|7th century CE to present|
|Region|| India 120+ languages use Devanāgarī script|
Fiji as script for Fiji Hindi
|Languages||Apabhramsha, Awadhi, Bhili, Bhojpuri, Boro, Braj, Chhattisgarhi, Dogri, Gujarātī, Garhwali, Haryanvi, Hindustani (Hindi), Kashmiri, Konkani, Kumaoni, Magahi, Maithili, Marathi, Marwari, Mundari, Nagpuri, Newari, Nepali, Pāli, Pahari, Prakrit, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santali, Saraiki, Sherpa, Sindhi, Surjapuri, and many more.|
|ISO 15924||Deva (315), Devanagari (Nagari)|
U+A8E0–U+A8FF Devanagari Extended,
U+11B00–11B5F Devanagari Extended-A,
U+1CD0–U+1CFF Vedic Extensions
|The Brahmic script and its descendants|
Devanāgarī or Devanagari (/ˌdeɪvəˈnɑːɡəri/ DAY-və-NAH-gə-ree; देवनागरी, IAST: Devanāgarī, Sanskrit pronunciation: [deːʋɐˈnaːɡɐriː]), also called Nāgarī (Sanskrit: नागरी, Nāgarī), is a left-to-right abugida (a type of segmental writing system), based on the ancient Brāhmī script, used in the northern Indian subcontinent. It is one of the official scripts of the Indian Republic and Nepal. It was developed and in regular use by the 7th century CE. The Devanāgarī script, composed of 47 primary characters, including 14 vowels and 33 consonants, is the fourth most widely adopted writing system in the world, being used for over 120 languages.
The orthography of this script reflects the pronunciation of the language. Unlike the Latin alphabet, the script has no concept of letter case. It is written from left to right, has a strong preference for symmetrical rounded shapes within squared outlines, and is recognisable by a horizontal line, known as a shirorekhā, that runs along the top of full letters. In a cursory look, the Devanāgarī script appears different from other Indic scripts such as Bengali-Assamese, or Gurmukhi, but a closer examination reveals they are very similar except for angles and structural emphasis.
Among the languages using it as a primary or secondary script are Marathi, Pāḷi, Sanskrit, Hindi, Boro, Nepali, Sherpa, Prakrit, Apabhramsha, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj Bhasha, Chhattisgarhi, Haryanvi, Magahi, Nagpuri, Rajasthani, Bhili, Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Sindhi, Nepal Bhasa, Mundari, and Santali. The Devanāgarī script is closely related to the Nandināgarī script commonly found in numerous ancient manuscripts of South India, and it is distantly related to a number of southeast Asian scripts.
Devanāgarī is a compound of deva (देव) and nāgarī (नागरी). Deva means "heavenly", "divine", or "deity". Nāgarī comes from nagara (नगर), a Sanskrit word meaning "town" or "city". Hence, devanāgarī can be translated as "of the city of the gods".
The use of the name devanāgarī emerged from the older term nāgarī. According to Fischer, Nāgarī emerged in the northwest Indian subcontinent around 633 CE, was fully developed by the 11th century CE, and was one of the major scripts used for the Sanskrit literature.
Devanāgarī is part of the Brahmic family of scripts of India, Nepal, Tibet, and Southeast Asia. It is a descendant of the 3rd century BCE Brāhmī script, which evolved into the Nagari script which in turn gave birth to Devanāgarī and Nandināgarī. Devanāgarī has been widely adopted across India and Nepal to write Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi, Central Indo-Aryan languages, Konkani, Boro, and various Nepalese languages.
Some of the earliest epigraphic evidence attesting to the developing Sanskrit Nāgarī script in ancient India is from the 1st to 4th century CE inscriptions discovered in Gujarat. Variants of script called nāgarī, recognisably close to Devanāgarī, are first attested from the 1st century CE Rudradaman inscriptions in Sanskrit, while the modern standardised form of Devanāgarī was in use by about 1000 CE. Medieval inscriptions suggest widespread diffusion of Nāgarī-related scripts, with biscripts presenting local script along with the adoption of Nāgarī scripts. For example, the mid 8th-century Pattadakal pillar in Karnataka has text in both Siddha Matrika script, and an early Telugu-Kannada script; while, the Kangra Jawalamukhi inscription in Himachal Pradesh is written in both Sharada and Devanāgarī scripts.
