The Sanskrit word namaste (नमस्ते) is derived from two words: nama (नमस्) which means "to bow" and te (ते), the second person dative pronoun in its enclitic form ("you"). (Remember, you're in the Geek Zone!) The literal translation of namaste is "I bow to you."
So why don't we say nama-te? Because in Sanskrit grammar there are these things called the sandhi rules which tell us how certain words should change when they pronounced in relation to certain other words (sandhi means "joining"). These rules are what gives Sanskrit its characteristic smooth, flowing, natural quality. When the vowel "a" (as in nama is followed by the consonant "t," it becomes "as".
But why does it do that? To find out, try a little experiment: say nama-te (pronounced nama-tay) and notice how it sounds, and more importantly, notice how your mouth, tongue and lips move. Notice the slightly awkward "stopping" motion and re-positioning between the nama and the te, and how the outward flow of your breath stops in the middle of the two words. Then say namaste (nama-stay) and notice how it sounds and feels in your mouth. The sound of the word Namaste flows move smoothly when spoken and your breath doesn't stop.
Recommended Care Instructions:
Machine wash warm, inside out, with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach. Tumble dry medium. Do not iron. Do not dry clean