(Last Updated on : 03-05-2010)
The Fire God has also discussed the science of proper pronunciation of words, and the laws of euphony. The letters both in the Sanskrit and Prakrita alphabet number sixty-three, or sixty-four in all. There are twenty-one vowel letters, while the Sparsha varnas number twenty-five in all, the Yadis eight, and the Yamas four. The Anusvaras and the Visargas are pronounced in conjunction with other letters, and hence they are called the dependent ones (Parashraya). The Likara is called a protracted vowel, and requires a slight touch or action of the tongue.
It has been said that the soul, through the medium of intelligence, collects the concepts, and charges the mind with the desire of speaking. The mind affects the internal fire, and the fire in its turn, sets the wind in motion inside the body. The wind coursing through the region of the heart, gives rise to the sound known as the Mandram, in which is recited the metre Gayatri at the time of the morning ablution ceremony.
The same wind, coursing through the larynx, gives rise to the sound Midhyarnam, in which is recited the metre Trais tubha, at the time of the noon tide ceremony. The wind ranging upward, and coming out from the region of the head, gives rise to the sound Tara, in which the Jagata metres are recited during the rite of Turiya Savanam, in the evening. The wind, thus carried upward, strikes against the brain, and is emanates through the cavity of the mouth, and gives rise to sounds represented by the letters of the alphabet, which in their turn are grouped under five different heads, according to their articulation, period of utterance, place of articulation, efforts mane in pronouncing them, and their order of articulation.
The sounds are divided into three classes, such as the Udatta (Highly accentuated), Anudatta (the grave accent), and the Svarita (the intermediate). The vowel letters are distinguished as the short, the long, and the protracted.
The parts of the body from which the sounds emanate are eight in number, such as the breast, the throat, the head, and the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the nose, the lips, and the palate. The Ushma Varnas (Sha, Sha, Sa, and Ha), have eight different sorts of pronunciation, such as the Obhava, the Vivritta (hiatus), and the Jihvamuliya proceeding from the root of the tongue.
says that a man incurs sin by speaking anything without observing the rules of pronunciation, or by articulating letters from their wrong places of articulation, or by speaking anything in a high tone, or in a chewing manner. Contrarily, the man, who articulates in his speech, the letters from their proper places, and speaks them out with cadence and harmony, or the man, in whose speech the letters follow each other in mellifluous succession as in the Vedas, is sure to be glorified m heaven. Letters of harsh and grating sound should be avoided in a speech which should be uttered in a distinct voice, carefully avoiding the nasal, as well as a large concourse of broken or labial sounds. Only such letters as are not indistinct, or not any way hampered in articulation, should be made use of in a speech, and such a speaker is sure to be glorified in heaven.
The sounds A, and Tha, originate from the throat. The letters A, Bha, U, Ya and Sha, are called the palatials. The letters Va, U, Pa, are labials. The letters Re, Ra, Ta, Tha, Da, Dha, and Na, and Sha, are called the cerebral or lingual, while the letters Li, Ta, Tha, Da, Dha, Na, La, Sa, are called the dental. The letters, Ka, Kha, Ga, Gha, and Unga, are called the guttarals. The letter Va, is called the labiodentals.