Vowels

Each vowel has two forms: an "isolated" form when beginning a word or following another vowel; and another used within a word by use of diacritics called मात्रा mātra. As an example, the forms used with consonants are placed with the letter त्. Note that if there is no vowel sign, the vowel is assumed to be a.

Devanagari

Transliteration

Equivalent

Within Word

a

as in about

त (implicit)

ā

as in father

ता

i

as in sit

ति

ī

as in elite

ती

u

as in put

तु

ū

as in flute

तू

as in Scottish heard, trip.

तृ

e

long e as in German "zehn". It is not a diphthong; the tone does not fall.

ते

ai

as in Mail, sometimes a longer ए. In Eastern dialects as in bright (IPA ıj).

तै

o

as in German Kohle, not a diphthong; tone does not fall.

तो

au

as in oxford. In Eastern dialects as in German lauft, or English town.

तौ

 

Consonants

Devanagari

Transliteration

Equivalent/Comments

k

as in skip.

kh

as in sinkhole.

g

as in go.

gh

as in doghouse.

as in sing. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.

c

as in church.

ch

as in pinchhit.

j

as in jump.

jh

as in dodge her.

as in canyon. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.

as in tick. Retroflex, but still a "hard" t sound similar to English.

as in lighthouse. Retroflex

as in doom. Retroflex

as in mudhut. Retroflex

retroflex n. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.

t

does not exist in English. more dental t, with a bit of a th sound. Softer than an English t.

th

aspirated version of the previous letter, not as in thanks or the.

d

dental d.

dh

aspirated version of the above.

n

dental n.

p

as in spin.

ph

as in uphill.

b

as in be.

bh

as in abhor.

m

as in mere.

y

as in yet.

r

as in Spanish pero, a tongue trip. Don't roll as in Spanish rr, German or Scottish English.

l

as in lean.

v

as in Spanish vaca, between English v and w, but without the lip rounding of an English w. (IPA: ʋ).

ś

as in shoot.

almost indistinguishable retroflex of the above. slightly more aspirated. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.

s

as in see.

h

as in him.