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{{Redirect|Nagari}}{{Use Indian English|date=June 2016}}{{Use dmy dates|date=May 2016}}

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS LAST = SALOMON TITLE = INDIAN EPIGRAPHY: A GUIDE TO THE STUDY OF INSCRIPTIONS IN SANSKRIT, PRAKRIT, AND THE OTHER INDO-ARYAN LANGUAGES SERIES = SOUTH ASIA RESEARCHPP=39–41, |region=India and NepalProto-Sinaitic script>Proto-Sinaitic[a]|footnotes=[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.BrāhmÄ« script>BrāhmÄ«Gupta script>GuptaNāgarÄ« script>NāgarÄ«|sisters=NandinagariGujarāti script>GujaratiMoḍī|unicode=U+0900–U+097F Devanagari, U+A8E0–U+A8FF Devanagari Extended, U+1CD0–U+1CFF Vedic Extensions|iso15924=Deva
{{Devanagari abugida sidebar}}{{brahmic}}Devanagari ({{IPAc-en|ˌ|d|eɪ|v|ə|ˈ|n|ɑː|ɡ|ər|i}} {{respell|DAY|və|NAH|gər|ee}}; , {{IAST3|Devanāgarī}}, Hindi pronunciation: {{IPA-hi|deːʋəˈnaːɡəri|}}), also called Nagari (Nāgarī, ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, {{ISBN|978-1615301492}}, page 83 is a left-to-right abugida (alphasyllabary), based on the ancient Brāhmī script, used in Indian subcontinent. It developed from 1st to 4th century CE, and was in regular use by 7th century CE. The Devanagari script, composed of 47 primary characters including 14 vowels and 33 consonants, is one of the most adopted writing systems in the world,WEB,weblink Devanagari script,, David Templin, 5 April 2015, being used for over 120 languages.Devanagari (Nagari), Script Features and Description, SIL International (2013), United States The ancient Nagari script for Sanskrit had two additional consonantal characters. The orthography of this script reflects the pronunciation of the language. Unlike the Latin alphabet, the script has no concept of letter case.Akira Nakanishi, Writing systems of the World, {{ISBN|978-0804816540}}, page 48 It is written from left to right, has a strong preference for symmetrical rounded shapes within squared outlines, and is recognisable by a horizontal line that runs along the top of full letters. In a cursory look, the Devanagari script appears different from other Indic scripts such as Bengali, Odia, or Gurmukhi, but a closer examination reveals they are very similar except for angles and structural emphasis.BOOK, Danesh Jain, George Cardona, The Indo-Aryan Languages,weblink 26 July 2007, Routledge, 978-1-135-79710-2, 115, Nagari has a strong preference for symmetrical shapes, especially squared outlines and right angles [7 lines above the character grid], Among the languages using it – as either their only script or one of their scripts – are Hindi,Hindi, Omniglot Encyclopedia of Writing Systems and Languages Sanskrit, Pali, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj Bhasha, Chhattisgarhi, Haryanvi, Magahi, Nagpuri, Rajasthani, Bhili, Dogri, Marathi, Nepali, Maithili, Kashmiri, Konkani, Sindhi, Bodo, Nepalbhasa, Mundari and Santali. The Devanagari script is closely related to the Nandinagari script commonly found in numerous ancient manuscripts of South India,George Cardona and Danesh Jain (2003), The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415772945}}, page 75Reinhold Grünendahl (2001), South Indian Scripts in Sanskrit Manuscripts and Prints, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447045049}}, pages xxii, 201–210 and it is distantly related to a number of southeast Asian scripts.


Devanagari is a compound of "deva" and "nāgarī" . Deva meaning "heavenly or divine", and is also one of the terms for a deity in Hinduism,Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary” Etymologically and Philologically Arranged to cognate Indo-European Languages, Motilal Banarsidass, page 492 Nagri comes from नगर (nagar), which means abode or city. Hence, Devanagri denotes from the abode of divinity or deities.


