Comparative Study of Grammatical Terminologies and Processes – Preface and Paras 1 to 4

Comparative Study of Grammatical Terminologies and Processes

व्याकरणीयसंज्ञानां प्रक्रियाणांश्च तौलनिकोऽभ्यासः

Such study is important and useful to study a language भाषा such as संस्कृतम् with the medium माध्यमम् of another language, such as English. It has been my experience that people, who know English, may yet not be well-versed with Terminologies in English grammar. This would be a big hurdle, especially for learning a language like Sanskrit, which needs to be always grammatically correct.

Here is hence, my study of Grammatical Terminologies and Processes in संस्कृतम् and English.

I am left to wonder how extensive this study is going to be. But it is not proper to think of that at the beginning itself. However an internet search led me to A Dictionary of Sanskrit Grammar, by Mahamahopadhyaya Kashinath Vasudev Abhyankar, published by Oriental Institute Vadodara in 1961. The dictionary has 400+ pages. It is primarily explanation in English of terms in Sanskrit grammar.

I am planning that in my study, I would take into consideration a comparative study of grammars of both English and Sanskrit. So, I would compile notes which will cover grammatical views and constructs in both languages and also prepare alphabetical indexes of the Terminologies, both in English and Sanskrit.

There needs to be a starting point for such study. Since a language is primarily meaningful speech, let me start with →

1 Parts of Speech = वाक्पदानि

  • (1-1) In English grammar Parts of Speech are eight – Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Preposition, Verb, Adverb, Conjunction, Interjection
    • (1-1-1) One would also find the eight parts of speech as – noun, verb, participle, article, pronoun, preposition, adverb, conjunction
    • (1-1-2) To my mind, these lists still miss out an auxiliary such as ‘no/not’ or an auxiliary such as ‘there’ as in ‘where there is a will, …’. As can be seen, these words ‘no/not’, ‘there’ cannot be categorized into any of the eight categories of Parts of Speech.
  • (1-2) By my analysis, in Sanskrit वाक्पदानि are four – सुबन्तानि, तिङन्तानि, कृदन्तानि, लुप्तप्रत्ययानि
    • (1-2-1) It is important to also note that in Sanskrit any word to be used in a sentence or in any utterance i.e. वाक्, must be a duly formatted word. The grammatical rule is अपदं न प्रयुञ्जीत meaning unformatted word is not to be used.
    • Words become formatted by affixing suffixes i.e. प्रत्ययाः These are discussed in Para 7.
  1. Nouns = नामानि
  • (2-1) In English Nouns usually do not change except
    • (2-1-1) when using their plural e.g. ball → balls, but radius → radii
  • (2-2) In Sanskrit Nouns have a root-form, called as प्रातिपदिकम्.
  • (2-3) Nouns have a gender लिङ्गम् e.g. boy is masculine पुंल्लिङ्गि नाम girl is feminine स्त्रीलिङ्गि नाम and child is neuter नपुंसकलिङ्गि नाम.
    • (2-3-1) In English, gender of the noun does not inflict any change in other part of speech.
    • (2-3-2) In Sanskrit gender of the adjective has to be the same as of the noun.
  • (2-4) In Sanskrit noun-words शब्दाः have declensions शब्दरूपाणि from their root-form i.e. प्रातिपदिकम् by affixing suffixes प्रत्ययाः as appropriate for gender लिङ्ग, case- विभक्ति and number वचन of the word.
  1. Pronouns = सर्वनामानि
  • (3-1) In गणपाठ 36 सर्वनामानि are enumerated to detail their mention in अष्टाध्यायी as सर्वादीनि सर्वनामानि (१।१।२६)
  • (3-2) suffixes प्रत्ययाः of pronouns are same as for nouns, except for variations in fourth-, fifth- and seventh-case singulars.
  1. Adjectives = विशेषणानि
  • (4-1) In English the adjectival words usually do not change. In Sanskrit adjectives also have root forms प्रातिपदिकानि which are declined by gender, number and case-suffixes.
    • (4-1-1) In English smart boy or smart girl, in Sanskrit चतुरः बालः but चतुरा बाला
    • (4-1-2) In English beautiful flower or beautiful flowers in Sanskrit सुन्दरं पुष्पम् but सुन्दराणि पुष्पाणि
    • (4-1-3) In English for good people or of good people in Sanskrit साधुभ्यः जनेभ्यः but साधूनां जनानाम्
  • (4-2) There are nominal, comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives.
    • (4-2-1) In English we have late, later, latest (but, good, better (than), (the) best)
    • (4-2-2) In Sanskrit, there are two styles
      • (4-2-2-1) with -तर/-तम suffixes for comparative and superlative degrees respectively.
      • (4-2-2-2) with -(ई)यस्/इष्ठ suffixes for comparative and superlative degrees respectively.
  • (4-3) Numbers संख्याः, numerals अङ्काः and numerical adjectives संख्यावाचकानि
    • (4-3-1) Numbers are Cardinals मूल्यान्विताः and ordinals क्रमवाचकाः
      • (4-3-1-1) in ‘ten boys’, the word ‘ten’ is a cardinal number, because it denotes a count or value. Grammatically, cardinal numbers are adjectival.
      • (4-3-1-2) in ‘first person’ the word ‘first’ is an ordinal number, because it denotes rank or place in a serial count. Grammatically, ordinal numbers are also adjectival.
    • (4-3-2) Being adjectival, in Sanskrit, there are root-forms प्रातिपदिकानि of all numbers and there are their declensions by gender, number and case-suffixes i.e. by affixing सुप्-प्रत्ययाः e.g
      • एकः बालः, एका बालिका, एकं फलम् with numerical adjective ‘one’, hence in singular, in all three genders and in first case
      • द्वौ बालौ, द्वे बालिके, द्वे फले – with numerical adjective ‘two’ hence in dual and in all three genders and in first case
      • चत्वारः बालाः, चतस्रः बालिकाः, चत्वारि फलानि – with numerical adjective ‘four’ hence in plural, in all three genders and in first case
      • एकस्मै बालाय, (= for one boy), masculine fourth case singular
      • द्वाभ्यां बालिकाभ्याम्,(= by two girls or for two girls or from two girls), feminine, third/fourth/fifth case, dual
      • चतुर्षु फलेषु (= in four fruits) neuter, seventh i.e. locative case, plural
      • Note, suffixes of singulars in fourth, fifth and seventh cases for numerical adjectives are similar to those of pronouns in all three genders.

— End of Para 4 —

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3 thoughts on “Comparative Study of Grammatical Terminologies and Processes – Preface and Paras 1 to 4

  1. No doubt the way it is explained. Still it requires some modification so as to biginer also can study with soul interest.

    Sanjeeve Vyas

  2. Sir,
    I came across “Madhurashtakam” composed by Sri Vallabhacharya where the adjective “sweet” is used throughout the ashtakam which gives a vital opportunity for the beginners to have a good understanding on various “antha ending / gender / number” words to be qualified by the adjective.
    Hope you would have explored this Ashtakam.
    It will be great if you can post the grammar details of “Madhurashtakam” which might be of great help in learning the Adjective’s behaviour.

    Thanks in advance.

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