Tag Archives: Grammatical person

Ultra Simple Sanskrit Sentences

The previous posts brought up the point that the endings of Sanskrit words are extremely important, because they tell you who is doing what with the word. The immediately previous post talked about proto-words, and how they become real words – so we got a list of vocabulary by showing several examples of how proto-words become working words. Now lets use that vocabulary to make ultra simple sanskrit sentences, by changing the endings of the word.

All the words we use today will be verbs, action words.

Gai – to sing.

In the previous post we showed how this proto-word becomes gāyati. As it is, that word is itself a sentence! It means “he sings.” Which part of the word means “sings” and which part means “he”? Gāy- means “sing” and -ati is the ending that means “he.” Change -ati to –āmi and the meaning changes from “he” to “I”. So gāyāmi means “I sing.”

Here is a table showing all nine possible endings for a verb (action word). Down the left column are “1st, 2nd, and 3rd person.” 1st person refers to the speaker of the word (“I”, for example). 2nd person refers to the listener (like, “you”). 3rd person refers to someone else besides the speaker or the listener (“he”, for example).

Across the top of the table are three column headings: “singular, dual, plural.” Singular means the  there is only one of whatever person you are talking about (speaker, listener, or someone else). Dual means there are two. Plural means there are more than two. (So Sanskrit has a special feature just for couples and pairs!)

Singular Dual Plural
1st Person -āmi -āvaḥ -āmaḥ
2nd Person -asi -athaḥ -atha
3rd Person -ati -ataḥ -anti

How to memorize this? Two ways: (1) Work with it. Write it down somewhere, etc. (2) Repeat it to yourself in a limerick sort of way. For example, “āmi, asi, ati… āvaḥ, athaḥ, ataḥ… āmaḥ, atha, anti.”

Some hints: A long a (“ā”) is a giveaway that it’s 1st person. A three-letter ending is a giveaway that its singular.

Examples

Here are some of the vocabulary words we learned already, used to form different kinds of ultra-simple, one-word sentences.

The dual form is perfect for referring to a couple. For example if I want to express that my wife and I sing, I can simply say gāyāvaḥ – and that gets the job done. Or if a friend and I are singing together, I would use the same word, gāyāvaḥ.

Gai – Sing

Remember, this proto-word becomes gāy- as a verb stem. See the previous post if that confuses you.

gāyāmi
I sing
gāyāvaḥ
We (two) sing
gāyāmaḥ
We sing
gāyasi
You sing
gāyathaḥ
You (two) sing
gāyatha
Ya`ll sing
gāyati
He/she sings
gāyataḥ
The two of them sing
gāyanti
They sing

Śuc – Cry

This proto-word becomes śoc- as a verb stem.

śocāmi
I cry
śocāvaḥ
We (two) cry
śocāmaḥ
We cry
śocasi
You cry
śocathaḥ
You (two) cry
śocatha
Ya`ll cry
śocati
He/she crys
śocataḥ
The two of them cry
śocanti
They cry

Ji – Win

This proto-word becomes jay- as a verb stem.

jayāmi
I win
jayāvaḥ
We (two) win
jayāmaḥ
We win
jayasi
You win
jayathaḥ
You (two) win
jayatha
Ya`ll win
jayati
He/she wins
jayataḥ
The two of them win
jayanti
They win

Smṛ – Remember

This proto-word becomes smar- as a verb stem.

smarāmi
I remember
smarāvaḥ
We (two) remember
smarāmaḥ
We remember
smarasi
You remember
smarathaḥ
You (two) remember
smaratha
Ya`ll remember
smarati
He/she remembers
smarataḥ
The two of them remember
smaranti
They remember
Advertisements