Sanskrit phrasebook

Sanskrit is an ancient language in which many Hindu religious texts were written. Similar to Latin, it is primarily a liturgical language and not spoken as a native language by any significant sector of the population. Nevertheless, as many contemporary Indian languages are descended from Sanskrit, and even those unrelated to Sanskrit have been strongly influenced by it, learning Sanskrit is of immense value to those with a keen interest in Indian culture. It is one of the official languages of India.

Writing

Sanskrit is written in the Devanāgarī (देवनागरी) script, shared with Nepali, Marathi and a number of other Indian languages. Learning Devanagari is not quite as difficult as you might think at first glance, but mastering it takes a while and is beyond the scope of most travellers. See Learning Devanagari for a primer.

Pronunciation

Most English speakers find Sanskrit pronunciation rather challenging, as there are 11 separate vowels and 35 separate consonants, employing a large number of distinctions not found in English. Don't let this intimidate you: for the vast majority of its speakers, Sanskrit is not a mother tongue, and many speakers are quite used to regional accents and mangling in various degrees.

Vowels

The key distinction is the difference between short and long vowels. In this phrase book, long vowels are noted with a macron (ā), which short vowels are listed without one. You will often come across non-standard romanizations, noted in parentheses below when applicable.

Devanagari Transliteration Equivalent
aas in about
āas in father
ias in sit
ī (ee)as in elite
uas in put
ū (oo)as in flute
as in Scottish heard, trip.
elong e as in German "zehn". It is not a diphthong; the tone does not fall.
aias in Mail, sometimes a longer ए. In Eastern dialects as in bright (IPA ıj).
oas in German Kohle, not a diphthong; tone does not fall.
auas in oxford. In Eastern dialects as in German lauft, or English town.

Consonants

Many Sanskrit consonants come in three different forms: aspirated, unaspirated and retroflex.

Aspiration means "with a puff of air", and is the difference between the sound of the letter "p" in English pin (aspirated) and spit (unaspirated). In this phrasebook, aspirated sounds are spelled with an h (so English "pin" would be phin) and unaspirated sounds without it (so "spit" is still spit). Sanskrit aspiration is quite forceful and it's OK to emphasize the puff: bharti.

Sanskrit retroflex consonants, on the other hand, are not really found in English. They should be pronounced with the tongue tip curled back. Practice with a native speaker, or just pronounce as usual you'll usually still get the message across.

Devanagari Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
kas in skip.
khas in sinkhole.
gas in go.
ghas in doghouse.
as in sing. Does not occur independently.
cas in church.
chas in pinchhit.
jas in jump.
jhas in dodge her.
ñas in canyon. Does not occur independently.
as in tick. Retroflex, but still a "hard" t sound similar to English.
as in lighthouse. Retroflex
as in doom. Retroflex
as in mudhut. Retroflex
retroflex n as in Pandit.
tas in hither ( and thither)
thaspirated version of the previous letter, as in thither
ddental d. as in the
dhaspirated version of the above.
ndental n. as in near.
pas in spin.
phas in uphill.
bas in be.
bhas in abhor.
mas in mere.
yas in yet.
r as in Spanish pero, a tongue trip. Don't roll as in Spanish rr, German or Scottish English.
las in lean.
vas in Spanish vaca, between English v and w, but without the lip rounding of an English w. (IPA: ʋ).
śas in shoot.
almost indistinguishable retroflex of the above. slightly more aspirated.
sas in see.
has in him.

Phrase list

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.

Basics

Common signs


OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 
Hello. 
. ( )
Hello. (informal) 
. ( )
How are you? 
? ( ?)
Fine, thank you. 
. ( )
What is your name? 
? ( ?)
My name is ______ . 
______ . ( _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
. ( )
Please. 
. ( )
Thank you. 
. ( )
You're welcome. 
. ( )
Yes. 
. ( )
No. 
. ( )
Excuse me. (getting attention) 
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon) 
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
. ( )
Goodbye 
. ( )
Goodbye (informal) 
. ( )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
[ ]. ( [ ])
Do you speak English? 
? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
? ( ?)
Help! 
! ( !)
Look out! 
! ( !)
Good morning. 
. ( )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep) 
. ( )
I don't understand. 
. ( )
Where is the toilet? 
? ( ?)

