalents: bharāmi (I carry), bharati (he carries), bharāmas (we carry).[54] Similar morphology is found in some other Indo-European languages; for example, in the Gothic language, baira (I carry), bairis (you carry), bairiþ (he carries).
  17. ^ Ruppel gives the following endings for the "present indicative active" in the Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    language: 1st dual: -vaḥ, 1st plural: -maḥ, 2nd dual: -thaḥ, 2nd plural: -tha and so on.[99]
  18. ^ The Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    in the Indian epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are all in meter, and the structure of the metrics has attracted scholarly studies since the 19th century.[228]
  19. ^ Kena, Katha, Isha, Shvetashvatara and Mundaka Upanishads
    Upanishads
    are examples of verse-style ancient Upanishads.
  20. ^ Sudden or significant changes in metre, wherein the metre of succeeding sections return to earlier sections, suggest a corruption of the message, interpolations and insertion of text into a Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    manuscript. It may also reflect that the text is a compilation of works of different authors and time periods.[234][235][236]
  21. ^ A version of this list of sixty-four ancient Indian scripts is found in the Chinese translation of an Indian Buddhist text, and this translation has been dated to 308 CE.[246]
  22. ^ The Greek Nearchos who visited ancient India
    India
    with the army of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, mentions that Indians wrote on cloth, but Nearchos could have confused Aramaic writers with the Indians.[249]
  23. ^ Salomon writes, in The World's Writing Systems edited by Peter Daniels, that "many scholars feel that the origins of these scripts must have gone back further than this [mid-3rd century BCE Ashoka
    Ashoka
    inscriptions], but there is no conclusive proof".[250]
  24. ^ Minor inscriptions discovered in the 20th century may be older, but their dating is uncertain.[255]
  25. ^ Salomon states that the inscription has a few scribal errors, but is essentially standard Sanskrit.[29]
  26. ^ Salomon illustrates this for the consonant ka which is written as "Brahmi k.svg" in the Brahmi script
    Brahmi script
    and "क" in the Devanagari
    Devanagari
    script, the vowel is marked together with the consonant before as in "कि", after "का", above "के" or below "कृ".[252]
  27. ^ Salomon states that these shared graphic principles that combine syllabic and alphabetic writing are distinctive for Indic scripts when contrasted with other major world languages. The only known similarity is found in the Ethiopic scripts, but Ethiopic system lacks clusters and the Indic set of full vowels signs.[273]
  28. ^ Some scholars date these to the 2nd century BCE.[276][277]
  29. ^ Prakrit
    Prakrit
    inscriptions of ancient India, such as those of Ashoka, are older. Louis Renou called it "the great linguistical paradox of India" that the Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    inscriptions appear later than Prakrit inscriptions, although Prakrit
    Prakrit
    is considered as a descendant of the Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    language.[29]
  30. ^ According to Salomon, towards the end of pre-Christian era, "a smattering" of standard or nearly standard Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    inscriptions came into vogue, and "we may assume that these are isolated survivals of what must have been then an increasingly common practice". He adds, that the Scythian rulers of northern and western India
    India
    while not the originators, were promoters of the use of Sanskrit language
    Sanskrit language
    for inscriptions, and "their motivation in promoting Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    was presumably a desire to establish themselves as legitimate Indian or at least Indianized rulers and to curry the favor of the educated Brahmanical elite".[281]
  31. ^ The Rudradaman inscription is "not pure classical Sanskrit", but with few epic-vernacular Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    exceptions, it approaches high classical Sanskrit.[290]
  32. ^ The use of the Sanskrit language
    Sanskrit language
    in epigraphy gradually dropped after the arrival and the consolidation of Islamic Delhi Sultanate rule in the late 12th century, but it remained in active epigraphical use in the south and central regions of India. By about the 14th century, with the Islamic armies conquering more of the Indian subcontinent, the use of Sanskrit language
    Sanskrit language
    for inscriptions became rarer and it was replaced with Persian, Arabic, Dravidian and North-Indo-Aryan languages, states Salomon.[302] The Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    language, particularly in bilingual formet, re-emerged in the epigraphy of Hindu kingdoms such as the Vijayanagara, Yadavas, Hoysalas, Pandyas and others that re-established themselves.[303] Some Muslim rulers such as Adil Shah also issued Sanskrit language
    Sanskrit language
    inscriptions recording the donation of a mosque.[303]
  33. ^ Most Tripitaka
    Tripitaka
    historic texts in the Pali
    Pali
    language, but Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    Tripitaka
    Tripitaka
    texts have been discovered.[337]
  34. ^ Examples of phonetically imported Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    words in Chinese include samgha (Chinese: seng), bhiksuni (ni), kasaya (jiasha), namo or namas (namo), and nirvana (niepan). The list of phonetically transcribed and semantically translated words from Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    into Chinese is substantial, states Xiangdong Shi.[348]

References

  1. ^ Uta Reinöhl (2016). Grammaticalization and the Rise of Configurationality in Indo-Aryan. Oxford University Press. pp. xiv, 1–16. ISBN 978-0-19-873666-0.