The Nāgarī script was in regular use by the 7th century CE, and it was fully developed by about the end of first millennium. The use of Sanskrit in Nāgarī script in medieval India is attested by numerous pillar and cave-temple inscriptions, including the 11th-century Udayagiri inscriptions in Madhya Pradesh, and an inscribed brick found in Uttar Pradesh, dated to be from 1217 CE, which is now held at the British Museum. The script's prototypes and related versions have been discovered with ancient relics outside India, in places such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Indonesia. In East Asia, the Siddhaṃ matrika script (considered as the closest precursor to Nāgarī) was in use by Buddhists. Nāgarī has been the primus inter pares of the Indic scripts. It has long been used traditionally by religiously educated people in South Asia to record and transmit information, existing throughout the land in parallel with a wide variety of local scripts (such as Moḍī, Kaithi, and Mahajani) used for administration, commerce, and other daily uses.
Sharada remained in parallel use in Kashmir. An early version of Devanāgarī is visible in the Kutila inscription of Bareilly dated to VS 1049 (992 CE), which demonstrates the emergence of the horizontal bar to group letters belonging to a word. One of the oldest surviving Sanskrit texts from the early post-Maurya period consists of 1,413 Nāgarī pages of a commentary by Patanjali, with a composition date of about 150 BCE, the surviving copy transcribed about 14th century CE.
In the 7th century, under the rule of Songtsen Gampo of the Tibetan Empire, Thonmi Sambhota was sent to Nepal to open marriage negotiations with a Nepali princess and to find a writing system suitable for the Tibetan language. He then invented the Tibetan script based on the Nāgarī used in Kashmir. He added 6 new characters for sounds that did not exist in Sanskrit.
Other scripts closely related to Nāgarī (such as Siddhaṃ) were introduced throughout East and Southeast Asia from the 7th to the 10th centuries CE: notably in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Japan.
Most of the Southeast Asian scripts have roots in Dravidian scripts, but a few found in south-central regions of Java and isolated parts of southeast Asia resemble Devanāgarī or its prototypes. The Kawi script in particular is similar to the Devanāgarī in many respects, though the morphology of the script has local changes. The earliest inscriptions in the Devanāgarī-like scripts are from around the 10th century CE, with many more between the 11th and 14th centuries.
Some of the old-Devanāgarī inscriptions are found in Hindu temples of Java, such as the Prambanan temple. The Ligor and the Kalasan inscriptions of central Java, dated to the 8th century, are also in the Nāgarī script of north India. According to the epigraphist and Asian Studies scholar Lawrence Briggs, these may be related to the 9th century copper plate inscription of Devapaladeva (Bengal) which is also in early Devanāgarī script. The term kawi in Kawi script is a loan word from kāvya (poetry). According to anthropologists and Asian studies scholars John Norman Miksic and Goh Geok Yian, the 8th century version of early Nāgarī or Devanāgarī script was adopted in Java, Bali, and Khmer around the 8th–9th centuries, as evidenced by the many contemporaneous inscriptions of this period.
The letter order of Devanāgarī, like nearly all Brāhmic scripts, is based on phonetic principles that consider both the manner and place of articulation of the consonants and vowels they represent. This arrangement is usually referred to as the varṇamālā ("garland of letters"). The format of Devanāgarī for Sanskrit serves as the prototype for its application, with minor variations or additions, to other languages.
