Typing ĐevaNāgarī Character Sequences

While typing ĐevaNāgarī (or other Indic Scripts), we are not confident of keys (characters) required to form/display a particular conjunct or syllable. In simple words, we want to know combinations of keys required to form (render) a conjunct. Examples given here covers sequences to form some regular syllables.

In a lot of Indic languages (like Hinđī, Marāthī, etc.) -
a. Letters are called Akṣhar/s,
b. Consonants are called varṇ/s,
c. Vowels which are independent are called svar/s,
    (these do not combine with consonants),
d. Vowels which are dependent are called mātrāEn̐,
    (these are applied over consonants).

We have used following shortcuts -
Cns to denote consonant,
BCns to denote base-consonant (last consonant in a syllable/conjunct),
Hlt to denote halant.

What is Halant (हलंत)?

In all the ĐevaNāgarī consonants an inherent short vowel ‘अ’ (Ə) is present. We need to add 'halant' (्) to remove this inherent vowel (aka schwa) from the ĐevaNāgarī consonants.

Halant looks like a small back slash ('\') and is sometimes written below consonants. But mostly the halant is not shown in a syllable.

When we type the 'halant' after a consonant-Akṣhar, it changes the 'full-form' of that Akṣhar to 'half-form' and vanishes.

'Ākār' (akar) is the vertical stroke that is present in most of the 'full-form' Akṣhar/s. When a 'full-form' is changed to 'half-form' this 'Ākār' is removed.

E.g. 'प' is the full-form of consonant 'pa' while 'प्‍ ' is its half-form.

If Ākār is not present in a full-form consonant then we get a different half form of that consonant.

E.g. 'ह' is the full-form of consonant 'ha' while 'ह्‍ ' is its half-form.

In other words we can say -
Either halant removes the 'Ākār' of the preceding consonant, or changes the form of the preceding consonant. In most of the cases the new form is a part of the corresponding full form.

How to Type _halant

In case of the default keyboard layout (called InScript), you will find halant on the key marked 'd'.

In case of our keyboard layout iNāgarī, you will find halant on the key marked ';' (semicolon).

Remember, halant should be typed only after a consonant. A halant results in the corresponding half form of the previous consonant. When we type another consonant after the halant, the preceding half form joins with it and forms a conjunct.

A. Conjuncts

A conjunct is a combination of two or more consonants. In other words, a conjunct means a letter-form representing combined consonants.

[Cns+ Hlt + BCns = Conjunct]

e.g. - क (Cns) + (Hlt) + य (BCns) = क्य (Conjunct)

Similarly we will get -
क + + ल = क्ल and
ष + + ट = ष्ट

The last consonant in a conjunct is the base consonant. Vowel marks called 'mātrāEn̐' (matras) can only be applied over base consonant.

Conjunts can be called 'Joḍakṣhar/s' (जोड़ाक्षर). Joḍ (जोड़) in Hinđī means join, so Joḍakṣhar means joint (combined) Akṣhar/s.

Some of the essential conjuncts are sometimes referred as 'Akhand'. Following first three (क्ष, त्र, ज्ञ) Joḍakṣhar/s were included in the basic varṇamālā.

These are formed as below.

क + + ष = क्ष
त + + र = त्र
ज + + ञ = ज्ञ
श + + र = श्र
द + + ध = द्ध
द + + व = द्व
द + + य = द्य

B. Rakār 'रकार'

Rakār means 'Akār' (shape) of the 'Ra' consonant. There are two shapes for rakār - one that looks like a small slash ('/') and another that looks like a caret ('^') or inverted 'v'.

[Cns + Hlt + ra = CnsWithRakār]

e.g. - क (Cns) + (Hlt) + र (ra) = क्र (CnsWithRakār)

similarly we will get -
प + + र = प्र , ट + + र = ट्र etc.

[Note - To get rakār below a consonant we have to type 'halant' followed by 'ra' after that consonant.]

The 'ra' in the above example is logically the base consonant but is written as a 'mark' (mātrā) instead of a letter ('Akṣhar').

Some people call it 'Below-Base Ra', but the base itself is 'ra'! So we may call it 'Base ra written below' or 'Sign/Mark of Base ra'. If you know Hinđī, you may think of it as 'purṇ ra kī mātrā' (पूर्ण र की मात्रा) and simply call it 'rakār'.

C. Reph ('रेफ')

Reph is sometimes called 'Above-Base Ra'. It looks like a simple curve over BCns.

[ra + Hlt + BCns = BCnsWithReph]

र + + य = र्य

[Note - To get reph over a consonant we have to type 'ra' + 'halant' before that consonant.]

The 'ra' consonant in the above example is placed above the base consonant in form of a 'mark'. You may think of it as 'ra kī mātrā' (र की मात्रा) and simply call it 'Reph'.

D. Half Ra!

The following sequence results in a half (inline) form of 'Ra' sometimes called 'Eyelash Ra'. It is sometimes used in Marāthī instead of reph.

र + + ZWJ = र्‍

ZWJ stands for ZeroWidthJoiner, which is a blank space-less (width-less) character needed to produce alternate (less common) form of conjunct by joining two adjoining character. In the above case it prevents formation of reph (matra) and produces eyelash-ra. Which is within the line (area) of Akṣhar/s.


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