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**Having trouble reading the odd words in this node? Wondering why there are uppercase letters in the middle of words? Go to The Harvard-Kyoto system of Transliteration node for more info!**

Sanskrit is an inflected language, meaning that nouns in the language carry different declensions, defining their function in the sentence. evilrooster has an excellent node on case(go there).

Sanskrit, as it is closely related to Latin and Greek, shares many cases with these two classical language, but adds one or two that these do not include. The great scholar Panini developed a Sanskrit grammar which included seven cases, which were numbered ordinally in Sanskrit. I will spare the reader this hindrance (pleasure, to some), and name them as one would name Greek or Latin cases.
1. Nominative: Subject of a sentence.
2. Vocative: Direct address. A case not included in Panini's grammar. Screaming out "Oh, God" at the moment of orgasm would be a use of the vocative case. It is not a true case in Sanskrit, but it does have full declensions, just like the other cases.
3. Accusative: Direct object of a sentence.
4. Instrumental: Agent of something in the sentence, often denoted in English with the prepositions 'by' and 'with'.
5. Dative: Indirect object of a sentence. Often denoted in English with the prepositions 'to' and 'for'.
6. Ablative: Source of something in the sentence. Often denoted in English with the preposition 'from'.
7. Genitive: The possessor of something in the sentence. This is one of the few cases that has survived in modern English; the 's after Tom in "Tom's car" denotes that it is in the genitive case.
8. Locative: Expresses the location of something. Often denoted in English with the prepositions 'in' and 'on'.

Case endings in Sanskrit differ by noun stem; this refers to the vowel the noun ends in, with some exceptions. Nouns ending in 'm' are considered to have the stem of the noun preceeding the 'm'.

The following chart should give you a general idea of the case endings for almost every noun stem in Sanskrit. It was provided to me by Professor Frederick Smith at the University of Iowa Sanskrit department. The left column has a number corresponding to the case, as defined in the chart above.

Number: Singular
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
|     |  deva-  |  vanam  |  senA-  |  agni-  |  vAri-  |  mati-  |
|     |  (god)  | (forest)|  (army) |  (fire) | (water) |  (mind) |
|     |    m    |    n    |    f    |    m    |    n    |    f    |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
|  N  |  devaH  |  vanam  |  senA   |  agniH  |  vAri   |  matiH  |
|  V  |  deva   |  vanam  |  sene   |  agne   |  vAri   |  mate   |
| Acc |  devam  |  vanam  |  senAm  |  agnim  |  vAri   |  matim  |
|  I  | devena  |  vanena | senayA  | agninA  | vAriNA  |  matyA  |
|  D  | devAya  |  vanAya | senAyai | agnaye  | vAriNe  | mataye  |
| Abl |  devAt  |  vanAt  | senAyAH |  agneH  | vAriNaH |  mateH  |
|  G  | devasya | vanasya | senAyAH |  agneH  | vAriNaH |  mateH  |
|  L  |  deve   |   vane  | senAyAm |  agnau  | vAriNi  |  matau  |
------------------------------------------------------------------|
Dual
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
|N,V,A|  devau  |   vane  |  sene   |  agnI   |   vArnI |   matI  |
|I,D,A|devAbhyAm|vanAbhyAm|senAbhyAm|agnibhyAm|vAribhyAm|matibhyAm|
| G,L | devayoH | vanayoH | senayoh |  agnyoH | vArinoH |  matyoH |
------------------------------------------------------------------|
Plural
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
| N,V |  devAH  |  vanAni |  senAH  | agnayaH |  vArINi | matayaH |
| Acc |  devAn  |  vanAni |  senAH  |  agnIn  |  vArIni |  matIH  |
|  I  | devaiH  |  vanaiH | senAbhiH| agnibhiH| vAribhiH| matibhiH|
| D,A |devebhyAH| vanebyaH|senAbhyaH|agnibhyaH|vAribhyaH|matibhyaH|
|  G  | devAnAm | vanAnAm | senAnAm | agnInAm | vArINAm | matInAm |
|  L  | deveSu  |  vaneSu | senASu  |  agniSu | vAriSu  |  matISu |
------------------------------------------------------------------|

Singular
|------------------------------------------------------------------|
|     |  bhAnu-  |  madhu  |  dhenu- |   dhI-  |  vadhU- |   bhU-  |
|     |  (light) | (honey) |  (cow)  |intellect|  (wife) | (earth) |
|     |    m     |    n    |    f    |    f    |    f    |    f    |
|------------------------------------------------------------------|
|  N  |  bhAnuH  |  madhu  |  dhenuH |   dhIH  |  vadhUH |   bhUH  |
|  V  |  bhAno   |  madhu  |  dheno  |   dhIH  |  vadhu  |   bhUH  |
| Acc |  bhAnum  |  madhu  |  dhenum |  dhiyam |  vadhUm |  bhuvam |
|  I  | bhAnunA  | madhunA |  dhenvA |  dhiyA  |  vadhvA |  bhuvA  |
|  D  | bhAnave  | madhune | dhenave |  dhiye  | vadhvai |  bhuve  |
| Abl |  bhAnoH  | madhunaH|  dhenoH |  dhiyaH | vadhvAH |  bhuvaH |
|  G  |  bhAnoH  | madhunaH|  dhenoH |  dhiyaH | vadhvAH |  bhuvaH |
|  L  |  bhAnau  | madhuni |  dhenau |  dhiyi  | vadhvAm |   bhuvi |
-------------------------------------------------------------------|
Dual
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
|N,V,A|  bhAnU   | madhunI  |   dhenU  |  dhiyau |  vadhvau |  bhuvau |
|I,D,A|bhAnubhyAm|madhubhyAm|dhenubhyAm| dhIbhyAm|vadhUvhyAm| bhUbhyAm|
| G,L | bhAnvoH  | madhunoH |  dhenvoh |  dhiyoH |  vadvoH  |  bhuvoH |
----------------------------------------------------------------------|
Plural
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
| N,V | bhAnavaH |  madhUni | dhenavaH |  dhiyaH |  vadhvas | bhuvaH |
| Acc |  bhAnUn  |  madhUni |  dhenUH  |  dhiyaH |  vadhuH  | bhuvaH |
|  I  | bhAnubiH | madhubhiH| dhenubhiH| dhIbhiH | vadhUbhiH|bhUbhiH |
| D,A |bhAnubhyAH|madhubhyaH|dhenubhyaH| dhIbhyaH|vadhUbhyaH|bhUbhyaH|
|  G  | bhAnunAm | madhUnAm | dhenUnAm |  dhiyAm | vadhUnAm | bhuvAm |
|  L  | bhAnuSu  |  madhuSu | dhenuSu  |  dhISu  | vadhUSu  | bhUSu  |
---------------------------------------------------------------------|
Other Sanskrit Grammar nodes:
Sanskrit Grammar: Noun Overview
Sanskrit Grammar: Introduction

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