Devanagari is part of the Brahmic family of scripts of India, Nepal, Tibet, and South-East Asia.George Cardona and Danesh Jain (2003), The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415772945}}, pages 68–69{{Citation | title=A history of writing | author=Steven Roger Fischer | year=2004 | isbn=978-1-86189-167-9 |publisher=Reaktion Books | url= | quote= (p. 110) "... an early branch of this, as of the fourth century CE, was the Gupta script, Brahmi's first main daughter. [...] The Gupta alphabet became the ancestor of most Indic scripts (usually through later Devanagari). [...] Beginning around AD 600, Gupta inspired the important Nagari, Sarada, Tibetan and Pali scripts. Nagari, of India's northwest, first appeared around AD 633. Once fully developed in the eleventh century, Nagari had become Devanagari, or "heavenly Nagari", since it was now the main vehicle, out of several, for Sanskrit literature."}} Some of the earliest epigraphical evidence attesting to the developing Sanskrit Nagari script in ancient India, in a form similar to Devanagari, is from the 1st to 4th century CE inscriptions discovered in Gujarat.{{Google books|0bkMAAAAIAAJ|Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency}}, Rudradaman’s inscription from 1st through 4th century CE found in Gujarat, India, Stanford University Archives, pages 30–45, particularly Devanagari inscription on Jayadaman's coins pages 33–34 It is a descendant of the 3rd century BCE Brahmi script through the Gupta script, along with Siddham and Sharada. Variants of script called NāgarÄ«, recognisably close to Devanagari, are first attested from the 1st century CE Rudradaman inscriptions in Sanskrit, while the modern standardised form of Devanagari was in use by about 1000 CE.Richard Salomon (2014), Indian Epigraphy, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195356663}}, pages 40–42Krishna Chandra Sagar (1993), Foreign Influence on Ancient India, South Asia Books, {{ISBN|978-8172110284}}, page 137 Medieval inscriptions suggest widespread diffusion of the Nagari-related scripts, with biscripts presenting local script along with the adoption of Nagari scripts. For example, the mid 8th-century Pattadakal pillar in Karnataka has text in both Siddha Matrika script, and an early Telugu-Kannada script; while, the Kangra Jvalamukhi inscription in Himachal Pradesh is written in both Sharada and Devanagari scripts.Richard Salomon (2014), Indian Epigraphy, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195356663}}, page 71The Nagari script was in regular use by the 7th century CE and it was fully developed by about the end of first millennium. The use of Sanskrit in Nagari script in medieval India is attested by numerous pillar and cave temple inscriptions, including the 11th-century Udayagiri inscriptions in Madhya Pradesh,Michael Willis (2001), Inscriptions from Udayagiri: locating domains of devotion, patronage and power in the eleventh century, South Asian Studies, 17(1), pages 41–53 and an inscribed brick found in Uttar Pradesh, dated to be from 1217 CE, which is now held at the British Museum.Brick with Sanskrit inscription in Nagari script, 1217 CE, found in Uttar Pradesh, India (British Museum) The script's proto- and related versions have been discovered in ancient relics outside of India, such as in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Indonesia; while in East Asia, Siddha Matrika script considered as the closest precursor to Nagari was in use by Buddhists.Wayan Ardika (2009), Form, Macht, Differenz: Motive und Felder ethnologischen Forschens (Editors: Elfriede Hermann et al.), Universitätsverlag Göttingen, {{ISBN|978-3940344809}}, pages 251–252; Quote: "Nagari script and Sanskrit language in the inscription at Blangjong suggests that Indian culture was already influencing Bali (Indonesia) by the 10th century CE." Nagari has been the primus inter pares of the Indic scripts.George Cardona and Danesh Jain (2003), The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415772945}}, pages 75–77 It has long been used traditionally by religiously educated people in South Asia to record and transmit information, existing throughout the land in parallel with a wide variety of local scripts (such as Modi, Kaithi, and Mahajani) used for administration, commerce, and other daily uses.(File:Brahmi-Gupta-Devanagari evolution.jpg|thumb|upright=3|left|Brahmi-Gupta-Devanagari evolution)The 7th-century Tibetan king Srong-tsan-gambo ordered that all foreign books be transcribed into the Tibetan language. He sent his ambassador Tonmi Sambota to India to acquire alphabet and writing methods; returning with Sanskrit Nagari script from Kashmir corresponding to 24 Tibetan sounds and innovating new symbols for 6 local sounds.William Woodville Rockhill, {{Google books|avFDAQAAMAAJ|Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution|page=671}}, United States National Museum, page 671 Other closely related scripts such as Siddham Matrka were in use in Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and other parts of East Asia by between 7th- to 10th-century.David Quinter (2015), From Outcasts to Emperors: Shingon Ritsu and the MañjuÅ›rÄ« Cult in Medieval Japan, Brill, {{ISBN|978-9004293397}}, pages 63–65 with discussion on Uṣṇīṣa Vijaya Dhāraṇī SÅ«traRichard Salomon (2014), Indian Epigraphy, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195356663}}, pages 157–160 Sharada remained in parallel use in Kashmir. An early version of Devanagari is visible in the Kutila inscription of Bareilly dated to Vikram Samvat 1049 (i.e. 992 CE), which demonstrates the emergence of the horizontal bar to group letters belonging to a word. One of the oldest surviving Sanskrit texts from the early post-Maurya period consists of 1,413 Nagari pages of a commentary by Patanjali, with a composition date of about 150 BCE, the surviving copy transcribed about 14th century CE.Michael Witzel (2006), in Between the Empires : Society in India 300 BCE to 400 CE (Editor: Patrick Olivelle), Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195305326}}, pages 477–480 with footnote 60;Original manuscript, dates in Saka Samvat, and uncertainties associated with it: Mahabhasya of Patanjali, F Kielhorn{{IAST|NāgarÄ«}} is the Sanskrit feminine of {{IAST|Nāgara}} "relating or belonging to a town or city, urban". It is a phrasing with lipi ("script") as {{IAST|nāgarÄ« lipi}} "script relating to a city", or "spoken in city".Monier Williams Online Dictionary, nagara, Cologne Sanskrit Digital Lexicon, GermanyFile:Falongsibeiye.png|right|thumb|400px| Uṣṇīṣa Vijaya Dhāraṇī SÅ«tra in Siddham on palm-leaf in 609 CE. HōryÅ«-jiHōryÅ«-jiThe use of the name {{IAST|devanāgarÄ«}} emerged from the older term {{IAST|nāgarÄ«}}. According to Fischer, Nagari emerged in the northwest Indian subcontinent around 633 CE, was fully developed by the 11th-century, and was one of the major scripts used for the Sanskrit literature.

