Short Vowel Sounds (held for one beat)

     a … u in but
     i  … i in bit
     u … u in put
     ṛ … r in merrily

Long Vowel Sounds (held for two beats)

     ā … o in mom
     ī  … ee in beet
     ū … oo in pool
     ṝ  … r in marine
     e … ei in rein
     ai … ai in aisle
     o … o in opal
     au … ou in out

Guttural Consonants (sounded in throat)

     k … k in skate
     kh … k in Kate
     g … g in gate
     gh … gh in bighorn
     ṅ … ng in sing

Palatal Consonants (tongue touches soft palate)

     c … ch in church
     ch … ch in chew
     j … j in jump
     jh … gh in hedgehog
     ñ … n in cinch

Cerebral Consonants (tongue touches roof of mouth)

     ṭ … first t in start
     ṭh … first t in tart
     ḍ … d in dart
     ḍh … dh in redhaired
     ṇ … n in tint
Dental Consonants (tongue touches back of teeth)
     t … t in tell
     th … th in warthog
     d … d in deed
     dh … dh in adhere
     n … n in not
Labial Consonants (sounded from the lips)
     p … p in spin
     ph … p in pin
     b … b in bin
     bh … bh in abhor
     m … m in mumps
Semi-Vowels
     y … y in yellow
     r … r in drama
     l … l in lug
     v … often w after consonants (e.g. svami), otherwise soft v
Sibilants
     ś … s in sure
     ṣ … sh in shut, the tongue touches the roof of the mouth
     s … s in so
Aspirants
     h … h in here
Anuswara
     ṃ … indicates a nasalization, pronounced as m of n depending on the following letter
Visarga
     ḥ … indicates an aspiration of the preceding vowel

SANSKRIT PRONUNCIATION

Vowels

Note: Long vowels (e.g. ā ) are held twice as long as short vowels (e.g. a)
a – short a as in want; Example: namaḥ
ā – long a, as in father; Example: Kālī
i – short i, as in beat; Example: Śiva
ī – long i, as in preen; Example: īśvara
u – short u, as in rude; Example: guru
ū – long u, as in boot; Example: pūrna
ṛ – rolled r, made by tapping roof of mouth once with tongue; Example: Kṛṣṇa
e – as in stay; Example: devī
ai – as in spice Example: abhaya
o – as in road Example: yoga
au – as in wow Example: Kaurava
ṅ or ṃ – nasalization n or m; Example: ahamkāra, sāmkhya
ḥ – an aspirated “h” sound. The previous vowel can also be reflected; Example: śantiḥ (full stop after “h”) or shantihi (i is reflected after “h”)

Consonants

k – regular k as in cook; Example: karma
kh – like the k_h in steak_house; Example: sukha
g – regular g as in good; Example: guna
gh – like the g_h in big_head; Example: gheraṇda
ṅ – as in sing; Example: piṅgala
c – ch as in chart; Example: cakra
ch – like the ch_h in ranch_house; Example: gaccha (go away)
j – regular j as in Jones; Example: raja
jh – like the ge_h in hedgehog; Example: jhalandara
n – as in going; Example: Purāna

ṭ – t pronounced with the tongue at the roof of the mouth; Example: nāṭarāja
ṭh – same as previous, followed with an aspirated h; Example: haṭha
ḍ – d pronounced with the tongue at the roof of the mouth; Example: iḍā
ṇ – n pronounced wit the tongue at the roof of the mouth; Example: prāṇa
t – tongue is pressed forward to the teeth; Example: satya
th – similar to t_h in light_house Example: granthi
d – tongue is pressed forward to the teeth; Example: vidya
dh – similar to d_h in red_house; Example: ayodhyā
n – tongue is pressed forward to the teeth; Example: āsana
p – regular p; Example: pūjā
ph – similar to p_h in upheaval (not an f sound); Example: phalam
b – regular b; Example: Buddha
bh – b followed with an aspirated “h”; Example: bhakti
m – regular m; Example: māyā

Semi-vowels

y – as in yard; Example: yoga
r–- made by *almost* tapping roof of mouth once with tongue; Example: Rāma
l – as in love; Example: laya
v – as in verve; Example: vāk

Sibilants

ś – sh sound pronounced at the back of the palate, where the vowel sound “eee” would be made. Example: śavasana
ṣ – as in shard Example: Upaniṣad
s – regular s; Example: siddhi

Aspirate

h – “h” sound; Example: Hanuman

Compounds

kṣ – similar to ksh in backshift; Example: Lakṣmī
jñ – similar to g_y in egg_yolk; Example: jñāna

**These are an approximation of the correct sounds. Nothing replaces working closely with a qualified Sanskrit expert to learn the exact tongue and mouth placement to make the sounds correctly.