Summary – Section 2 (Facts 14 to 25)
In this section we discuss the basic features of Sanskrit, our mother tongue.
Fact 14 – We discuss the alphabet and sound system of Sanskrit and how the alphabet is arranged scientifically, based, for one, on the positions of the tongue where the different sounds are articulated. We investigate the different vowel and consonant sounds of the language.
Fact 15 – We look at the writing system used to represent Sanskrit sounds – the Devanāgarī script. We look at the origins and some of the characteristics of Devanāgarī.
Fact 16 – We look at how words are formed in Sanskrit. We look at the fact that every word in Sanskrit is derived from a set of basic atoms called roots. A word is formed by adding primary and secondary suffixes to (maybe modified) roots. We discuss the Indo-European heritage of these roots and suffixes and look at the similarities between word derivations in Sanskrit and other European languages. To contrast this method of forming words (adding suffixes to roots) with another method, we look at how words are formed in Arabic.
Fact 17 – We look at the three types of roots in Sanskrit – verb roots, noun roots and pronominal roots. While verb roots and noun roots give rise to verb, noun and adjective forms, pronominal roots give rise to pronouns and demonstratives. While some grammarians like Yāska maintain that there is no such thing as a noun root, and all verbs, nouns and adjectives can be traced to verb roots, some like Gārgya maintain that some nouns and adjectives cannot be traced back to verb roots.
Fact 18 – The basic word form in Sanskrit is called a ‘stem’. The stem is formed by adding prefixes and suffixes to (maybe modified) roots. The word stem is then made usable in a sentence (indicating its grammatical function in a sentence) by the addition of declensional (noun and adjective) or conjugational (verb) endings. Most adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections use word stems without modification by declension or conjugation.
Fact 19 – Nouns in Sanskrit exhibit three different gender forms – called masculine, feminine and neuter. They also exhibit three number forms – singular, dual and plural. Adjectives qualifying these nouns also change their forms according to the corresponding noun form.
Fact 20 – In this ‘fact’ we look at the basics of declension – nouns taking different endings to indicate their grammatical function in a sentence. Is the noun the subject of the action (verb), or object of the action? Is it an instrument used to avail of that action, is it from where or in where the action happens or for who is the action? These are indicated by declensional endings, which vary with the grammatical function. The endings also vary with the number of the noun. These endings are called case endings. While Latin and Greek employ case endings, Hindi like French employ prepositions (or postpositions) to indicate the function of a noun in a sentence.
Fact 21 – We look at adjectives and state that adjectives change their forms according to the nouns they qualify. They change to indicate their gender, number and case to correspond with the nouns they qualify. We also look at the formation of the comparatives and superlatives of adjectives.
Fact 22 – Verbs too change their forms taking different endings to agree with the nouns they work with. These endings indicate the number and person of the subject noun and also different tenses and modes of the verb.
Fact 23 – Like nouns, pronouns and demonstratives also take different endings (are declined) to indicate their function with respect to the verb in a sentence.
Fact 24 – Not to be left behind, numbers too take different forms in sentences. While ordinal numbers behave like adjectives, cardinal numbers behave inconsistently. Numbers up to twenty behave like adjectives with some even showing differences of gender and number. Numbers beyond twenty behave like nouns.
Fact 25 – Prepositions (to, with etc.), adverbs, conjunctions and interjections show no variation in form.
Click on the links below to visit the other summary pages