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4. Chihn/s (Marks)

A mark is called chihn (चिह्न). Following chihn/s are as important as mukh'ya-māŧrā/s.

A. Halant (Vowel Omission Sign)
B. Anusvār (Nasal Consonant Sound Sign)
C. Chanđrabinđu (Nasalisation Sign)
D. Visarg (Aspirate Sign!)
E. Nuktā (Diacritic Mark)

These are sometimes called māŧrā/s by general public. We mentioned māŧrā means 'extent' or 'amount' of corresponding Akṣhar. So these should be called chihn or marks.

A. Halant (Vowel Omission Sign)

Click on this line to read more on halant...

B. Anusvār

Anusvār (अनुस्वार, Anusvaar) is the most simple mark i.e. just a dot (binđu). It is applied above a consonant. We need to understand its proper use. This mark is used to represent any one of the five pure nasal consonants, ङ्, ञ्, ण्, न्, म्.

  Ex. संग (san'g) => सङ‍्ग (san͘g)

The simplest rule, I can think of -

If the consonant after the Anusvār is either '' (p), '' (ph), '' (b), '' (bh) or '' (m) then we have to pronounce it as 'm'. In all other cases we have to pronounce it as 'n'.

  Ex. संबंधी (sam'ban'đhī) => सम्बन्धी (sambanđhī).

C. Chanđra-binđu

Chanđra-binđu (चंद्र-बिंदु, ँ ) is a nasalization mark. It is a vowel modifier that adds nasalization.

  With ि, ी, े, ै, ो and ौ instead of chanđra-binđu (ँ) people generally write Anusvār (ं); i.e. instead of किँ, कीँ, केँ, कैँ, कोँ and कौँ people generally write किं, कीं, कें, कैं, कों and कौं.

D. Visarg (Aspirate Sign?)

Visarg represent an aspiration sound that is similar to the consonant 'h'. It looks like a colon with Adhorekhā (ः). It is easier to pronounce if it is at the end of a word. It is not easy to pronounce it if it is within the word.. Some even say it represent emotions and not sound!

  Ex. छिः (chhiħ), दुःख (đuħkh)

E. Nuktā

Nuktā (नुक्ता, nuktaa, ़) is a diacritic mark. It is just a simple mark below consonants. Following two nuktā v'yanjan/s are very common in Hinđī.

  ड़ ढ़

Pronunciation of ड़ ('ḍa' used in Hinđī) is somewhat similar to ळ (retroflex-'da') of Marāthī.

Nuktā is also used to accommodate consonants which are common in other languages viz. Urđū, English etc.

  ज़ फ़ ग़ ख़ क़

Take out schwa to get pure consonants with Nuktā.

'' is a simple vertical stroke can be easily misunderstood as 'Letter I'. '' is called 'Purṇa Virām' (पूर्ण विराम) or 'dandā' (डन्डा). and is used as full stop. It is the only punctuation mark in ĐevaNāgarī that is not derived from other scripts.

Remaining part of this document will be translated from the original document written in Hinđī.

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