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संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam
The word Sanskrit (संस्कृतम्) written in Sanskrit. Displayed in the Sarai font for Devanagari.
The word Sanskrit (संस्कृतम्) written in Devanagari.
RegionSouth Asia
Native speakers
14,000[1] (2001)
No native script.[2]
Today it is usually written in Devanagari, but it was also previously written in various Brāhmī-based scripts.
Official status
Official language in
 India, Uttarakhand
one of the 22 scheduled languages of India
Language codes
ISO 639-1sa
ISO 639-2san
ISO 639-3san

Template:Constitutionally recognised languages in India

A Sanskrit script

Sanskrit is an ancient Indo-European language. It is a sacred language of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism and is the origin of most Indo-Aryan languages. Today, about 14,000 people in India use it as their daily language mostly for religious purposes.[1] It is one of the 22 official languages of India. Most languages in Pakistan, North India, Nepal and Bangladesh are derived from Sanskrit. The Dravidian languages of South India are separate from Sanskrit and are not derived from Sanskrit. The two primary languages of Pakistan and India, Hindi and Urdu, are derived mainly from Sanskrit.[3]

Sanskrit is a standardized dialect of Old Indo-Aryan. Its linguistic ancestry can be traced back to Proto-Indo-European. The Indo-European Aryan migration theory proposes that the Indo-Europeans migrated from the Central Asian steppes into South Asia during the early 2nd millennium BC, which brought the Indo-European language Sanskrit with them.[4] The main script used to write Sanskrit is Devanāgarī, but it can be written in the scripts of various other Indian languages and is sometimes written in the Latin alphabet. Historically, it was written in the ancient and holy Brāhmī script.

William Jones, working as a judge in India in the 18th century, studied Sanskrit and recognized its similarities to Latin and Greek and other European languages. This led to the Indo-European languages being recognized as a group of related languages stretching from Europe to India.

Literature[edit | edit source]

Sanskrit literature includes poetry and drama. There are also scientific, technical, philosophical and religious texts.[5][6] Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals and Buddhist practice in the form of hymns and chants.

Grammar[edit | edit source]

The language has a very complex grammar, with eight grammatical cases, the grammatical genders, and three grammatical numbers. Words are also described based on their qualities. The language is considered highly scientific, as each word in a sentence can describe the number, gender, and action of the subject.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Comparative speaker's strength of scheduled languages − 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001". Census of India, 2001. Office of the Registrar and Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  2. Banerji, Suresh (1971). A companion to Sanskrit literature: spanning a period of over three thousand years, containing brief accounts of authors, works, characters, technical terms, geographical names, myths, legends, and twelve appendices. p. 672. ISBN 978-81-208-0063-2.[permanent dead link]
  3. "Sanskrit is second official language in Uttarakhand – The Hindustan Times". 19 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  4. Witzel, Michael 2005. Indocentrism. In Bryant, Edwin & Patton, Laurie L. The Indo-Aryan controversy: evidence and inference in Indian history. London: Routledge.
  5. "Sanskrit as a language of science". 9 June 2014.
  6. Katju, Markandey (5 December 2011). "Markandey Katju: What is India?". The Times of India.