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!)
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.
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.
We (two) sing
You (two) sing
The two of them sing
Śuc – Cry
This proto-word becomes śoc- as a verb stem.
We (two) cry
You (two) cry
The two of them cry
Ji – Win
This proto-word becomes jay- as a verb stem.
We (two) win
You (two) win
The two of them win
Smṛ – Remember
This proto-word becomes smar- as a verb stem.
We (two) remember
You (two) remember
The two of them remember