  2. ^ https://www.pratidintime.com/latest-census-figure-reveals-increase-in-sanskrit-speakers-in-india/
  3. ^ National Population and Housing Census 2011 (PDF) (Report). 1. Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics, Government of Nepal. November 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 December 2013.
  4. ^ "http://aboutworldlanguages.com/sanskrit"
  5. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sanskrit". Glottolog
    Glottolog
    3.0
    . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  6. ^ "dictionary.com – Sanskrit". Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e George Cardona (2012). Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    Language
    . Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  8. ^ Tim Murray 2007, pp. v–vi, 1–18, 31–32, 115–116.
  9. ^ a b Harold G. Coward 1990, pp. 3–12, 36–47, 111–112, Note: Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    was both a literary and spoken language in ancient India..
  10. ^ Damien Keown & Charles S. Prebish 2013, p. 15, Quote: " Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    served as the lingua franca of ancient India, just as Latin
    Latin
    did in medieval Europe".
  11. ^ a b c d e Deshpande 2011, pp. 218–220.
  12. ^ A. M. Ruppel 2017, pp. 1–2, 102–104.
  13. ^ a b Ramesh Chandra Majumdar 1974, pp. 1–4.
  14. ^ a b Charles Orzech; Henrik Sørensen; Richard Payne (2011). Esoteric Buddhism
    Buddhism
    and the Tantras in East Asia
    . BRILL Academic. pp. 985–996. ISBN 978-90-04-18491-6.
    ; Upendra Thakur (1992). India
    India
    and Japan, a Study in Interaction During 5th Cent.-14th Cent. A.D.
    Abhinav Publications. pp. 53–61. ISBN 978-81-7017-289-5.
  15. ^ a b Banerji 1989, pp. 595–596.
  16. ^ Michael C. Howard 2012, p. 21, Quote: " Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    was another important lingua franca in the ancient world that was widely used in South Asia
    South Asia
    and in the context of Hindu and Buddhist religions in neighboring areas as well. [...] The spread of South Asian cultural influence to Southeast Asia, meant that Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    was also used in these areas, especially in a religious context and political elites.".
  17. ^ Sheldon Pollock 2009, p. 14, Quote: "Once Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    emerged from the sacerdotal environment ... it became the sole medium by which ruling elites expressed their power ... Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    probably never functioned as an everyday medium of communication anywhere in the cosmopolis—not in South Asia
    South Asia
    itself, let alone Southeast Asia
    Southeast Asia
    ... The work Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    did do ... was directed above all toward articulating a form of ... politics ... as celebration of aesthetic power.".
  18. ^ Philipp Strazny 2013, p. 500.
  19. ^ a b c Roger D. Woodard (2008). The Ancient Languages of Asia and the Americas. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-521-68494-1., Quote: "The earliest form of this 'oldest' language, Sanskrit, is the one found in the ancient Brahmanic text called the Rigveda, composed c. 1500 BC. The date makes Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    one of the three earliest of the well-documented languages of the Indo-European family – the other two being Old Hittite and Myceanaean Greek – and, in keeping with its early appearance, Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    has been a cornerstone in the reconstruction of the parent language of the Indo-European family – Proto-Indo-European."
  20. ^ Arne Hult (1991). On the Development of the Present Active Participle in Bulgarian. Institutum Slavicum Universitatis Gothoburgensis. p. 26. ISBN 978-91-86094-11-9.
  21. ^ Benware 1974, pp. 25–27.
  22. ^ Thomas Burrow 2001, pp. v & ch. 1.
  23. ^ a b Alfred C. Woolner (1986). Introduction to Prakrit. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-81-208-0189-9., Quote:"If in 'Sanskrit' we include the Vedic language and all dialects of the Old Indian period, then it is true to say that all the Prakrits are derived from Sanskrit. If on the other hand 'Sanskrit' is used more strictly of the Panini-Patanjali language or 'Classical Sanskrit,' then it is untrue to say that any Prakrit
    Prakrit
    is derived from Sanskrit, except that Sauraseni, the Midland Prakrit, is derived from the Old Indian dialect of the Madhyadesa on which Classical Sanskrit
    Classical Sanskrit
    was mainly based."
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  193. ^ Sanskrit
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  194. ^ Colin P. Masica 1993, p. 146 notes of this diacritic that "there is some controversy as to whether it represents a homorganic nasal stop [...], a nasalised vowel, a nasalised semivowel, or all these according to context".
  195. ^ This visarga is a consonant, not a vowel. It's a post-vocalic voiceless glottal fricative [h], and an allophone of Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    transliteration">s
    (or less commonly Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    transliteration">r
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    Sanskrit
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