Also known as: sarva-nāman ("a name for everything")
In the introduction to this chapter, we learned that pronouns are words that stand in for other words, usually to avoid repetition. You can see some common pronouns in the example sentences below. None of these sentences have had sandhi applied.
I am a man.
You are a hero.
That is an elephant.
Sanskrit has many different pronouns, but we will study only three in this lesson. Pronouns in the first ("I") and second ("you") persons do not have gender, but all other pronouns do.
Having no gender is not the same as having the neuter gender.
Most pronouns are highly irregular.
The first-person and second-person pronouns
The first-person and second-person pronouns are very similar, so we will learn them together. The stem for the first-person pronoun is said to be mad, and the stem for the second-person pronoun is said to be tvad. But although the pronouns use these stems in theory, their behavior is much different in practice.
|Case 1 (subject)||अहम्
|Case 1 (subject)||त्वम्
Notice that these pronouns are related to words in English.
- ego, I (distant relation)
How do we translate the dual and plural into English? For the first person, we can use "the two of us" and "all of us." For the second person, we can use "the two of you" and "all of you." The singular forms should be straightforward: the first person translates to "I" and the second person translates to "you."
A third-person pronoun
The most common third-person pronoun has tad for its stem, and it usually means "that." Since Sanskrit is so highly inflected, it uses pronouns less often than other languages.
|Case 1 (subject)||सः
Again, notice the relations to English:
- the, that
How do we translate tad? I mentioned above that this pronoun usually means "that." If we're talking about a biologically male thing, though, we should use "he." Depending on the context, "it" is also a good translation.
-m sandhi has only one rule, and it's very easy to remember:
When -m is in front of a consonant, it becomes the anusvāra. Otherwise, it stays m.
अहम् पृच्छामि → अहं पृच्छामि
aham pṛcchāmi → ahaṃ pṛcchāmi
त्वम् लभसे → त्वं लभसे
tvam labhase → tvaṃ labhase
पश्यसि त्वम् → पश्यसि त्वम्
paśyasi tvam → paśyasi tvam
Recall that the anusvāra is usually produced like the nasal sound from the varga that follows it. When a letter from pavarga follows it, then, the anusvāra is pronounced like m. Does a sandhi change actually occur in this situation?
No, not quite. The sound of the letter remains the same, so no change has occurred. But some written texts will show this change anyway, and others will leave a final -m alone. Most texts, however, will change m to the anusvāra when followed by any consonant. This website follows that convention.
We will cover these rules in the next lesson.
The pronoun form saḥ follows just one extra rule:
The pronoun saḥ becomes sa if it is in front of a consonant. Otherwise, saḥ follows the regular rules of visarga sandhi.
सः पश्यति → स पश्यति
saḥ paśyati → sa paśyati
सः गच्छति → स गच्छति
saḥ gacchati → sa gacchati
सः इच्छति → स इच्छति
saḥ icchati → sa icchati
सः अश्वः → सो ऽश्वः
saḥ aśvaḥ → so 'śvaḥ
That is a horse.