Exercises: Present Tense Verbs
Almost every lesson in this guide features some common vocabulary words for you to learn. By learning these words and using them, you will increase your ability to understand Sanskrit texts.
One of the fun things about learning Sanskrit vocabulary is that many Sanskrit words are distant relatives of many English words. (In linguistics, related languages are said to be in the same "family," and terms like "mother," "sister," and "daughter" are all quite common.) This fact shows that the two languages have a common history, and it can also help you remember unfamiliar words. Occasionally, I'll indicate some cousins, and also some familiar descendant words, in square brackets [ ]. These cousins and descendants don't always mean the same thing as their Sanskrit counterparts, though, so be careful!
With that said, take a look at the verbs below. Remember: all of these verbs use the same set of endings.
- go [come]
- stand, be established in [stand]
- see [spec-tacles]
- awaken, recognize, understand [buddha, bid (at an auction)]
- remember [mourn?]
- smile, laugh; mock
Words in a foreign language
Part of the difficulty of learning a new language is that the new language's words do not always neatly match English ones in meaning. I don't mean to say that one language cannot express the same ideas at the other; rather, a word is often a combination of many separate ideas, and these combinations vary from one language to another. For example, the English word "see" does not just mean "look at." It can mean "understand," "perceive," and "recognize," among a few other things. The Sanskrit word paśya matches these meanings quite well, and we can almost always translate it with the English "see."
But this is one word among many. hasa shows this fact because it combines three meanings that are usually distinct in English into a single word. Still, we shouldn't think of a word like hasa as just a combination of the three words. Instead, we should combine these meanings to see its more general meaning, which is something like "use the mouth and face to express enjoyment." But since a definition like this is cumbersome and difficult to remember, it's usually easier to give a few English words which, together, approximate the meaning of a word like hasa. Further, there are even stronger (and stranger) examples of these combinations. smara, for example, is not simply "bring an idea to mind." It often refers to Vedic memorization and recitation, and the word smara can thus also mean "teach" or "recite." These meanings are less common, but they are still present in the word. (Likewise, we cannot accurately translate the word "justice" into Sanskrit.)
Sanskrit was used thousands of miles away from English and thousands of years before it. Many simple words like "lion" or "tooth" will be easy to use and translate; but others may take more effort and may not always match perfectly with words in English. For now, we will stick with simple definitions; but still, be mindful that each of these words has other meanings lurking beneath its surface. As you read more Sanskrit, you'll certainly see these words more richly.
Translate from English to Sanskrit. You can find answers to these exercises further down the page. To emphasize that memorization is not a priority, here are the endings for reference:
The two of us remember.
The two of us understand.
The two of us remember.
Exercises that ask you to translate from Sanskrit to English are from real Sanskrit works. Sometimes, the original Sanskrit might be too hard, in which case it will be simplified. But, all adjustments will be clearly indicated. That way, you will always know whether you are reading authentic Sanskrit.
With that said, translate from Sanskrit to English:
Bhagavad Gita 2.51, 5.24, 6.37, 6.40
Gita 3.4, 10.16, 13.14, 17.61
Gita 1.31, 6.33, 11.15, 11.16, …