The vowels and their arrangement are:
|Independent form||IAST||ISO||IPA||As diacritic with प (Barakhadi)||Independent form||IAST||ISO||IPA||As diacritic with प (Barakhadi)|
|उ||u||[u]||पु 6||ऊ||ū||[uː]||पू 6|
|ऌ 4||ḷ||l̥||[l̩]||पॢ||ॡ 4, 5||ḹ||l̥̄||[l̩ː]||पॣ|
|अं / ं 1,2||ṃ||ṁ||[◌̃]||पं||अः / ः 1||ḥ||[h]||पः|
|ॲ / ऍ 7||ê||[æ]||पॅ||ऑ 7||ô||[ɒ]||पॉ|
The table below shows the consonant letters (in combination with inherent vowel a) and their arrangement. To the right of the Devanāgarī letter it shows the Latin script transliteration using International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration, and the phonetic value (IPA) in Hindi.
For a list of all 297 (33×9) possible Sanskrit consonant-short vowel syllables see Āryabhaṭa.
Table: Consonants with vowel diacritics. Vowels in their independent form on the top and in their corresponding dependent form (vowel sign) combined with the consonant 'k' on the bottom. 'ka' is without any added vowel sign, where the vowel 'a' is inherent.
A vowel combines with a consonant in their diacritic form. For example, the vowel आ (ā) combines with the consonant क् (k) to form the syllabic letter का (kā), with halant (cancel sign) removed and added vowel sign which is indicated by diacritics. The vowel अ (a) combines with the consonant क् (k) to form क (ka) with halant removed. But the diacritic series of क, ख, ग, घ (ka, kha, ga, gha, respectively) is without any added vowel sign, as the vowel अ (a) is inherent.
The combinations of all consonants and vowels, each in alphabetical order, are laid out in the bārākhaḍī (बाराखडी) or bārahkhaṛī (बारहखड़ी) table. In the following barakhadi table, the transliteration of each combination will appear on mouseover:
The following letter variants are also in use, particularly in older texts:
Main article: Devanagari conjuncts
As mentioned, successive consonants lacking a vowel in between them may physically join as a conjunct consonant or ligature. When Devanāgarī is used for writing languages other than Sanskrit, conjuncts are used mostly with Sanskrit words and loan words. Native words typically use the basic consonant and native speakers know to suppress the vowel when it is conventional to do so. For example, the native Hindi word karnā is written करना (ka-ra-nā). The government of these clusters ranges from widely to narrowly applicable rules, with special exceptions within. While standardised for the most part, there are certain variations in clustering, of which the Unicode used on this page is just one scheme. The following are a number of rules:
Main article: Vedic accent
The pitch accent of Vedic Sanskrit is written with various symbols depending on shakha. In the Rigveda, anudātta is written with a bar below the line (◌॒), svarita with a stroke above the line (◌॑) while udātta is unmarked.
The end of a sentence or half-verse may be marked with the "।" symbol (called a daṇḍa, meaning "bar", or called a pūrṇa virām, meaning "full stop/pause"). The end of a full verse may be marked with a double-daṇḍa, a "॥" symbol. A comma (called an alpa virām, meaning "short stop/pause") is used to denote a natural pause in speech. Punctuation marks of Western origin, such as the colon, semicolon, exclamation mark, dash, and question mark have been in use in Devanāgarī script since at least the 1900s, matching their use in European languages.
See also: Indian numerals, Brāhmī numerals, and Hindu–Arabic numeral system
A variety of Unicode fonts are in use for Devanāgarī. These include Akshar, Annapurna, Arial, CDAC-Gist Surekh, CDAC-Gist Yogesh, Chandas, Gargi, Gurumaa, Jaipur, Jana, Kalimati, Kanjirowa, Lohit Devanagari, Mangal, Kokila, Raghu, Sanskrit2003, Santipur OT, Siddhanta, and Thyaka.
The form of Devanāgarī fonts vary with function. According to Harvard College for Sanskrit studies:
Uttara [companion to Chandas] is the best in terms of ligatures but, because it is designed for Vedic as well, requires so much vertical space that it is not well suited for the "user interface font" (though an excellent choice for the "original field" font). Santipur OT is a beautiful font reflecting a very early [medieval era] typesetting style for Devanagari. Sanskrit 2003 is a good all-around font and has more ligatures than most fonts, though students will probably find the spacing of the CDAC-Gist Surekh font makes for quicker comprehension and reading.
