Marathi Language

Marathi Devanagari Unicode Key assignment [You can create Marathi/Devanagari text by clicking buttons below]
Vowel Signs
Roman eq. a aa/A i ii/I u uu/U ru rru ao e ee ai oc o O au q vl vll/vL
Roman eq. ka Ka ga Ga nga ca cha ja jha nya ta Ta da Da Na tha Tha dha Dha na
Roman eq. pa pha ba bha/Ba ma ya ra Ra la La zh(LLL) va/wa sha Sha sa ha im aA hh cn
om 0 1
2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9

Marathi is the language spoken by the native people of Maharashtra. Marathi belongs to the group of Indo-Aryan languages which are a part of the larger of group of Indo-European languages, all of which can be traced back to a common root. Among the Indo-Aryan languages, Marathi is the southern-most language. All of the Indo-Aryan languages originated from Sanskrit. Three Prakrit languages, simpler in structure, emerged from Sanskrit. These were Saurseni, Magadhi and Maharashtri. Marathi is said to be a descendent of Maharashtri which was the Prakrit spoken by people residing in the region of Maharashtra.

Marathi is spoken mainly in Maharashtra & the Central part of India. It is the state official Language of Maharashtra

Marathi: Script

The script currently used in Marathi is called 'bALbodh' which is a modified version of Devnaagari script. Earlier, another script called 'moDI' was in use till the time of the Peshwas(18th century). This script was introduced by HemADpanta, a minister in the court of the Yadava kings of Devgiri (13th century). This script looked more like today's draviDian scripts and offered the advantage of greater writing speed because the letters could be joined together. Today only the Devnaagari script is used which is easier to read but does not have the advantage of faster writing.

The Alphabets
Marathi script consists of 16 vowels and 36 consonents making a total of 52 alphabets.

The vowels are grouped in two groups. The first group consists of 12 vowels as follows:

a aa(A) i ii(I) u uu(U) e ai o au aM aH

The first 10 vowels are very widely used. The last two are less commonly used. The second group consists of the 4 vowels : R^i R^I L^i L^I of which the vowels R^I and L^I are entirely extinct today. The vowel L^i is found only in the word 'kL^iptee'(meaning a clever idea) which is also a tongue-twister and can explain the near extinction of these vowels. The vowel R^i still finds use in words like R^ishI (sage), R^itU (season) etc. But in Marathi, it is pronounced more like 'ru'(r is a consonent)which differs significantly from its original Sanskrit pronunciation.


Out of the 36 consonents, first 25 are divided into 5 groups, each containing 5 letters. This classification is based on their pronunciation. The last letter in each group requires 'nasal' pronunciation and is called 'anunAsik'(nAsikA = nose).

The first group of 5 consonents consists as follows:

k kh g gh N^

These letters are called 'kaNthya'(kaNtha = throat) meaning that these are pronounced from the throat. The last letter N^(anunAsik) finds its only use in the word 'vAN^may'(meaning literature), otherwise it is also extinct. However, when a nasal sound preceeds any of the other 4 letters of this group, the anusvaara actually represents this letter. For example, aN^ka (number), paN^kha (wing), raN^ga (color) or saN^gha (union)

The second group of 5 consonents consists as follows:

ch chh j jh JN

These are called 'mUrdhanya' because they are pronounced by touching the tongue to 'mUrdhanI' which a part of the upper jaw between the roof and the teeth. The last letter JN is entirely extinct but appears in nasal sounds before the other four alphabets. For ex., saJNcha (set), gaJNa (rust), jhuJNa (combat).

