Thursday, February 25, 2010

meet the alphabet - letters and vowels i and ii

continuing with the vowel series, here are the short and long 'i' vowels.

the short sound is 'i' and sounds like 'i' of ink, think, sing etc.
it is said for 1 unit of time. the longer vowel, or diirgha is said for 2 units of sounds (represented in ITRANS as ee, ii, or I). the longer vowel for 3 units is not used in classical spoken sanskrit, and is only used in vedic chants, and is denoted by i3, the 3 denoting 3 units of time. malayAlam for one, has longer vowels as well, so i am told.


writing i and ii is easy (see below). it is like an 'S' hanging from a stalk. but, the bottom of the S has one more curved 'knot', without which it would be the consonant 'D' sound.


the word 'i', or the verb root 'i' means - to go, to go near. the verb forms go like
एति इतः यन्ति (eti, itaH, yanti)
एषि इथः इथ (eShi ithaH itha)
एमि इवः इमः (emi ivaH imaH)
e.g. निर्बुद्धिः क्षयं एति  nirbuddhiH (mindless) kShayam (to ruin) eti (goes)

some the prefixes that can change the meaning of 'i' are -
  • ati + i = go far away (atyeti), cross over, go above something, go forward, leave behind (atiitya), to pass time (atyeti)
  • adhi + i = to study, learn (intransitive) = adhiite.e.g. AchAryAt adhiite.
  • anu + i = anveti = to follow behind, follow orders.
  • antar + i = to mediate, interrupt, come in between, to hide (as in to take in and hide) = atarita, antareti
  • apa + i = apeti = to go away
  • ut + i = udeti = to rise = savitA udeti = sun rises.
  • upa + i = upaiti = to get = udyoginam lakShmIH upaiti = hard worker get prosperity.
  • parA + i = paraiti = to run away = ya paraiti sa jIvati = who runs away (from danger), lives
  • prati + i = to believe = saH na pratyeti = he doesn't believe.

some common words starting with i are -
  • ikShuH = इक्षुः   =  sugar cane
  • ikShvAku = इक्ष्वाकुः = the dynasty of ayodhyA, to which rAma belonged
  • ichchhA = इच्छा = wish, desire, interest
  • itara = इतर = other
  • iti = इति = denotes end of direct speech, quote, reference, incidence etc. as in 'the end'
  • idam = इदम् = this
  • induH = इन्दुः = moon
  • indraH = इन्द्रः = the king of gods, the deity of rain. inferred meanings - first, best, master. as in narendra = king (master of men)
  • indriyam = इन्द्रियम् = senses
  • iShTa = इष्ट = desired, as in iShTa-deva = family deity, desirable, favorable (family) god.
  • iShTakA = इष्टका = brick (remember harappa (saraswati-sindhu) civilization had lot of brick roads, houses etc.)

the long vowel 'ii' is written very much like the short vowel, except for a curl at the top of the line.
the proper stroke is to write the top curve from top right side, bring it towards left and then center bottom, to touch the line, in a counterclockwise direction.


'ii' as a word is used as an onomatopoeia - to denote pain, disgust, sorrow, dejection etc.
some common words starting with 'ii' are -
  • iikSh = ईक्ष् = to see. lot many words from here itself like (pratiikshA = wait, upekShA = neglect, samiikShA = critique, niriikShaNa = examination)
  • iirShyA = ईर्ष्या = jealousy
  • iish = ईश् = to govern, have control
  • iisha = ईश = master, lord, king, mighty as in, jagadiisha = jagat+iisha = lord of the universe.
  • iishvara = ईश्वर = lord, God, almighty, omnipotent

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