This is a course on the alphabet of the Sanskrit language and it’s proper pronunciation. Students will learn how to read, write, and properly enunciate all the sounds of the sanskrit language. Sanskrit is a completely phonetic language and thus reading and writing will be taught simultaneously. The course material studied will be in both modern devanagari script (Sanskrit) and English transliteration with emphasis on the Sanskrit script.

Students will learn:

  • Proper pronunciation of all letters in Sanskrit alphabet.
  • Confidently read basic words and sentences at a beginner level.
  • Coherently write 60+ letters in devanagari script.
  • Very basic grammar and syntax.
  • 150+ basic terminologies as well as vocabulary words familiar to Ayurveda, Yoga, and Astrology.


The course is designed for beginner students who have a sincere interest in learning; it will be taught according to the progress of the students. Students will be expected to study several hours per week outside of class. Students will need to make considerable effort in the beginning of their studies in order to create the proper foundation for further study. Only once students have mastered reading, writing, and pronunciation of the alphabet will they be able to confidently move forward.

Course taught in English medium. All skill levels welcome. Age 16+. No small children.

Dates and timing: email or check the facebook events for details

30 hour course is divided into 10 weeks – once a week for 3 hours.



Detailed Syllabus:


Introduction to sanskrit language and brief history.

Importance of proper pronunciation

Identity/characteristics of sanskrit language.

Sanskrit: a phonetic language



-short and long, timing of pronunciation

-hrasva, dirgha, ekamatrika, dvimatrika

-pronunciation place and effort

-hrasva akara and samvrt prayatna

Handout: list of vowels, pronunciation chart

-3 original vowels a, i, u

a (samvrta, closed throat, only vocal chords – no movement of mouth, tongue, or nose; droning sound)

aa (open throat – kantha)

i (hard palate


u (lips)


r (soft palate, cerebral)


lr (teeth)

e (throat and hard palate – kantha tall)


o (throat and lips – kanthostha)


am (nasika)

ah (throat)

(will always come at the end of a letter)



-memorize sequence of vowels

-write each vowel 50 times



Oral: each student presents vowel sequence

Written: each student writes vowel sequence (10 min. given)


Handout: list of consonants w/ pronunciation chart

25 consonants

pronunciation location

-gutteral (kantha) kavarga

-hard palate (tall) cavarga

cerebrals (murdha) tavarga

dentals (dantah) tavarga

labials (oshthau) pavarga

anunasika – nasika combined

pronunciation effort



-consonants, hrasva akara and samvrt prayatna

-make no sound or vibration of their own – must be combined with some vowel to be pronounced)

25 consonants


-memorize consonant sequence

-write each letter 50 times



Oral: each students presents consonant sequence

Written: each student writes consonant sequence (10 min. given)

Semivowels, sibilants, and combined consonants:

combined effort of pronunciation

-pronunciation place of each

ya (i + a) talu

ra (r + a) murdha

la (lr + a) dantah

va (u + a) dantoshtham

sha (talu)

sha (murdha)

sa (dantah)

ha (kantha)

the big 3 combined consonants:

Handout – list of common combined consonants

ksha, tra, jna

-more examples

kva, shya, khya, gla, gra, kta, mna, nya, dya, dhya, shtha, bhya, bhra, pra, hva, hma, hla

-review of the alphabet


-memorize entire alphabet

-write entire alphabet 50 times



Oral: each student presents the alphabet from memory

Written: each student writes the alphabet from memory (10 min. given)

Vowels and consonants combined:

-thorough look at each consonant, semivowel, and sibilant with each vowel ending

-building blocks of language

-we know how to write these letters individually but together they are written different

Handout: consonants with vowels and their notation

pronunciation and writing:

ka, kaa, ki, kii, ku, kuu, kr, krr, klr, ke kai, ko, kau, kam kah

-students practice reading and writing these new forms, interactive

-virama (stop)



-anusvarah in between letters and in between words


-memorize vowel-consonant sequence of 3 letters of choice

-write each consonant, semivowel, and sibilant with each vowel ending once (495 sequences)



Oral: present 3 sequences of vowel-consonant combination of chosen by teacher

Written: write 3 sequences of students choice (20 min. given)


-Intro to nouns/words in general in sanskrit

-gender, number, and case

-accents in the sanskrit language

-Introduction to laugh and guru (light and heavy) in speaking

-Crude words and declined words (pratipadika, shabda rupa)

-thorough look at list of 150 noun vocabulary words

Handout: list of common nouns


-practice proper pronunciation of each word on list

-write each word 3 times (450 total)



Oral: Each student will be called upon to pronounce 10 given words

Written: Students write as many words from list as possible from memory (20 min. given)

