International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (I.A.S.T.) is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language. It is also used to romanize Pāḷi, Prākṛta and Apabhraṁśa.
IAST is especially used for books dealing with ancient Sanskrit and Pāḷi topics related to Indian religions. The script is, however, insufficient to represent both Sanskrit and Pāḷi on the same page properly because the ḷ (l with underdot), a vowel in Sanskrit (vocalic /l/), is the retroflex consonant in Pāḷi ([ɭ]). Here it is better to follow Unicode and ISO 15919, which is in any case a more comprehensive scheme.
IAST is based on a standard established by the International Congress of Orientalists at Geneva in 1894. It allows a lossless transliteration of Devanāgarī (and other Indic scripts, such as Śāradā script); and, as such, it represents not only the phonemes of Sanskrit, but allows essentially phonetic transcription, e.g., visarga ḥ is an allophone of word-final r and s.
Inventory and conventions
The IAST letters are listed with their Devanāgarī equivalents and phonetic values in IPA, valid for Sanskrit, Hindi and other modern languages that use Devanagari script. Some phonological changes have occurred.
& syllabic liquids
The highlighted letters are those modified with diacritics, e.g., long vowels are marked with an over-line, vocalic (syallabic) consonants and retroflexes have an under-dot.
Unlike ASCII-only romanizations such as ITRANS or Harvard-Kyoto, the diacritics used for IAST allow capitalization of proper names. The capital variants of letters which never occur word-initially (Ṇ Ṅ Ñ Ṝ) are useful only in Pāṇini contexts, where the convention is to typeset the IT sounds as capital letters.
Comparison with ISO 15919
For the most part, IAST is a subset of ISO 15919. The following five exceptions are due to the ISO standard accommodating an extended repertoire of symbols to allow transliteration of Devanāgarī and other Indic scripts as used for languages other than Sanskrit.
|ए/ े||e||ē||ISO e represents ऎ/ ॆ.|
|ओ/ो||o||ō||ISO o represents ऒ/ॊ.|
|ं||ṃ||ṁ||ISO ṃ represents Gurmukhi tippi ੰ.|
|ऋ/ ृ||ṛ||r̥||ISO ṛ represents ड़ /ɽ/.|
|ॠ/ ॄ||ṝ||r̥̄||for consistency with r̥.|
- Devanagari transliteration
- Āryabhaṭa numeration
- Hunterian transliteration
- National Library at Kolkata romanization
- ISO 15919
- Shiva Sutra
- International Phonetic Alphabet chart with pronunciation guide
- History of Skt. transcription and 1894, Rapport de la Trans.
- Xme Congrès International des Orientalistes, Session de Genève. 1894. Rapport de la Commission de Transcription.
- Typing a macron - page from Penn State University about typing with accents
- IAST <==> Devanagari online converter (Transliteration tool)