Problems

Leave me alone. 
. ( .)
Don't touch me! 
! ( !)
I'll call the police. 
. ( .)
Police! 
! ( !)
Stop! Thief! 
! ! ( ! !)
I need your help. 
. ( .)
It's an emergency. 
. ( .)
I'm lost. 
. ( .)
I lost my bag. 
. ( .)
I lost my wallet. 
. ( .)
I'm sick. 
. ( .)
I've been injured. 
. ( .)
I need a doctor. 
. ( .)
Can I use your phone? 
? ( ?)

Numbers

1 
एक (éka)
2 
द्व (dvá),
3 
त्रि (trí)
4 
चतुर् (catur)
5 
पञ्चन् (páñcan)
6 
sash ( )
7 
सप्तन् (saptán)
8 
( )
9 
( )
10 
( )
11 
( )
12 
( )
13 
( )
14 
( )
15 
( )
16 
( )
17 
( )
18 
( )
19 
( )
20 
( )
21 
( )
22 
( )
23 
( )
30 
त्रिंशत् (triṃśát)
40 
चत्वारिंशत् (catvāriṃśát)
50 
पञ्चाशत् (pañcāśát)
60 
(')
70 
( )
80 
( )
90 
( )
100 
( )
200 
( )
300 
( )
1,000 
hezaar ( )
2,000 
du-hezaar ( )
1,000,000 
ek-milyoon ( )
1,000,000,000 
( )
1,000,000,000,000 
( )
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
( )
half 
( )
less 
( )
more 
( )

Time

now 
( )
later 
( )
before 
( )
morning 
( )
afternoon 
( )
evening 
( )
night 
( )

Clock time

one o'clock AM 
( )
two o'clock AM 
( )
noon 
( )
one o'clock PM 
( )
two o'clock PM 
( )
midnight 
( )

Duration

_____ minute(s) 
( )
_____ hour(s) 
( )
_____ day(s) 
( )
_____ week(s) 
( )
_____ month(s) 
( )
_____ year(s) 
( )

Days

today 
( )
yesterday 
( )
tomorrow 
( )
this week 
( )
last week 
( )
next week 
( )
Sunday 
( )
Monday 
( )
Tuesday 
( )
Wednesday 
( )
Thursday 
( )
Friday 
( )
Saturday 
( )

Months


January 
( )
February 
( )
March 
( )
April 
( )
May 
( )
June 
( )
July 
( )
August 
( )
September 
( )
October 
( )
November 
( )
December 
( )

Colors

black 
( )
white 
( )
gray 
( )
red 
( )
blue 
( )
yellow 
( )
green 
( )
orange 
( )
purple 
( )
brown 
( )

Transportation

Bus and train

How much is a ticket to _____? 
( )
One ticket to _____, please. 
( )
Where does this train/bus go? 
( )
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
( )
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
( )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
( )
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
( )

Directions

How do I get to _____ ? 
( )
...the train station? 
( )
...the bus station? 
( )
...the airport? 
( )
...downtown? 
( )
...the youth hostel? 
( )
...the _____ hotel? 
( )
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
( )
Where are there a lot of... 
( )
...hotels? 
( )
...restaurants? 
( )
...bars? 
( )
...sites to see? 
( )
Can you show me on the map? 
( )
street 
( )
Turn left. 
( )
Turn right. 
( )
left 
( )
right 
( )
straight ahead 
( )
towards the _____ 
( )
past the _____ 
( )
before the _____ 
( )
Watch for the _____. 
( )
intersection 
( )
north 
( )
south 
( )
east 
( )
west 
( )
uphill 
( )
downhill 
( )

Taxi

Taxi! 
( )
Take me to _____, please. 
( )
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
( )
Take me there, please. 
( )

