Devanagari Alphabet


Devanagari is a script used for many Indian languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, and others. The word itself consists of two parts: “deva,” meaning divine, and “nagari,” meaning urban. This script developed from the eastern variant of the Gupta script, which, in turn, originated from  Brahmi 11000–1104D . However, until around the 12th century, another script prevailed. It was  Siddhamatrika 11580–115C9 , which also descended from Gupta and Brahmi. Later, it was completely replaced by Devanagari.

The script began to resemble its modern form in the 10th century. Nowadays around 300 million people write in Devanagari. It is the third most widely used script, after Latin and Chinese ones.

Devanagari represents a type of writing system called an abugida. In this system, each consonant symbol represents a syllable consisting of that consonant and the inherent vowel . To indicate other vowels, corresponding diacritic marks are added to the consonant symbol: ka — क, i — ि, ki — कि, u — ु, ku — कु. This distinguishes the abugida from syllabic writing systems, where there is no such “default value,” and the representation of syllables with the same consonant can vary significantly. There are also special marks for writing initial vowels and consonants without vowels.

A characteristic feature of Devanagari alphabet characters is the horizontal line above each letter.