Nuqta (Hindi-Urdu नुक़्ता, نقطہ, from the Arabic nuqta نقطة "dot"), also spelled Nukta, is a term for a diacritic mark introduced in Devanagari (and some other Indian scripts) used to represent sounds from other languages which do not have a native character. It takes the form of a dot placed below a character. Also, in the Urdu script, there "are some letters in Urdu that share the same basic shape but differ in the placement of dots(s) or nuqta(s)", e.g. the letter ع ain, with the addition of a nuqta, becomes the letter غ g͟hain.
Examples from Devanagari, the script used to write Hindi, are: क़ qa, ख़ kḫa, ग़ ġa, ज़ za, ड़ ṛa, ढ़ ṛha, फ़ fa, झ़ zha, modifying क ka, ख kha, ग ga, ज ja, ड ḍa, ढ ḍha, फ pha, झ jha, respectively. These phonemes have marginal existence in Hindi, occurring in some Perso-Arabic loanwords. The term nuqta नुक़्ता itself is an example; other examples include क़िला (قلعہ) qila "fortress", and आग़ा ख़ान Aga Khan (آغا خان, combination of a Perso-Arabic (aga) and a Turko-Mongolic (khan) honorific, now the title of the leader of the Nizari Ismaili sect.
The nuqta, and the phonological distinction it represents, is sometimes ignored in practice, i.e. क़िला qila can simply be spelled as किला kila. Manisha Kulshreshtha and Ramkumar Mathur write in the text Dialect Accent Features for Establishing Speaker Identity that "A few sounds, borrowed from the other languages like Persian and Arabic, are written with a dot (bindu or nukta). Many native Hindi speakers, especially those who come from rural backgrounds and do not speak really good Khariboli, pronounonce these sounds as the nearest equivalents." For example, these rural speakers will assimilate the the sound ɣ (ग़ غ) as ɡ (ग گ). However, a text on modern Hindi grammar by one author Vajpeyi (1957ff.) allows for the nuqta in only two letters, ड़ ṛa and ढ़ ṛha, arguing that the other letters written with nuqta show no phonological differentiation in spoken Hindi, so that writing the nuqta would be just a pedantic exercise in orthography, or etymology. With these differing recommendations, "there is no uniformity among the Hindi users in the use of these adapted consonants."
With a renewed Hindi-Urdu language contact, many Urdu writers now publish their works in Devanagari editions. Since the Perso-Arabic orthography is preserved in Nastaʿlīq script Urdu orthography, these writers use the nuqta in Devanagari when transcribing these consonants.
- Govindaraju, Venu; Setlur, Srirangaraj (Ranga) (25 September 2009). Guide to OCR for Indic Scripts: Document Recognition and Retrieval (in English). Springer Science & Business Media. p. 165. ISBN 9781848003309. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Kulshreshtha, Manisha; Mathur, Ramkumar (24 March 2012). Dialect Accent Features for Establishing Speaker Identity: A Case Study (in English). Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 19–. ISBN 9781461411376. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Amba Kulkarni, Rahmat Yousufzai, Pervez Ahmed Azmi. "Urdu-Hindi-Urdu Machine Translation". University of Hyderabad (in English). Central Institute of Indian Languages.
- Vajpeyi, K. D. (Kishori Das Vajpayee; किशोरीदास वाजपेयी), Hindi shabdanushasan हिन्दी शब्दनुशासन (1957, 1958, 1973, 1976, 1988).
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