Difference between revisions of "Pronunciation of Sanskrit words"

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* the sound is very similar to '''ś'''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''Śeṣa''.
 
* the sound is very similar to '''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.
+
* The aspirated consonants (kh, gh, ch, jh, th, dh, th, dh, ph, bh) are pronounced as the consonant plus a noticeable aspiration of breath.
 
* an additional important point for English speakers is that the Sanskrit consonant '''ca''' is pronounced like the ''ch'' in ''chip'' and ''not'' like the ''ca'' in ''catch''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''cāmara'' or ''Cakrasaṃvara''.
 
* an additional important point for English speakers is that the Sanskrit consonant '''ca''' is pronounced like the ''ch'' in ''chip'' and ''not'' like the ''ca'' in ''catch''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''cāmara'' or ''Cakrasaṃvara''.
  
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==External Links==
 
==External Links==
 +
* [http://nalandatranslation.org/media/ Pronunciation-of-Chants.pdf}
 
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devanagari_transliteration Overview of the different Sanskrit / Devanagari transliteration schemes]
 
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devanagari_transliteration Overview of the different Sanskrit / Devanagari transliteration schemes]
 
* [http://www.ashtangayoga.info/source-texts/sanskrit/transkription-tool/ Conversion tool for different Sanskrit / Devanagari transcription systems]
 
* [http://www.ashtangayoga.info/source-texts/sanskrit/transkription-tool/ Conversion tool for different Sanskrit / Devanagari transcription systems]

Revision as of 11:49, 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. Sanskrit follows very regular rules and contains no “silent letters” such as those in English.

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 "a" in "fat", and ā is pronounced like the "a" in "father" 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 very similar to 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.
  • The aspirated consonants (kh, gh, ch, jh, th, dh, th, dh, ph, bh) are pronounced as the consonant plus a noticeable aspiration of breath.
  • an additional important point for English speakers is that the Sanskrit consonant ca is pronounced like the ch in chip and not like the ca in catch. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word cāmara or Cakrasaṃvara.

Commonly used conjunct consonants, that is a combination of two or three consonants, are:

  • kṣa pronounced kscha. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words rākṣasa and kṣatriya.
  • tra pronounced like the tra in trap. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word mantra.
  • 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