Lesson 4A


4.A.1 Devanāgarī Alphabet

Note the form of the letters in relation to the ⅓ and ⅔ ruled lines. There may be a tendency to limit letters such as and to the halfway point: this is a carry over from the Roman alphabet where it is appropriate, for example with “P” and “h”. As we shall see later, in devanāgarī the top horizontal bar is extended to join the letters in a word, and this gives a bias of “blackness” at the top of the letters: this is visually compensated for by using the ⅓ and ⅔ lines to “open” the form of the letter.

ṭa ṭha ḍa ḍha ṇa
ta tha da dha na


Lesson 4B


4.B.1 Summary of Verbs

The tiṅ-vibhakti (personal endings of verbs) are grouped into threes, which means that one vibhakti consists of three vacana forms. Thus three vibhakti cover one entire pada. It would be useful to practice sounding the full conjugation of dhātu nī, with a pause between each vibhakti and a longer pause between each pada. Thus the pattern is:

nayati-nayataḥ-nayanti (pause)
nayasi-nayathaḥ-nayatha (pause)
nayāmi-nayāvaḥ-nayāmaḥ (longer pause)
nayate-nayete-nayante (pause)
nayase-nayethe-nayadhve (pause)

As with practicing the alphabet, it is far more effective to sound this once, ten times a day, than ten times once a day.

For your convenience a reference sheet with the full conjugation of dhātu is given below: this also has a list of all the verbs that will be used in the simple sentence exercises.

parasmai-pada ātmane-pada
nayati nayataḥ nayanti nayate nayete nayante
nayasi nayathaḥ nayatha nayase nayethe nayadhve
nayāmi nayāvaḥ nayāmaḥ naye nayāvahe nayāmahe
√ gam gacchati he goes
√ nī nayate he leads
√ labh labhate he takes
√ vad vadati he speaks
√ vah vahati he carries
√ sthā tiṣṭhati he stands

4.B.2 More on Noun Cases

The third (tṛtīyā) case ending indicates the “instrument” in relation to the verb: it is that “by means of which” the action is accomplished. For example, “he goes home by car”, “he cuts wood with an axe”: note that here “with” has the sense of “by means of”, but in English it may also be used in the sense of accompaniment, for example, “he goes home with an axe”, but this does not convey the sense of instrumentality.

The fourth (caturthī) case ending indicates the indirect object, the recipient or beneficiary or purpose of the action. For example, “he gives the foot to the dog”, “he makes a kennel for the dog”, “he works for money”.

The fifth (pañcamī) case ending indicates the place from which the action begins. For example, “he walks from the river”, “he falls from the tree”. It may also express cause or motive: “out of anger he strikes the boy”.

eka-vacana dvi-vacana bahu-vacana
prathamā naraḥ narau narāḥ
dvitīyā naram narau narān
tṛtīyā nareṇa1 narābhyām naraiḥ
caturthī narāya narābhyām narebhyaḥ
pañcamī narāt narābhyām narebhyaḥ

4.B.3 Exercises

  1. Practice sounding the alphabetical order as summarized in 3.A.5.
  2. Practice sounding the full conjugation of dhātu as given in 4.B.1.
  3. Practice reading and writing the next ten consonants (vyañjana), in Roman script and devanāgarī.
  4. Translate the following sentences into English:
    1. aśvaḥ naram vṛkṣam vahati
    2. naraḥ vṛkṣam aśvena gacchati
    3. vṛkṣān aśvāt labhadhve
    4. aśvaḥ vṛkṣam narāya vahati
    5. naraḥ aśvaḥ ca vṛkṣāt gacchataḥ
    6. aśvam vṛkṣāt narāya nayate
  5. Translate the following sentences into Sanskrit:
    1. He goes by horse,
    2. You (two) are leading the horse for the man,
    3. They (plural) carry the trees (plural) with horses,
    4. We (plural) go from the tree to the horses,
    5. We (two) take the tree from the man by horse,
    6. The horses (plural) carry the man from the trees (plural).

The answers to #4 and #5 can be found in Appendix 2.

  1. The generic ending is -ena, but this changes to -eṇa due to internal sandhi. This will be given fully in a later lesson (11.A.3), but for the time being accept that this change occurs after “r” or “” in the same word, thus aśvena but vṛkṣeṇa.