- Devanagari (“of the city of the gods”) is the script that is used for Hindi, Sanskrit, and Marathi. It developed out of the earlier Brahmi script toward the end of the last millennium B.C.E. It has been used regularly for Sanskrit ever since. When Hindi was recognized and developed as a separate writ-ten language in the 19th century, Devanagari was the script chosen for it.As with most other scripts that derive from Brahmi, Devanagari uses a system of abbreviated vowel markings to show vowels after conso-nants, when the vowels are not the first letter of the word. Full vowel forms are made beginning a word. There are 48 to 51 letters in the Deva-nagari alphabet depending on whether certain unusual vowels are included and whether one includes conjunct consonants at the end. Typi-cally the Devanagari alphabet begins with a and ends with h.Further reading: K. C. Aryan, Rekha, a Book on Art and Anatomy of Indian Languages and Symbols (Delhi: Rekha Prakashan, 1952); India, Central Hindi Directorate, Devanagari through the Ages (New Delhi: Central Hindi Directorate, 1967); P. Visalakshy, Nandinagari Script (Thiruvanathapuram: Dravidian Linguistics Associa-tion, 2003).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.