Introduction to Noun Declension Table

-thorough look at Rama shabda rupa

-definition and application of each case

nominative – kartaa: the doer, subject. he/that which is independent in action, name

accusative – karma: object being acted upon, what the agent seeks to obtain


instrumental – karanam: instrument, that which effects most

(with, by)

dative – sampradanam: bestowal, recipient in the act of giving

(for, for the purpose/sake of, namah)

ablative – apaadaanam: a stationary place from which movement proceeds)


genitive – svasvamibhavah: possession


locative – adhikaranam: substratum

(in, on)

vocative – used in calling only (same as 1st with minor changes usually only on the singular)



-memorize Rama shabda rupa and definition of each corresponding case ending

-write Rama shabda rupa 50 times



Oral: each student presents Rama shabda rupa from memory

Written: each student writes Rama shabda rupa and corresponding case number and definition from memory (15 min. given)

Noun Declensions continued:

-Intro to various noun declensions in sanskrit: vowel ending m, f, n, and consonant m, f, n (6 total)

-i, u, and r ending masculine forms

-masculine neuter form

-aa and ii ending feminine

Masculine (vowel ending)

-hari shabda,

-guru shabda,

-pitr shabda

Neuter (vowel ending)

-jnana shabda

Feminine (vowel ending)

-lata shabda

-devi shabda

Handout: list of 42 noun declensions and their forms


-memorize all shabda rupas

-write each shabda rupa 3 times

-see previous handout of common nouns and notice their forms



Oral: Each student will present 2 of the 6 noun shabda rupas from memory (teachers choice)

Written: each student will write as many of the 6 as possible from memory (20 min. given)

Introduction to pronouns:

-thorough look at tat, etat, yat, idam, & kim shabda rupa (all 3 genders)

-bhavat (2 genders), asmat, & yushmat shabda rupa

-use of pronouns in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person

(See handout of week 7)


-memorize tat, idam, kim shabda rupa

-memorize bhavat, asmat and yushmat

-write tat, yat, etat, idam, kim in all 3 genders (3 times each)

-write bhavat (2), asmat, yushmat  (3 times each)



Oral: Each student will present one sarvanama (pronoun) shabda rupa from memory in 3 genders (teachers choice)

Written: Each student will write from memory bhavat, asmat, and yushmat

Introduction to verbs:

-roughly 2,000 dhatu (verb roots) available in sanskrit literature

-estimated 500 of those necessary for fluency in reading/speaking

-10 tenses (of time): present, imperative, non-recent past, instructional, general future, not so near in the future future, blessing, conditional (if/then), general past, and historical past (long, long time ago)

Present tense dhatu rupa:

-like nouns, each verb root takes different case endings.

-here specific to voice and number

-3rd, 2nd, 1st person

-single, dual and plural number (same as nouns)

-keep in mind that sanskrit syntax requires that (in active voice) the number of the subject (karta – doer of) and the number of the verb (kriya – action) are always the same (as in most languages)

-he goes, those (2) go, they go, etc…

-gacchati (gam – to go) & its form

-intransitive (akarmaka)

-examples paired with nouns (3rd singular)

-examples with pronouns (all voices)

-he goes, they go, who goes, etc

-you go (formal), you go (informal), i go, we go, etc

-transitive verbs (sakarmaka)

-khadati, pibati, pathati, kridati, hasati, icchati, bodhati, namati, etc

-subject-object relationship

Give verb chart handout w/example sentences

(subject/object ONLY)


-memorize gacchati

-memorize 3 verb forms with correct pronouns (any)

-write 25 basic sentences using noun and verb handouts for reference



Oral: each student presents 1 verb form with any pronouns from memory

Written: each student writes 3 verb forms with pronouns from memory (10 min. given)


-prompt students for any SOV sentence

-alter number

-with pronouns

Sentences practice:

-teacher writes, students translate

-student prompts, another translates

-teacher prompts in english, students translate


If time:

-Look at remaining noun cases and their meanings more closely

3rd case – karanam – with, by (the most efficient cause)

balakah dadhna odanam khadati

ramah banena ravanam hanti

paadaabhyaam calati

dvichakrikayaa gacchati

4th case – sampradanam – to give, for, for the purpose of (namah, etc)

yajamanah vipraya gam dadaati

vidyarthi pathanaaya gacchati

balakah kridanaaya gacchati

5th case – apadanam – leave from, hetuh/cause (technical language)

balakah grhaat yogashaalaam gacchati

vrkshaat patraani patanti

graamaat aayaati

6th – svasvamibhavah – possessive, of

mama mitrah

ghrtasya jaanaati

matuh smarati

caranayoh bhajati

7th case – adhikaranam – in, on

shayyaayaam svapiti

sthaalyaam pachati

mokshe iccha asti