Sanskrit Consonants - व्यञ्जनानि (Vyañjanāni)

Sanskrit Alphabet

Chapter

4

Skill Level

All

Language

Sanskrit explained in English

Overview

By now, you must have familiarized yourself with and learnt the Maheshwari Sutrani, Sanskrit Alphabet and Sanskrit Vowels in chapter 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

In this chapter we will learn the Sanskrit Consonants which are called व्यञ्जनानि (Vyañjanāni). They are 33 in number.

A consonant is a speech sound or pronunciation that is made with different parts of the mouth or throat or is nasal.

Sanskrit consonants, when not mixed with any vowel, are hard to pronounce. Hence, they are mixed with a vowel to create a syllable. Consonants can also be joined with other consonants to create conjunct consonants.

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Consonants - व्यञ्जनानि (Vyañjanāni)

Sanskrit consonants can be categorized as Hard consonants, Soft consonants and Nasal consonants. Different parts of the mouth or throat that are used while pronouncing consonants are Gutturals, Palatals, Retroflexes, Dentals or Labials. These are elucidated as given below:

कण्ठ्य​ Guttural – Here speech sounds or pronunciation are made in the throat.

तालव्य Palatal – Here speech sounds or pronunciation are made with a part of the tongue generally touching the hard palate of the upper part of the mouth

मूर्धन्य Retroflex – Here speech sounds or pronunciation are made with the tip of the tongue curled up towards the hard palate of the upper part of the mouth.

दन्त्य Dental – Here speech sounds or pronunciation are made with the tip of the tongue touching the upper part of the front teeth.

ओष्ठ्य Labial – Here speech sounds or pronunciation are made with the upper and lower lips.

The 33 Consonants are as given below. 

क्ख्ग्घ्ङ्
च्छ्ज्झ्ञ्
ट्ठ्ड्ढ्ण्
त्थ्द्ध्न्
प्फ्ब्भ्म्
य्र्ल्व् 
श्ष्स्ह् 

There are two main types of consonants – वर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Vargīya-Vyañjanāni), also known as स्पर्श-व्यञ्जनानि (Sparśa-Vyañjanāni) and अवर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Avargīya-Vyañjanāni).

वर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Vargīya-Vyañjanāni):

These consonants are 25 (twenty five) in number. They are divided into 5 (five) groups consisting of five consonants each and are categorized according to how they are pronounced.

In each of these 5 (five) groups, 2 (two) of the consonants are hard (कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि kaṭhora – vyañjanāni), 2 (two) are soft (मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि mṛdu -vyañjanāni) and 1 (one) is nasal (अनुनासिक – व्यञ्जनानि anunāsika – vyañjanāni).

Also, in each group there are two consonants in which the letter ह (ha) is not mixed (अघोष-व्यञ्जनानि aghoṣa-vyañjanāni) and two consonants in which it is mixed (सघोष-व्यञ्जनानि saghoṣa-vyañjanāni).

The 5 (five) groups are क – वर्गः (ka – Group), च – वर्गः (ca – Group), ट – वर्गः (ṭa – Group), त – वर्गः (ta – Group) and प – वर्गः (pa – Group)

In the क-वर्गः i.e. Ka – Group

कण्ठ्य​-व्यञ्जनानि (kaṇṭhya​-vyañjanāni) i.e. Guttural consonants are: 

कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
क्ख्
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ग्घ्
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
ङ्

In the च-वर्गः i.e. ca-Group

तालव्य-व्यञ्जनानि (tālavya-vyañjanāni) i.e. Palatal consonants are:

कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
च्छ्
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ज्झ्
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
ञ्

In the ट-वर्गः i.e. ṭa-Group

मूर्धन्य-व्यञ्जनानि (mūrdhanya-vyañjanāni) i.e. Retroflex consonants are:

कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
ट्ठ्
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ड्ढ्
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
ण्

In the त-वर्गः i.e. ta-Group

दन्त्य​-व्यञ्जनानि (dantya​-vyañjanāni) i.e. Dental consonants are:

कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
त्थ्
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
द्ध्
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
न्

In the प-वर्गः i.e. pa-Group

ओष्ठ्य-व्यञ्जनानि (oṣṭhya-vyañjanāni) i.e. Labial consonants are:

कठोर-व्यञ्जनानि
(Hard Consonants)
प्फ्
मृदु-व्यञ्जनानि
(Soft Consonants)
ब्भ्
अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि
(Nasal Consonants)
म्

A Summary of the वर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Vargīya-Vyañjanāni) is given below:

Consonants

Note: The अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनानि (Nasal Consonants) can be used in the place of the अनुस्वारः (Anusvāraḥ).

When they are used in the place of the अनुस्वारः (Anusvāraḥ), they become परसवर्णाः (Parasavarṇāḥ). The परसवर्णः (Parasavarṇāḥ) of each consonant is the Nasal Consonant i.e. अनुनासिक-व्यञ्जनम् (Anunāsika-Vyañjanam) of its group i.e. वर्गः (Vargaḥ).

This is only applicable for वर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Vargīya-Vyañjanāni) and for an अवर्गीय-व्यञ्जनम् (Avargīya-Vyañjanam), the अनुस्वारः (Anusvāraḥ) will be as it is and no change will occur.

अवर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Avargīya-Vyañjanāni):

These consonants are further divided into two types- अन्तःस्थ-व्यञ्जनानि (Antaḥstha-Vyañjanāni) and ऊष्म-व्यञ्जनानि (Ūṣma-Vyañjanāni).

A Summary of the अवर्गीय-व्यञ्जनानि (Avargīya-Vyañjanāni) is given below:

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