[INDOLOGY] Visualisation of Sanskrit Phonetics

Joanna Jurewicz j.jurewicz at uw.edu.pl
Sat Sep 25 13:07:55 UTC 2021

What a wonderful website!

I wish I could use ultrasonography when I teach my students to explain the
Sandhi phenomena, e.g. cerebralisation of consonants (cerebral consonants
are the most difficult consonants for Polish speakers).

For example, it takes me much time to explain them how to pronounce the
noun  *kṛṣṇa. *I tell them that if they want to properly  express it,  they
have to realise:

1) that they have to open their mouth slightly more than when they speak
Polish  and release the muscles of their chicks and other muscles of the
lower part of their face,

1)  that when they open the mouth slightly more and pronounce the guttural
"k", they will have a lot of place between the tip of the tongue and the

2)  that, having pronounced "k", they have to push the tip of the tongue
slightly back (which is now not difficult thanks to creation of space in
the mouth), and quickly move it in order to pronounce the vocalical "ṛ"
(which is the same movement as in Polish "r"),

3) that, having pronounced "ṛ", they still  have to keep their tongue back
(to "yoke" it) in order to pronounce the sibilant "ṣ" (which is contrary to
Polish habit to move the tongue a bit forward to pronounce the Polish
consonant "sz", the same is for English "sh"),

4) that, having pronounced "ṣ", they still have to "yoke" their tongue in
the same position to pronounce the cerebral "ṇ".

I make funny faces when I try to "show" them this process, they laugh at
me, and I ask them why they don't laugh at people at the gym who train
various muscles of their body (which might look very funny too) and that
the tongue is a muscle too, moreover its structure is unique to human
species, because it allows us to speak. Then  we come back to the exercises
until they say "wow, if we push our tongue back and keep it there, there is
no problems with "ṇ" !".  Then they have to exercise until they are able to
pronounce the word quickly.

The fact that the larynx is placed slightly more below in Sanskrit
pronunciation than in Polish  is the upaniṣad and I teach it to them later
on. I have some devices to explain how to lower one's larynx. But the video
would be of much help.

The movements of lips  (generally speaking the whole vocal apparatus) are
also different, but this is easier to be shown. And the role of breathing
is crucial, of course (which I teach my students from the very beginning).

If I had such a device, it would be easier for me to explain to them "the
art of yoking of the tongue".

It would be great if we could create such videos with Sanskrit native
speakers which would take into account the invisible aspects of Sanskrit
phonetics. I'd gladly take part in such an enterprise!

Thank you very much, Adheesh. I will certainly use the page during my
phonetics classes to show the movements of the tongue in general

Best wishes,



Prof. dr hab. Joanna Jurewicz

Katedra Azji Południowej /Chair of South Asia Studies

Wydział Orientalistyczny / Faculty of Oriental Studies

Uniwersytet Warszawski /University of Warsaw

ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28

00-927 Warszawa , Poland

Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages

College of Human Sciences


Pretoria, RSA

Member of Academia Europaea


pt., 24 wrz 2021 o 02:47 adheesh sathaye via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> napisał(a):

> Dear Marcis et al,
> I don’t know if this will be useful for your purposes, but the Linguistics
> department here at UBC has designed a website called “eNunciate!” with
> various linguistics learning tools, including “Sounds of the World’s
> Languages”, which provides videos illustrating the pronunciation of a broad
> range of IPA consonants and vowels, including, presumably, all sounds
> within the Sanskrit syllabary.
> They feature both graphical representations like you are looking for, as
> well as actual ultrasound captures of a live speaker.
> The site can be accessed here:
> https://enunciate.arts.ubc.ca/linguistics/world-sounds/
> Similar animated videos are found on the ArticulatoryIPA YouTube site:
> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuOKJqD00W2EiC3DHmOuu0g
> For a list of correspondences between IPA and the Sanskrit syllabary, you
> may consult Andrew Ollett’s excellent Sanskrit reference grammar (vṛddhiḥ)
> at the Univ. of Chicago, here: http://prakrit.info/vrddhi/grammar/
> I am also currently making youtube videos that you can find if search for
> UBC Sanskrit on Youtube. These may or may not be useful.
> With all best wishes,
> Adheesh
>> Adheesh Sathaye
> University of British Columbia
> On Sep 22, 2021, at 04:56, Mārcis Gasūns via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Greetings,
>   Is there something like this for Sanskrit (taken from
> https://archive.org/details/dli.ernet.503070/page/99/mode/2up)? The
> closes I've seen is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustani_phonology but
> it has not pictures, only a vowel chart.
>   Does
> https://archive.org/details/ACriticalStudyOfSanskritPhonetics_Mishra/img167_2R.jpg remains
> the only book on Sanskrit phonetics?
> Regards,
> Marcis
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