Southeast Asia

Most of the southeast Asian scripts have roots in the Dravidian scripts, except for a few found in south-central regions of Java and isolated parts of southeast Asia that resemble Devanagari or its prototype. The Kawi script in particular is similar to the Devanagari in many respects though the morphology of the script has local changes. The earliest inscriptions in the Devanagari-like scripts are from around the 10th-century, with many more between 11th- and 14th-century.BOOK, Avenir S. Teselkin, Old Javanese (Kawi),weblink 1972, Cornell University Press, 9–14, BOOK, J. G. de Casparis, Indonesian Palaeography: A History of Writing in Indonesia from the Beginnings to c. AD 1500,weblink 1975, BRILL Academic, 90-04-04172-9, 35–43, Some of the old-Devanagari inscriptions are found in Hindu temples of Java, such as the Prambanan temple.BOOK, Mary S. Zurbuchen, Introduction to Old Javanese Language and Literature: A Kawi Prose Anthology,weblink 1976, Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 978-0-89148-053-2, xi–xii, The Ligor and the Kalasan inscriptions of central Java, dated to the 8th-century, are also in the Nagari script of North India. According to the epigraphist and Asian Studies scholar Lawrence Briggs, these may be related to the 9th-century copper plate inscription of Devapaladeva (Bengal) which is also in early Devanagari script.JOURNAL, Briggs, Lawrence Palmer, The Origin of the Sailendra Dynasty: Present Status of the Question, Journal of the American Oriental Society, JSTOR, 70, 2, 1950, 0003-0279, 10.2307/595536, 79-81, The term Kawi in Kawi script is a loan word from Kavya (poetry). According to anthropologists and Asian Studies scholars John Norman Miksic and Goh Geok Yian, the 8th-century version of early Nagari or Devanagari script was adopted in Java, Bali (Indonesia), and Khmer (Cambodia) around 8th or 9th-century, as evidenced by the many inscriptions of this period.BOOK, John Norman Miksic, Goh Geok Yian, Ancient Southeast Asia,weblink 2016, Taylor & Francis, 978-1-317-27904-4, 177–179, 314–322,


The letter order of Devanagari, like nearly all Brahmic scripts, is based on phonetic principles that consider both the manner and place of articulation of the consonants and vowels they represent. This arrangement is usually referred to as the {{IAST|varṇamālā}} "garland of letters".{{Harvcoltxt|Salomon|2003|p=71}} The format of Devanagari for Sanskrit serves as the prototype for its application, with minor variations or additions, to other languages.{{Harvcoltxt|Salomon|2003|p=75}}


The vowels and their arrangement are:{{Harvcoltxt|Wikner|1996|pp=13, 14}}{|class="wikitable" style="text-align:center; width:60%"!!Independent form!IAST/ISO!As diacritic with !Independent form!IAST/ISO!As diacritic with !{{IAST|kaṇṭhya}}(Guttural)a}}ā}}!{{IAST|tālavya}}(Palatal)i}}Ä«}}!{{IAST|oṣṭhya}}(Labial)u}}Å«}}!{{IAST|mÅ«rdhanya}}(Retroflex)á¹›}}/rÌ¥4ṝ}}/r̥̄!{{IAST|dantya}}(Dental)4ḷ}}/lÌ¥4, 5ḹ}}/l̥̄!{{IAST|kaṇṭhatālavya}}(Palatoguttural)e}}/Ä“ai}}!{{IAST|kaṇṭhoṣṭhya}}(Labioguttural)o}}/ōau}}!{{IAST|}}1aṃ}}/aṁ1aḥ}}!{{IAST|}} 7}}/ê7}}/ô
{{multiple image
| direction = vertical
| width = 220
| footer = Examples of Devanagari manuscripts created between 13th- and 19th-centuries
| image1 = Isha Upanishad Verses 1 to 3, Shukla Yajurveda, Sanskrit, Devanagari.jpg
| image2 = 13th-century Shatapatha Brahmana 14th Khanda Prapathaka 3-4, page 1 front, Sanskrit, Devanagari script.jpg
| image3 = Yajurveda 44.8, page 1 front and back, Sanskrit, Devanagari lipi (script).jpg
| image4 = 1593 CE, Adi Shankara bhasya Aitareya Upanishad, Varanasi Jain temple bhandara, Sanskrit, Devanagari, MS Add.2092.jpg
  1. Arranged with the vowels are two consonantal diacritics, the final nasal anusvāra {{IAST|ṃ}} and the final fricative visarga {{IAST|ḥ}} (called {{IAST|aṃ}} and {{IAST|aḥ}}). {{Harvcoltxt|Masica|1991|p=146}} notes of the anusvāra in Sanskrit that "there is some controversy as to whether it represents a homorganic nasal stop [...], a nasalised vowel, a nasalised semivowel, or all these according to context". The visarga represents post-vocalic voiceless glottal fricative {{IPA|[h]}}, in Sanskrit an allophone of {{IAST|s}}, or less commonly {{IAST|r}}, usually in word-final position. Some traditions of recitation append an echo of the vowel after the breath:{{Harvcoltxt|Wikner|1996|p=6}} {{IPA|[ihi]}}. {{Harvcoltxt|Masica|1991|p=146}} considers the visarga along with letters {{IAST|ṅa}} and {{IAST|ña}} for the "largely predictable" velar and palatal nasals to be examples of "phonetic overkill in the system".
  2. Another diacritic is the candrabindu/anunāsika . {{Harvcoltxt|Salomon|2003|pp=76–77}} describes it as a "more emphatic form" of the {{IAST|anusvāra}}, "sometimes [...] used to mark a true [vowel] nasalization". In a New Indo-Aryan language such as Hindi the distinction is formal: the {{IAST|candrabindu}} indicates vowel nasalisation{{Harvcoltxt|Snell|2000|pp=44–45}} while the {{IAST|anusvār}} indicates a homorganic nasal preceding another consonant:{{Harvcoltxt|Snell|2000|p=64}} e.g. {{IPA|[ɦə̃si]}} "laughter", {{IPA|[ɡəŋɡɑ]}} "the Ganges". When an akshara has a vowel diacritic above the top line, that leaves no room for the candra ("moon") stroke candrabindu, which is dispensed with in favour of the lone dot:{{Harvcoltxt|Snell|2000|p=45}} {{IPA|[ɦũ]}} "am", but {{IPA|[ɦɛ̃]}} "are". Some writers and typesetters dispense with the "moon" stroke altogether, using only the dot in all situations.{{Harvcoltxt|Snell|2000|p=46}}
  3. The avagraha (usually transliterated with an apostrophe) is a Sanskrit punctuation mark for the elision of a vowel in sandhi: {{IAST|eko'yam}} ( ← {{IAST|ekas}} + {{IAST|ayam}}) "this one". An original long vowel lost to coalescence is sometimes marked with a double avagraha: {{IAST|sadā'tmā}} ( ← {{IAST|sadā}} + {{IAST|ātmā}}) "always, the self".{{Harvcoltxt|Salomon|2003|p=77}} In Hindi, {{Harvcoltxt|Snell|2000|p=77}} states that its "main function is to show that a vowel is sustained in a cry or a shout": {{IAST|āīīī!}}. In Madhyadeshi Languages like Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Maithili, etc. which have "quite a number of verbal forms [that] end in that inherent vowel",{{Harvcoltxt|Verma|2003|p=501}} the avagraha is used to mark the non-elision of word-final inherent a, which otherwise is a modern orthographic convention: {{IAST|baiṭha}} "sit" versus {{IAST|baiṭh}}
  4. The syllabic consonants {{IAST|ṝ}}, {{IAST|ḷ}}, and {{IAST|ḹ}} are specific to Sanskrit and not included in the {{IAST|varṇamālā}} of other languages. The sound represented by {{IAST|ṛ}} has also been lost in the modern languages, and its pronunciation now ranges from {{IPA|[ɾɪ]}} (Hindi) to {{IPA|[ɾu]}} (Marathi).
  5. {{IAST|ḹ}} is not an actual phoneme of Sanskrit, but rather a graphic convention included among the vowels in order to maintain the symmetry of short–long pairs of letters.
  6. There are non-regular formations of ru and rū.
  7. There are two more vowels in Marathi as well as Konkani, and , that respectively represent [{{IPA|æ}}], similar to the RP English pronunciation of in ‘act’, and [{{IPA|ɒ}}], similar to the RP pronunciation of in ‘cot’. These vowels are sometimes used in Hindi too. IAST transliteration is not defined. In ISO 15919, the transliteration is ê and ô, respectively.


