Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Devanāgarī (देवनागरी — in English pronounced ) (ISCII – IS13194:1991)  is a script used to write several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and Nepali from Nepal. Devanagari is a form of alphabet called an abugida, as each consonant has an inherent vowel (a), that can be changed with the different vowel signs. Most consonants can be joined to one or two other consonants so that the inherent vowel is suppressed. The resulting form is called a ligature. Many ligatures appear simply as two individual consonants joined together, and so are a form of ligature. Some ligatures are more elaborately formed and not as easily recognized as containing the individual consonants. It is a close descendant of the Brāhmī script that has been traced back to 500 BC. Many other Indian languages are written using other scripts in the Brahmic family. The Brahmi script is believed by the majority of scholars to have evolved from a Semitic script such as the Eastern Aramaic alphabet. There is also a generally unaccepted theory according to which the Brahmi script is derived from the undeciphered Indus script, going back to at least 2600 BC.
The name Devanagari comes from the Sanskrit words Deva (god), and Nagari (city); together they mean, literally, the script of the "City of the Gods", where this city is the body of the individual. The philosophy behind it is that when one meditates on the specific sounds of the Devanagari alphabet, the written forms appear spontaneously in the mind. The compound really functions as a bahuvrihi. "Devanagari" is the most common transliteration of the name of script. Others are "Devnagri" and "Devanagri".
Devanagari is written from left to right. In Sanskrit, words were written together without spaces, so that the top bar is unbroken, although there were some exceptions to this rule. The break of the top line primarily marks breath groups . In modern languages, word breaks are used. Devanagari has no case distinction, i.e. no majuscule and minuscule letters.
Sanskrit spelling was phonetic, but with historical changes, the spelling of modern languages written in Devanagari may only be partly phonetic in the sense that a word written in it can only be pronounced in one way, but not all possible pronunciations can be written perfectly. Devanagari has 34 consonants (vyanjana), and 12 vowels (svara). A syllable (akshara) is formed by the combination of zero or one consonants and one vowel.
The transliterations in the following tables follow the popular National Library at Calcutta romanization. The ITRANS  is a lossless transliteration scheme of Devanagari into ASCII that is widely used on Usenet. In ITRANS, the word Devanagari is written as "devanaagarii".
Symbols of Devanagari
All the vowels in Devanagari are attached to the top or bottom of the consonant or to an AA vowel sign attached to the right of the consonant, with the exception of the I vowel sign, which is attached on the left. In the Devanagari vowel table below, the "Letter" column contains the symbol used when a vowel occurs without a consonant, the "Vowel sign with [p]" column contains the symbol used when a vowel is attached to a consonant, shown with the "p" letter as an example, the "Unicode name" column contains the name given in the Unicode specification for the vowel, and the "IPA" column contains the International Phonetic Alphabet character(s) corresponding to the Hindi pronunciation of the Devanagari character.
|Letter||Vowel sign with [p]||Unicode name||IPA|
|ऋ||पृ||vocalic r||rɪ ([r ̩]) in Sanskrit)|
|ॠ||पॄ||vocalic rr||rɪ ([rː̩]) in Sanskrit)|
|ऌ||पॢ||vocalic l||([l ̩]) in Sanskrit)|
|ॡ||पॣ||vocalic ll||(lː̩]) in Sanskrit)|
|ऐ||पै||ai||ɛ ([ai])} in Sanskrit)|
|औ||पौ||au||ɔ ([au]) in Sanskrit)|
|Symbol with [p]||Unicode name||Function|
|प्||virama||Called halant; suppresses the inherent vowel.|
|पः||visarga||Adds voiceless breath after vowel|
|प़||nukta||Used to indicate sounds borrowed from Persian (e.g., ph + nukta = f)|
|पऽ||avagraha||Used to prolong the vowel sound.|
When no vowel is written, 'a' is assumed. To specifically denote the absence of a vowel, a halant (also called virama) is used.
|ड||dda||ḍ||ɖ / ɽ|
|ढ||ddha||ḍh||ɖɦ / ɽɦ|
Among these, ळ is not used in Hindi. The entire set is used in Marathi.
Devanagari digits are written as follows:
च् + छ = च्छ
Devanagari in Unicode
The Unicode range for Devanagari is U+0900 .. U+097F. Gray blocks indicate characters that are undefined.
Devanagari Keyboard Layouts
- Apple Type Services for Unicode Imaging - Macintosh (new)
- Graphite - open source (SIL)
- Pango - open source (Gnome )
- Uniscribe - Windows
- WorldScript - Macintosh (old)
- The official Devanagri Document (pdf) from Govt. Of India.
- IndiX, Indian language support for Linux, a site by the Indian National Centre for Software Technology
- Unicode Chart for Devanagari
- On history of Indian writing
- Devanagari editor
- Resources for viewing and editing Devanagari
- Unicode support for Web browsers
- Hindi/Devanagari Script Tutor
- at the Sanskrit Wikipedia
- at the Hindi Wikipedia
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