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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 'halant' may not be called a māŧrā! It is a māŧrā remover that removes inherent māŧrā 'a' (schwa) from consonants.

A. Halant (Vowel Omission Sign)

To pronounce two consonants separately (in a word) we need at least one vowel between them! Inherent 'a' is very helpful in such situations.

A conjunct is formed by two (or more) consecutive consonants. We pronounce these consonants in a conjuct without any vowel in between them. In such situations it become necessary to remove the inherent vowel 'a' in all the consonants except the last one. The last consonant is generally called base 'Akṣhar'.

Eg. 1. 'स्‌व' (sa halant va) is pronounced as 'sva' (or 'sv') and not as 'sav' (or sava). So halant has removed the inherent vowel from the 'sa' that preceded it.

2. 'नड्डा' (na da halant da) is pronounced as 'nadda'. So halant has removed the inherent vowel from 'da' that preceded it.

There are three ways to represent/show a Nāgarī consonant without the inherent 'a'.

The simplest way is to put a halant after the consonant. Like 'मुन्‌ना', 'गुड्डा', 'स्‌व'.

Another way is to remove 'Akār' (if any) from the consonant. Like 'मुन्ना', 'स्व'.

Yet another way is to form a conjunct. Like 'मुन्‍ना', गुड्‍डा.

use of halant

Generally scholars used to create lot of conjunct forms instead of adding halant. But now-a-days different fonts control formation of conjunct differently. Our font 'Akhil HE' forms most of the frequently used conjuncts. There are some conjuncts which were used often but their use is decreasing in modern Hinđī. These forms (below base once) makes it difficult to render ĐevaNāgarī text properly at small point sizes.

Read more on halant...

Remaining part of this section (4) and following sections (5 to 8) will be translated from the original document written in Hinđī.

You will find some related information (about remaining part of this document) in our pages about transliteration from ĐevaNāgarī to Latin.

'।' 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 English or other European languages.

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