The table below shows the consonant letters (in combination with inherent vowel a) and their arrangement. To the right of the Devanagari letter it shows the Latin script transliteration using International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration,{{Harvcoltxt|Wikner|1996|pp=73}} and the phonetic value (IPA) in Hindi.BOOK, Stella Sandahl, A Hindi reference grammar,weblink 2000, Peeters, 978-9042908802, 1–4, BOOK, Tej K. Bhatia, A History of the Hindi Grammatical Tradition,weblink 1987, BRILL Academic, 90-04-07924-6, 51–63, 77–94, {|class="wikitable" style="text-align:center; width:95%"! Phonetics →! colspan=8 | {{IAST|sparśa}}(Plosive)! colspan=2 | {{IAST|anunāsika}}(Nasal)! colspan=2 | {{IAST|antastha}}(Approximant)! colspan=4 | {{IAST|ūṣman/saṃghaṣhrī}}(Fricative)! Voicing → {{IAST|aghoṣa}} {{IAST|ghoṣa}} {{IAST|aghoṣa}} {{IAST|ghoṣa}}! Aspiration → {{IAST|alpaprāṇa}} {{IAST|mahāprāṇa}} {{IAST|alpaprāṇa}} {{IAST|mahāprāṇa}} {{IAST|alpaprāṇa}} {{IAST|mahāprāṇa}}!{{IAST|kaṇṭhya}}(Guttural){{IASTk}}{{IAST[kʰ]}}{{IASTɡ}}{{IAST[ɡʱ]}}{{IASTŋ}}{{IASTɦ}}!tālavya(Palatal){{IASTc}}~{{IPAblink|tʃ}}{{IAST[cʰ]~[tʃʰ]}}{{IASTɟ}}~{{IPAblink|dʒ}}{{IAST[ɟʱ]~[dʒʱ]}}{{IASTɲ}}{{IASTj}}{{IASTʃ}}!mūrdhanya(Retroflex){{IASTʈ}}{{IAST[ʈʰ]}}{{IASTɖ}}{{IAST[ɖʱ]}}{{IASTɳ}}{{IASTɾ}}{{IASTʂ}}!dantya(Dental){{IASTt̪}}{{IAST[t̪ʰ]}}{{IASTd̪}}{{IAST[d̪ʱ]}}{{IASTn}}{{IASTl}}{{IASTs}}!{{IAST|oṣṭhya}}(Labial){{IASTp}}{{IAST[pʰ]}}{{IASTb}}{{IAST[bʱ]}}{{IASTm}}{{IASTʋ}}
  • Rounding this out where applicable is {{IAST|ḷa}} (IPA: {{IPAblink|É­}} or {{IPAblink|ɭ̆}}), the intervocalic lateral flap allophone of the voiced retroflex stop in Vedic Sanskrit, which is a phoneme in languages such as Marathi, Konkani, and Rajasthani.Masica (1991:97)
  • Beyond the Sanskritic set, new shapes have rarely been formulated. {{Harvcoltxt|Masica|1991|p=146}} offers the following, "In any case, according to some, all possible sounds had already been described and provided for in this system, as Sanskrit was the original and perfect language. Hence it was difficult to provide for or even to conceive other sounds, unknown to the phoneticians of Sanskrit". Where foreign borrowings and internal developments did inevitably accrue and arise in New Indo-Aryan languages, they have been ignored in writing, or dealt through means such as diacritics and ligatures (ignored in recitation).
    • The most prolific diacritic has been the subscript dot (nuqtā) . Hindi uses it for the Persian, Arabic and English sounds qa /q/, xa /x/, Ä¡a /É£/, za /z/, zha /Ê’/, and fa /f/, and for the allophonic developments {{IAST|á¹›a}} /ɽ/ and {{IAST|á¹›ha}} /ɽʱ/. (Although {{IAST|ḷha}} {{IPA|/ɭʱä/}} could also exist, it is not used in Hindi.)
    • Sindhi's and Saraiki's implosives are accommodated with a line attached below: {{IPA|[É É™]}}, {{IPA|[Ê„É™]}}, {{IPA|[É—É™]}}, {{IPA|[É“É™]}}.
    • Aspirated sonorants may be represented as conjuncts/ligatures with ha: mha, nha, {{IAST|ṇha}}, vha, lha, {{IAST|ḷha}}, rha.
    • {{Harvcoltxt|Masica|1991|p=147}} notes Marwari as using for {{IAST|ḍa}} {{IPA|[É—É™]}} (while represents {{IPA|[ɽə]}}).
For a list of the 297 (33×9) possible Sanskrit consonant-(short) vowel phonemes, see Āryabhaṭa numeration.

