Sanskrit alphabet वर्णमाला (Varṇamālā)

Sanskrit Alphabet

Chapter

2

Skill Level

All

Language

Sanskrit explained in English

Overview

We hope, you have read about the origins of Maheshwari Sutrani in the first chapter, along with the fourteen sounds which contain all the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet.

If you have not read it and are interested in doing so, please navigate to the ‘Maheshwari Sutrani’ link near the bottom of this page.

Sanskrit Alphabet is called as the वर्णमाला (Varṇamālā). It contains all the letters of Sanskrit alphabet in a systematic way. It is quite similar to the Maheshwari Sutrani.

Learning this chapter will help you:

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Sanskrit alphabet | वर्णमाला (Varṇamālā)

As mentioned in the overview section above, the वर्णमाला (Varṇamālā) contains all the letters of Sanskrit alphabet in a systematic way.

Varṇamālā is divided into two parts – स्वराः (Svarāḥ) / Vowels and व्यञ्जनानि  (Vyañjanāni) / Consonants.

Vowels

There are three types of vowels:

ह्रस्व-स्वराः (hrasva-svarāḥ) / Short vowels
दीर्घ-स्वराः (Dīrgha-Svarāḥ) / Long vowels and
संयुक्त-स्वराः (Saṃyukta-Svarāḥ) / Compound Vowels

ह्रस्व​-स्वराः (hrasva​-svarāḥ) / Short vowels 

These are the vowels from which all other vowels are made. They are five in number and are as given below.

aiu

The first four i.e. अ, इ, उ, ऋ are used frequently and ऌ (Ḷ) is used rarely.

दीर्घ-स्वराः (Dīrgha-Svarāḥ) / Long vowels 

These are four in number. The sounds of दीर्घ-स्वराः (Dīrgha-Svarāḥ) are pronounced twice as long as that of ह्रस्व​-स्वराः (hrasva​-svarāḥ).

āīū

संयुक्त-स्वराः (Saṃyukta-Svarāḥ) / Compound Vowels – 

These are formed by combining the ह्रस्व​-स्वराः (hrasva​-svarāḥ) and the दीर्घ-स्वराः (Dīrgha-Svarāḥ). They are four in number.

eaioau

The sound of the letter ऐ (ai) is pronounced twice as long as that of the letter ए (e). The sound of the letter औ (Au) is pronounced twice as long as that of the letter ओ (O).

व्यञ्जनानि / Consonants :- 

These are of two types, वर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि / Grouped Consonants and अवर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि / Un-grouped Consonants

वर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि / Grouped  Consonants – These are classified into Group, Types of Consonants, and according to place of pronunciation. 

वर्गः (Group)क -वर्गः
(Ka-Group)
व्यञ्जनानि (Consonants)कण्ठीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Gutturals)
कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
क् – k
ख् – kh
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ग् – g
घ् – gh
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonant)
ङ् – ṅ
वर्गः (Group)च -वर्गः (Ca-Group)
व्यञ्जनानि (Consonants)तालव्य-व्यञ्जनानि (Palatals)
कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
च् – c
छ् – ch
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ज् – j
झ् – jh
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
ञ् – ñ
वर्गः (Group)ट -वर्गः (Ṭa-Group)
व्यञ्जनानि (Consonants)मुर्धन्य-व्यञ्जनानि (Retroflexes)
कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
ट् – ṭ
ठ् – ṭh
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ड् – ḍ
ढ् – ḍh
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
ण् – ṇ
वर्गः (Group)त -वर्गः (ta-Group)
व्यञ्जनानि (Consonants)दन्तव्य-व्यञ्जनानि (Dentals)
कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
त् – t
थ् – th
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
द् – d
ध् – dh
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
न् – n
वर्गः (Group)प -वर्गः (Pa-Group)
व्यञ्जनानि (Consonants)ओष्ठ्य-व्यञ्जनानि (Labials)
कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
प् – p
फ् – ph
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ब् – b
भ् – bh
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
म् – m

अवर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि / Un-grouped Consonants –

These are further classified into Semi Vowels and Sibilants. They are as given below:

 अन्तःस्थ-व्यञ्जनानि
(Semi Vowels)
ऊष्म-व्यञ्जनानि
(Sibilants)
कण्ठीय-व्यञ्जनानि
(Gutturals)
 ह् – h
तालव्य-व्यञ्जनानि
(Palatals)
य् – yश् – ś
मुर्धन्य-व्यञ्जनानि
(Retroflexes)
र् – rष् – ṣ
दन्तव्य-व्यञ्जनानि
(Dentals)
ल् – lस् – s
ओष्ठ्य-व्यञ्जनानि
(Labials)
व् – v 

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