Kha (Indic)

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Devanagari Bengali Gurmukhi Gujarati Oriya
Kha Kha Kha
Tamil Telugu Kannada Malayalam Sinhala
Thai Lao Tibetan Burmese Khmer
Baybayin Hanunoo Buhid Tagbanwa Lontara
- - - - -
Balinese Sundanese Limbu Tai Le New Tai Lue
Lepcha Saurashtra Rejang Javanese Cham
Tai Viet Brahmi Kharoshthi
Kha 𐨑
Phonemic representation: /kʰ/
IAST transliteration: kha
ISCII code point: B4 (180)

Kha is the second consonant of Indic abugidas. In modern Indic scripts, kha is derived from the Brahmi letter kha, which is probably derived from the Aramaic Qoph.svg ("Q").


Āryabhaṭa numeration[edit]

Further information: Āryabhaṭa numeration

Aryabhata used Devanagari letters for numbers, very similar to the Greek numerals, even after the invention of Indian numerals. The values of the different forms of are:[1]

  • [kə] = 2 (२)
  • खि [kɪ] = 200 (२००)
  • खु [kʊ] = 20,000 (२० ०००)
  • खृ [kri] = 2,000,000 (२० ०० ०००)
  • खॢ [klə] = 2×108 (२×१०)
  • खे [ke] = 2×1010 (२×१०१०)
  • खै [kɛː] = 2×1012 (२×१०१२)
  • खो [koː] = 2×1014 (२×१०१४)
  • खौ [kɔː] = 2×1016 (२×१०१६)

Historic Kha[edit]

The original Indic letter Kha is attested in three different forms. The first is in standard Brahmi, ka, the second in the Brahmi variant, Tocharian, also known as slanting Brahmi. The third form of Kha, in Kharoshthi (𐨑) was probably derived from Aramaic separately from the Brahmi letter.

Brahmi Ka[edit]

The Brahmi letter kha, kha, is derived from the Aramaic q, Q, and is related to the modern Latin Q and archaic Greek Koppa.

Tocharian Kha[edit]

The Tocharian, also called slanting Brahmi, letter kha is a variant of the Brahmi kha.

Tocharian Kha with vowel marks
Kha Khā Khi Khī Khu Khū Khr Khr̄ Khe Khai Kho Khau Khä
Tocharian letter kha.gif Tocharian letter khaa.gif Tocharian letter khi.gif Tocharian letter khii.gif Tocharian letter khuu.gif Tocharian letter khe.gif Tocharian letter khai.gif Tocharian letter kho.gif Tocharian letter khau.gif Tocharian letter khä.gif

Kharoshthi Kha[edit]

Like its Brahmi counterpart, the Kharoshthi letter 𐨑 is also derived from the Aramaic q, and is thus related to Q and Koppa, as well as the Brahmi kha.

Devanagari Kha[edit]

Kha () is the second consonant of the Devanagari abugida. It ultimately arose from the Brahmi letter kha, after having gone through the Gupta letter Gupta allahabad kh.svg. Letters that derive from it are the Gujarati letter .

Devanagari-using Languages[edit]

In all languages, is pronounced as [kʰə] or [] when appropriate. Because of borrowings from languages with different phonemic inventories, Devanagari has employed the nukta to create an additional related letter ख़ ḫa that can be used to retain non-native distinctions in Hindi texts.

Kh Kha Khā Khi Khī Khu Khū Khr Khr̄ Khl Khl̄ Khe Khai Kho Khau
ख् खा खि खी खु खू खृ खॄ खॢ खॣ खे खै खो खौ

Conjuncts With ख[edit]

Like most Devanagari letters, in modern texts does not form any irregular ligatures, and assumes a half form to create conjuncts, such as ख् + = ख्य.[2]

Bengali Kha[edit]

The Bengali script is derived from the Siddhaṃ Siddham kh.svg, and is marked by the lack of a horizontal head line, unlike its Devanagari counterpart, . The inherent vowel of Bengali consonant letters is /ɔ/, so the bare letter will sometimes be transliterated as "kho" instead of "kha". Adding okar, the "o" vowel mark, খো, gives a reading of /kho/.

Like all Indic consonants, can be modified by marks to indicate another (or no) vowel than its inherent "a".

in Bengali-using languages[edit]

is used as a basic consonant character in all of the major Bengali script orthographies, including Bengali and Assamese.