Allophony of 'v' and 'w' in Hindi

{{IPA|[v]}} (the voiced labiodental fricative) and {{IPA|[w]}} (the voiced labio-velar approximant) are both allophones of the single phoneme represented by the letter in Hindi Devanagari. More specifically, they are conditional allophones, i.e. rules apply on whether is pronounced as {{IPA|[v]}} or {{IPA|[w]}} depending on context. Native Hindi speakers pronounce as {{IPA|[v]}} in vrat (, fast) and {{IPA|[w]}} in pakvān (, food dish), perceiving them as a single phoneme and without being aware of the allophone distinctions they are systematically making.{{Citation | title=Implications of Hindi Prosodic Structure (Current Trends in Phonology: Models and Methods) | author=Janet Pierrehumbert, Rami Nair, Volume Editor: Bernard Laks | publisher=European Studies Research Institute, University of Salford Press, 1996 | isbn=978-1-901471-02-1 | url= | quote=... showed extremely regular patterns. As is not uncommon in a study of subphonemic detail, the objective data patterned much more cleanly than intuitive judgments ... [w] occurs when /व/ is in onglide position ... [v] occurs otherwise ...}} However, this specific allophony can become obvious when speakers switch languages. Non-native speakers of Hindi might pronounce in as {{IPA|[w]}}, i.e. as wrat instead of the more correct vrat. This results in a minor intelligibility problem because wrat can easily be confused for aurat,{{Citation needed|date=February 2011}} which means woman, instead of the intended fast'' (abstaining from food), in Hindi.


File:Devanagari matras.png|thumb|center|750px|Compound letters- क with vowel diacriticdiacriticTable: Compounds. Vowels in their independent form on the left and in their corresponding dependent form (vowel sign) combined with the consonant '{{transl|hi|ISO|k}}' on the right. '{{transl|hi|ISO|ka}}' is without any added vowel sign, where the vowel '{{transl|hi|ISO|a}}' is inherent. ISO 15919Difference between ISO 15919 & IAST transliteration is on the top two rows.{| class="wikitable Unicode" style="text-align:center; font-size:90%;width:100%" style="font-size: 75%;"! ISO !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|a !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|ā !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|æ !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|ɒ !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|i !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|ī !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|u !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|ū !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|e !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|ē !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|ai !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|o !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|ō !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|au !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|r̥ !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|r̥̄ !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|l̥ !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"|l̥̄ !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"| ṁ !! colspan="2" class="unsortable"| ḥ!!!a!ka!ā!kā!æ!kæ!ɒ!kɒ!i!ki!ī!kī!u!ku!ū!kū!e!ke!ē!kē!ai!kai!o!ko!ō!kō!au!kau!r̥!kr̥!r̥̄!kr̥̄!l̥!kl̥!l̥̄!kl̥̄!ṁ!kṁ!ḥ!kaḥ!k! style="font-size: 75%;" | Devanagari| कः|क्A vowel combines with a consonant to form their compound letter. For example, the vowel ({{transl|hi|ISO|ā}}) combines with the consonant ({{transl|hi|ISO|k}}) to form the compound ({{transl|hi|ISO|kā}}), with halant removed and added vowel sign which is indicated by diacritics. The vowel ({{transl|hi|ISO|a}}) combines with the consonant ({{transl|hi|ISO|k}}) to form the compound ({{transl|hi|ISO|ka}}) with halant removed. But, the compound letter series of ... ({{transl|hi|ISO|ka, kha, ga, gha}}) is without any added vowel sign, as the vowel अ (a) is inherent.

