Transliteration — ট্রান্সলিটারেশন — ṭrānsliṭārēśon

International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST)/ISO 15919 is a standardization of transliterating Sanskrit to Roman/Latin alphabets, but it has its own limitations. Moreover, my aim is to transliterate Bāŋlā (‘Bengali’ for English speakers) to Roman. Although the IAST, and its extension ISO 15919, does provide the basic ground for it, it falls short because of some peculiarities of the Bāŋlā language. There are subtle differences with IST/ISO 15919, and if anyone is interested in the details, I will be happy to discuss them.

  • Vowels
    • অ : ô
    • আ : ā
    • ই : i
    • ঈ : ī
    • উ : u
    • ঊ : ū
    • ঋ : r̥
    • ঌ : l̥
    • এ : ē
    • ঐ : ōi
    • ও : ō
    • ঔ : ōu
    • ঃ : ḥ
    • ং : ŋ
    • ঁ : ⁿ
  • Consonants
    • ক : k
    • খ : kʰ
    • গ : g
    • ঘ : gʰ
    • ঙ : ŋ
    • চ : c
    • ছ : cʰ
    • জ : j
    • ঝ : jʰ
    • ঞ : ñ
    • ট : ŧ
    • ঠ : ŧʰ
    • ড : đ
    • ঢ : đʰ
    • ণ : ṇ
    • ত : t
    • থ : tʰ
    • দ : d
    • ধ : dʰ
    • ন : n
    • প : p
    • ফ : pʰ
    • ব : b
    • ভ : bʰ
    • ম : m
    • য : y
    • র : r
    • ল : l
    • ব : v
    • হ : h
    • শ : ś
    • ষ : ṣ
    • স : s
    • য় : ẏ
    • ড় : ṛ
    • ঢ় : ṛʰ
  • Special characters
    • ৎ : <Not required.>
    • ্ : <Not required.>
    • ৳ : <Even before India came up with a symbol of the Indian Rupee– ₹ — Bānglā had its own symbol for the “ŧākā” as the currency is called in the language.>

There are some things to be keep in mind.

  1. There will be no capitalization of any alphabet to be consistent with the way Bānglā is written.
  2. æ will be used to stand for the “অ্যে” sound: for example: “যেমন — yæmon”.
  3. In Sanskrit, the pronunciation is different, and simpler, than that in Bānglā, where the sometimes gets pronounced as . Hence, in addition to ô, ō, “o” will also be used. ō will be used where the “” sound has been made explicit in the script: for example, “কালো — kālō”. ô will be used to explicitly mean the “” pronunciation: for example, “অসফুটে — ôsphuŧē”. o will be used where the written alphabet is “” but is actually getting pronounced as “”; for example, “যেমন — yæmon”, “প্রমান — promān”, “অভিসার — obhisār”. Here is a compound example: “অন্তত — ôntoto”.
  4. Although the explicit “” sound will be written as ā, the “অ্যা” sound will be written with an a: for example, “ব্যাকুল — bẏakul”, “জ্ঞ্যান — gñyan”.
  5. /y is pronounced as /j. Here Bānglā differs from Sanskrit, still it is preferred to write y. For example, “যেমন — yæmon”.
  6. In Sanskrit, should be used for ड़/ড়, and extensively, ʰ for ढ़/ঢ়, because the pronunciation of these are upper-pallet-roll of and respectively. However, in Bānglā all the three— /र, ড়/ड़, and ঢ়/ढ़ — are pronounced as /र/r. Hence, and ʰ are used for ড়/ड़ and ঢ়/ढ़ respectively. This does not confuse the reader, who reads off a / anyway.
  7. appears twice, once as /b and the other time as /v because they are written as well as pronounced differently in Sanskrit: /b and /v. Except for compound words. see Rule#8 below, in Bānglā they are pronounced similarly as /b, and hence will be written as /b irrespective of the origin of the Sanskrit words.
  8. Compound alphabets: this is a difficult beast, and in the absence of general rules, I am citing a few examples:
    • ত্ব : tv, জ্ব : jv, ন্ব: nv, etc. — here, the Sanskrit व (written and pronounced also as in Bānglā) should be written as v; however it needs to be kept in mind that the pronunciation will be such that the first letter gets repeated — ত্ব is pronounced as ত্ত/tt, জ্ব is pronounced as জ্জ/jj, ন্ব is pronounced as ন্ন/nn, etc.
    • স্ত : st, স্ন : sn — exceptions where “/s” is not pronounced as “শ/ś”.
    • স্মৃ : smr̥ — although the pronunciation is śnr̥.
    • ক্ষ :
      • When the pronunciation is like , for example “ক্ষিদে” — then “”.
      • When the pronunciation is like খ্খ, for example “পক্ষ” — then keeping in mind the origin of the compound alphabet from Sanskrit and also keep it simple — “kṣ”।

If I feel the need of more such rules, I will add them to this list.

10 thoughts on “Transliteration — ট্রান্সলিটারেশন — ṭrānsliṭārēśon

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