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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Vedic and Classical Sanskrit and Pali pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see Template:IPA, and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See shiksha for a more thorough discussion of the sounds of Sanskrit.


IPA[1] Nagari[1] IAST[1] [2] English approximation
k k skin
kh kin
ɡ g again
ɡʱ gh loghouse
ŋ bank[3]
c riches
tɕʰ ch chew
j juice
dʑʱ jh hedgehog
ɲ ñ enjoyable[3]
ʈ stable
ʈʰ ṭh table
ɖ American bird
ɖʱ ḍh American birdhouse
ɳ American burn[3]
t t eighth
th table (but dental)
d d width
dh redhead (but dental)
n n tenth
p p span
ph pan
b b about
bh clubhouse
m m much
j y yak
r[4] r Indian roti
l l leaf
ʋ v between wine and vine
ɕ ś sheep
ʂ American worship
s s soup
ɦ h ahead
IPA Nagari IAST[2] English approximation
ɐ , a comma
, पा ā bra
i , पि i sit
, पी ī feet
u , पु u look
, पू ū loot
, पे e Scottish wait
ɐːi̯[6] , पै ai hi
, पो o Scottish old
ɐːu̯[7] , पौ au how
Syllabic Consonants
[8] , पृ Possibly like bird
r̩ː[9] , पॄ longer ṛ
[10] ऌ, पॢ bottle
Vowel Diacritics
◌̃ ◌̃/m̐ nasal vowel [ɐ̃], [ãː], [õː], etc.)[3]
h [11] head

IPA Nagari IAST[2] English equivalent
ˈ◌ stress[12]
(placed before stressed syllable)


  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 Vowels may occur nasalised as an allophone of the nasal consonants in certain positions: see anusvara and chandrabindu.
  4. ^ /r/ may be phonetically realised as [ɽ], [ɾ] or [ɾ̪] in Classical Sanskrit.
  5. ^ Sanskrit distinguishes between long and short vowels. Each monophthong has a long and short phoneme. The diphthongs, historically /əi, aːi, əu, aːu/, also have a difference in quality: [e, ei, o, ou]. Rarely, vowels may be extra-long.
  6. ^ [ai], [ɐi] or [ɛi] in Classical Sanskrit.
  7. ^ [au], [ɐu] or [ɔu] in Classical Sanskrit.
  8. ^ [ɻĭ] or [ɾɪ] for most modern speakers. [rŭ] for southern speakers.
  9. ^ [ri] or [ɽiː] for most modern speakers. [ru] for southern speakers.
  10. ^ [lrĭ] for most modern speakers. [lĭ] in Bengali and Maithili regions.
  11. ^ Visarga, added after a vowel.
  12. ^ In Classical Sanskrit, stress was predictable by syllable weight: counting from the end of a word, the second-last was stressed if heavy (having a long vowel or a coda consonant); if it was light, the third-last was stressed if heavy; otherwise, stress fell on the fourth-last syllable. Vedic Sanskrit, in contrast, possessed an unpredictable pitch accent.


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

See also[edit]