Conjunct consonants

File:1765 Saka, 1843 CE, Jnanesvari Jnandeva Dnyaneshwar manuscript page 1 and 2, Devanagari Marathi.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25| The Jnanesvari is a commentary on the Bhagavad GitaBhagavad GitaAs mentioned, successive consonants lacking a vowel in between them may physically join together as a conjunct consonant or ligature. When Devanagari is used for writing languages other than Sanskrit, conjuncts are used mostly with Sanskrit words and loan words. Native words typically use the basic consonant and native speakers know to suppress the vowel when it is conventional to do so. For example, the native Hindi word karnā is written (ka-ra-nā).Saloman, Richard (2007) “Typological Observations on the Indic Scripts” in The Indic Scripts: Paleographic and Linguistic Perspecticves D.K. Printworld Ltd., New Delhi. {{ISBN|812460406-1}}. p. 33. The government of these clusters ranges from widely to narrowly applicable rules, with special exceptions within. While standardised for the most part, there are certain variations in clustering, of which the Unicode used on this page is just one scheme. The following are a number of rules:
  • 24 out of the 36 consonants contain a vertical right stroke ( kha, gha, ṇa etc.). As first or middle fragments/members of a cluster, they lose that stroke. e.g. + = tva, + = ṇḍha, + = stha. In Unicode, these consonants without their vertical stems are called half forms.WEB, The Unicode Standard, chapter 9, South Asian Scripts I,weblink The Unicode Standard, v. 6.0, Unicode, Inc, Feb 12, 2012, Å›(a) appears as a different, simple ribbon-shaped fragment preceding va, na, ca, la, and ra, causing these second members to be shifted down and reduced in size. Thus Å›va, Å›na, Å›ca Å›la, and Å›ra.
  • r(a) as a first member takes the form of a curved upward dash above the final character or its ā-diacritic. e.g. rva, rvā, rspa, rspā. As a final member with á¹­a á¹­ha ḍa ḍha á¹›a cha it is two lines below the character, pointed downwards and apart. Thus á¹­ra á¹­hra ḍra ḍhra á¹›ra chra. Elsewhere as a final member it is a diagonal stroke extending leftwards and down. e.g. . ta is shifted up to make tra.
  • As first members, remaining characters lacking vertical strokes such as d(a) and h(a) may have their second member, reduced in size and lacking its horizontal stroke, placed underneath. k(a), ch(a), and ph(a) shorten their right hooks and join them directly to the following member.
  • The conjuncts for {{IAST|ká¹£}} and {{IAST|jñ}} are not clearly derived from the letters making up their components. The conjunct for {{IAST|ká¹£}} is ( + ) and for {{IAST|jñ}} it is ( + ).

Accent marks

The pitch accent of Vedic Sanskrit is written with various symbols depending on shakha. In the Rigveda, anudātta is written with a bar below the line (), svarita with a stroke above the line () while udātta is unmarked.


The end of a sentence or half-verse may be marked with the "" symbol (called a danda, meaning "bar", or called a {{IAST|pūrṇa virām}}, meaning "full stop/pause"). The end of a full verse may be marked with a double-danda, a "" symbol. A comma (called an {{IAST|alpa virām}}, meaning "short stop/pause") is used to denote a natural pause in speech.Unicode Consortium, The Unicode Standard, Version 3.0, Volume 1, {{ISBN|978-0201616330}}, Addison-Wesley, pages 221–223Transliteration from Hindi Script to Meetei Mayek Watham and Vimal (2013), IJETR, page 550 Other punctuation marks such as colon, semi-colon, exclamation mark, dash, and question mark are currently in use in Devanagari script, matching their use in European languages.Michael Shapiro (2014), The Devanagari Writing System in A Primer of Modern Standard Hindi, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120805088}}, page 26

Old forms

(File:11th-century Shisyalekha palm leaf mauscript, 5th-century CE Buddhist epistolary text by Candragomin, Devanagari script, Nepal talapatra.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|A few palm leaves from the Buddhist Sanskrit text Shisyalekha composed in 5th-century by Candragomin. Shisyalekha was written in Devanagari script by a Nepalese scribe in 1084 CE (above). The manuscript is in the Cambridge University library.Åšiá¹£yalekha (MS Add.1161), University of Cambridge Digital Libraries)(File:10th century college foundation grant Devanagari inscription in Sanskrit on stone, Kaladgi Karnataka.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|A mid 10th-century college land grant in Devanagari inscription (Sanskrit) discovered on a buried, damaged stone in north Karnataka. Parts of the inscription are in Canarese script.Salotgi Inscription, The Indian Antiquary: A Journal of Oriental Research, S.P. Pandit (1872), pp.205–211; Quote: "The inscription of which a translation is given below, is engraved on a stone pillar about 4 feet 10 inches in height, 1 foot 2 inches thick, and 1 foot 9 inches broad. It is cut in Devanagari characters on three of its four sides, and [...]")The following letter variants are also in use, particularly in older texts.{{Harvsp|Bahri|2004|p=(xiii)}}{{full citation needed|date=August 2016}}{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center; margin: 0; margin-left: 2em"|+ Letter variants style="font-size: small;"! standard !! ancient15px) (File:Devanagari a old.svg|15px)15px) (File:Devanagari jh old.svg|15px)15px) (File:Devanagari nn old.svg|15px)15px) (File:Devanagari l.svg|15px)


{{See also|Indian numerals|Brahmi numerals|Hindu-Arabic numeral system}}{| class="wikitable" style="margin:auto;"|+ Devanagari digits style="font-size:14pt;"| 4| 9


A variety of unicode fonts are in use for Devanagari. These include, but are not limited to, Akshar,Akshar Unicode South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Annapurna,Annapurna SIL Unicode, SIL International (2013) Arial,Arial Unicode South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) CDAC-Gist Surekh,CDAC-GIST Surekh Unicode South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) CDAC-Gist Yogesh,CDAC-GIST Yogesh South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Chandas, Gargi,Gargi South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Gurumaa,Gurumaa Unicode - a sans font KDE (2012) Jaipur,Jaipur South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Jana,Jana South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Kalimati,Kalimati South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Kanjirowa,Kanjirowa South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Lohit Devanagari, Mangal,Mangal South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Raghu,Raghu South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Sanskrit2003,Sanskrit Ashram South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) Santipur OT, Siddhanta, Thyaka,Thyaka South Asia Language Resource, University of Chicago (2009) and Uttara.Sanskrit Devanagari Fonts Harvard University (2010); see Chanda and Uttara ttf 2010 archive (Accessed: July 8, 2015)The form of Devanagari fonts vary with function. According to Harvard College for Sanskrit studies, "Uttara [companion to Chandas] is the best in terms of ligatures but, because it is designed for Vedic as well, requires so much vertical space that it is not well suited for the "user interface font" (though an excellent choice for the "original field" font). Santipur OT is a beautiful font reflecting a very early [medieval era] typesetting style for Devanagari. Sanskrit 2003Devanagari font {{webarchive |url= |date=2 December 2014 }} Unicode Standard 8.0 (2015) is a good all-around font and has more ligatures than most fonts, though students will probably find the spacing of the CDAC-Gist Surekh font makes for quicker comprehension and reading."Google Fonts project now has a number of new unicode fonts for Devanagari in a variety of typefaces in Serif, Sans-Serif, Display and Handwriting categories.


