Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Making Devanagri Script Universal

As I learn new European languages, I can't help but feel amazed by the ancient wisdom of the creators of the Devanagri script. I am fairly certain that most European languages had their own script before turning to Roman script. Otherwise there is no reason to use same alphabet to generate different sounds.

Take 'j' for instance.
It is pronounced 'j' (as in jacket) in English, pronounced 'ya' in German and 'kh' in Spanish.
In Devanagri script, there are different alphabets for each of the above sounds. (ज, य, ख)

What about 'a'?
Both Spanish and German the 'a' is stretched and pronounced with lips open and relaxed, almost 'aah', like in father. In English, apart from a few exceptions, like father, 'a' is pronounced 'ay'.

In Devanagri script you can distinguish the two sounds, अ and आ.

Then there is the soft 't' and the hard 't'. The soft 't' is pronounced with the tongue between teeth like the Spanish do. In English it is always the hard 't'. In Devanagri script you have a त (soft 't') and a ट (hard 't').

These are a few illustrations. I could go on and on.
The advantage of the Devanagri script therefore is that you get read what you write.

Shouldn't the Devanagri script be made the universal script?
This could be India's second gift to the world - the number system being the first.

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1 comment:

yogs said...

I read your post and really liked the idea that Devanagri script should be made universal. Actually, Sanskrit is the language that has very few exceptions and has the ideal grammar to be used in machines lke computers.

It is really unfortunate that this very language is not encouraged in India itself and we are waiting for the West to prove Sanskrit's usefulness to us.

Actually, when i had learnt German I felt happy to find it very much similar to Hindi. For example "ja" is "ya" in german and if you have observed, many people in Hindi speak "Yamuna" and "Jamuna" interchangeably.
Even my name "Yogesh" is pronounced as "Jogesh" by some people in villages..
Is it a coincidence??

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