Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

  VOWELS  
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English


CONSONANTS
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Diwali

Diwāli is one of the grand & important festivals celebrated by the Hindhus, Sīkhs and Jains all over India. The word Diwāli has its origin from the Sanskrit word Dīpāvali which means ‘array of lights’ hence it is popularly known as the “Festival of Lights”, as lamps (Diyās) are lit in the houses as a part of the celebrations, symbolizing victory of brightness over darkness(victory of good over evil).

The date of Diwāli is based on the Hindhu calendar and it is celebrated in different months depending on the version of the calendar being used in each region. Generally, it is celebrated in the month of Āśhwayuja (October or November) and the celebrations last for five days, each day signifying a tradition.

On the occasion, Lakṣhmi Pūjā is performed, people wear new clothes, share sweets and burst crackers with great amusement however the style of the celebrations varies regionally.

The Hindhu mythology finds different reasons behind its festivities,

  • According to the Skandha Purāṇa, goddess Śhakthi observed 21 days of austerity (Vratha) commencing from Aṣhṭami of Śhukla Pakṣha( waxing period of moon) to get half portion of the body of Lord Śhiva & this Vratha is known as Kedhāra Vratha . Diwāli is the completion day of this Vratha when lord Śhiva accepted Śhakthi as his left half, appearing as Ardhhanārīśhwara. Devotees observe this 21 days Vratha , decorating a kalaśha(pot) with 21 threads on it with 21 types of offerings for 35 days , the final day being the Kedhāra Gaurī Vratha .
  • The celebrations also commemorate the return of Lord Rāma with his wife Sīthā & brother Lakṣhmaṇa to his kingdom of Ayodhhya after his victory over the demon king Rāvaṇa. The belief is that oil lamps were lit along their path in the darkness. In the Northern regions, final day of the Vikrama calendar marks the festival and the following day will be the North Indian New Year, called Annakūta.
  • The occasion also relates to the killing of Narakāsura (demon) by Lord Kriṣhṇa’s wife Sathyabhāma during the Lord Kriṣhṇa’s avathāra. South Indians do not observe Diwāli as New Year as they follow a different calendar. According to Bramhavaivartha Purāṇa, the festival is also associated with the Dhaithya king Bali who is allowed to return to earth only once a year.

Celebrations:

The five day celebrations in North India are very elaborate,

  • Dhhana thrayodaśhi or Dhhan theras: “Dhhan”(wealth) “Thrayodaśhi”( 13 th day) , as the name suggests it falls on the 13 th day of the first half of the lunar month which is an auspicious day for shopping.
  • Naraka Chathurdaśhi: Naraka means “of a new era of Light & Knowledge” while Chaturdaśhi means 14 th day. In the south, this day is considered for major celebration.
  • Diwāli: This is the actual third day celebration when the moon completely wanes setting darkness in the sky.
  • Varṣha Prathipadha or Pāḍwā: This marks the commencement of the New Year.
  • Bhāīdhūj: On this fifth day of celebration, brothers and sisters get together to express their love, affection for each other.

Diwāli in Sīkhism:

Sīkhs celebrate Diwāli at the Golden temple, Amruthsar to commemorate the laying of foundation stone for the Golden temple in 1577 which is also known as Bandhi Chhoḍ Dhivas. It also relates to the release of the Sīkh Guru Hargobindh who had been imprisoned by the emperor Jahāngīr .As the Guru returned to Amruthsar on Diwāli, his followers celebrated the day with happiness and glee.

On Diwāli, Sikhs illuminate Gurudhwāras with oil lamps & candles. Sīkh pilgrims also take a dip in the sacred tank before praying in the temple.

Diwāli in Jainism:

According to the Jain mythology, Lord Mahāvīra attained Nirvāṇa on this day. Also, Gaṇadhar Gautham Swāmi attained complete knowledge on this day making the occasion special for the Jains to celebrate.

















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