Useful Information About Sanskrit

Sanskrit is recognized in the constitution of India as both a classical language and an official language and continues to be used in scholarly, literary, and technical media, as well as in periodicals, radio, television, and film.

In its grammatical structure, Sanskrit is similar to other early Indo-European languages such as Greek and Latin. It is an inflected language. For instance, the Sanskrit nominal system—including nouns, pronouns, and adjectives—has three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), three numbers (singular, dual, and plural), and seven syntactic cases (nominative, accusative, instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, and locative), in addition to a vocative. However, a full set of distinct forms occurs only in the singular of masculine -a- stems of the type deva- ‘god’: nominative devas (devaḥ before a pause), accusative devam, instrumental devena, dative devāya, ablative devāt, genitive devasya, locative deve, and vocative deva.

Adjectives are inflected to agree with nouns, and there are distinct pronominal forms for certain cases: e.g., tasmai, tasmāt, tasmin (masculine-neuter dative, ablative, and locative singular, respectively) ‘that one.’

Verbs inflect for tense, mode, voice, number, and person. These may be illustrated by third-person active forms of pac ‘cook, bake’ (used if cooking is done for someone other than the agent), including the present indicative pacati ‘cooks, is cooking’; the proximate future pakṣyati ‘will cook,’ referring to an act that will take place at some time in the future, possibly including the day on which one is speaking; the non-proximate future paktā ‘will cook,’ referring to an act that will take place at some time in the future, excluding the day on which one is speaking; the aorist apākṣīt ‘cooked, has cooked,’ referring to an act completed in the general past, possibly including the day on which one speaks; the imperfect past apacat ‘cooked,’ referring to an act in the past, excluding the day on which one speaks; the perfect reportative papāca ‘cooked,’ referring to an act performed in the past, excluding the day of speaking, and which the speaker did not directly witness or is not personally aware; the imperative pacatu ‘should, must cook,’ expressing a command, request, or invitation to perform the act; the optative pacet, used in the same sense as the imperative; the precative pacyāt ‘may cook,’ expressing a wish; and the contrafactual conditional apakṣyat ‘if (he) cooked, if (he) had cooked, if (he) would cook, if (he) would have cooked.’ There are also middle forms (‘cook for oneself’) corresponding to the forms just cited: pacate ‘cooks, is cooking,’ pakṣyate ‘will cook,’ paktā ‘will cook,’ apakta ‘cooked, has cooked,’ apacata ‘cooked,’ pece ‘cooked,’ pacatām ‘should, must cook,’ pakṣīṣṭa ‘may cook,’ apakṣyata ‘if (I) cooked, if (I) had cooked, if (I) would cook, if (I) would have cooked.’ There is also a passive, as with the third singular present indicative pacyate ‘…is being cooked.’ Early Vedic preserves remnants of an earlier aspectual contrast between perfective and imperfective.

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