A vowel can occur either as an independent vowel letter or as a dependent vowel sign in combination with a consonant letter. See The Nepali 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.

Nepali Orthography section provides an overview of Nepali orthography.

This section presents a guide to using Raswa and Dirgha in writing Nepali.

Contents

Raswa in Nepali words

The following rules, which outline scenarios when the vowels are written in Raswa, are applicable to Nepali words and not Sanskrit loanwords used in Nepali.
Vowel in syllables preceding the last syllable
If a word consists of more than one orthographic syllable, the vowel in all syllables preceding the last syllable is written in Raswa.
noun: जिल्ला /jil·lā/ (district), कुरा.
pronoun: तिमी /ṭi·mi/ (you), कुनै (any).
adjective: तिम्रो /ṭim·ro/ (your).
verb: किन् /kin/ (to buy - verb root), उभिएको (nonfinite verb), दियो (finite verb), खाइसक्यो (compound verb).
indeclinable: भित्र /bhiṭ·ra/ (inside), पिर्लिक्क.

Note that these words are Nepali words and not Sanskrit loanwords, which may or may not follow the rule, e.g., the vowel at the beginning of the Sanskrit loanword ईश्वर, a noun, is Dirgha and not Raswa.

Vowels in an indeclinable not formed by derivation
Vowels in an indeclinable that is not formed by derivation are written in Raswa, e.g., अनि /a·ni/ (then), इस्, नि, सामु.

Vowel in the last syllable
The vowel in the last orthographic syllable of the following types of words is written in Raswa:
masculine noun: भाइ /bhāi/ (younger brother), नाति (grandson).
abstract noun formed by adding a suffix to a verb root: लेखाइ /le·khāi/ (writing), लडाइँ (fighting / battle).
case ending देखि (from): घरदेखि /ghar·ḍe·khi/ (from the house).

The vowel /u/ in the last syllable of the following types of words are also written in Raswa:
neuter: मुटु /mu·tu/ (heart), मलेखु (geographical name).
other noun: भाउ /bhāu/ (rate).
adjective: मायालु /mā·yā·lu/ (affectionate).
first person singular form of verb: बसेछु /ba·se·chhu/, खान्छु.

Dirgha in Nepali words

The following rules, which outline scenarios when the vowels are written in Dirgha, are applicable to Nepali words.
Vowel in the last syllable
The vowel in the last orthographic syllable of the following types of words is written in Dirgha:
feminine noun: दिदी /ḍi·ḍi/ (older sister), गाई (cow).
pronoun: हामी /hā·mi/ (we), ऊ (he / she).
imperative: खानू /khā·nu/.
optative: पढूँ /pa·dhuṅ/.
honorific suffixes जी and ज्यू: रामजी /rām·ji/, प्रमुखज्यू.
case ending लाई: रामलाई /rām·lāi/.
suffix हरू indicating plural number: घरहरू /ghar·ha·ru/ (houses).

The vowel /i/ in the last syllable of the following types of words are also written in Dirgha:
neuter: गाडी /gā·di/ (vehicle), कार्की (surname), कास्की (geographical name), मोदी (name of a river).
other noun: बानी /bā·ni/ (habit).
noun, adjective formed by adding a suffix to a noun, adjective: noun => noun: खेलाँची /khe·lāṅ·chi/, noun => adjective: खेलाडी, adjective => noun: मिठाई, adjective => adjective: मेरी.
concrete noun formed by adding a suffix to a verb root: चटनी /chata·ni/.
verb: लेखी /le·khi/ (feminine verb), लेखी हाल (nonfinite verb).
number: अठासी /a·thā·si/ (eighty-eight).

Raswa in Sanskrit loanwords

The following rules, which outline scenarios when the vowels are written in Raswa, are applicable to Sanskrit loanwords. The examples include only Sanskrit loanwords.
Vowel in the following prefixes
नि: निवास /ni·wās/ (residence).
निर्: निर्धारण /nir·ḍhā·raṇ/ (determination).
वि: विदेश /bi·ḍes/ (foreign country).
निस्: निश्चल /nis·chal/ (calm / immobile).
अति: अतिरञ्जित /a·ṭi·rañ·jiṭ/ (exaggerated).
अधि: अधिराज्य /a·ḍhi·rāj·ya/.
अभि: अभिव्यक्त /a·bhi·byak·ṭa/ (express).
परि: परिस्थिति /pa·ris·ṭhi·ṭi/ (situation).
प्रति: प्रतिशत /praṭi·saṭ/ (percentage).
उत्: उत्कर्ष /uṭ·kar·sa/ (climax).
उप: उपस्थित /u·pas·ṭhiṭ/ (present).
कु: कुकर्म /ku·kar·ma/.
दुर्: दुर्घटना /ḍur·ghata·nā/ (accident).
दुस्: दुश्चेष्टा /ḍus·ches·tā/.
सु: सुरक्षा /su·rachh·yā/ (security).

Vowel in the following suffixes
The vowel in the following suffixes is written in Raswa:
इक: आर्थिक /ār·ṭhik/ (financial).
इका: प्रेमिका /pre·mi·kā/.
इत: प्रकाशित /pra·kā·siṭ/ (published).
इम: अग्रिम /ag·rim/.

Vowel-changing suffixes
When a word contains one of the following suffixes, the Dirgha vowel at the end of the word is changed to a Raswa vowel:
ता: उपयोगिता /upa·yo·gi·ṭā/ (usefulness) (here the Dirgha vowel at the end of the word उपयोगी is changed to a Raswa vowel after the addition of the suffix.)
त्व: स्वामित्व /swā·miṭ·wa/ (ownership) from स्वामी.

Dirgha in Sanskrit loanwords

The following rules, which outline scenarios when the vowels are written in Dirgha, are applicable to Sanskrit loanwords. The examples include only Sanskrit loanwords.
Vowel in the last syllable
The vowel in the last orthographic syllable of the following types of words is written in Dirgha:
word formed by adding a suffix: शरणार्थी /sara·ṇār·ṭhi/ (refugee) from शरण. Note that the word समिति does not fall under this category because it is a root word and not formed by the addition of a suffix.

Vowel in the following suffixes
The vowel in the suffix ईकरण is written in Dirgha: स्पष्टीकरण /spas·tika·raṇ/ (clarification).


 Share

 (Your email will not be shared with others)

About   Privacy   Terms   Contact   Feedback on our Efforts   © 2016 Nepali Language Resource Center