Monday, December 27, 2010

Devanagari Script

Devanagari script is used to write Bhojpuri, Hindi, Maithili, Marathi, Nepali, Sanskrit and many other languages and dialects of northern and central Indian states such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Jharkhand.

The Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh  (Photo by: Aditya)

Devanagari script is syllabary which means that it is a set of syllables (ka, kha, ga, gha). Equivalent of English letter “k”, in Hindi syllabary would be “” (ka). Whenever a Hindi consonant is written alone, it is pronounced as ka, kha, ga, gha. When a Hindi consonant is written along with the other consonant, it conjugates itself, combining a new character. These characters are called conjunct characters or conjuncts. Some need to be learnt by heart but majority can be recognized easily.

Hindi vowels have two forms: independent and dependant. Independent vowels are used when written independently or when two or more vowels go after each other in a word. For example, “aeeye” – “come in” (singular and plural polite form) would be written as     अईये
“a” and “ee” are both written in their original forms, however “ya” is a consonant that is followed by a vowel “e”, so “e” is written in its dependent form.

Sometimes you can see characters with dots. For example क़ (qa), ख़ (kha), ग़ (Ga), घ़ (Gha), ज़(Za), ड़ (Da), ढ़ (Dha), फ़ (fa).  The dot just makes the sound deeper and more accentuated. I’ve noticed that these dotted characters appear mostly in Urdu words (not Sanskrit).

The other signs that appear in Devanagari include this little line below the consonant क् which means that “ka” is no longer “ka”, it becomes “k”.

Chandrabindu is written above the vowel to give it a nasal sound, like in हाँ (haan, meaning “yes”). While transliterating chandrabindu (writing it in English), we use letter “n” after the vowel we nasalize. In the phrase आप हैं (aap hain “you are”), chandrabindu is also used, but because of lack of space, the half moon is not added, only the dot.

It is common in Hindi to exchange consonants म् (“m”) and न् (“n”) into a dot, located above like inमंदिर (mandir “temple”). It can be written as मन्दिर too, though.

Jaipur (Photo by: Aditya)



(Click underlined characters to see a video)

Consonant क्*
Consonant र्
रा raa
रि ri
री ree
रू ru
रु roo
रृ rRi
रे re
रॆ rai
रो ro
रौ rau

*Same rule applies every other consonant except  (“ra”) which would look as रू (“ru”) and रु  (“roo”) when conjugated with  (“u”) and  (“oo”).

These are some examples of what Devanagari looks like in various books, textbooks, papers etc.

This is a page from children's Devanagari practice book, notice how the characters hang on the upper line.

I posted this in order to show the upper exercise. It's from 4th class Hindi textbook in government schools. Children take time to learn the conjunct characters.
A page from an artistically illustrated  Devanagari script book for children.
From the 4th class Hindi textbook. Example of hand written Hindi above.
This is a page from "Panchatantr", a traditional story series. It's usually written in a poem form.
An excerpt from a story (from the 4th class Hindi textbook)
A page from Hindi story series about "Birbal and Akhbar" (Akhbar, the king and Birbal - the wise minister).
From the 7 book series "Rangeebirangee Kahaniyaan". Different Hindi and world stories with moral at the bottom. I highly reccomend these as these are easy to read Hindi.
"Dysney" comic in Hindi. Also an easy read.
This is a Hindi book of Rabindranath Tagore (Thakur) short stories. Original is in Bengali.
From Hindi women's magazine "Saheli" ("Friend").
Small sandoor boxes. From magazine "Saheli".
A Hindi article about Leh - a popular tourist place in the Himalayas (Himachal Pradesh). From a Hindi magazine "Femina".
From a daily newspaper "Navbharat Taims" ("New India Times"). The front page starts with an illustration of an incident police vs. thieves.
"Bhagvaad Gita" in Hindi. The cover (right) and the text (left).


(It has been rewritten from Rupert Snell's book "Beginner's Hindi Script")

क्   =  क्क
च्  च्छ
त्  त्स
प्  प्प
व्  व्र
क्  क्ख
ज्  ज्ञ
द्  द्ग
प्  प्य
श्  श्क
क्  क्त
ज्  ज्र
द्  द्द
प्  प्र
श्  श्च
क्  क्य
ट्  = ट्ट
द्  द्ध
प्  प्ल
श्  श्य
क्  क्र
ट्  ट्ठ
द्  द्भ
ब्  ब्ज
श्  श्र
क्  क्ल
ट्  ट्र
द्  द्म
ब्  ब्द
श्  = श्व
क्  क्व
ड्  ड्ड
द्  द्य
ब्  ब्ध
ष्  ष्त
क्  क्श
ड्  ड्र
द्  द्र
ब्  ब्र
ष् ट्  ष्ट्र
क्  क्ष
ण्  ण्ट
द्  द्व
भ्  भ्य
ष्  ष्न
क् ष्  क्ष्म
ण्  ण्ठ
ध्  ध्य
भ्  भ्र
स्  स्क
क्  क्स
त्  त्क
ध्  ध्व
म्  म्न
स्  स्ट
ख्  ख्य
त्  = त्त
न्  न्त
म्  म्र
स्  स्त
ग्  ग्व
त् त्  त्त्व
न्  न्द
र्  र्त
स् त्  स्त्र
ग्  ग्न
त्  त्थ
न् द्  न्द्र
र्  र्थ
स्  स्थ
ग्  ग्द
त्  त्न
न्  न्न
र्  र्म
स्  स्न
ग्  ग्ल
त्  त्म
न्  न्य
र्  र्फ
स्  स्प
ग्  ग्र
त्  त्य
न्  न्ह
र्  र्व
स्  स्य
घ्  घ्र
त्  त्र
प्  प्त
र्  र्स
स्  स्र

ह्  ह्न
ह्  = ह्म
ह् +  = ह्य
ह्  ह्र                    ह्  ह्ल
ह्  ह्व


Unknown said...

Hi! Can you help me?

How can I write the words LOVE - PEACE - SPIRITUALITY?

Thank you :)

Terra Cola said...

Júlia, the answer to your question is: प्रेम - शांती - सद्भाव

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