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Consonant Stems | Learn Sanskrit Online

Consonant Nouns

Introduction

If the word bhagavadgītā sums up the chapter, then the word bhagavat sums up this part of it. The word is formed by attaching a secondary suffix to the noun bhaga, but that's nothing new. What is new, however, is how this noun is used. For, unlike all of the other noun stems we've seen, bhagavat ends in a consonant, not a vowel. Many of the most common and popular Sanskrit terms — including yogin, karman, and bhagavat — end in consonants.

The difficulty of studying these consonant nouns is that several of their endings differ from the vowel noun endings. But this is a small difficulty, and it is easily overcome. This is because all consonant nouns use the same endings! We only have to study one set of endings to unlock thousands of new nouns.

The noun endings

Here are the endings that all consonant nouns use. The parentheses () indicate that no ending is used. The question marks (???) indicates that the form varies from noun to noun.

Endings (masculine and feminine)
  Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) ( )
au
अः
aḥ
Case 2 (object) अम्
am
au
अः
aḥ
Case 3 ("with")
ā
भ्याम्
bhyām
भिः
bhiḥ
Case 4 ("for")
e
भ्याम्
bhyām
भ्यः
bhyaḥ
Case 5 ("from") अः
aḥ
भ्याम्
bhyām
भ्यः
bhyaḥ
Case 6 ("of") अः
aḥ
ओः
oḥ
आम्
ām
Case 7 ("in")
i
ओः
oḥ
सु
su
Case 8 (address)
au
अः
aḥ
Endings (neuter)
  Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject)
ī
i
Case 2 (object)
ī
i
Case 3 ("with")
ā
भ्याम्
bhyām
भिः
bhiḥ
Case 4 ("for")
e
भ्याम्
bhyām
भ्यः
bhyaḥ
Case 5 ("from") अः
aḥ
भ्याम्
bhyām
भ्यः
bhyaḥ
Case 6 ("of") अः
aḥ
ओः
oḥ
आम्
ām
Case 7 ("in")
i
ओः
oḥ
सु
su
Case 8 (address)
ī
i

Note that the dual and plural endings are almost identical to what we've seen so far; the biggest differences are in the singular.

An Inserted Nasal Sound

In the neuter plural of cases 1, 2, and 7, the stem has a nasal sounded inserted into it:

The final vowel is lengthened, and n is added right after it. i is added to the end of the word

This rule may seem bizarre and difficult to remember. But the task is not so hard because you have already seen this rule applied before, in neuter words like phala. Note, too, that the dual ending is not new either.

Now, let's get started.