by Shreeya Singh Dhakal on July 23, 2017


Nepali is an Indo-Aryan language. It is written in Devnagari script. Hindi, Bengali, Marathi and Sanskrit are some other languages written in the same script. It follows Subject + Verb + Object pattern in writing and is written from left to right. This blog post will serve as an introduction to written Nepali.


Nepali is written using vowels, consonants, modifiers(मात्रा) and symbols(चिन्ह).


Nepali Alphabets


Nepali Alphabets consists of 11 vowels and 33 consonants. All the vowels and consonants, in Nepali, are listed in Table 1.


Table 1: Nepali Alphabets

Vowels

अ, आ, इ, ई, उ, ऊ, ऋ, ए, ऐ, ओ, औ

Consonants

क, ख, ग, घ, ङ, च, छ, ज, झ, ञ, ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण, त, थ, द, ध, न, प, फ, ब, भ, म, य, र, ल, व, श, ष, स, ह


क्ष, त्र and ज्ञ are usually mistaken for consonants but these letters are special combination of two different consonants and halanta "्".

क + ् + ष = क्ष	
त + ् + र = त्र
ज + ् + ञ = ज्ञ

NOTE: In Nepali, there is no provision for uppercase and lowercase letters.


Modifiers(मात्रा)


Modifiers, in Nepali, are representations for vowels. A modifier is used when the vowel is preceded by a consonant. Vowels and their respective modifiers are given in Table 2.


Table 2: Vowels and their Modifiers

Vowels

Modifiers

ि


These modifiers can appear at the foot, top or middle of a consonant. They can also appear before and after a consonant.


ु and ू can appear at the foot or middle of a consonant and ृ appears at the foot of a consonant.

At foot:

क + ु = कु
क + ू = कू
क + ृ = कृ

At middle:

र + ु = रु
र + ू = रू

ि appears before a consonant.

क + ि = कि	

ा, ी, ो and ौ appear after a consonant.

क + ा = का
क + ी = की
क + ो = को
क + ौ = कौ

NOTE: Regardless of where the modifiers appear to be in writing, in computerized texts, consonants preced the modifiers.


Symbols(चिन्ह)


In addition to alphabets and modifiers, there are other symbols used in Nepali. Such symbols are listed below in Table 3.


Table 3: Symbols in Nepali

Chandrabindu(चन्द्रविन्दु)

Sirbindu(शिरविन्दु)

Halanta(हलन्त)

Visarga(विसर्ग)

:



Chandrabindu and Sirbindu


Both, Chandrabindu and Sirbindu are used to indicate nasalization. Chandrabindu is usually used with vowels, indicating that the previous vowel is nasalized.

जाउँला

आउँछु

Sirbindu is usually used to before य, र, ल, व, श, ष, स and ह.

संयुक्त

संरचना

संलग्न

संवाद

वंश

संसार

हंश

Halanta


Every consonant has an inherent vowel; halanta is used to supress or cancel the occurrence of such vowels. Occurrence of halanta between two consonants, say C1 and C2, there can be three different cases of conjoined consonants.


In the first case, C1 and C2 fully conjoin to form a consonant with a visible halanta occurring at the foot of C1.

छङ्छङ

सङ्लो

Second, the half or modified form of C1 and the full form of C2 conjoin to give a consonant.

रत्न

निहत्था

भुल्क

Third, the full form C1 and the half or modified form of C2 conjoin to give a consonant.

प्रणाम

बज्र

छाप्रो

Visarga


Visarga is a frequent occurrence in sanskrit texts. In Nepali, a handful of words borrowed from sanskrit contains visarga. Few of such words are listed below.

दु:ख

नि:स्वार्थ

मूलत:

प्रथमत:

This sums up the basic introduction to written Nepali.


Tags: Nepali Grammar