Conjunct consonants are a type of letters, used for example in Brahmi or modern Devanagari, to write consonant clusters such as /pr/ or /rv/. Although most of the time, letters are formed by using a simple consonant with the inherent value vowel "a" (as with "k" , pronounced "ka" in Brahmi), or by combining a consonant with an vowel in the form of an diacritic (as with "ki" in Brahmi), the usage of conjunct consonant permits the creation of more sophisticated sounds (as with "kya" , formed with the consonants k and y assembled verticaly). Conjuncts are often used with loan words. Native words typically use the basic consonant and native speakers know to suppress the vowel.
In modern Devanagari the components of a conjunct are written left to right when possible (when the first consonant has a vertical stem that can be removed at the right), whereas in Brahmi characters are joined vertically downwards.
Some simple examples of conjunct consonants in Devanagari are: त + व = त्व tva, ण + ढ = ण्ढ ṇḍha, स + थ = स्थ stha, where the vertical stroke of the first letter is simply lost in the combination. Sometimes, conjunct consonants are not clearly derived from the letters making up their components: the conjunct for kṣ is क्ष (क् + ष) and for jñ it is ज्ञ (ज् + ञ).
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