Conjuncts with [edit]

Bengali does not exhibit any irregular conjunct ligatures, beyond adding the standard trailing forms of , ya-phala, and ra-phala, and the leading repha form of .[3]

  • খ্ + [kh+ba] gives us the ligature

Bengali Conjunct KHva.svg

  • খ্ + [kh+ya] gives us the ligature

Bengali Conjunct KHya.svg

  • খ্ + [kh+ra] gives us the ligature

Bengali Conjunct KHra.svg

  • while র্ + [r+kha] gives us the ligature

Bengali Conjunct Rkha.svg

Gurmukhi Kha[edit]

Kha () is the seventh letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet. It is derived from the Laṇḍā letter kha, ultimately from the Brahmi kha. Gurmukhi kha does not have a special pairin or addha (reduced) form for making conjuncts, and in modern Punjabi texts does not take a half form or halant to indicate the bare consonant /kʰ/, although Gurmukhi Sanskrit texts may use an explicit halant.

Gujarati Kha[edit]

Kha () is the second letter of the Gujarati script. It is derived from 16th century Devanagari letter kha (ख), with the top bar removed. Like most Gujarati letters, it forms conjunct clusters with a half-form, where the vertical stem on the right is dropped and the remaining letter body appended to the following letter:


Oriya Kha[edit]

The Oriya letter kha () is the second letter of the Oriya script. It is derived from the Brahmi based Kalinga kha. It does not form conjunct ligatures with other characters, and like other Oriya letters with an open top, takes the subjoined matra form of the vowel i (ଇ):


Its subjoined form is identical to, though smaller than, its full form:


Telugu Kha[edit]

Kha () is the second letter of the Telugu script. It is derived from the Bhattiprolu letter kha, and is very closely related to the Kannada ಖ kha. Since it lacks the v-shaped headstroke common to most Telugu letters, ఖ remains unaltered by most vowel matras, and its subjoined form is simply a smaller version of the normal letter shape:


Kannada Kha[edit]

Kannada kha () is the second letter of its script, and like its closely related Telugu counterpart ఖ, is derived from the Bhattiprolu letter kha. Like its Telugu counterpart, it is generally unchanged by matras, and its subjoined form is the same as its full form:


Malayalam Kha[edit]

Kha () is the second letter of the Malayalam script. It is derived from the Grantha kha. It does not exhibit ligation in conjuncts with other letters, does not have a chillu (bare consonant) form, and uses the explicit virama unless coupled with the normal post-base and repha consonant forms.

Sinhala Kha[edit]

The Sinhala Suddha ka (), called mahaapraana kayanna in Unicode, is the second letter of the Sinhala alphabet, and is part of the Miśra set of Sinhala consonants. Although it is derived from the Grantha letter kha, modern Sinhala no longer distinguishes between aspirated (Miśra) and unaspirated (Śuddha) consonants, and ඛ is pronounced the same as ක, ka, but is used for loanwords and in higher register writing. ඛ does not have any unique ligatures or conjunct forms, and displays an explicit virama as the first member of a conjunct cluster.

Thai High Kho[edit]

In the Thai script, kho khai and kho khuat ( and ), the high kho, are the second and third letters of the alphabet. Although Kho khuat (ฃ) is now obsolete, it remains in dictionaries, preserving the traditional count of 44 letters in the Thai alphabet. Although kho khuat, along with kho khon (ฅ), does not appear in modern Thai orthography, some writers and publishers are trying to reintroduce its usage. Both kho khai and kho khuat are derived from the old Khmer kha. Unlike many Indic scripts, Thai consonants do not form conjunct ligatures, and use the phinthu - an explicit virama with a dot shape - to indicate bare consonants.

Lao Kha[edit]

Kho sung or kʰāi () is the second letter of the Lao script. It is derived from the old Khmer kha, and is essentially a fossil of Thai kho khai as it existed in the 14th century. Like its Thai counterpart, it is a high tone letter and does not form ligatures or conjuncts.

Tibetan Kha[edit]

Kha () is the second letter of the Tibetan script, and is derived from the equivalent Siddhaṃ letter. As with all Tibetan letters, it can appear as a head consonant or subjoined to a head consonant. Like many Indic scripts, the halant - an explicit virama - can be used for indicating a bare consonant, although subjoined forms are used to form consonant conjuncts. The subjoined form of kha is essentially identical to its head form:


Burmese Kha[edit]

Kha () is the second letter of the Burmese (Myanmar) script, and is probably derived from the Grantha letter kha. Like many Burmese letters, it is not seen with the virama, as /kh/ does not occur syllable finally. It can form conjuncts with other velar letters in abbreviations and foreign terms:



  1. ^ Ifrah, Georges (2000). The Universal History of Numbers. From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer. New York: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 447–450. ISBN 0-471-39340-1. 
  2. ^ "Hindi / हिन्दी Hindī". KNAB: Place Names Database. Institute of the Estonian Language. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Bengali Alphabet". 

The Unicode Standard. Chapter 9 South Asian Scripts-I, chapter 10 South Asian Scripts-II: the Unicode Consortium. February 2011. ISBN 978-1-936213-01-6.