Difference between revisions of "Pronunciation of Sanskrit words"

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* a dot underneath for reflection. In the case of the letters '''ḷ''', '''ṭ''', '''ḍ''', '''ṇ''', '''ṃ''', the difference is too subtle, so we can neglect this and pronounce the letter as if there was no dot.  
 
* a dot underneath for reflection. In the case of the letters '''ḷ''', '''ṭ''', '''ḍ''', '''ṇ''', '''ṃ''', the difference is too subtle, so we can neglect this and pronounce the letter as if there was no dot.  
 
* the '''ḥ''' is an unvoiced breath following a vowel. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the syllable ''āḥ''.
 
* the '''ḥ''' is an unvoiced breath following a vowel. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the syllable ''āḥ''.
* the '''''' equals a "sh"-sound, like in shade. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''rākṣasa''.
+
* an accent for the palatal sibilant '''ś''' equals a "sh"-sound, like in fresh. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''Śūnyatā'', ''Śākyamuni'' or ''Śāripūtra''.
* an accent for the palatal sibilant '''ś'''. The sound is basically the same as for ''''''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''Śūnyatā'', ''Śākyamuni'' or ''Śāripūtra''.
+
* the sound is basically the same as for '''ś'''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''Śeṣa''.
 
* a tilde for the palatal nasal sound '''ñ'''. This sounds equals ''ny'', like in ''canyon''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''Mañjuśrī''.
 
* a tilde for the palatal nasal sound '''ñ'''. This sounds equals ''ny'', like in ''canyon''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''Mañjuśrī''.
 
* consonants followed by an '''h''' are slightly more aspirated, but the difference is subtle.
 
* consonants followed by an '''h''' are slightly more aspirated, but the difference is subtle.
  
A few common appearances:
+
A few common compounds are:
*'''kṣa''' like in ''kshatriya'' (the Buddha's caste).
+
*'''kṣa''' pronounced ''kscha''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''rākṣasa'' and ''kṣatriya''.
* and '''jñā''' like in ''jñāna'' (primordial wisdom). Depending on the area, this is pronounced either "j-nya" (j-nyana) or "gya" (gyana).
+
* '''jñā''' which depending on the area is pronounced either "j-nya" or "gya". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''jñāna'' (pronounced either j-nyana or gyana) and ''prajñāpāramitā''  (pronounced either praj-nya-paramita or pra-gya-paramita)
  
  

Revision as of 07:49, 6 August 2016

Since the Sanskrit alphabet consists of a number of letters and sounds that do not exist in the Latin alphabet, certain additional signs, so-called diacritics are required in the Latin script for the representation and transliteration of these sounds. In Sanskrit each letter represents one and only one sound. In English the letter a for example may indicate many sounds (e.g. fat, fate, fare, far) but not so in Sanskrit.

There are five different kinds of diacritical signs:

  1. a horizontal line on top of a vowel. E.g. ā
  2. a dot on top for the guttural nasal sound
  3. a dot underneath a letter. Eg.
  4. a tilde for the palatal nasal sound ñ
  5. an accent for the palatal sibilant ś

Pronunciation:

  • a horizontal line on top of a vowel (e.g. ā) indicates a long vowel. Long vowels are held for about twice the length than their corresponding short vowels. E.g. a is pronounced like the "u" in "but", and ā is pronounced like the "o" in "mom" or as in "harm". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words Tathāgata or Padmākara. Here, the emphasis lies on ā.
  • e, o, ai, and au can be counted as long vowels and thus the vocal length is prolonged as well. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Vairocana. Thus, ai and o are held longer than the two following short a's.
  • is counted as a vowel in Sanskrit. The sound of is a combination of "r" followed by a short "ee"-sound, e.g. as in "rich", unlike "reef". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Amṛta.
  • a dot on top for the guttural nasal sound . E.g. like in wrong. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Saṅgha.
  • a dot underneath for reflection. In the case of the letters , , , , , the difference is too subtle, so we can neglect this and pronounce the letter as if there was no dot.
  • the is an unvoiced breath following a vowel. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the syllable āḥ.
  • an accent for the palatal sibilant ś equals a "sh"-sound, like in fresh. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words Śūnyatā, Śākyamuni or Śāripūtra.
  • the sound is basically the same as for ś. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Śeṣa.
  • a tilde for the palatal nasal sound ñ. This sounds equals ny, like in canyon. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Mañjuśrī.
  • consonants followed by an h are slightly more aspirated, but the difference is subtle.

A few common compounds are:

  • kṣa pronounced kscha. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words rākṣasa and kṣatriya.
  • jñā which depending on the area is pronounced either "j-nya" or "gya". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words jñāna (pronounced either j-nyana or gyana) and prajñāpāramitā (pronounced either praj-nya-paramita or pra-gya-paramita)


Overview

a but not bat
ā harm not ham
i pink
ī peep
u put
ū boot
rich
table
e mess
ai aisle or pie
o beau
au down or hound

References

  • Source: This presentation is partially based on Charles Wikner's A practical Sanskrit Introductory and Sanskrit für Anfänger by Thomas Lehman.

Internal Links

External Links