The Google Fonts project has a number of Unicode fonts for Devanāgarī in a variety of typefaces in serif, sans-serif, display and handwriting categories.
Main article: Devanagari transliteration
There are several methods of Romanisation or transliteration from Devanāgarī to the Roman script.
Main article: Hunterian transliteration
The Hunterian system is the national system of romanisation in India, officially adopted by the Government of India.
Main article: ISO 15919
A standard transliteration convention was codified in the ISO 15919 standard of 2001. It uses diacritics to map the much larger set of Brāhmic graphemes to the Latin script. The Devanāgarī-specific portion is nearly identical to the academic standard for Sanskrit, IAST.
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is the academic standard for the romanisation of Sanskrit. IAST is the de facto standard used in printed publications, like books, magazines, and electronic texts with Unicode fonts. It is based on a standard established by the Congress of Orientalists at Athens in 1912. The ISO 15919 standard of 2001 codified the transliteration convention to include an expanded standard for sister scripts of Devanāgarī.
The National Library at Kolkata romanisation, intended for the romanisation of all Indic scripts, is an extension of IAST.
Compared to IAST, Harvard-Kyoto looks much simpler. It does not contain all the diacritic marks that IAST contains. It was designed to simplify the task of putting large amount of Sanskrit textual material into machine readable form, and the inventors stated that it reduces the effort needed in transliteration of Sanskrit texts on the keyboard. This makes typing in Harvard-Kyoto much easier than IAST. Harvard-Kyoto uses capital letters that can be difficult to read in the middle of words.
ITRANS is a lossless transliteration scheme of Devanāgarī into ASCII that is widely used on Usenet. It is an extension of the Harvard-Kyoto scheme. In ITRANS, the word devanāgarī is written "devanaagarii" or "devanAgarI". ITRANS is associated with an application of the same name that enables typesetting in Indic scripts. The user inputs in Roman letters and the ITRANS pre-processor translates the Roman letters into Devanāgarī (or other Indic languages). The latest version of ITRANS is version 5.30 released in July 2001. It is similar to Velthuis system and was created by Avinash Chopde to help print various Indic scripts with personal computers.
Main article: Velthuis
The disadvantage of the above ASCII schemes is case-sensitivity, implying that transliterated names may not be capitalised. This difficulty is avoided with the system developed in 1996 by Frans Velthuis for TeX, loosely based on IAST, in which case is irrelevant.
ALA-LC romanisation is a transliteration scheme approved by the Library of Congress and the American Library Association, and widely used in North American libraries. Transliteration tables are based on languages, so there is a table for Hindi, one for Sanskrit and Prakrit, etc.
Main article: WX notation
WX is a Roman transliteration scheme for Indian languages, widely used among the natural language processing community in India. It originated at IIT Kanpur for computational processing of Indian languages. The salient features of this transliteration scheme are as follows.
ISCII is an 8-bit encoding. The lower 128 codepoints are plain ASCII, the upper 128 codepoints are ISCII-specific.
It has been designed for representing not only Devanāgarī but also various other Indic scripts as well as a Latin-based script with diacritic marks used for transliteration of the Indic scripts.
ISCII has largely been superseded by Unicode, which has, however, attempted to preserve the ISCII layout for its Indic language blocks.
Main articles: Devanagari (Unicode block), Devanagari Extended (Unicode block), Devanagari Extended-A (Unicode block), and Vedic Extensions (Unicode block)
The Unicode Standard defines four blocks for Devanāgarī: Devanagari (U+0900–U+097F), Devanagari Extended (U+A8E0–U+A8FF), Devanagari Extended-A (U+11B00–11B5F), and Vedic Extensions (U+1CD0–U+1CFF).
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
For a list of Devanāgarī input tools and fonts, please see Help:Multilingual support (Indic).
InScript is the standard keyboard layout for Devanāgarī as standardized by the Government of India. It is inbuilt in all modern major operating systems. Microsoft Windows supports the InScript layout, which can be used to input unicode Devanāgarī characters. InScript is also available in some touchscreen mobile phones.
