I’m starting to study Sanskrit (in the Eastern Classics graduate program at St. John’s College, Santa Fe) and was told earlier this month to learn the Devanagari script (including a bunch of the more common or irregular conjuncts) and to complete the first five lessons of the Killingley text before our first meeting next week. While doing that, I re-discovered Mac OS X’s implementation of international keyboard layouts, and marveled at its Devanagari functionality. Skip the next paragraph if you’re not interested in that.
(In Leopard, go to Apple Menu >> System Preferences. Click “International”. Click “Input Menu”. On the bottom, check “Show input menu in menu bar”. Check “Keyboard Viewer” (it can come in handy) and any character sets you want. In this case, check one of the Devanagari options, I recommend “Devanagari – QWERTY” for the intuitive layout. If you want to do Roman transliterations, you’ll also want to select “U.S. Extended,” since it has extra diacritics. Now you should have a flag next to the clock on the menu bar. Click it to change your keyboard layout. In Devanagari-QWERTY, the keys correspond to Devanagari characters about how you would expect according to sound, and where Devanagari has several characters corresponding to one Roman letter, they are typed by holding shift or option or both while pressing the corresponding key (aspirated forms generally by holding shift; retroflex forms generally by holding option; aspirated retroflex forms generally by holding both). Visarga (or unvoiced aspiration — the unvoiced h-sound) is shift-h (or H). The virama (which cancels a character’s inherent vowel) is made with the f key. Conjunct consonants are formed automatically (and very logically) by typing the first character, then the virama (f key), then the next character. The important things to know for Roman transliteration in the U.S. Extended keyboard are that (1) dots under characters are made by typing option-x, then the character; (2) that macrons over long vowels are made by typing option-a, then the vowel; and (3) that acute accents (including over s, as ś) are made by typing option-e, then the character. Be aware that these are unicode typefaces, so software that is not unicode-friendly won’t be able to use them. All modern Apple software seems to work fine, including Safari. And Google even indexes and searches in the Devanagari script.)
I had been hand-writing flash cards of the vocabulary terms at the end of each lesson, but in light of the above I decided to remake them much more nicely. And since I will have classmates trying to learn the same stuff, and since there are many other people throughout the world undertaking the difficult and noble work of learning Sanskrit, I decided to put them all here as .pdf files.
Each .pdf is two pages: the fronts of the cards on one page, and the backs on the other. You can print them on separate sheets and paste them onto index cards, or (as I did) print them double-sided. With most printers the front and back should line up tolerably well. The cards are in the order that the vocabulary is introduced in Beginning Sanskrit: A Practical Course Based on Graded Reading and Exercises, second edition, by Dermot Killingley (revised by Dermot Killingley and Siew-Yue Killingley), and the filenames include the lesson(s) from which the terms are drawn. I plan to add more files here as I progress through Killingley’s several volumes. Though the cards are thus connected to the text that I and my classmates are using, they may be helpful to other learners of Sanskrit as well.
Be advised that I am new to Sanskrit and to Devanagari, and these cards may suffer from limitations in OS X’s implementation of the script or from my own mistakes. Please contact me if you find any errors and I will do my best to correct them.
NOTE: All nouns and adjectives are declined in the masculine singular, unless they generally occur in another form; all verbs are conjugated in the third-person singular present-tense. As of this writing, vertical conjunct characters beginning with ङ do not seem to occur in (at least) OS X’s implementation of unicode Devanagari. Thus, words that might otherwise have such a conjunct, in these flash cards instead have ङ with virama (as in kaṅkaṇam / कङ्कणम्, which occurs in sheet 35).
Sanskrit Flash Cards 8 (Lessons 5 & 3) (includes word left out from 3rd lesson)
Sanskrit Flash Cards 28 (Lesson 17) NOTE: The word snānam (स्नानम्), which occurs in lesson 17, is omitted from this sheet of flash cards because it is an exact duplicate entry from lesson 16.
Sanskrit Flash Cards 34 (Lessons 20 & 21) NOTE: The word anantaram (अनन्तरम्), which occurs in lesson 20, is omitted from this sheet of flash cards because it is an exact duplicate entry from lesson 18.
UPDATE: I stopped making these flashcards when I discovered ProVoc, the excellent (and free) Mac software; and iVocabulary, an inexpensive way to use ProVoc files on an iPhone. There is information about both of them and all of my files available to download over here.