mpprabhu wrote:नमस्कार Varunji -
I had these 2 questions related to ऋ & लृ
1) Why are ऋ & लृ considered as vowels ? Our general understanding of vowels are those sounds that are made without any restrictions posed in the mouth. These 2 vowels need to use of tongue to restrict the passage of air for pronouncing these sounds. So what qualifies these as vowels?
2) What is the difference in pronounciation between ऋ & र ? (except that ऋ is a shorter sound, more like र्)
Dear Praful ji,
Sorry for getting to this so late. Here goes...
1) ऋ and लृ are considered as vowels because they both have vowel components to them. They are the vowel forms of र् and ल्. Yes, the tongue needs to move (and sort of make contact!) to make them. They actually technically have two components each. They both have a vowel component and a consonant component (this will be utilized later on, especially in सन्धि rules). The vowel component of ऋ is written as ऋ, and the consonant component of ऋ is र्. Similarly with लृ, the vowel component is written as लृ and the consonant component is ल्. You are right to point this out. However, the fact that they are vowels can't be avoided because they are used as vowels in all Sanskrit literature and grammar. Some people say that the pronunciation of ऋ is like that of the Tamil "zh" sound, which would make it more vowel-y, but then the consonant component of ऋ would be lost. This is a long debated topic that I cannot fully do justice to right now. Suffice to say that it is justified, after all consideration, that ऋ and लृ are considered as vowels.
2) The difference in pronunciation between ऋ and र is like this: say अ, hold it out for as long as you can, and while you are saying अ also say र् inside it. Don't stop saying अ. This is how you pronounce ऋ. But to pronounce र, you have to first
say र्, then
say अ. That's all there is to it.
Hope this helps a bit! If you have further questions, don't hesitate to ask.
All the best,