The _naagaree-128 Scheme

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A Scheme for Transliteration from ĐevaNāgarī to Latin

This scheme can be used to transliterate from any Indian Script (not just ĐevaNāgarī) to Latin. Most Indian scripts are similar most differences are graphical (e.g. shapes of glyphs are different).

I. Conventions / Terminology

The words ĐevaNāgarī and Nāgarī are synonyms.

Where a capital letter is expected or required, I have used a '_' (Low Line) followed by corresponding lower-case letter. 'Low Line' character is also called as 'underscore'. More on this later.

Using this scheme _naagaree-128, we may write, Hinđī as '_hindee' and ĐevaNāgarī as '_devanaagaree'.

I have generally written first occurrence of most Indic-words as per following pattern.

Nīrajā-Latin-word (_naagaree-128-word, शब्द).

Examples: 1. Marāthī (_maraaThee, मराठी)
2. Bhāraŧ (_bhaarat, भारत)
2. Kannaḍ (_kannaDd, कन्नड़)

Apart from this scheme '_naagaree-128' we have been developing another transliteration scheme 'Nīrajā-Latin'. The aims of these two transliteration schemes for writing ĐevaNāgarī words in Latin are different.

If you want to use attractively transliterated Nāgarī words in regular English (western) text and signboards etc. check 'Nīrajā-Latin'.

There are 'file-systems' and cheap mobile phones that do not support all the accented Latin/Roman characters like ā, ī, ṇ etc. So if you want to use correctly transliterated Nāgarī words in SMSes, file-names, cheap mobile phones etc. then only continue reading about this scheme '_naagaree-128'. I/we personally use this scheme for naming files related to web-pages and directories (folders).

This page may look confusing to some first time readers because it is about a transliteration scheme called _naagaree-128 and most of Indic words are primarily written using another scheme Nīrajā-Latin. It is because Nāgarī words transliterated to Latin looks cool.

The Nāgarī alphabet is called Varṇamālā (_varNNamaalaa, वर्णमाला). Akṣhar (AkShar, अक्षर) means letter/s. Generally, Māŧrā (maatraa, मात्रा) means vowel mark/s. You may refresh your knowledge of Varṇamālā by clicking here.

II. Introduction

The word 'Nāgarī' looks better than '_naagaree' and is also easier to read. But we can type '_naagaree' faster than 'Nāgarī'.

_naagaree-128 is a lossless scheme; i.e. the Nāgarī text transliterated to Roman-Latin text using this scheme can be exactly transliterated back to Nāgarī.

Most encodings (including ASCII, Unicode, ISCII) support at least basic Latin alphabet and punctuation marks.

Till recently (2013!), Nāgarī texts were mainly encoded in various hacked-encodings. Even now invitation cards, sales brochures etc. are composed in hack-encodings because of easy availability of non-standard stylish fonts. But now useful Nāgarī text is generally encoded in Unicode, while basic Latin text is encoded either in ASCII, ANSI or Unicode. Using schemes like naagaree-128 we can write Indian languages (like Hinđī, Marāthī, ...) even in basic ASCII.

This scheme can be used for -

1. writing words of Indian languages in small (hand-held) devices and file systems that are incapable of handling Unicode encoded Indic text, like old/cheap mobile phones and Internet!
2. writing Indian languages in English (Roman-Latin) alphabet for those who are not comfortable with Indian scripts (like Nāgarī).
3. to convey the proper pronunciations of Indic words written in Latin-Roman alphabet.
4. entering Nāgarī text using English alphabets. But the use of such schemes for entering ĐevaNāgarī text is rather limited as efficient keyboard overlays/drivers (like SuNāgarī) for popular computer systems are available now-a-days.

At present this scheme is only for regular Nāgarī alphabet used to write Hinđī, Marāthī etc. This scheme may be extended in future to include those characters which are sometimes used in Sanskṛiŧ only.

I designed this scheme in 2006-7, so that the ĐevaNāgarī words transliterated to Latin using this scheme -

can be used as filenames.
resemble commonly transliterated words to the extent possible.

Importance was also given to 'losslessness', 'simplicity' and 'clarity'.

_naagaree-128 is partially similar to an old scheme called 'Harvard-Kyoto'! Other schemes for writing Indian languages using Latin alphabet are IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskṛiŧ Transliteration), ITRANS, etc.

I have been using _naagaree-128 satisfactorily ever since, so you may try it. No warranties though. In future, the use of _naagaree-128 may be limited to fast typing! You may not want to learn it if you are comfortable with keying Nāgarī directly. I you want to correctly name files and folders with words of any Indian language, please do read and practice it.

III. Case-Sensitive

Please remember that this scheme is case-sensitive.
In simple words, no capitalization is allowed.

Why this scheme is case-sensitive?

As there are fewer alphabets in English than Nāgarī and because we don't want to use extended Latin characters (only basic ASCII characters are supported on some file systems), so we have to use uppercase (capital) letters and lowercase letters for different Nāgarī Letters! For example 'd' is used for 'द' while 'D' is used for 'ड'.

Nāgarī has no concept of capitalization, so there is no problem in having this scheme as case-sensitive one.

IV. Emphasize!

This section is not a core part of _naagaree-128, you may skip it by clicking following link.

>> The _naagaree-128 Scheme >>

If you want to emphasize a word, prefix it with a 'Low Line' character ('_', which is also called 'Underscore'!).

For Example: _varNNamaalaa

This convention (of starting a word with '_') will also prevent automatic capitalization, which lot of word processors do without even asking the user.

For names of files and folders, we won't use leading underscores as file systems do not capitalize names we enter. See the address-bar of your browser, I have used 'naagaree-128' and not '_naagaree-128'.

In English, names and other proper nouns are capitalised.
E.g. word Rām ('राम') as 'Rama'. But _naagaree-128 is case-sensitive. According to _naagaree-128, we may write either '_raam' or '_raama', just to convey that 'raam' is a Noun.

For ALL CAPS, you can use leading as well as trailing underscore! So _raamaayaNNa_ will mean RĀMĀYAṆA.

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