The letters ch, j and jh of this group are pronounced in two ways and this is peculiar to Marathi alone. One of them is a palatal affricate (a mUrdhanya) and the other one is a dental affricate (or a dantya, danta = teeth). This is a striking feature of the Marathi phonological system alone. The contrast between the two sounds is noticed when they appear before the vowels a and aa. For ex. palatal: chaar (four), jag (world), dental: chaaraa (fodder), jaag (awakening), jaD (heavy), jharaa (stream)

Even today, there is some confusion among the Marathi speaking people regarding a few words as to which sound (palatal or dental) is the correct one. Examples of such words are :chakalI (a food item), jaroor (need), chaadar (a blanket) etc. However, the rules for these sounds are well defined when they appear before other vowels. Palatal affricates occur before the vowels i, ii e, ai and au (Ex. chivaT, chain, chev, chayrya, jevaN, jiiv, chiir, zhiij, zep etc.) whereas dental affricates occur before the vowels u, uu and o (Ex. chuuk, churaa, jugaar, jor, chor, zop, zoLii etc.) But there is no means of distinguishing these two distinct sounds in the script. Hence while reading Marathi, you really have to know where the palatal affricates occur and where do the dental affricates occur. This makes it difficult for a non-Marathi person to read or speak in Marathi because the dental affricates for these letters are almost absent in other languages. The dental affricate for the letter 'jh' is somewhat closer to the English sound for 'z'.

The third group of 5 consonents consists as follows:

T Th D Dh N

These are called 'taalavya'(TaaLU = palate or roof of the mouth) as they are pronounced by touching the tongue to the palate. The anunAsik 'N' of this group is very much used independently as well as always appears in nasal sound before the other 4 letters. For ex. ghaNTA (bell), kaNTha (throat), bhANDaN (quarrel) etc.

The fourth group of 5 consonents consists as follows:

t th d dh n

These are called 'dantya'(danta = teeth) because the tongue touches the teeth while pronouncing these. These are 'softer' versions of letters of the third group. The first sound 't' is absent in English. The sounds 'th, d and dh' are somewhat similar to the sound 'th' in throat, that and this respectively. Again the anunAsik 'n' is very commonly used and also appears in nasal sounds before the other four. For ex. santa (saint), pantha (sect), manda (slow), gandha (smell) etc.

The fifth group of 5 consonents consists as follows:

p ph b bh m

These are called 'aushThya' letters (aushTha = lips) since they are pronounced by touching the lips together. The second letter in this group 'ph' is originally an 'aushThya' letter but with influence of English has got somewhat modified to a form similar to a 'dantya' letter. Now a days, many people pronounce it in the same way as the English letter 'F' which is quite different from the original 'ph'. Again the anunAsik 'm' is widely used and also appears in nasal sounds before the other 4 letters. For ex., sampa (strike), gumphaa (cave), pratibimba (reflection), sumbha (rope) etc.

Among these five groups the second and the fourth letters in each group are 'aspirated' forms (with 'h' sound added) of the first and the third letters respectively. Another interesting thing to note is that if the nose is blocked (by cold) then the anunAsik (fifth letter) in each group gets replaced by the third letter in the same group.

The remaining eleven consonents are:

y r l v sh shh s h L ksh GY/Dnya shri

The pronunciation of these requires a combination of usages of tongue mentioned earlier.

Among these the Marathi 'r' is much 'harder' than the English sound of 'r'. Also this consonent has a pronunciation very close to the vowel R^i. When combined with other consonents, this letter is represented by four different distinct forms.

The sounds 'sh','shh' and 's' are very similar. The letter 'shh' finds very limited use, only in words directly taken from Sanskrit. The sound 'h' is called 'mahaprAN'(maha = big, prAN = soul) The letter 'L' has sound similar to 'l' but is a tongue twister for North Indian speakers. This letter is very abundant in Marathi as it is very commonly used in many nouns and verbs. Sounds similar to 'L' are found in Gujarati and many South Indian languages. The pronunciation of the last letter 'GY' as 'DNYA' is peculiar to Marathi alone. The last two letters 'ksh' and 'dnya' have also limited use.

