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A Manual of Sanskrit Phonetics - In comparison with the Indogermanic, Mother-Language, For Students of Germanic and Classical Philology

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About the Author: Dr. C.C. Uhlenbeck, Extraordinary Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology in the University of Amsterdam. Preface The idea of publishing an English edition of my Handboek der Indische Klankleer (Leiden , Blankenberg & Co. 1894) was suggested to me by others; but for that suggestion this translation certainly would not have been undertaken. In general I have followed the Dutch text: alterations have been made only, when there were positive inaccurac...

About the Author:

Dr. C.C. Uhlenbeck, Extraordinary Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology in the University of Amsterdam.


The idea of publishing an English edition of my Handboek der Indische Klankleer (Leiden , Blankenberg & Co. 1894) was suggested to me by others; but for that suggestion this translation certainly would not have been undertaken. In general I have followed the Dutch text: alterations have been made only, when there were positive inaccuracies in the Dutch edition or when an alteration had become necessary because of the progress of comparative philology since 1894. I have also considerably augmented the references to the scientific literature and somewhat enlarged the part on the accent. Some emendations are due to the recensions of Kern, Speyer, Zubaty [and Johansson], of whose observations and remarks I have made a grateful use.

I further need only repeat , what I said in the preface to the Dutch original: the purpose of my having composed this little handbook is to introduce the student into the compara- tive-phonetic study of Sanskrit. Though as a rule students of Classical and Germanic philology do not read Vedic texts, I have not hesitated to cite words and forms, which had already become obsolete in the epic and classical language, mentioning, of course, the fact, that such a word only oc- curs in Vedic. In general I have avoided to cite Iranic , Li- thuanian and Slavonic: I know, it is true, that this lessens the scientific worth of my book, but I do not think it desi- rable to trouble the student with several languages! which are either quite unknown to him or which he only just begins to learn.

May this edition be of some use to the students in England, America and India.


1. The Indogermanie family of Janguages. The great family of languages, to which Sanskrit belongs, is called the Indogermanic, Indoceltic or Aryan. I prefer the first. name , because it is the most usual, though the name Indoceltic may claim a greater accuracy, The word Indogermanic dates from a time, when it was not yet proved , that the Celtic dialects also make part of our family of languages, and indicates by the combined name of the utmost branches, Indian and Ger- manic, the whole territory of speech, to which they belong. Now that it is certain, that Celtic also is a member of our family, it would be accurate to replace the word Indogermanic by Indoceltic , because not Germanic, but Celtic is the utmost branch to the Occident. The name Indogermanic however is generally adopted and it. would be. impossible to supplant it by another. By the word Aryan is generally understood a certain subdivision of the Indogermanic family, viz. the Indo- Iranian, and therefore it would seam unsuitable to use this name also for the whole Indogermanic family. See G. Meyer, Idg. forschungen 2, 125 sqq. ahd Spiegel, Die Arische periode (Leipzig 1887) VI sq.

The Indogermunic family consists of the following nine groups :
1. Aryan, see 2.
2. Armenian.
3. Phrygian-Thracian, only known from proper names, glos- ses and inscriptions.
4. Albanian.
5. Greek,
6. italic, which comprises not only ancient languages of Italy (Latin, Oscian , Umbrian , Samnitic) , but also the mo- dern dialects, which have sprung' from popular Latin.
7. Celtic, which is divided into Gallic (the extinct language of ancient Galli a) , Britannian (Cymric or Welsh, Cornish, Bas-Breton) and Gaelic (Scotch, Irish, Manx).
8. Germanic, which is commonly divided into an eastern and a western group. The eastern comprehends Gothic and Scan- dinavian (Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish); to the western belong English (ill its oldest literary period called Auglosaxon), Frisian ana German (High- German and Low-German)
9. Balto-Slavonic , which consists of two groups, the Baltic and the Slavonic. The former is divided into Old-Prussian , Lithuanian and Lettish; the latter comprehends Southern- Slavonic (Ecclesiaetical-Slavonic , Slovenian, Servo-Croatian, Bulgarian), Russian (Great-Russian, White-Russian, Little- Russian) and Western-Slavonic (Polish, Wendish , Bohemian and the extinct Polabic).

About the mutual relations of these groups see J.Schmidt, Die verwand tschaftsverhaltnisse del' Indogermanischen sprachen (Weimar 1872) and cf. Brugmann , Zur frage nach den ver- wandtschaftsverhaltnissen der' Indogermanischen sprachen (Tech- mer's Internationale Zeitschr. fur allgemeine sprachwissenschaft 1, 226 sqq.),

2. The Aryan group. The Aryan group is divided into two subdivisions:
1. Indian, see 3.
2. Iranian.

Ancient Iranian is handed down to us in two dialects, viz. Avestian and Old-Persian. Avestian is the language of the Avesta , the sacred book of the Parsis. The oldest parts of this Zoroastrian bible date back to many centuries before Christ, and their language is more archaic than the classical dialect of the younger Avesta. This oldest Avestian is called the Gatha-dialect. In Old-Persian we have only the cuneiform in- scriptions of the Achaemenidian kings, the oldest of which is that of Darius Hystaspes at Behistan and dates from 520 before Christ. Numerous inscriptions are found on and near the ruins of Persepolis: the youngest of them is of the middle of the fourth century before Ghrist. See Bartholomae, Hand- buch der Altiranischen dialekte (Leipzig 1883), Vorgeschichte der Iranisehen sprachen (Grundriss der Iranischen philologie I); Williams Jackson, An Avesta grammar (Part I, Stuttgart 1892) Spiegel, Die Altpersischen Keilinschriften (Leip- zig 1881).




  1. The Indogermanic family of languages


  2. The Aryan Group


  3. The Indian dialects


  4. Sounds and letters
  1. The Representation of the Indogermanic vowels in Sanskrit.


  2. The Relation of the Indian vowels to the Indogermanic
  1. The Representation of the Indogermanic consonants in Sanskrit.
      Labial explosives
      Dental explosives
      Guttural explosives
      Palatal explosives
  2. The Relation of the Indian Consonants to the Indogermanic
      Labial explosives
      Dental explosives
      Lingual explosives
      Guttural explosives
      Palatal affricates


  1. The ascent of the Indogermanic period
  2. Accentual agreement between Sanskrit and Greek
  3. Accentual agreement between Sanskrit and Germanic
  4. Dissyllabic value of long vowels
  5. Accentuation of texts
  6. Enclisis

Sample Pages

Item Code: ISL55 Author: Dr. C.C. Uhlenbeck Cover: Hardcover Edition: 1977 Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 8121502721 Language: English Size: 8.6" X 5.7" Pages: 127 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 270 gms
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