Sanskrit Pronouns

Theoretically मद् (mad) is the root for the first-person pronoun (“I”), and त्वद् (tvad) the root for the second-person pronoun (“you”) – but the relation between the roots and the actual words used in speech are very irregular.

1 2 >2
1st अहम्
āvām“We Two”
2nd त्वम्
yūvām“You Two”
yūyam“All of You”

There are cognates to english. Yūyam is related to “you.” Tvam relates to “thou.” Vayam sounds like “we” and aham is remotely like “I.”

The third-person pronoun (“He / She / It”) has gender, so is more complicated. First let’s learn about the masculine gender.

1 2 >2
3rd सः
tau“Those Two” (m)
te“They” (m)

Sandhi for -m

This is one of the easiest sandhi’s to remember:

If “m” finishes a word, and the next word starts with a cononant, the “m” will become “ṁ” – otherwise nothing changes.

अहम् पृच्छामि = अहं पृच्छामि
aham pṛcchāmi = aha pṛcchāmi
{“I ask”}

Sandhi for saḥ

It follows the regular “ḥ” rules except that if the word saḥ comes before another word that starts with a consonnant, only the “ḥ” goes away, not the whole “aḥ”

स पश्यति sa paśyati {“he sees”}

स गच्छति sa gacchati {“He goes”}

In these two examples, saḥ became sa because the next word began with a consonant.

सः इच्छति saḥ icchati {“he wants”}

In this example, saḥ remains as it is because the next word begins with a vowel.

सोऽश्वः so ‘śvaḥ {“he’s a horse”}

This looks weird but its following the “normal” rule for “aḥ” blending with “a”, the “aḥ” at the end of the first word changes to “o” and the “a” at the beginning of the next word disappears.


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