Lesson 27: Sanskrit for Beginners Course: Internal Sandhi + Feminine Words


Chapter 11. Internal sandhi (only recognize, don't need to memorize). Feminine paradigm (stems ending with “ā”). Iva word. New vocab. First assignment for students.

Source: Introduction to Sanskrit (4th Ed) – Thomas Egenes – Part One


2 Rules of Internal Sandhi:

  • Internal VS External Sandhi:
    • External: Sandhi applied when 2 words come together.
      • EG: rāmaca (रामः च) > rāmaśca  (रामश्च)
    • Internal: Sandhi applied within an individual word.
      • EG: pakiam (पक्षिणम्) > Why isn't it “paksinam (पक्सिनम्)”? Because of internal sandhi rules. So let's learn 2 of those rules now…
  • Why should I know this?  It's helpful to have some basic knowledge how Sanskrit words come about. Don't need to memorize this, only take joy when you recognize below patterns in words.
  • RULE 1: s (स्) > ṣ (ष्)
    • Within any word, the letter s (स्) changes to ṣ (ष्), when certain conditions are true. What are they? Study table below…
    • NOTE: vowel | k | r  — should come IMMEDIATELY BEFOREs“. There shouldn't be any other letters between them. The only in-between letters may be: /
    • EG where change occurs: nikāma, nareu, yumān
    • EG where change does NOT occur (due to a/ā): senāsu, saskṛtam
    • If the very next letter after ṣ (ष्) is either ( t त् | th थ् | n न् ), then those letters will change to retroflex version: ट् | ṭh ठ् | ण्
      • EG: st> tihati  तिष्ठति
    • This summarizes pg 142, #1-3.
  • RULE 2: n (न् ) > ṇ (ण्)
    • If ( r र | ṛ ऋ | ṝ ॠ | ṣ ष् ) comes BEFORE n (न् ) — then n (न् ) will change to ṇ (ण्).
      • UNLESS a group of savior letters comes in between them.
    • EG: rāmea (रामेण), putrāām (पुत्राणाम्), dhārmikea (धार्मिकेण)

    • This summarizes pg 142, #4.
  • RULE 3: Which you won't see.
    • If n follows n, both become ṇṇ.

Feminine Paradigm:

  • Context:
    • Sanskrit has thousands of words like any other language. All it's words are divided into 3 categories: Masculine, Feminine, Neuter.
    • So far we've been involved with masculine (nara) AND neuter (phala) words. Now it's breath of fresh air introducing feminine words.
    • CAUTION: Masculine/feminine words have 0% to do with physical gender. EG:senā” means “army”. Don't imagine an army of women. 🙂

  • Here's the last major paradigm you must memorize by heart as much as nara/phalam:
Pg 145.

How to use adjectives with feminine words:

  • In reference to adjectives (words which describe a noun) inside the dictionary — they will have either of these 2 combinations next to them: (mfn) OR (m f[ ī ई ] n). For example…

    • kupita (mfn):
      • m means:
        • If adjective qualifies a masculine word (EG: gajaḥ; elephant) — then adjective will take the masculine nara paradigm (pg 74).
        • EG:
          • kupitaḥ gajaḥ            (angry elehpant)
          • kupitāḥ gajāḥ            (angry elephants)
          • kupitaiḥ gajaiḥ          (with angry elephants)
          • kupitayoḥ gajayoḥ   (of angry elephants)
      • f   means:
        • If adjective qualifies a feminine word (EG: senā; army) — then adjective will take the feminine senā paradigm (pg 145).
        • EG:
          • kupitā senā                भीता सेना            (angry army)
          • kupite sene                भीते सेने              (two angry armies)
          • kupitāyāḥ senāyāḥ  भीतायाः सेनायाः  (from the angry army OR of the angry army)
      • n  means:
        • If adjective qualifies a neuter word (EG: gṛham; house) — then adjective will take the neuter phalam paradigm (pg 92).
        • EG:
          • kupitam gṛham  (upset house)
          • kupitāni gṛhāni  (upset homes)
          • kupite vane         (in the upset forest)
    • dhārmika (mf[ī]n):
      • Same rules as above. Except for…
      • f [ī] means:
        • If adjective qualifies a feminine word (EG: mātā; mother) — then adjective will take the nadī paradigm (pg 171).
        • EG:
          • dhārmikīnom mātānom   धार्मिकी  सेना  (virtuous army)
          • Because we haven't learned the nadī paradigm (on pg 171), we need to limit using f [ī] adjectives to Singular, Nominative.

iva (like):

  • In English we say: like a boy. In Sanskrit we say: boy like. Order is reversed.
  • EG:
    • Man sees like Rāma.             : naraḥ (rāmaḥ iva) paśyati
    • I speak like the scriptures.  : aham (śāstrāṇi iva) bhāṣe
    • You walk like a horse.          : tvam (aśvaḥ iva) gacchasi
  • Notice that both are NOM. Because you're comparing one to another.
  • NOTE: This isn't the “like” which expresses desire. Rather it expresses comparison.


