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Vowel Stems, Part 1 | Learn Sanskrit Online

Vowel Nouns, Part 1

Introduction

At the beginning of Nouns, I mentioned that we would spend time studying nouns that end in consonants. However, knowing just a bit about the sorts of nouns that end in vowels — the so-called vowel nouns — will greatly increase our ability to read Sanskrit.

For that reason, this lesson will introduce just a bit about the vowel nouns. Eventually, we will study all of them; but for now, we will only study a few forms from each. Because of their similarities to the -a nouns, the vowel nouns are easy to learn. Note this sandhi rule:

If the visarga follows a vowel other than a or ā, then it obeys the rules of words like narayoḥ (first seen in the lesson on case 6) and naraiḥ (first seen in the lesson on case 3).

-i and -u nouns

The -i and -u nouns appear in all three genders. The -i nouns follow the same pattern as the -u nouns.

-i (masculine/feminine)
अग्नि Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) अग्निः
agniḥ
अग्नयः
agnayaḥ
Case 2 (object) अग्निम्
agnim
अग्नीन्
agnīn
Case 3 ("with") अग्निभिः
agnibhiḥ
Case 6 ("of") अग्नीनाम्
agnīnām
-u (masculine/feminine)
गुरु Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) गुरुः
guruḥ
गुरवः
guravaḥ
Case 2 (object) गुरुम्
gurum
गुरून्
gurūn
Case 3 ("with") गुरुभिः
gurubhiḥ
Case 6 ("of") गुरूणाम्
gurūṇām

Notice that the masculine case 1 plural uses a strengthened stem. For this reason, the fourth word of the Bhagavad Gita — yuyutsu — looks as if it is some noun *yuyutsava in the case 1 singular.

, , and nouns

The , , and nouns are almost universally in the feminine gender. All of these nouns behave identically. However, the nouns have an extra visarga in the case 1 singular.

-ā (feminine)
विद्या Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) विद्या
vidyā
विद्याः
vidyāḥ
Case 2 (object) विद्याम्
vidyām
विद्याः
vidyāḥ
Case 3 ("with") विद्याभिः
vidyābhiḥ
Case 6 ("of") विद्यानाम्
vidyānām
-ī (feminine)
वापी Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) वापी
vāpī
वाप्यः
vāpyaḥ
Case 2 (object) वापीम्
vāpīm
वापीः
vāpīḥ
Case 3 ("with") वापीभिः
vāpībhiḥ
Case 6 ("of") वापीनाम्
vāpīnām
-ū (feminine)
चमू Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) चमूः
camūḥ
चंवः
caṃvaḥ
Case 2 (object) चमूम्
camūm
चमूः
camūḥ
Case 3 ("with") चमूभिः
camūbhiḥ
Case 6 ("of") चमूनाम्
camūnām

Again, note the visarga that the nouns use in the case 1 singular.

The third-person feminine pronoun

This pronoun is straightforward. It uses a fusion of the masculine tad endings and the feminine endings.

tad (feminine)
तद् Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) सा
ताः
tāḥ
Case 2 (object) ताम्
tām
ताः
tāḥ
Case 6 ("of") तासाम्
tāsām

The yad pronoun uses exactly the same endings.

Recall the special rules of saḥ sandhi. There are no such rules for .

Primary Suffixes

These suffixes form words with many different meanings. So, only the gender of the suffixes is given here.

Suffix
Usual Gender
ā
feminine
i
masculine
ti
feminine
ī
feminine
tu
masculine
nu
masculine

The ti suffix, though, usually specifies abstract nouns and principles. It causes the same changes as the ta suffix of the PPP.

Making adjectives feminine

Adjectives that have an -a stem are usually made feminine by changing into an stem. A few adjectives use an stem instead. The PPP forms feminine adjectives with ā.