Devanagari

The letters shown above stand for short vowels. For long vowels, the respective letters are extended.

आ / ā

Spelling

  1. Start on the top left with two sweeping downward bows shaped like the figure "3".
  2. Start where the two bows meet, then draw one upward bow to the right, directly followed by a vertical line down.
  3. Draw another vertical line from top to bottom next to it on the right side.
  4. Draw the horizontal line over the letters from left to right. Make sure that the line only includes the two vertical lines.

Pronunciation

  • a long guttural ā as in Kahn, Vater
  • guttural place of articulation

ई / ī

Spelling

  1. Draw the curved line from top to bottom without stopping.
  2. Draw the horizontal line from left to right over the letter.
  3. Start at the top and draw a small right bow ending above the starting point of the first line.

Pronuncation

  • a long ī as in Igel, Flieder, Kie's
  • palatal place of articulation

ऊ / ū

Spelling

  1. Draw two bows similar to the figure "3" without stopping.
  2. Start again at the lower bow and draw another downward bow to the right.
  3. Draw the horizontal line from left to right over the letter.

Pronuncation

  • a long ū as in Mut, Kuhle.
  • labial (at the lips) place of articulation

ॠ / r̥̄

Spelling

  1. Start on the left with a small bow.
  2. Place a line below it from left to right with the two lines touching on the right.
  3. Draw a vertical line from top to bottom at the point of contact.
  4. Draw a curve with two small bows to the right starting at the point of contact.
  5. Draw the horizontal line from left to right over the letter.

Pronunciation

  • a slong sonant r̥̄ - in Sanskrit: pitr̥̄n (very rare sound)
  • retroflex (behind the front teeth) place of articulation

ॡ / ḹ

Spelling

  1. Start at the bottom and clockwise draw a heart-shaped line ending in two right bows at the bottom.
  2. Place a short vertical line on top of the right bow.
  3. Draw the horizontal line from left to right over the letter.

Pronuncation

  • a long sonant l̥̄ - sound practically doesn't exist.
  • dental (between the teeth) place of articulation

Linked vowel signs

The letters described above are only used at the beginning of words. Within words, the vowel is linked directly to the preceding consonant. Example: क / ka:

  • का / kā: compare the similiarity to the short inherent क / ka
  • की / kī: compare the similiarity to the short कि / ki
  • कू / kū: compare the similiarity to the short कु / ku
  • कॄ / kr̥̄: compare the similiarity to the short कृ / kr̥
  • कॣ / kl̥̄: compare the similiarity to the short कॣ / kl̥̄
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