Modern pronunciation

If you listen to modern Sanskrit pronunciation closely, you might hear certain pronunciations that differ from the traditional descriptions. In this lesson, we will describe some of these differences.

, , and

The ancient descriptions are clear that , , and are vowel sounds. Even so, modern speakers often pronounce these vowels like so:

  • कृष्ण → क्रिष्ण, क्रुष्ण, क्रृष्ण
    kṛṣṇa → kriṣṇa, kruṣṇa, krṛṣṇa

  • पितॄन् → पित्रीन्, पित्रून्, पित्रॄन्
    pitṝn → pitrīn, pitrūn, pitrṝn

  • कॢप्त → क्लिप्त, क्लुप्त, क्ल्रिप्त, क्ल्रुप्त
    kḷpta → klipta, klupta, klripta, klrupta

, especially, has many variants, perhaps because it is so rare.

The visarga

In modern times, the visarga is often pronounced as an echo of the previous vowel when at the end of a word or sentence:

  • मुनिः → मुनिहि
    muniḥ → munihi

  • तैः → तैहि
    taiḥ → taihi

  • नौः → नौहु
    nauḥ → nauhu


The combination jña often has these pronounciations:

  • विज्ञानम् → विग्यानम्
    vijñānam → vigyānam
    (northern style)

  • विज्ञानम् → विग्ञ्यानम्
    vijñānam → vigñyānam
    (southern style)

hna and hma

The combinations hna and hma often have these pronunciations:

  • अह्न → अन्ह
    ahna → anha

  • ब्रह्म → ब्रम्ह
    brahma → bramha