Sanskrit Word Classes
शब्दप्रकाराः। (śabdaprakārāḥ।)

Chapter

4

Skill Level

Intermediate

Language

Sanskrit explained in English

Overview

Hope you have understood and learnt 1. Grammatical Numbers, Persons & Genders. 2. Cases & Tenses, and  3. Word Forms in chapter 1, 2 & 3 respectively.

‘Word Classes’ is the fourth chapter in this series. From the name of the chapter, it is quite obvious that we will learn different types of Word Classes that are there in Sanskrit language. 

There are five types of word classes. They are Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Adverbs and Verbs.

Learning this chapter will help you:

Who is the chapter for?

Word Classes
शब्दप्रकाराः। (śabdaprakārāḥ।)

In Sanskrit, there are various types of Word Classes. Let’s look at these in detail.

There are five main word classes: 1. नामपदानि (nāmapadāni) i.e. Nouns, 2. सर्वनामपदानि (sarvanāmapadāni) i.e. Pronouns, 3. विशेषणपदानि (viśeṣaṇapadāni) i.e. Adjectives, 4.  क्रियाविशेषणपदानि (kriyāviśeṣaṇapadāni) i.e. Adverbs and 5. क्रियापदानि (kriyāpadāni) i.e. Verbs.

Important points to note:

  1. अव्ययपदानि (avyayapadāni) i.e. (Indeclinables) are included in क्रियाविशेषणपदानि (kriyāviśeṣaṇapadāni) i.e. Adverbs.
  2. The base form of any word (without any forms or suffixes) is known as the प्रातिपदिकम् (prātipadikam) of that word e.g. – ‘संस्कृतम्’ (saṃskṛtam) is the nominative case, singular form of the word, whereas, ‘संस्कृत’ (saṃskṛta) is the प्रातिपदिकम् (prātipadikam), without any form.
  3. A धातुः (dhātuḥ) in Sanskrit, is a root word. Roots are the base forms of verbs and they have a particular meaning e.g. – ‘पठति’ (paṭhati) has a third person, singular, present tense suffix added to it, whereas, ‘√पठ्’ (√paṭh), its root does not have any suffix.

नामपदानि (nāmapadāni) – Nouns: These are words that name a particular person, animal, object, place, etc. Some examples are:

रमेशः (rameśaḥ) – Is the name of a boy.

भल्लूकः (bhallūkaḥ) –  means ‘bear’ i.e. name of an animal.

पुस्तकम् (pustakam) – means ‘book’ i.e. name of an object.

गृहम् (gṛham) – means ‘home’ i.e. name of a place.

सर्वनामपदानि (sarvanāmapadāni) –  Pronouns: These are words which are used in the place of a noun to avoid unnecessary repetition. The pronoun-subject agreement is very important in Sanskrit. Whatever grammatical gender, grammatical number and case the subject has, the same must be true for the pronoun. A few examples are given below:

वानरः कूर्दति। (vānaraḥ kūrdati।) सः कूर्दति। (saḥ kūrdati।): The first sentence  means, “The monkey is jumping”. and the second sentence means, “He is jumping”.
In this example, the pronoun has the same grammatical gender (masculine), grammatical number (singular) and case (nominative) and is replacing the noun.

शिक्षिका पाठयति। (śikṣikā pāṭhayati।) सा पाठयति। (sā pāṭhayati।): The first sentence means, “The teacher is teaching”. and the second sentence means “She is teaching”.
In this example, the pronoun has the same grammatical gender (feminine), grammatical number (singular) and case (nominative) and is replacing the noun.

पुस्तकं पतति। (pustakaṃ patati।) तत् पतति। (tat patati।): The first sentence means, “The book is falling”. and the second sentence means “It is falling”.
In this example, the pronoun has the same grammatical gender (neuter), grammatical number (singular) and case (nominative) and is replacing the noun.

विशेषणपदानि (viśeṣaṇapadāni) – Adjectives: These are words which describe a noun and give more information about it. The subject-adjective agreement is very important in Sanskrit. Whatever grammatical gender, grammatical number and case the subject has, the same must be true for the adjective. A few examples are given below:

बुद्धिमान् छात्रः पठति। (buddhimān chātraḥ paṭhati।): This means, “The intelligent student is studying”. Here, the adjective has the same grammatical gender (masculine), grammatical number (singular) and case (nominative) and is describing the noun.

उत्तमा लेखिका पुस्तकानि लिखति। (uttamā lekhikā pustakāni likhati।): This means, “The good authoress writes many books”. Here, the adjective has the same grammatical gender (feminine), grammatical number (singular) and case (nominative) and is describing the noun.

सुन्दरं पुष्पं विकसति। (sundaraṃ puṣpaṃ vikasati।): This means, “The beautiful flower is blooming”. Here, the adjective has the same grammatical gender (neuter), grammatical number (singular) and case (nominative) and is describing the noun.

क्रियाविशेषणपदानि (kriyāviśeṣaṇapadāni) – Adverbs: These are words which describe a particular verb and give more information about it. Many of these are usually indeclinables (अव्ययपदानि).

e.g. – नरः शनैः वदति। (naraḥ śanaiḥ vadati।) This means, “The man is speaking slowly”. Here, the adverb is telling us more information about how he speaks, i.e. slowly.

क्रियाविशेषणपदानि (kriyāviśeṣaṇapadāni) – Adverbs: These are words which describe a particular verb and give more information about it. Many of these are usually indeclinables (अव्ययपदानि).

e.g. – नरः शनैः वदति। (naraḥ śanaiḥ vadati।) This means, “The man is speaking slowly”. Here, the adverb is telling us more information about how he speaks, i.e. slowly.

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