(File:Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.svg|thumb|upright=1.6|Indic scripts share common features, and along with Devanagari, all major Indic scripts have been historically used to preserve Vedic and post-Vedic Sanskrit texts.)There are several methods of Romanisation or transliteration from Devanagari to the Roman script.{{Citation | title=Transliteration into Roman and Devanagari of the languages of the Indian group | author=Daya Nand Sharma | publisher=Survey of India, 1972 | isbn= | url= | quote=... With the passage of time there has emerged a practically uniform system of transliteration of Devanagari and allied alphabets. Nevertheless, no single system of Romanisation has yet developed ...}}

Hunterian system

The Hunterian system is the "national system of romanisation in India" and the one officially adopted by the Government of India.{{Citation | title=Technical reference manual for the standardisation of geographical names | author=United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs | publisher=United Nations Publications, 2007 | isbn=978-92-1-161500-5 | url= | quote=... ISO 15919 ... There is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products ... The Hunterian system is the actually used national system of romanisation in India ...}}{{Citation | title=United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Far East, Volume 2 | author=United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs | publisher=United Nations, 1955 | isbn= | url= | quote=... In India the Hunterian system is used, whereby every sound in the local language is uniformly represented by a certain letter in the Roman alphabet ...}}{{Citation | title=Indian scientific & technical publications, exhibition 1960: a bibliography | author=National Library (India) | publisher=Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Government of India, 1960 | isbn= | url= | quote=... The Hunterian system of transliteration, which has international acceptance, has been used ...}}

ISO 15919

A standard transliteration convention was codified in the ISO 15919 standard of 2001. It uses diacritics to map the much larger set of Brahmic graphemes to the Latin script. The Devanagari-specific portion is nearly identical to the academic standard for Sanskrit, IAST.


The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is the academic standard for the romanisation of Sanskrit. IAST is the de facto standard used in printed publications, like books, magazines, and electronic texts with Unicode fonts. It is based on a standard established by the Congress of Orientalists at Athens in 1912. The ISO 15919 standard of 2001 codified the transliteration convention to include an expanded standard for sister scripts of Devanagari.Devanagari IAST conventions Script Source (2009), SIL International, United StatesThe National Library at Kolkata romanisation, intended for the romanisation of all Indic scripts, is an extension of IAST.


Compared to IAST, Harvard-Kyoto looks much simpler. It does not contain all the diacritic marks that IAST contains. It was designed to simplify the task of putting large amount of Sanskrit textual material into machine readable form, and the inventors stated that it reduces the effort needed in transliteration of Sanskrit texts on the keyboard. This makes typing in Harvard-Kyoto much easier than IAST. Harvard-Kyoto uses capital letters that can be difficult to read in the middle of words.


ITRANS is a lossless transliteration scheme of Devanagari into ASCII that is widely used on Usenet. It is an extension of the Harvard-Kyoto scheme. In ITRANS, the word devanāgarī is written "devanaagarii" or "devanAgarI". ITRANS is associated with an application of the same name that enables typesetting in Indic scripts. The user inputs in Roman letters and the ITRANS pre-processor translates the Roman letters into Devanagari (or other Indic languages). The latest version of ITRANS is version 5.30 released in July, 2001. It is similar to Velthius system and was created by Avinash Chopde to help print various Indic scripts with personal computers.Transliteration of Devanāgarī D. Wujastyk (1996)


The disadvantage of the above ASCII schemes is case-sensitivity, implying that transliterated names may not be capitalised. This difficulty is avoided with the system developed in 1996 by Frans Velthuis for TeX, loosely based on IAST, in which case is irrelevant.

ALA-LC Romanisation

ALA-LCWEB,weblink,, 2011-06-13, romanisation is a transliteration scheme approved by the Library of Congress and the American Library Association, and widely used in North American libraries. Transliteration tables are based on languages, so there is a table for Hindi,WEB,weblink 0001.eps, PDF, 2011-06-13, one for Sanskrit and Prakrit,WEB,weblink, PDF, 2011-06-13, etc.


WX is a Roman transliteration scheme for Indian languages, widely used among the natural language processing community in India. It originated at IIT Kanpur for computational processing of Indian languages. The salient features of this transliteration scheme are as follows.
  • Every consonant and every vowel has a single mapping into Roman. Hence it is a prefix code, advantageous from computation point of view.
  • Lower-case letters are used for unaspirated consonants and short vowels, while capital letters are used for aspirated consonants and long vowels. While the retroflex stops are mapped to 't, T, d, D, N', the dentals are mapped to 'w, W, x, X, n'. Hence the name 'WX', a reminder of this idiosyncratic mapping.



ISCII is an 8-bit encoding. The lower 128 codepoints are plain ASCII, the upper 128 codepoints are ISCII-specific.It has been designed for representing not only Devanagari but also various other Indic scripts as well as a Latin-based script with diacritic marks used for transliteration of the Indic scripts.ISCII has largely been superseded by Unicode, which has, however, attempted to preserve the ISCII layout for its Indic language blocks.


