An introduction to traditional Sanskrit grammar

This series describes the fundamentals of traditional Sanskrit grammar (vyākaraṇa) as defined by the ancient grammarian Pāṇini. The Pāṇinian system has wide appeal, so we assume no prior knowledge of Sanskrit. That said, knowing some Sanskrit will certainly help.

The heart of the system, which was created sometime around the 5th century BCE, is a list of around 4000 rules, most of which are composed in a formal metalanguage. Together, these rules define an algorithm that generates grammatically valid Sanskrit expressions.

Our series takes a concrete and pragmatic view of this system. We first explain the rules that define the system's formal structure. Then, we use the system to derive a variety of Sanskrit expressions. Although we hide some minor details, we expose the core of the system and explain why it has the design it does.

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This series is a work in progress. It was last updated on 20 October 2021.