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. It is based on the notation used by Monier Monier-Williams in his 1899 dictionary.
IAST is commonly 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]). 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 the phonemes of Sanskrit and also allows essentially phonetic transcription: 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, but some phonological changes have occurred:
and syllabic liquids
The highlighted letters are those modified with diacritics: long vowels are marked with an overline, vocalic (syallabic) consonants and retroflexes have an underdot.
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 never occurring word-initially (Ṇ Ṅ Ñ Ṝ) are useful only in Pāṇini contexts for which 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 from 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
- Marc Csernel and François Patte. "Critical Edition of Sanskrit Texts". In Gérard Huet, Amba Kulkarni, Peter Scharf. Sanskrit Computational Linguistics (PDF). Springer. p. 360. ISBN 9783642001543.
- 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
- International Phonetic Alphabet chart with pronunciation guide
- A visual chart which shows clearly 1. Which part of the mouth for each sound 2. The 3 groups where the 12 diacritics appear.
- Sanskrit Pronunciation Tips for beginners & Simple Charts to help memorize where the diacritics fit in.
- A pronunciation guide with chart and pronunciation tips
- IAST <==> Devanagari online converter (Transliteration tool)