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This article contains Indic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks or boxes, misplaced vowels or missing conjuncts instead of Indic text.

The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a popular transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts.



IAST is the most popular transliteration scheme for romanization of Sanskrit and Pāḷi. It is often used in printed publications, especially for books dealing with ancient Sanskrit and Pāḷi topics related to Indian religions. With the wider availability of Unicode fonts, it is also increasingly used for electronic texts.

IAST is based on a standard established by the International Congress of Orientalists at Geneva in 1894[1]. It allows a lossless transliteration of Devanāgarī (and other Indic scripts, such as Śāradā script), and as such represents not only the phonemes of Sanskrit, but allows essentially phonetic transcription (e.g. Visarga is an allophone of word-final r and s).

The National Library at Kolkata romanization, intended for the romanization of all Indic scripts, is an extension of IAST.

IAST sign inventory and conventions

The sign inventory of IAST (both small and capital letters) shown with Devanāgarī equivalents and phonetic values in IPA, is as follows (valid for Sanskrit; for Hindi, some minor phonological changes have occurred):

a  A
ā  Ā
i  I
ī  Ī
u  U
ū  Ū
ṛ  Ṛ
ṝ  Ṝ
ḷ  Ḷ
ḹ  Ḹ
e  E
ai  Ai
o  O
au  Au
अं [ⁿ]
ṃ  Ṃ
अः [h]
ḥ  Ḥ
velars palatals retroflexes dentals labials
k  K
c  C
ṭ  Ṭ
t  T
p  P
unvoiced stops
kh  Kh
ch  Ch
ṭh  Ṭh
th  Th
ph  Ph
aspirated unvoiced stops
g  G
j  J
ḍ  Ḍ
d  D
b  B
voiced stops
gh  Gh
jh  Jh
ḍh  Ḍh
dh  Dh
bh  Bh
aspirated voiced stops
ṅ  Ṅ
ñ  Ñ
ṇ  Ṇ
n  N
m  M
y  Y
r  R
l  L
v  V
ś  Ś
ṣ  Ṣ
s  S
h  H
        voiced fricative

Note: Unlike ASCII-only romanizations such as ITRANS or Harvard-Kyoto, the diacritics used for IAST allow capitalization of proper names. The capital variants of letters never occurring word-initially (Ṇ Ṅ Ñ Ṝ) are only useful in Pāṇini contexts, where the convention is to typeset the IT sounds as capital letters (see Aṣṭādhyāyī).

Comparison with ISO 15919

For the most part, IAST is a subset of ISO 15919. The following five exceptions are due to the ISO standard accommodating an extended repertoire symbols to allow transliteration of Devanāgarī and other Indic scripts as used for languages other than Sanskrit.

Devanāgarī IAST ISO 15919 Comment
ए/ े e ē ISO e represents ऎ/ ॆ.
ओ/ो o ō ISO o represents ऒ/ॊ.
 ं ISO represents Gurmukhi Tippi  ੰ.
ऋ/ ृ ISO represents ड़ /ɽ/.
ॠ/ ॄ r̥̄ for consistency with .

See also




Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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  1. International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration



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