This layout was used on manual typewriters when computers were not available or were uncommon. For backward compatibility some typing tools like Indic IME still provide this layout.
Such tools work on phonetic transliteration. The user writes in the Latin alphabet and the IME automatically converts it into Devanāgarī. Some popular phonetic typing tools are Akruti, Baraha IME and Google IME.
The Mac OS X operating system includes two different keyboard layouts for Devanāgarī: one resembles the INSCRIPT/KDE Linux, while the other is a phonetic layout called "Devanāgarī QWERTY".
Any one of the Unicode fonts input systems is fine for the Indic language Wikipedia and other wikiprojects, including Hindi, Bhojpuri, Marathi, and Nepali Wikipedia. While some people use InScript, the majority uses either Google phonetic transliteration or the input facility Universal Language Selector provided on Wikipedia. On Indic language wikiprojects, the phonetic facility provided initially was java-based, and was later supported by Narayam extension for phonetic input facility. Currently Indic language Wiki projects are supported by Universal Language Selector (ULS), that offers both phonetic keyboard (Aksharantaran, Marathi: अक्षरांतरण, Hindi: लिप्यंतरण, बोलनागरी) and InScript keyboard (Marathi: मराठी लिपी).
The Ubuntu Linux operating system supports several keyboard layouts for Devanāgarī, including Harvard-Kyoto, WX notation, Bolanagari and phonetic. The 'remington' typing method in Ubuntu IBUS is similar to the Krutidev typing method, popular in Rajasthan. The 'itrans' method is useful for those who know English (and the English keyboard) well but are not familiar with typing in Devanāgarī.
... In the Kutila this develops into a short horizontal bar, which, in the Devanagari, becomes a continuous horizontal line ... three cardinal inscriptions of this epoch, namely, the Kutila or Bareli inscription of 992, the Chalukya or Kistna inscription of 945, and a Kawi inscription of 919 ... the Kutila inscription is of great importance in Indian epigraphy, not only from its precise date, but from its offering a definite early form of the standard Indian alphabet, the Devanagari ...
Nagari has a strong preference for symmetrical shapes, especially squared outlines and right angles [7 lines above the character grid]
(p. 110) "... an early branch of this, as of the fourth century CE, was the Gupta script, Brahmi's first main daughter. ... The Gupta alphabet became the ancestor of most Indic scripts (usually through later Devanagari). ... Beginning around AD 600, Gupta inspired the important Nagari, Sarada, Tibetan and Pāḷi scripts. Nagari, of India's northwest, first appeared around AD 633. Once fully developed in the eleventh century, Nagari had become Devanagari, or "heavenly Nagari", since it was now the main vehicle, out of several, for Sanskrit literature."
Nagari script and Sanskrit language in the inscription at Blangjong suggests that Indian culture was already influencing Bali (Indonesia) by the 10th century CE.
Only in Hindi 10 Phonemes व /v/ क़ /q/ ञ /ɲ/ य /j/ ष /ʂ/ ख़ /x/ ग़ /ɣ/ ज़ /z/ झ़ /ʒ/ फ़ /f/
The inscription of which a translation is given below, is engraved on a stone pillar about 4 feet 10 inches in height, 1 foot 2 inches thick, and 1 foot 9 inches broad. It is cut in Devanagari characters on three of its four sides, and ...
... With the passage of time there has emerged a practically uniform system of transliteration of Devanagari and allied alphabets. Nevertheless, no single system of Romanisation has yet developed ...
... ISO 15919 ... There is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products ... The Hunterian system is the actually used national system of romanisation in India ...
... In India the Hunterian system is used, whereby every sound in the local language is uniformly represented by a certain letter in the Roman alphabet ...
... The Hunterian system of transliteration, which has international acceptance, has been used ...
Thousands of manuscripts of ancient and medieval era Sanskrit texts in Devanāgarī have been discovered since the 19th century. Major catalogues and census include: