SANSKRIT PRIME – the Proto-Indo-European Mother Tongue – Pronunciation of Sanskrit

Pronuncing Sanskrit

Sanskrit is a very beautiful language, and holds within its vibrations a sacred energy that will greatly empower your spiritual growth. It is easy to pronounce once you learn a few basic rules.

Vowels
a – Short “a” as in “cut.” ṛ – Trilled “r” followed by a short “I” as in “ri.”
ā – Long “a” as in “lot.” ṝ – Pronounced as above, but longer.
i – As in “king,” a sound between “lick” and “keen.” ḷ – L followed by a short “i” as in “li.”
ī – Hard “e” as in “keen.”
u – Short u as in “cook.”
ū – Long u as in “shoot.”

Dipthongs:
e – As in “bay.” o – As in “low.”
ai –As in “eye.” au – As in “ouch.”

Vowels with a line on top are pronounced twice as long as short vowels, and they are stressed syllables in a word.

Consonants

Gutturals (made with the tip of the tongue at the back of the throat): k, kh, g, gh, ṅ.
Palatals (made with the tongue at the palate): c, ch, j, jh, ñ.
Cerebrals (made with the tip of the tongue behind the palate): ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ.
Dentals (made with the tip of the tongue behind the teeth): t, th, d, dh, n.
Labials (made with the lips): p, ph, b, bh, m.
Semivowels: y, r, l, v.
Spirants: ś, ṣ, s, h.
Other: ḥ, ṃ.

Aspirated Letters:
All consonants with an “h” after them are aspirated and pronounced separate from each other; ex. “gh” as in “dog house.”

Cs:
c – A “ch” as in “chopper.”

Ns:
ṅ – A “ng” as in “song;” ex. aliṅgana, pronounced “aling-gana,” not “alin-gana.”
ñ – A “nya.”
ṇ – A “n” with the tip of the tongue on the back of the throat.

Spirants:
ś – An “sh” as in “shoe.”
ṣ – An “sh” with the tip of the tongue on the upper back part of the throat.

Other Consonants:
ḥ – A soft “h” that softly repeats the sound of the vowel before it, but is usually left as just a soft “h.”
ṃ – A deeper, nasalized, longer and more resonant “m.”

Consonant Combinations:
Consonant combinations pronounced separately; ex. “th” pronounced like “hot house.”
jñ – A “nya;” ex. prajñā, pronounced “pra-nya.”

Apostrophes:
’ – An elision of a vowel that is unpronounced, like a contraction; ex. “can’t.” Syllable Stresses:
In a two syllable word, the first syllable is usually stressed; ex. bali.
In a three syllable word, the second syllable is usually stressed; ex. baliṅgta
In a four syllable word, the second syllable is usually stressed; ex. narteśvara.
If a word has a long vowel in it, the long vowel is stressed; ex. mudrā.
If a word has two or more long vowels in it, all the long vowels are stressed; ex. Mahāmudrā.

Nasalization:
All words in Sanskrit are pronounced with a slight nasal tone.

 

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