Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Note by Author

I was part of an asana group instructed by Mr. D.V. Sridhar of Yoga Rakshanam in Chennai. At halfway point of each class, there would be a 5 minute break when Mr. Sridhar would take a sutra (or short phrase) from Patanjali's Yogasutras and explain its significance to everyday life.

The sutras were so revealing that soon Mr. Sridhar was soon to conduct classes exclusively on the Yogasutras. Thus, the first class held on 1st February 2007 and as of now, we have had 205 weekly classes and are into the 3rd of 4 chapters of the Yogasutras.

There's a belief among many that yoga practice is just asana and pranayama. This is not so, and in 195 sutras of the Yogasutra, asana is referred to barely in half a dozen.

Yoga, on the other hand, is all about how one may overcome the mind to reach an exalted state.

In fact, it is a practical handbook on life that is timeless and applicable to all regardless of inclinations or beliefs. It is non-denominational and does require one, to believe in, or for that matter, deny, any force or god however one may conceive of it.

The Notes that you will see are transcribed from the Yoga Sutra classes conducted by Mr. D. V. Sridhar. They reflect his own learning as also from his guru, the renowned Shri Krishnamachariar of Yogmandiram, Chennai. The expositions include explanations from commentaries on Yogasutra by ancient rishis like the sage Vyasa and by more recent scholars.

At the core of the Yoga Sutras is the Sankhya (or Samkhya) Philosophy that finds expression also in the later immortal classic the 'Bhagavad Gita'. In fact in many places, the parallels are drawn between the Bhagavad Gita and the Yogasutras, though the latter is terse, more direct and represents almost a complete set of instructions.

Other texts not taken up in the class also supplement the Notes.

Finally, while the language may be mine (for which I take all the blame), the core of material is as per the class exposition of Mr. Sridhar.

The Notes cover up to the 82nd class and thereafter the reader may pursue other sources if still on track!

Now, read on - Patanjali's Handbook on Life!

- L. Vasudev

Note from Team Ambalam

In the context of editing, we have just aligned Vasudevji's notes to a planned form in a word document with our preferred fonts.

The text shall remain intact as provided to us by him.

Also do note that diacritical marks to the non- English words are added to aid phonetics.


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