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Diacritical Markings

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.

The following table shows the mapping of the Devanagri and Tamil alphabet into Diacritical standard. The table also gives a pronunciation guide listing words largely from English that have syllables close to desired Indian phonetics.

Vowels
Devanagri
Tamil
Diacritical aiu
Phonetic nunpathinkseepullrule
Devanagri
Tamil
Diacritical eaioau
Phonetic enterateaislesobonecow

Consonants
Devanagri
Tamil க²க³க⁴
Diacritical kakhagaghaṅa
Phonetic bucketkhakigoghettosong
Devanagri
Tamil ச²ச³ச⁴
Diacritical cachajajhaña
Phonetic chattouch himjadedodge himunjust
Devanagri
Tamil ட²ட³ட⁴
Diacritical ṭaṭhaḍaḍhaṇa
Phonetic toeant hilldatehard hathunt
Devanagri
Tamil த²த³த⁴
Diacritical tathadadhana
Phonetic thinthrashbreadthdharmano
Devanagri
Tamil ப²ப³ப⁴
Diacritical paphababhama
Phonetic liptop hatribabhorman
Devanagri  
Tamil  
Diacritical yaralava 
Phonetic yardredlovevoice 
Devanagri  
Tamil  
Diacritical śaṣasaha 
Phonetic shellschnell
(German)
sellhat 

Miscellaneous Consonants
Devanagri    
Tamil  
Diacritical ṉaḷaḻa
Phonetic crickettintemplatetamil



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