Sanskrit: Citation form


Senior Member
Quite often in English-language texts I see non-nominative forms used where European languages, for example, would use nominative forms: कृष्ण (vocative), विष्णु (?), आत्मन् (accusative?), etc.

So my question is, does Sanskrit have a regular citation form for nouns?
  • Hi, although the vocative of कृष्ण is कृष्ण, this is because the vocative singular of a masculine short-a stem is the stem. What is being quoted is not the noun in any declined form, but the stem you will find in the dictionary before any case endings are added. The Sanskrit grammarians knew that certain nouns declined in certain ways. Many nouns declined differently to each other, like मुनि declines differently to कूप, but - based on gender and final vowel (or consonant) - we can group nouns that decline in the same way together. Thus, the grammarians, by looking at the endings were able to give each noun a stem form, to which the endings are added. It is this stem which is being quoted. Always cite the stem form of nouns. This is how we cite forms which decline in all languages.