Krsna Kirtana Songs est. 2001                                                                                                                                                      www.kksongs.org


Home ΰ Languages and Pronunciation ΰ Devanagari Guide

Lesson 2: Forming Simple Words

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Through Lesson 1, we have studied the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. Now, we will make simple words by spelling them using Devanagari letters first. After developing some examples, we will take written words and then, transliterate them to Roman. Before beginning, we will look at words at Braja Bhasa, Hindi, and Sanskrit, although the pronunciation and spelling emphasis is on Sanskrit style.

 

Why Sanskrit though? The reason is quite interesting. Unlike Braja Bhasa, Hindi, and all other languages in India that uses Devanagari, each letter in Sanskrit alphabet retains its own sound. It will never change its sound under any circumstance. “Ka” will always sound like “ka.” Therefore, understanding the Sanskrit pronunciation can help understand the fundamentals of other Indian languages.

 

SPELLING WORDS USING THE DEVANAGARI ALPHABET

Let’s look at the first word of the day:

EXAMPLE 1: “tava” (yours [Sanskrit]).

STEP 1: Break the word down through its syllables.

“Tava” can be broken down to “ta” and “va

STEP 2: Find the letters of the word and put them sequential order.

Recall the letters for “ta” and “va” on the Devanagari alphabet. Since “ta” comes firstm place the “ta” first. The next letter is “va.” Place that after “ta.” Thus, you get the word “tava.” Figure 2.1 demonstrates this concept.

Figure 2.1

 

Let’s use this technique with some more words.

EXAMPLE 2: “khabara” (news [Hindi/Bengali])

Again, this process is quite straightforward.

STEP 1: Break the word down through its syllables.

“Khabara” can be broken down into three syllables: “kha” “ba” and “ra

STEP 2: Find the letters of the word and put them sequential order.

Recall the letters for “kha”, “ba” and “ra” on the Devanagari alphabet.

Since “kha” comes first, place the “kha” first.

The next letter in line is “ba.” Place the “ba” after the “kha.” So far, we got “khaba

The last letter is “ra.” Place the “ra” after the “ba” in “khaba”. You get “khabara.” Figure 2.2 demonstrates this concept.

Figure 2.2

 

Let’s try one more spelling example.

EXAMPLE 3: “daśaratha” (King Daśaratha: Lord Rāma’s father [Sanskrit])

Same steps as before.

STEP 1: Break the word down through its syllables.

“Daśaratha” can be broken down to four syllables. The four syllables are “da”, “śa”, “ra”, and “tha

STEP 2: Find the letters of the word and put them sequential order.

Recall the letters for “da”, “śa”, “ra”, and “tha” on the Devanagari alphabet.

Since “da” comes first, place the “da” first.

The next letter in line is “śa.” Place the “śa” after the “da.” So far, we got “daśa

The third letter in line is “ra.” Please the “ra” after the “śa” in “daśa.” So far, we got “daśara

The last letter is “tha.” Place the “tha” after the “ra” in “daśara”. You get “daśaratha.” Figure 2.3 demonstrates this concept.

Figure 2.3

 

TRANSLITERATING WORDS IN DEVANAGARI

Reading Devanagari words and transliterating them in order to read them is just as important as spelling them. The process of going about that is very similar to that of spelling the words.

 

STEP ONE: Break all letters down. Each letter is one syllable long.

STEP TWO: Identify the letters in order

STEP THREE: Convert them into the transliteration scheme and say the word.

 

Let’s look at a nice short word.

EXAMPLE 1:

Figure 2.4

Let’s apply the steps:

STEP ONE: Break all letters down. Each letter is one syllable long.

This is done in Figure 2.5

Figure 2.5

STEP TWO: Identify the letters in order

Figure 2.6

Clearly, this is two letters long. It is separated into two letters in Figure 2.6

STEP THREE: Convert them into the transliteration scheme and say the word.

 

Very obvious that “pa” + “da” = “pada.” In Sanskrit, this either means “foot/step” or “devotional song.”

 

Let’s try a harder example.

EXAMPLE 2:

Figure 2.7

Again, the steps are applied.

STEP ONE: Break all letters down. Each letter is one syllable long.

Figure 2.8

STEP TWO: Identify the letters in order

Figure 2.9

This is a three chained letter. Referring to the alphabet, here are the three letters.

STEP THREE: Convert them into the transliteration scheme and say the word.

Add them up: “bha” + “ja” + “na” = “bhajana.” (devotional song [Sans.]). That’s what KKSongs.org is all about!

 

PRACTICE:

Try spelling these words using Devanagari Script:

1. hama (I/we in Hindi)

2. nagara (town in Hindi)

3. lava (Lava: Lord Rāma’s son: Sanskrit)

4. daraśana (vision in poetic Braja Bhasa)

 

Try reading the words from the Devanagari script.

1.

2.

3.

4.

ANSWERS for Lesson 2

UPDATED: June 16, 2009