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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents modern Sanskrit pronunciations in Wikipedia articles.

Sanskrit has many complex phonological processes, called sandhi, which alter sounds because of the presence of neighboring sounds at morpheme or word boundaries. See Sanskrit phonology and Shiksha for a more thorough discussion of the sounds of Sanskrit.


IPA[1] Nagari[1] IAST[1] [2] English approximation
b b about
bh abhor ('h' not silent)
t͡ʃ c roughly like chew
t͡ʃʰ ch Churchill (stress on 'h')
ɖ[3] roughly like North American border
ɖʱ[3] ḍh roughly like North American birdhouse
[3] d this
d̪ʱ[3] dh roughly like old house
ɡ g again
ɡʱ gh doghouse
h [4] head
ɦ h ahead
j y yak
d͡ʒ j roughly like juice
d͡ʒʱ jh roughly like hedgehog
k k scan
kh can
l l lea-
m m much
n n tenth
ɳ roughly like burnt [5]
ɲ ñ roughly like canyon[5]
ŋ bank [5]
p p span
ph pot
r r three (Scottish English)
s s sue
ʂ North American worship
ɕ ś shoe
ʈ[3] North American art
ʈʰ[3] ṭh North American art history
[3] t stable
t̪ʰ[3] th boat (RP British English)
ʋ v between wine and vine
Vowels [5][6]
IPA Nagari IAST[2] English approximation
, पा ā bra
ə , a quota
əi , पै ai Somewhat like bail
əu , पौ au open (British English)
, पे e Somewhat like wait
i , पि i happy
, पी ī feet
, पॢ Syllabic ⟨l⟩: bottle
l̩ː , पॣ Long syllabic ⟨l⟩
, पो o old (Irish English)
, पृ Syllabic ⟨r⟩: better (American English)
r̩ː , पॄ Long syllabic ⟨r⟩: roughly like bird (American English)
u , पु u look
, पू ū loot
◌̃ , nasal vowel ([ãː], [õː], etc.) [5]

IPA Nagari IAST[2] English equivalent
ˈ◌ stress
(placed before stressed syllable)
◌ː doubled consonant
(placed after doubled consonant)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Devanagari consonant letters such as have the inherent vowel a. Thus, is pronounced ka, even without any vowel sign added. But the IPA and IAST shown here have the consonant k only and do not include the vowel 'a'.
  2. ^ a b c Comparison of IAST with ISO 15919 transliteration.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h To an English-speaker's ear, [ʈ ʈʰ t̪ t̪ʰ] all sound like /t/, and [ɖ ɖʱ d̪ d̪ʱ] all sound like /d/. However, to a Sanskrit speaker's ear, each is a very different sound. [t̪ d̪] are like the Spanish or French [t d], with the tongue touching the teeth. [t̪ʰ d̪ʱ] are how a Sanskrit speaker hears English [θ ð] (the th and dh sounds). Sanskrit [ʈ ɖ] are pronounced with the tongue further back, touching behind the teeth mid-palate. [ʈʰ ɖʱ] are how a Sanskrit speaker hears English t d, and [ʈ] is how they hear the English t after an s (as in st).
  4. ^ visarga - a diacritic attached to vowels but realized as a consonant
  5. ^ a b c d e Vowels may occur nasalised as an allophone of the nasal consonants in certain positions: see anusvara and chandrabindu.
  6. ^ Sanskrit distinguishes between long and short vowels. Each monophthong has a long and short phoneme. The diphthongs, historically /ai, aːi, au, aːu/, also have a difference in quality: /e, əi, o, əu/. Rarely, vowels may be extra-long.


  • Zieba, Maciej; Stiehl, Ulrich (June 9, 2002). "The Original Pronunciation of Sanskrit" (PDF). Ulrich Stiehl. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
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