The word संस्कृतम् (Sanskrit) in Sanskrit.svg
Saṃskṛtam in Devanagari script
Pronunciation[ˈsɐ̃skr̩tɐm] (About this soundlisten)
RegionSouth Asia
Parts of Southeast Asia
Erac. 2nd millennium BCE – 600 BCE (Vedic Sanskrit);[1]
600 BCE – present (Classical Sanskrit)
Revival24,821 people in India[2] and 1,669 people in Nepal[3] have registered Sanskrit as their mother tongue.
Early form
also written in various other Brahmic scripts.[4]
Language codes
ISO 639-3san

Sanskrit (English: t/;[6] Sanskrit: संस्कृतम्, romanizedsaṃskṛtam, IPA: [ˈsɐ̃skr̩tɐm] (About this soundlisten)) is a language of ancient India with a 3,500-year history.[7][8][9] It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India.[10][11][12] In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia,[13] parts of East Asia[14] and Central Asia,[15] emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.[16][17]

Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language.[7] As one of the oldest documented members of the Indo-European family of languages,[18][note 1][note 2] Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies.[21] It is related to Greek and Latin,[7] as well as Hittite, Luwian, Old Avestan and many other extinct languages with historical significance to Europe, West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. It traces its linguistic ancestry to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, Proto-Indo-Iranian and the Proto-Indo-European languages.[22]

Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest-known composition. A more refined and standardized grammatical form called Classical Sanskrit emerged in the mid-1st millennium BCE with the Aṣṭādhyāyī treatise of Pāṇini.[7] Sanskrit, though not necessarily Classical Sanskrit, is the root language of many Prakrit languages.[23] Examples include numerous, modern, North Indian, subcontinental daughter languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and Nepali.[24][25][26]

The body of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, music, drama, scientific, technical and other texts. In the ancient era, Sanskrit compositions were orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity, rigour and fidelity.[27][28] The earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit are from the 1st century BCE, such as the few discovered in Ayodhya and Ghosundi-Hathibada (Chittorgarh).[29][note 3] Sanskrit texts dated to the 1st millennium CE were written in the Brahmi script, the Nāgarī script, the historic South Indian scripts and their derivative scripts.[33][34][35] Sanskrit is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It continues to be widely used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hinduism and some Buddhist practices such as hymns and chants.

Etymology and nomenclature

Historic Sanskrit manuscripts: a religious text (top), and a medical text

In Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- is a compound word consisting of sam (together, good, well, perfected) and krta- (made, formed, work).[36][37] It connotes a work that has been "well prepared, pure and perfect, polished, sacred".[38][39][40] According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal—rather than semantic—qualities. Sound and oral transmission were highly valued qualities in ancient India, and its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit.[37] From the late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic, philosophical and religious literature" in India. Sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself; the "mysterious magnum" of Hindu thought. The search for perfection in thought and the goal of salvation were among the dimensions of sacred sound, and the common thread that weaved all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit.[41][42]

Sanskrit as a language competed with numerous, less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages (prākṛta-). The term prakrta literally means "original, natural, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth.[43] The relationship between Prakrit and Sanskrit is found in Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Patañjali acknowledged that Prakrit is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and later leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding. The purifying structure of the Sanskrit language removes these imperfections. The early Sanskrit grammarian Daṇḍin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit, but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar". Daṇḍin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit that thrive independent of Sanskrit. This view is found in the writing of Bharata Muni, the author of the ancient Nāṭyaśāstra text. The early Jain scholar Namisādhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Namisādhu stated that the Prakrit language was the pūrvam (came before, origin) and that it came naturally to women and children, while Sanskrit was a refinement of Prakrit through "purification by grammar".[44]

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Санскрит
Afrikaans: Sanskrit
Alemannisch: Sanskrit
አማርኛ: ሳንስክሪት
aragonés: Sanscrito
অসমীয়া: সংস্কৃত
Avañe'ẽ: Sánskrito
azərbaycanca: Sanskrit
Bân-lâm-gú: Hoân-gí
башҡортса: Санскрит
беларуская: Санскрыт
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Санскрыт
भोजपुरी: संस्कृत
Bikol Central: Sanskrito
български: Санскрит
Boarisch: Sanskrit
bosanski: Sanskrt
brezhoneg: Sañskriteg
català: Sànscrit
Чӑвашла: Санскрит
čeština: Sanskrt
Cymraeg: Sansgrit
dansk: Sanskrit
Deutsch: Sanskrit
ދިވެހިބަސް: ސަންސްކްރިއްތް
español: Sánscrito
Esperanto: Sanskrito
euskara: Sanskrito
Fiji Hindi: Sanskrit
français: Sanskrit
Frysk: Sanskryt
Gaeilge: An tSanscrait
贛語: 梵語
ગુજરાતી: સંસ્કૃત ભાષા
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: संस्कृत
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Fâm-ngî
հայերեն: Սանսկրիտ
hrvatski: Sanskrt
Ilokano: Sanskrito
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: সংস্কৃত
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Sanskerta
interlingua: Sanscrito
íslenska: Sanskrít
עברית: סנסקריט
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ
ქართული: სანსკრიტი
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: سَنٛسکرِت زَبان
қазақша: Санскрит
kernowek: Sanskrytek
Kinyarwanda: Igisansikiriti
Kiswahili: Kisanskrit
Кыргызча: Санскрит
latviešu: Sanskrits
лезги: Санскрит
lietuvių: Sanskritas
Limburgs: Sanskriet
Lingua Franca Nova: Sanscrito
македонски: Санскрит
മലയാളം: സംസ്കൃതം
მარგალური: სანსკრიტი
Bahasa Melayu: Sanskrit
Minangkabau: Bahaso Sanskerta
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Huáng-ngṳ̄
Nederlands: Sanskriet
नेपाली: संस्कृत
नेपाल भाषा: संस्कृत
нохчийн: Санскрит
Nordfriisk: Sanskrit
norsk: Sanskrit
norsk nynorsk: Sanskrit
occitan: Sanscrit
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Sanskrit
پنجابی: سنسکرت
Patois: Sanskrit
ភាសាខ្មែរ: សំស្ក្រឹត
Piemontèis: Sànscrit
Plattdüütsch: Sanskrit
polski: Sanskryt
português: Sânscrito
Runa Simi: Sanskrit simi
русиньскый: Санскріт
русский: Санскрит
саха тыла: Санскрит
संस्कृतम्: संस्कृतम्
Scots: Sanskrit
sicilianu: Lingua sanscrita
සිංහල: සංස්කෘත
Simple English: Sanskrit
سنڌي: سنسڪرت
slovenčina: Sanskrit
slovenščina: Sanskrt
српски / srpski: Санскрт (језик)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sanskrt
suomi: Sanskrit
svenska: Sanskrit
tarandíne: Lènga sanscrite
татарча/tatarça: Санскрит
తెలుగు: సంస్కృతము
Türkçe: Sanskrit
тыва дыл: Санскрит дыл
українська: Санскрит
اردو: سنسکرت
Vahcuengh: Vahfan
vepsän kel’: Sanskrit
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Phạn
Volapük: Sanskrit
文言: 梵語
Winaray: Sinanskrit
吴语: 梵文
ייִדיש: סאנסקריט
粵語: 梵文
Zazaki: Sanskritki
žemaitėška: Sanskrėts
中文: 梵语