Lodging

Do you have any rooms available? 
( )
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
( )
Does the room come with... 
( )
...bedsheets? 
( )
...a bathroom? 
( )
...a telephone? 
( )
...a TV? 
( )
May I see the room first? 
( )
Do you have anything quieter? 
( )
...bigger? 
( )
...cleaner? 
( )
...cheaper? 
( )
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
( )
Can you suggest another hotel? 
( )
Do you have a safe? 
( )
...lockers? 
( )
Is breakfast/supper included? 
( )
What time is breakfast/supper? 
( )
Please clean my room. 
( )
Can you wake me at _____? 
( )
I want to check out. 
( )

Money

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
( )
Do you accept British pounds? 
( )
Do you accept Euros? 
( )
Do you accept credit cards? 
( )
Can you change money for me? 
( )
Where can I get money changed? 
( )
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
( )
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
( )
What is the exchange rate? 
( )
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
( )

Eating

A table for one person/two people, please. 
( )
Can I look at the menu, please? 
( )
Can I look in the kitchen? 
( )
Is there a house specialty? 
( )
Is there a local specialty? 
( )
I'm a vegetarian. 
( )
I don't eat pork. 
( )
I don't eat beef. 
( )
I only eat kosher food. 
( )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard) 
( )
fixed-price meal 
( )
a la carte 
( )
breakfast 
( )
lunch 
( )
tea (meal) 
( )
supper 
( )
I want _____. 
( )
I want a dish containing _____. 
( )
chicken 
( )
beef 
( )
fish 
( )
ham 
( )
sausage 
( )
cheese 
( )
eggs 
( )
salad 
( )
(fresh) vegetables 
( )
(fresh) fruit 
( )
bread 
( )
toast 
( )
noodles 
( )
rice 
( )
beans 
( )
May I have a glass of _____? 
( )
May I have a cup of _____? 
( )
May I have a bottle of _____? 
( )
coffee 
( )
tea (drink) 
( )
juice 
( )
(bubbly) water 
( )
(still) water 
( )
beer 
( )
red/white wine 
( )
May I have some _____? 
( )
salt 
( )
black pepper 
( )
butter 
( )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
( )
I'm finished. 
( )
It was delicious. 
( )
Please clear the plates. 
( )
The check, please. 
( )

Bars

Do you serve alcohol? 
( )
Is there table service? 
( )
A beer/two beers, please. 
( )
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
( )
A pint, please. 
( )
A bottle, please. 
( )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
( )
whiskey 
( )
vodka 
( )
rum 
( )
water 
( )
club soda 
( )
tonic water 
( )
orange juice 
( )
Coke (soda) 
( )
Do you have any bar snacks? 
( )
One more, please. 
( )
Another round, please. 
( )
When is closing time? 
( )
Cheers! 
( )

Shopping

Do you have this in my size? 
( )
How much is this? 
( )
That's too expensive. 
( )
Would you take _____? 
( )
expensive 
( )
cheap 
( )
I can't afford it. 
( )
I don't want it. 
( )
You're cheating me. 
( )
I'm not interested. 
(..)
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
Can I have a bag? 
( )
Do you ship (overseas)? 
( )
I need... 
( )
...toothpaste. 
( )
...a toothbrush. 
( )
...tampons. 
. ( )
...soap. 
( )
...shampoo. 
( )
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen) 
( )
...cold medicine. 
( )
...stomach medicine. 
... ( )
...a razor. 
( )
...an umbrella. 
( )
...sunblock lotion. 
( )
...a postcard. 
( )
...postage stamps. 
( )
...batteries. 
( )
...writing paper. 
( )
...a pen. 
( )
...English-language books. 
( )
...English-language magazines. 
( )
...an English-language newspaper. 
( )
...an English-English dictionary. 
( )

Driving

I want to rent a car. 
( )
Can I get insurance? 
( )
stop (on a street sign) 
( )
one way 
( )
yield 
( )
no parking 
( )
speed limit 
( )
gas (petrol) station 
( )
petrol 
( )
diesel 
( )

Authority

I haven't done anything wrong. 
( )
It was a misunderstanding. 
( )
Where are you taking me? 
( )
Am I under arrest? 
( )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
( )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
( )
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
( )
Can I just pay a fine now? 
( )

Learning more

 Sanskrit language redirects to Sanskrit - Sanskrit is link in Wikidata
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