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1. THE Någari alphabet, in which the Hindi language is generally written, consists of forty-nine letters. It is read, like English, from left to right, and is as follows:

Vowels. अ a, आ, इ, ई, उ ४, ऊt, ऋri, (ऋri), (ल!), (!), t e, û ai, wt o, ut au, with • ng :(not initial).

Consonants. Gutturals af ka, a kha, aga, e gha, (Ena).

क गघ Palatals

y cha, e chha, ja, jha, (sna). Linguals Z ța, #tha, da, ēdha, Uņa. Dentals a ta, y tha, da, y dha, a na. Labials

a pa, ūpha, a ba, 4 bha, A ma. Semi-vowels y ya, Tra, la, q vaorwa

Sibilants and)

şa, usha, #sa, ha.



The letters enclosed in brackets will seldom or never be met with in Hindi. The lingual letters are pronounced by turning and applying the tip of the tongue far back against the palate. The sounds to which the English letters in the preceding scheme are restricted have been explained in my Introduction. The lingual letters 3 da and dha, when medial or final, are commonly pronounced ra and rha. A point may be placed under the character, to indicate that this pronunciation is intended. The sound of the letter y şa is, generally, corrupted into sha; and that of a sha, into kha.

2. We have given the vowel-forms used only at the beginning of a syllable. The vowel ya is inherent in every consonant, and is sounded after every one which has not the subscript mark of suppression (viz., ) understood after it, or another vowel attached to it. These other vowels, when not at the beginning of a syllable, assume the following contracted shapes.

Medial and Final forms of the Vowels. , fi, ti, , ' uz a' ú, e ri (o rí), (6p ?C), (?), ^e, ai,

To, 7 au.



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Except the last in a word; and even there a conjunct consonant, in some cases, necessitates its utterance.

For the mark of suppression is very rarely supplied either in manuscripts or in printed books. But for this, no room is left for doubt respecting the pronunciation of a word. These vowels are added to the letter T thus: Tru,



Example of the Vowels following the letter w ka. ka, a , fa ki, ai ki, ş ku, o , o kri, ke,

kai, a ko, at kau, #kan, a: kah. It will be observed that the third of the vowels, viz., ri, is written before the consonant which it follows in pronunciation

The mark (6), termed anusvára, has, generally, in Hindî, the sound of the n' in the French ton. The vowel aspirate() is termed visarga.

3. When two or more consonants meet, without the intervention of a vowel, they coalesce and become one compound character. These compounds are formed by writing the subsequent consonant under the first, or by blending them in a particular way, or by writing them in their usual order, omitting the perpendicular stroke of each letter except the last. The letter T ra, when it immediately precedes a consonant, is written above it, in the form of a crescent; thus, of rga: when it immediately follows one, it is written beneath it; thus, hkra, v gra. The marks and y serve to divide hemistichs and

1 distichs, and, occasionally, to indicate other pauses in the composition.

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It assumes the pronunciation of the nasal of the class of the consonant which it precedes; taking, for example, the sound of m before a labial, as in jgn champak, a tree so called.

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kka, w kta, at kma, a kya, 7 ksha, ta gna, a gwa, u chcha, e chchha, jñal (compounded of a ja and 5 na), y nņa, 7 tta, Htma, a tya, y tra, dda, 5 ddha, dma, a dya, 5 dra, a dwa, y dhna,

द्ध न्त nta, न्म nma, ब्र bra, म्प mpa, r la, व wa, I sra (compounded of T şa and T ra), u shta, u shna, #sra, a stra, <hri, a hma, u hya.

The student will meet with few compound characters which the foregoing instructions do not furnish him with the means of readily analysing. Some peculiar forms, however, chiefly occurring in books early printed in India, we do not possess types to represent. Most of these forms belong to the modification of the Nagari alphabet known as the Kayathi Nágari.

4 The following extract from a Hindî work may

serve as an


Exercise in reading the Nagari Character, इतनी कथा कह शुकदेव मुनि ने राजा परीक्षित से Itni katha kah Şukdev muni ne raja Parikshit se

In common pronunciation, gya.

In words borrowed from the Arabic and Persian, letters occur which have none exactly corresponding to them in the Nágari alphabet. To represent these, the characters which approach nearest in pronunciation are employed; and points may be subscribed, to indicate the extraordinary use made of them.


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