  • No homework from book. However…
  • Study “senā” feminine paradigm on pg 145. Write it out please.
  • Write out singular pronouns for: I (pg 128) / you (pg 129).
  • Use words on pg 150 to create 10 sample sentences in Devanāgarī and sandhi them.
  • Deadline for Assignment 1 due: March 7 2021. Submit to yesvedanta@gmail.com. Can write out devanāgarī / IAST or type them.
    • Guidelines:
      • Do on your own. Reveals how much captured so far.
      • Do not share file on internet. It's strictly for students. Link will be removed by 7 March.
      • May only submit if attended webinar more then 5 times.
      • Why submit? It's only way I will give feedback/answers.


You'll have more questions throughout the course. How to ask? Leave in comments below, so others can also benefit. We'll respond within 48 hours. Only ask specific to this Lesson.

Recorded 7 Feb, 2021


  1. Hi Andre,
    Can I please check that for feminine words that end with या (like कन्या) – to decline it with instrumental – you keep the whole word (कन्या) and add ‘या ‘ so it becomes कन्याया? Given that for army the whole word is kept and a या is added – सेनया? Thank you

  2. I am not entirely sure if I got these made up sentences correct. Would love extra pairs of eyes…

    “Be virtuous” says the king of the army to the angry heroes in the army
    dhārmikāḥ santi iti senāyāḥ nṛpaḥ sene kupitān vīrān vadati

    My wife tells a story to the scared daughter
    mama bhāryā bhītāyai putrikāyai kathām vadati

    The girl is afraid of the shadow
    bālā chāyāyai bhītā asti

    1. Sorry I found an error in the first one

      “Be virtuous” says the king of the army to the angry heroes in the army
      dhārmikāḥ santi iti senāyāḥ nṛpaḥ senāyām kupitān vīrān vadati

    2. Not looking at Shiva’s Sanskrit translations, let me attempt…

      “Be virtuous” says the king of the army to the angry heroes in the army

      Step 1: Place brackets around Eng.

      (Be virtuous) says (the king of the army) (to the angry heroes) (in the army).

      Step 2: Translate direct style. (Tests your memory).

      stha dhārmikāḥ vadati senāyāḥ nṛpaḥ kupitān vīrān senāyām

      Step 3: Put in right order.

      dhārmikāḥ stha iti senāyāḥ nṛpaḥ kupitān vīrān senāyām bhaṣate

      The girl is afraid (of the shadow)

      kanyā chāyāyāḥ(gen) bhitā asti

      (My wife) tells a story (to the scared daughter)

      mama bhāryā bhītāyai putrikāyai kathām vadati

      1. Hi Andre, something doesnt sit right with me with this one

        The girl is afraid (of the shadow)
        kanyā chāyāyāḥ(gen) bhitā asti

        You have used the genetive chāyāyāḥ for “of the shadow”. I thought genetive indicates possession, and in this sentence, there is no notion of possession of the shadow. The sentence does not explicitly say it is “her shadow”. It could be any shadow.

        In my attempt, I had used the ablative chāyāyai, thinking the fear comes from the shadow.

        Could you please throw some light on my confusion?

        1. Sorry my bad. You have used the Ablative/Genetive, and I have used the Dative. My reasoning was the fear is “for/towards the shadow”. But I can faintly see how the fear can be “from the shadow”.

        2. Yes, would be less confusing if put in brackets (abl), as on Pg 135 #3a. (use ablative for “of the teacher”).

          However GEN isn’t only possession. See pg58 #4.

          EG: How to say: House is full (pūrṇa[adj]) of water. > gṛham(nom) jalasya pūrṇam asti

          This means “of ___” can have 2 connotations:

          1) Possession. 95% of usage.
          2) Afraid of Rāma, full of doubt, empty of happiness.

  3. Hi Andre
    Is there any chance I could have access to the semester assignment just to do for my own pure enjoyment???

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