Adapted from Chapter 8 of 'Kṛtimaṇimālai, English Adaptation, Part III' by Padma Varadan
Diacritical markings are used to convey the correct phonetic representation of the sounds
of syllables in any language. The English language is not phonetically consistent. The
normal English alphabet does not have enough characters to map the Indian languages. For
example, Telugu has 14 vowels and 36 consonants against the 5 vowels and 21 consonants in
English. In order to convey the phonetic intonations of Indian Languages, the normal English
alphabet is augmented by the usage of diacritical markings. For example, a bar placed over
the letter 'a' results in a new character 'ā' which represents the extended 'a' vowel.