Teaching Truth in Nepali
through English

Teaching Truth in Nepali

 

 

 

 

 

Fast Nepali

 

Sounds, Characters, and Alphabet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download printable version
fast_nepali_sounds_alphabet.pdf
.

 

 

 

 

 


 

INTRODUCTION

 

LIST OF CONTENTS [Go to Top]

 

1 Pronunciation and Romanized Script

2 Alphabet

3 Practice

4 Message from the Author

 

[Go to Top]

 

1

1

 
PRONUNCIATION AND ROMANIZED SCRIPT

 

Before you decide to learn the Devanagari script in
which Nepali is written, you can use a Romanized form
of writing. The letters and their pronunciation are shown
below, as extracted from www.jaspell.uk/sounds_dev_unicode.htm and www.jaspell.uk/devanagari/pron.pdf.

 

Click on a character in the following chart to hear its sound.

 


 

CLASSIFICATION OF DEVANAGARI SOUNDS

 

C O N S O N A N T S

V O W E L S

Family

Hard

Soft

Soft

Soft

Hard

 

 

 

 

Held

Huffed

Held

Huffed

Nasals

Semi-

vowels

Spirants

Short

Long

Diphthongs

Guttural

ka kḫa

ga gḫa

ṅa

ha

a

ā

e (ai/ei)

 

:

  

 

 

 

 

 

kaḥ

ka

ke

k (kai/kei)

 

 

 

 

 

कः

का

के कै

Palatal

ca cḫa

ja jḫa

a

ya

śa

i

ī

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

कि

की

 

Cerebral

ṭa a

ḍa a

ṇa

ra

ṣa

ŗ (rri)

[rrii]

 

 

 

 

 

 

ṛa ṛḫa

 

-

 

kŗ (krri)

 

 

 

 

ड़ ढ़

 

 

कृ

 

 

Dental

ta tḫa

da dḫa

na

la

sa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labial

pa pḫa

ba bḫa

ma

va, wa

(ka+)ḥ

u

ū

o (ow/au)

 

कः

Others

 

 

-

  ͂  

kā͂=kā+ ͂ 

ku

ko k (kau)

 

 

 

-

 

काँ

कु

कू

को कौ

 

 

 

 

  ͂  

kĩ=ki+ ͂ 

 

k` (=k +
no vowel
)

 

 

 

 

 

किं

 

 

क्

 

Vowels are nasalized with a moon-dot (chandrabindu) or, if part of the vowel is above the bar, only a dot (bindu). For example, kā͂  काँ and kĩ  किं. The nasal mark is Romanized as   ͂  .

[Go to Top] [List of Contents]


 

2

 
2 ALPHABET

The alphabet lists vowels and then consonantsin order of
their sounds classification.

 

Vowels in Alphabetical Order of Devanagari

a, ā, i, ī, u, ū, ŗ, e, , o, , ḥ, ͂ 

अ, आ, इ, ई, उ, ऊ, ऋ, ए, ऐ, ओ, औ, :,  

क, का, कि की, कु, कू, कृ, के, कै, को, कौ, कः, कँ (trailing)

a sounds like a in along; but like o in pot in pa, pḫa, ba, bḫa, ma. (Compare a in mangetout and wander.)

ā sounds long like a in past, father or palm.

The rare English sound of a in apple is contrived as a long ā with a chandra moon over it. Well show it as ӑ. However yā may preferred in Nepali, is in tyāksī (taxi).

A similar English sound is contrived as a long ē with a chandra moon over it. Well show it as ӗ.

i sounds short like i in pill.

ī sounds long like ie in believe.

u sounds short like u in pull.

ū sounds long like oo in pool.

ŗ sounds short like ri in prickly or prismoidal.

e sounds of medium length like e in pen or ay in pay.

is classified as a long ē , but were using to show that it becomes like a diphthong sounding like ei in feint or ai in faint. (Many books Romanize it as ai, but this can be confused with the juxtaposition of the short vowels a and i.)

o sounds of medium length like o in told.

is classified as a long ō , but were using to show that it becomes like a diphthong sounding like ow in now or, rarely, in owner. (It is sometimes Romanized as au, but this could be confusing other vowels a and u occur together.)

(visarga) is abruptly expelled like uhh or as ah in Judah.

 `  is our Romanization of the halant (or hasanta) mark () that shows no vowel is presentas in paṛ`nu (to read).

  ͂  represents the nasalization of vowels, as in a, ; ā, ā͂; , kā͂.

 

Consonants in Alphabetical Order of Devanagari

(These are shown with the inherent vowel, a.)

Guttural: ka, kḫa, ga, gḫa, ṅa

क, ख, ग, घ,

 

Palatal: ca, cḫa, ja, jḫa, a

च, छ, ज, झ,

 

Retroflex: ṭa, ṭḫa, ḍa, ḍḫa, ṇa, ṛa, ṛḫa

ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण, ड़, ढ़

 

Dental: ta, tḫa, da, dḫa, na

त, थ, द, ध,

 

Labial: pa, pḫa, ba, bḫa, ma

प, फ, ब, भ,

 

Semi-vowels: ya, ra, la, va

य, र, ल,

 

Sibilant: śa, ṣa, sa

श, ष,

 

Aspirant: ha

 

c is like ch in chin.

ḫ is used to indicate that the associated consonant is huffed. (Compare bh in the English word, abhor.

h is a separate consonant, not like ḫ that is used to huff consonants.

Foreign sounds are represented by adding a dot to the closest sounding Devanagari characters. fa = फ़ , qa = क़ , za = ज़ .

 

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3 PRACTICE

3

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4

 
4 MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR

 

 

 

 

Thanks to all who have assisted in preparation of this document, and best wishes to each reader.

The Author

 

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Fast Nepali Sounds, Characters, and Alphabet This document has been published and revised by Jaspell 2019.
It is not for sale.  2019 Jaspell (B J Burford & E J Burford) 5 February, 2019