I am from North India and everyone pronounce this vowel ऋ as रि. I know this is wrong because vowel is a constant sound and when रि is pronounced for long it only comes as इ which is wrong. I did some research and found some pronounce it as रु but again this is wrong because of the above mentioned reason.

I have been struggling to find the correct pronunciation of it. Most of the videos tutorials of teaching Sanskrit pronounce it wrong. Some might be right but I have no way to verify and on top of that I have no means to mimic it as they do not show the tongue movement. I came to this thread and it explains a lot but because still I am unable to grasp anything concrete on the subject.

I finally resort to listening to Rig Veda chanting here and listening to the sound of ऋ but still it hasn't helped at all. It sounds like they are pronouncing it as रि which is probably because they are speaking it in a word.

So how shall I arrive at correct pronunciation of ऋ?

Please also do mention how to pronounce ऋ when it occurs with a consonant like कृ, मृ etc and how its different from क्र, म्र.

  • Visit Wiktionary & Devanagari#Vowels
    – Pandya
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 12:55
  • This maybe off-topic, see related meta post. Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 17:35
  • @sv. I don't think it is off-topic as OP wants it for correct pronounciation of Rig Vedic verse.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 5:06
  • 2
    ऋ is a retroflexed vowel. Pronounce it with your tongue in the same position as you would for ण or ष. Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 0:38
  • 1
    @RichardMacPhail Thanks. Also I finally found a comprehensive answer at page 13 of this book.
    – Lokesh
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


Imagine you have to produce the sound of a machine gun firing or an automobile revving up the accelerator or a motorbike going by at high speed.

What is the sound you would make to recreate that rrrrrrrrrrrr sound?

It is neither रि nor रु but yet a vowel as you can keep rrr-ing for however long you want to say it.

Theoretically, that is the way to pronunce of

So to say the word कृत्वा you have to say k-rrr-tvA but in practice people pronounce it as क्रुत्वा or क्रित्वा depending on regional influence.

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