Devanagari UNICODE Chart

23050901Devanagari Sign CANDRABINDU
23060902Devanagari Sign ANUSVARA
23070903Devanagari Sign VISARGA
23080904Devanagari Letter SHORT A
23090905Devanagari Letter A
23100906Devanagari Letter AA
23110907Devanagari Letter I
23120908Devanagari Letter II
23130909Devanagari Letter U
2314090ADevanagari Letter UU
2315090BDevanagari Letter VOCALIC R
2316090CDevanagari Letter VOCALIC L
2317090DDevanagari Letter CANDRA E
2318090EDevanagari Letter SHORT E
2319090FDevanagari Letter E
23200910Devanagari Letter AI
23210911Devanagari Letter CANDRA O
23220912Devanagari Letter SHORT O
23230913Devanagari Letter O
23240914Devanagari Letter AU
23250915Devanagari Letter KA
23260916Devanagari Letter KHA
23270917Devanagari Letter GA
23280918Devanagari Letter GHA
23290919Devanagari Letter NGA
2330091ADevanagari Letter CA
2331091BDevanagari Letter CHA
2332091CDevanagari Letter JA
2333091DDevanagari Letter JHA
2334091EDevanagari Letter NYA
2335091FDevanagari Letter TTA
23360920Devanagari Letter TTHA
23370921Devanagari Letter DDA
23380922Devanagari Letter DDHA
23390923Devanagari Letter NNA
23400924Devanagari Letter TA
23410925Devanagari Letter THA
23420926Devanagari Letter DA
23430927Devanagari Letter DHA
23440928Devanagari Letter NA
23450929Devanagari Letter NNNA
2346092ADevanagari Letter PA
2347092BDevanagari Letter PHA
2348092CDevanagari Letter BA
2349092DDevanagari Letter BHA
2350092EDevanagari Letter MA
2351092FDevanagari Letter YA
23520930Devanagari Letter RA
23530931Devanagari Letter RRA
23540932Devanagari Letter LA
23550933Devanagari Letter LLA
23560934Devanagari Letter LLLA
23570935Devanagari Letter VA
23580936Devanagari Letter SHA
23590937Devanagari Letter SSA
23600938Devanagari Letter SA
23610939Devanagari Letter HA
2364093CDevanagari Sign NUKTA
2365093DDevanagari Sign AVAGRAHA
2366093EDevanagari Vowel Sign AA
ि2367093FDevanagari Vowel Sign I
23680940Devanagari Vowel Sign II
23690941Devanagari Vowel Sign U
23700942Devanagari Vowel Sign UU
23710943Devanagari Vowel Sign VOCALIC R
23720944Devanagari Vowel Sign VOCALIC RR
23730945Devanagari Vowel Sign CANDRA E
23740946Devanagari Vowel Sign SHORT E
23750947Devanagari Vowel Sign E
23760948Devanagari Vowel Sign AI
23770949Devanagari Vowel Sign CANDRA O
2378094ADevanagari Vowel Sign SHORT O
2379094BDevanagari Vowel Sign O
2380094CDevanagari Vowel Sign AU
2381094DDevanagari Sign VIRAMA
23840950Devanagari OM
23850951Devanagari STRESS Sign UDATTA
23860952Devanagari STRESS Sign ANUDATTA
23870953Devanagari GRAVE ACCENT
23880954Devanagari ACUTE ACCENT
23920958Devanagari Letter QA
23930959Devanagari Letter KHHA
2394095ADevanagari Letter GHHA
2395095BDevanagari Letter ZA
2396095CDevanagari Letter DDDHA
2397095DDevanagari Letter RHA
2398095EDevanagari Letter FA
2399095FDevanagari Letter YYA
24000960Devanagari Letter VOCALIC RR
24010961Devanagari Letter VOCALIC LL
24020962Devanagari Vowel Sign VOCALIC L
24030963Devanagari Vowel Sign VOCALIC LL
24040964Devanagari DANDA
24050965Devanagari DOUBLE DANDA
24060966Devanagari Digit ZERO
24070967Devanagari Digit ONE
24080968Devanagari Digit TWO
24090969Devanagari Digit THREE
2410096ADevanagari Digit FOUR
2411096BDevanagari Digit FIVE
2412096CDevanagari Digit SIX
2413096DDevanagari Digit SEVEN
2414096EDevanagari Digit EIGHT
2415096FDevanagari Digit NINE
24160970Devanagari ABBREVIATION Sign