International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (I.A.S.T.) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is based on a scheme that emerged during the nineteenth century from suggestions by Sir Charles Trevelyan, Sir William Jones, Sir Monier Monier-Williams and other scholars, and formalised by the Transliteration Committee of the Geneva Oriental Congress, in September 1894. IAST makes it possible for the reader to read the Indic text unambiguously, exactly as if it were in the original Indic script. It is this faithfulness to the original scripts that accounts for its continuing popularity amongst scholars.
University scholars commonly use IAST in publications that cite textual material in Sanskrit, Pāḷi and other classical Indian languages.
The IAST scheme represents more than a century of scholarly usage in books and journals on classical Indian studies. By contrast, the ISO 15919 standard for transliterating Indic scripts emerged in 2001 from the standards and library worlds and includes solutions to problems such representing Old Indo Aryan and New Indo Aryan languages side-by-side in library catalogues, etc. For the most part, ISO 15919 followed the IAST scheme, and departed from it only in minor ways (e.g., ṃ/ṁ and ṛ/r̥). See comparison below.
Inventory and conventions
The IAST letters are listed with their Devanāgarī equivalents and phonetic values in IPA, valid for Sanskrit, Hindi and other modern languages that use Devanagari script, but some phonological changes have occurred:
and syllabic liquids
The highlighted letters are those modified with diacritics: long vowels are marked with an overline, vocalic (syallabic) consonants and retroflexes have an underdot.
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 useful only when writing in all-caps and in Pāṇini contexts for which the convention is to typeset the IT sounds as capital letters.
Comparison with ISO 15919
For the most part, IAST is a subset of ISO 15919 that merges: the retroflex (underdotted) liquids with the vocalic ones (ringed below); and the short close-mid vowels with the long ones. The following seven exceptions are from the ISO standard accommodating an extended repertoire of symbols to allow transliteration of Devanāgarī and other Indic scripts, as used for languages other than Sanskrit.
|ए / े||e||ē (e)||ISO e generally represents ऎ / ॆ, but optionally represents long ए / े in Devanagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, and Oriya script.|
|ओ / ो||o||ō (o)||ISO o generally represents ऒ / ॆ, but optionally represents long ओ / ो in Devanagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, and Oriya script.|
|अं / ं||ṃ||ṁ||ISO ṃ represents Gurmukhi tippi ੰ.|
|ऋ / ृ||ṛ||r̥||ISO ṛ represents ड़ /ɽ/.|
|ॠ / ॄ||ṝ||r̥̄||for consistency with r̥.|
|ऌ / ॢ||ḷ||l̥||ISO ḷ represents ळ /ɭ̆/.|
|ॡ / ॣ||ḹ||l̥̄||for consistency with l̥.|
- Devanagari transliteration
- Āryabhaṭa numeration
- Hunterian transliteration
- National Library at Kolkata romanization
- ISO 15919
- Shiva Sutra
- Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (PDF). Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. xxx.
- Shashir Reddy, "Shashir's Notes: Modern Transcription of Sanskrit."
- Anthony Stone, "Transliteration of Indic Scripts: How to use ISO 15929."
- Dominik Wujastyk, "Transliteration of Devanagari."
- Typing a macron - page from Penn State University about typing with accents
- International Phonetic Alphabet chart with pronunciation guide
- A visual chart which shows clearly 1. Which part of the mouth for each sound 2. The 3 groups where the 12 diacritics appear. - from Dina-Anukampana Das
- Sanskrit Pronunciation Tips for beginners & Simple Charts to help memorize where the diacritics fit in. - pages from Dina-Anukampana Das
- A pronunciation guide with chart and pronunciation tips. - from Dina-Anukampana Das
- IAST <==> Devanagari online converter (Transliteration tool)
- Reddy, Shashir. "Shashir's Notes: Modern Transcription of Sanskrit". Retrieved 2016-12-02.
- Stone, Anthony. "Transliteration of Indic Scripts: How to use ISO 15919". Retrieved 2016-12-02.
- Wujastyk, Dominik (1996). "Transliteration of Devanagari". INDOLOGY. Retrieved 2016-12-02.