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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Vedic and Classical Sanskrit pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-sa}} 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
b b about
bh abhor
ɕ ś sheep
d d roughly like do
dh roughly like old house
ɖ roughly like North American board
ɖʱ ḍh roughly like North American birdhouse
ɡ g again
ɡʱ gh doghouse
ɦ h ahead
j y yak
j roughly like juice
dʑʱ jh roughly like hedgehog
ɟɲ ज्ञ[3] roughly like argue
k k skin
kh kin
l l leaf
m m much
n n tenth
ɲ ñ canyon[4]
ɳ roughly like burnt[4]
ŋ bank[4]
p p span
ph pan
r[5] r Indian roti
s s soup
ʂ Somewhat like North American worship
t t Somewhat like stable
th Somewhat like table
ʈ stable
ʈʰ ṭh table
c Somewhat like chew
tɕʰ ch chew
ʋ v between wine and vine
IPA Nagari IAST[2] English approximation
ɐ , a comma
, पा ā bra
ɪ , पि i sit
, पी ī feet
ʊ , पु u look
, पू ū loot
, पे e wait
aːi̯[7] , पै ai hi
, पो o old
aːu̯[8] , पौ au how
Syllabic Consonants
[9] , पृ bird
r̩ː[10] , पॄ longer ṛ
[11] ऌ, पॢ bottle
l̩ː[12] ॡ, पॣ longer l̩
Vowel Diacritics
◌̃ ◌̃/m̐ nasal vowel [ɐ̃], [ãː], [õː], etc.)[4]
h [13] head

IPA Nagari IAST[2] English equivalent
ˈ◌ stress[14]
(placed before stressed syllable)

See also[edit]


  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 ligature of ज् + ञ
  4. ^ a b c d e Vowels may occur nasalised as an allophone of the nasal consonants in certain positions: see anusvara and chandrabindu.
  5. ^ /r/ may be phonetically realised as [ɽ], [ɾ] or [ɾ̪] in Classical Sanskrit.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ [ai], [ɐi] or [ɛi] in Classical Sanskrit.
  8. ^ [au], [ɐu] or [ɔu] in Classical Sanskrit.
  9. ^ [rĭ] or [ɽɪ] for most modern speakers. [rŭ] for southern speakers.
  10. ^ [ri] or [ɽiː] for most modern speakers. [ru] for southern speakers.
  11. ^ [lrĭ] for most modern speakers. [lĭ] in Bengali and Maithili regions.
  12. ^ [lrĭː] for most modern speakers. [lĭː] in Bengali and Maithili regions.
  13. ^ Visarga, added after a vowel.
  14. ^ 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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)