The _naagaree-128 Scheme

In Indic scripts, there are two forms of vowels -
Independent vowels / स्वर (svar),
Vowel-Marks / मात्रा (mātrā).

And, there are two forms of consonants -
Full-form / व्यंजन (v'yanjan),
Half-form / शुद्ध व्यंजन (shuđđh v'yanjan).

The 'half-forms' are the pure consonants (without trailing vowels). A 'full-form' represents corresponding half-form and the trailing vowel which is 'अ' ('a' or schwa).

This scheme is specified as per the alphabet of ĐevaNāgarī called Varṇamālā (वर्णमाला).

1. Svar

An independent vowel is called a svar (स्वर). Independent vowels are written as Akṣhar/s (अक्षर; AkShar). [Not as marks]. As per this scheme we will use Latin vowels in upper-case form to represent svar/s.

अ A आ AA इ I ई EE/II उ U ऊ OO ऋ RI ए E ऐ AI ओ O औ AU/AO ऍ AE ऑ AW

2. Mātrā

A dependent vowel is called a mātrā (मात्रा; maatraa). The mātrā/s are applied over consonants (base-letters) in form of 'marks'. As per this scheme we will use Latin vowels in lower-case form to represent mātrā/s.

_ a ा aa ि i ी ee ु u ू oo ृ Ri/Ru े e ै ai ो o ौ au/ao ॅ ae ॉ aw

I have used '_' as there is no mātrā for 'A'. It is because every Nāgarī consonant has an inherent (trailing) vowel 'a' (schwa). When we apply another mātrā, the schwa is automatically removed.

3. V'yanjan (Full Forms)

Consonants are called v'yanjan/s ('व्यंजन'; vyaNjan) in Nāgarī. The regular forms of v'yanjan/s are pronounced with the inherent schwa ('a' as in America).

Most of the v'yanjan/s are written as Akṣhar/s (letters). The only exception is 'र' ('ra') which is applied as mātrā when it participates in a conjunct.

क ka, ख kha, ग ga, घ gha, ङ NGa, च cha, छ chha, ज ja, झ jha, ञ NJa, ट Ta, ठ Tha, ड Da, ढ Dha, ण NNa, त ta, थ tha, द da, ध dha, न na, प pa, फ pha, ब ba, भ bha, म ma

य ya, र ra, ल la, व va

श sha, ष Sha, स sa, ह ha

ळ La

ळ is used in Marāthī and Sanskṛiŧ but not in Hinđī.

The vertical line which is present in most of the v'yanjan/s represents Nihit-Akār i.e. inherent schwa.

In Nāgarī, when we apply mātrā, it is assumed/implied that the inherent 'a' is removed. We will not be writing 'a' in that case. 'की' will be written as 'kī' and not as 'kaī'.

4. Shuđđh V'yanjan (Half Forms)

Shuđđh means pure. So shuđđh v'yanjan/s do not have a trailing vowel 'a', they are pure consonants. Generally a half-form joins to the next consonant in the syllable.

So while transliterating these v'yanjan/s we won't write trailing 'a'. While typing Nāgarī we get these pure consonants by typing halant after the regular form.

The Akār is generally removed when we write these shuđđh v'yanjan/s.

क्‍ k, ख्‍ kh, ग्‍ g, घ्‍ gh, ङ्‍ NG, च्‍ ch, छ् ‍chh, ज्‍ j, झ्‍ jh, ञ्‍ NJ, ट्‍ T, ठ्‍ Th, ड्‍ D, ढ्‍ Dh, ण्‍ N, त्‍ t, थ्‍ th, द्‍ d, ध्‍ dh, न्‍ n, प्‍ p, फ्‍ ph, ब्‍ b, भ्‍ bh, म्‍ m

य्‍ y, र्‍ r, ल्‍ l, व्‍ v

श्‍ sh, ष्‍ Sh, स्‍ s, ह्‍ h

ळ्‍ L

र्‍‍ R

In Hinđī 'र्' ('ra' without 'a') always becomes 'reph', which is a mark over the last (base) consonant of the syllable. But in Marāthī, there is an alternate (independent/inline) form of 'र्', which is called eyelash-r ( र्‍ ).

5. Nuktā V'yanjan

Nuktā (नुक्ता; nuktaa; ़) is a diacritic mark. It is just a simple mark below consonants. Following two nuktā v'yanjan/s are very common in Hinđī.

ड़ ढ़

Pronunciation of ड़ ('ḍa' used in Hinđī) is somewhat similar to ळ (retroflex-'da') of Marāthī.

Nuktā is also used to accommodate consonants which are common in other languages viz. Urđū, English etc.

ज़ फ़ ग़ ख़ क़

Exeption: In case of 'ग़' we have to use '`Ga' instead of 'Ga' when it is preceeded by 'ं' ('N'). This combination 'ंग़्' ('N' + 'G') results in wrong interpretation as 'ङ्' . Luckily this combination never occurs!

Take out 'a' to get pure consonants with Nuktā.

6. Chanđra-binđu

Chanđra-binđu (चंद्र-बिंदु; ; _chandra-bindu; ँ) is a nasalization mark. It is to be transliterated as 'Nn'.

With ि, ी, े, ै, ो and ौ instead of chanđra-binđu (ँ) people generally write Anusvār (ं); i.e. instead of किँ, कीँ, केँ, कैँ, कोँ and कौँ people generally write किं, कीं, कें, कैं, कों and कौं.

7. Anusvār

Though Anusvār (अनुस्वार; Anusvaar) is the most simple form i.e. just a dot (binđu) above, but we need to understand its proper use. This mark is used to represent any one of the five Nasal Consonants!

We, should use either 'N' or 'M' as the case may be!

The simplest rule, I can think of -

If the consonant after the Anusvār is either 'प' (p), 'फ' (ph), 'ब' (b), 'भ' (bh) or 'म' (m) then we have to use 'M'. In all other cases we have to use 'N'.

संग (saNg) = सङ्ग (saNGg)

संबंधी (saMbaNdhee) = सम्बन्धी (sambandhee).

8. Joḍ_Akṣhar

Joḍ ('जोड़'; _joDda) means join or joint. So conjuncts (combined letters) are called Joḍākṣhar (_joDda_AkShar).

क्ष kSha, त्र tra, ज्ञ gNya*, श्र shra

* 'gNya' (or ‘gnya’) for Hinđī text, 'dnya' for Marāthī text and ‘jNJa’ (ज्‍ + ञ) for Sanskṛiŧ text.

When we make conjuncts, we drop this inherent 'a' (schwa). In Nāgarī Languages like Hinđī, Marāthī, etc. we generally do not pronounce the inherent 'a', if it is at the end of a word, so we may not write it. But we need to write the last 'a' if it is after 'r' or 'y' (for य) as in 'kaavya' (काव्य). If we write 'kaavy' instead of 'kaavya'; people will tend to pronounce it as कावि ('kaavee') instead of काव्य ('kaavya').

क्ष्‍ kSh, त्र्‍ tr, ज्ञ्‍ gNy, श्र्‍ shr


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