The Unicode Standard defines three blocks for Devanagari: Devanagari (U+0900–U+097F), Devanagari Extended (U+A8E0–U+A8FF), and Vedic Extensions (U+1CD0–U+1CFF).{{Unicode chart Devanagari}}{{Unicode chart Devanagari Extended}}{{Unicode chart Vedic Extensions}}

Devanagari keyboard layouts

{{hatnote|For a list of Devanagari input tools and fonts, please see (Help:Multilingual support (Indic)).}}(File:इन्स्क्रिप्ट कळपाटाची ओळख.ogg|200px|right|Introduction to Inscript Key board)

InScript layout

InScript is the standard keyboard layout for Devanagari as standardized by the Government of India. It is inbuilt in all modern major operating systems. Microsoft Windows supports the InScript layout (using the Mangal font), which can be used to input unicode Devanagari characters. InScript is also available in some touchscreen mobile phones.(File:Devanagari INSCRIPT Keyboard.JPG|thumb|none|middle|upright=4|Devanagari INSCRIPT bilingual keyboard layout)


This layout was used on manual typewriters when computers were not available or were uncommon. For backward compatibility some typing tools like Indic IME still provide this layout.


Such tools work on phonetic transliteration. The user writes in Roman and the IME automatically converts it into Devanagari. Some popular phonetic typing tools are Baraha IME and Google IME.File:Marathi Wikipedia ULS.webm|thumb|right|300px|One can use (:MW:Universal Language Selector|ULS) (Transliteration) or (Inscript) typing options to search or edit (:mr:|Marathi Wikipedia) articles as shown in this video clip; One can click on the 'cc to change the subtitle languages to Marathi, English, Sanskrit, Kokani, Ahirani languages.]]The Mac OS X operating system includes two different keyboard layouts for Devanagari: one is much like INSCRIPT/KDE Linux, the other is a phonetic layout called "Devanagari QWERTY".Any one of Unicode fonts input system is fine for Indic language Wikipedia and other wikiprojects, including Hindi, Bhojpuri, Marathi, Nepali Wikipedia. Some people use inscript. Majority uses either Google phonetic transliteration or input facility (:MW:Universal Language Selector|Universal Language Selector) provided on Wikipedia. On Indic language wikiprojects Phonetic facility provided initially was java-based later supported by Narayam extension for phonetic input facility. Currently Indic language Wiki projects are supported by (:MW:Universal Language Selector|Universal Language Selector (ULS)), that offers both phonetic keyboard (Aksharantaran, Marathi: , Hindi: ) and InScript keyboard (Marathi: ).The Ubuntu Linux operating system supports several keyboard layouts for Devanagari, including Harvard-Kyoto, WX notation, Bolanagari and phonetic. The 'remington' typing method in Ubuntu IBUS is similar to the Krutidev typing method, popular in Rajasthan. The 'itrans' method is useful for those who know English well (and the English keyboard) but not familiar with typing in Devanagari.

See also

{{col div|colwidth=30em}} {{colend}}


  • {{Citation|last=Masica|first=Colin|authorlink=Colin Masica|year=1991|title=The Indo-Aryan Languages| place= Cambridge|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-29944-2|url=
  • {hide}Citation|last=Snell|first=Rupert|year=2000|title=Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script|publisher=Hodder & Stoughton|isbn=978-0-07-141984-0
  • {hide}Citation|last=Salomon|first=Richard|year=2003|chapter=Writing Systems of the Indo-Aryan Languages| editor1-last= Cardona| editor1-first= George| editor2-last= Jain| editor2-first= Dhanesh|title=The Indo-Aryan Languages|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-0-415-77294-5|pages=67–103
  • {hide}Citation|last=Verma|first=Sheela|year=2003|chapter=Magahi| editor1-last= Cardona| editor1-first= George| editor2-last= Jain| editor2-first= Dhanesh|title=The Indo-Aryan Languages|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-0-415-77294-5|pages=498–514
  • {{Citation|last=Wikner|first=Charles|year=1996|title=A Practical Sanskrit Introductory|url=

Census and catalogues of manuscripts in Devanagari

Thousands of manuscripts of ancient and medieval era Sanskrit texts in Devanagari have been discovered since the 19th century. Major catalogues and census include:
  • {{Google books|JjxFAAAAYAAJ|A Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Private Libraries}}, Medical Hall Press, Princeton University Archive
  • {{Google books|QD-Qmb2XIr8C|A Descriptive Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts}}, Vol 1: Upanishads, Friedrich Otto Schrader (Compiler), University of Michigan Library Archives
  • A preliminary list of the Sanskrit and Prakrit manuscripts, Vedas, Sastras, Sutras, Schools of Hindu Philosophies, Arts, Design, Music and other fields, Friedrich Otto Schrader (Compiler), (Devanagiri manuscripts are identified by Character code De.)
  • Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts, Part 1: Vedic Manuscripts, Harvard University Archives (mostly Devanagari)
  • Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts, Part 4: Manuscripts of Hindu schools of Philosophy and Tantra, Harvard University Archives (mostly Devanagari)
  • Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts, Part 5: Manuscripts of Medicine, Astronomy and Mathematics, Architecture and Technical Science Literature, Julius Eggeling (Compiler), Harvard University Archives (mostly Devanagari)
  • {{Google books|6nooAAAAYAAJ|Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts}}, Part 6: Poetic, Epic and Purana Literature, Harvard University Archives (mostly Devanagari)
  • David Pingree (1970-1981), Census of the Exact Sciences in Sanskrit: Volumes 1 through 5, American Philosophical Society, Manuscripts in various Indic scripts including Devanagari

External links

{{Commons category multi|Devanagari stroke order|Devanagari pronunciation}}{{wikivoyage|Learning Devanagari}} {{Devanagari abugida}}{{Hindi topics}}{{Sanskrit language topics}}{{Marathi language topics}}{{list of writing systems}}

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