Nepali orthography (Nepali Barna Binyas) includes a set of conventions for writing the Nepali language, including spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, Padyog Padbiyog (writing words together or separately).
Words used in Nepali can be broadly categorized into two groups - Nepali words and Sanskrit loanwords used in Nepali. Sanskrit loanwords, called Tatsam, are words that have made it to the Nepali language without any modification. Nepali words include words, called Tadbhav, that originated from Sanskrit but which got modified as they finally made it to the Nepali language. Nepali words also include loanwords from sources other than Sanskrit.
An important orthographic distinction between these two groups is that the Nepali words are written using Nepali writing rules, whereas the Sanskrit loanwords are written the same way they are written in Sanskrit as they made it to the Nepali language without any modification. The Nepali writing rules, compared to its Sanskrit counterpart, is much simpler making it easy to write non-Sanskrit loanwords and words that came from Sanskrit with modification. In contrast to this, writing Sanskrit loanwords requires knowledge of additional rules as they have to be written the same way they are written in Sanskrit.
Nepali orthography has evolved over time. The conventions used at Nepali Language Resource Center are based on guidelines published by Nepal's language academy, Nepal Academy.
To take both writing systems into account, whenever applicable, the articles in this topic, have separate sections on conventions used to write Nepali words and conventions used to write Sanskrit loanwords.
A vowel can occur either as an independent vowel letter or as a dependent vowel sign in combination with a consonant letter. See Alphabet and Writing System
for more details. The two vowels /i/ and /u/ can also occur either as short vowels or long vowels. In Nepali, Raswa refers to the occurrence of such short vowels, इ, ि, उ and ु, and Dirgha to the occurrence of long vowels, ई, ी, ऊ and ू, in an orthographic syllable.
This section presents a guide to using Raswa and Dirgha in writing Nepali.