A long long time ago, knowledge was passed on from guru to shishya verbally. No books. No revision. Rehearing, definitely. The prospect of making a mistake was great. Pronunciations had to be accurate. If one invited श्वजनाः instead of स्वजनाः to one's feast, one could be assured of hurt neglected relatives and a smile on every canine face on the street.
The word संस्कृत itself means 'that which has been systemized.'
Just take a look at our व्यञ्जन table again, you'll begin to appreciate how systematic it is. It also gives us excellent clues on how to pronounce the अनुनासिक व्यञ्जनs. Those are the ones that really trip us up.
Please refer to our Varnamala for audio clips on the pronunciation of all the letters.
The first row beginning with क is called the कवर्ग literally meaning Class क. It includes all the व्यञ्जन s in that class... क्, ख्, ग्, घ् , ङ् । Notice how the tongue remains in exactly the same place when you say these words out loud. Now, just as you would say क् , say ङ्, but bring out the sound nasally as well. The कवर्ग is called the कण्ठः, since the sounds of this group are based in the throat.
चवर्ग । This group is called the तालुः । तालुः is the palate. Keep the tongue in the same position as you would when saying च् then say ञ् which roughly is न्यं ।
The rest टवर्ग....मूर्धा (the top of the palate), the तवर्ग ...दन्तः ( the tongue touches the teeth every single time) and theपवर्ग... औष्ठः (here the lips are used) are easy to pronounce.
That's all very well but what in heaven's name are that ङ् and ञ् doing there? When are they used? The rule is that one ought to use the अनुनासिक व्यञ्जन with only those consonants that belong to the same class.
So here's how it works-
The correct written form of the word Shankar is शङ्कर and not शंकर ।
The trick is to look at the व्यञ्जन immediately after the nasal sound in a
word and then pair it with the अनुनासिक व्यञ्जन from its own class.
Also, only म् has the अधिकार to be used as an अनुस्वार - the dot on top of a letter at the end of a word.Therefore to give you examples of words from all the वर्ग s-
अङ्क is correct and not अंक ।
पञ्च is correct and not पंच।
कण्ठ and not कंठ।
दन्त and not दंत।
चम्पा and not चंपा ।
Sanskrit is like water. It flows. It wants to make it easy for us to vocalize words.
Therefore the म् in words adapts its pronunciation to flow in with the next
word . In the sentence अहं तारा , the dot is pronounced like न् to flow into
the next letter त् to whose class the न् belongs. Pronounced अहन् तारा
and not अहम् तारा ( And written अहं तारा। ) अहं कान्ता is pronounced as अहङ् कान्ता।
The म् should sound like ङ् । Therefore‚ अहं टिपु सुल्तान is pronounced as, अहण् टिपु सुल्तान ।
If we have royally confused you, let us know.
So how does one pronounce the ansuswaara if it is just before a consonant that is not placed in a varga?
Simply pronounce the anuswaara as a nasal sound and then voice the consonant after it. -
2. संरक्षक -
3. शङ्करं लोक is pronounced as शङ्करँल्लोक
because of grammar rules. You'll be taught that when it is time, but for the moment whenever you see a म् followed by a ल, nasalise the म् and then when saying ल, place a little stress on the ल so that it sounds doub-double.
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