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Standard Hindi spelling

A set of rules for standard Hindi spelling, as formulated by an Expert Committee appointed by the Government of India for the purpose and as approved by the Government.

  1. The case-signs in Hindi should always be written as separate words, except in case of pronouns where they should be tagged on to the stems (प्रतिपादिक); e.g. १. राम ने २. स्त्री को ३. उसने ४. मुझको.
    1. Where pronouns have two case-signs at a time, the first should be tagged on to the stem while the second should be written separately; e.g. १. उसके लिये २. इसमें से.
    2. When the particles ही, तक etc. fall in between a pronoun and its case-sign be written as a separate word; e.g. आप ही के लिये, मुझ तक को.
  2. In case of compound verbs, all subsidiaries should be written separately; e.g. १. पड़ा करता है २. आ सकता है.
  3. The indeclinables तक, साथ etc. should always be written as separate words; e.g. आपके साथ, यहाँ तक. Explanation
  4. The absolutive forms should always be written as single words; e.g. मिलाकर, खा-पीकर, रो-रोकर.
  5. In case of co-ordinative compounds, hyphen should be placed in between the constituent words; e.g. राम-लक्ष्मण, शिव-पार्वती-संवाद.
  6. Hyphen should be placed before particles like सा, जैसा; e.g. तुम-सा, राम-जैसा, चाकू-से तीखे.
  7. In case of dependent determinative compounds, hyphen should be used only to avoid risk of ambiguity; e.g. भू-तत्व. Explanation
  8. Where the use of glidal य, व is optional, it may be avoided, i.e., in the words like गए-गये, नई-नयी, हुआ-हुवा, etc. using only the former (vowel) forms. This rule is applicable in all cases viz., verbal, adjectival and undeclinable forms. Explanation
  9. and express two distinct sounds in Hindi. First as in words like है, और, etc. and the other in words like गवैया, कौवा, etc. The use of these symbols to express these two distinct sounds should continue. Modifications like गवय्या, कव्वा, etc. are unnecessary.
  10. तत्सम words borrowed from Sanskrit should ordinarily be spelt in their original Sanskrit form. But where the use of Hal sign (right slanting stroke \) has already discontinued in Hindi, words like महान (न्‌), विद्वान (न्‌), it need not be revived. Explanation
  11. Where the fifth letter of a class of consonants (वर्ग) precedes any of the four remaining letters of the same class, the अनुस्वार should be invariably used instead of the fifth letter; e.g. अंत, गंगा, संपादक. Explanation
  12. Use of nasalisation sign (अँ) (चंद्रबिंदु) is sometimes necessary to avoid ambiguity in meaning and to mark out distinction between words like हंस-हँस etc. Except where it is difficult to write or print, चंद्रबिंदु must necessarily be used in poetry to maintain metric sequence. Similarly, in the primers for children where introduction of चंद्रबिंदु is desired, चंद्रबिंदु must invariably be used; e.g. नहीँ, मेँ, मैँ, etc. Explanation
  13. Words of Arabo-Persian origin which have been adapted in Hindi vocabulary should continue to be used as such; e.g. जरूर. But where their use in innate form is desired, dots (नुक़्ते) must be used to denote alien origin; e.g. राज़, नाज़.
  14. Where use of English words with half-open sound is desired, अर्ध-चंद्र symbol should be placed over as in ऑनरेरी, डॉक्टर. Explanation
  15. If Sanskrit words with विसर्ग (:) have to be used in Hindi in their तत्सम form, the विसर्ग should be placed appropriately as in दुःखानुभूति. But if such words are to be used in their modified (तद्भव) form, विसर्ग can easily be omitted as in दुख-सुख के साथी.

Explanatory notes with illustrations

A growing language-Hindi is day-by-day ensuring its status as the official language of the Union. It is heartening to picture Hindi as truly pan-Indian in form and content with closer and closer contact with its counterparts, their literature and the people who wield them for varied aims.

Incidence of parallel forms is a natural phenomenon in a living language. It is inadvisable, therefore, to fetter its course with rigid regimen and grammatical regulation.

Dictums can hardly force particular forms of a parallel labyrinth in currency and opinions must continue to differ on the choice of one or the other.

Nonetheless, conformity to the rules of grammar, syntax and spelling, is the most to be desired, provided it does no hamper progress, nor does it come in the way of effulgence of a language.

Taking all this into account, the Committee — Hindi Varani Samiti — had a catholic approach in formulating principles for standardising Hindi spelling.

The rules embodied in the text of this pamphlet are elaborated here with a few more illustrations.

The third rule needs a few more examples for clarification. There are several types of indeclinables in Hindi that denote various types of feelings and senses, e.g. आह, ओह, अहा, ऐ, ही, तो, सो, भी, न, जब, तब, कब, यहाँ, वहाँ, कहाँ, सदा, क्या, श्री, जी, तक, भर, मात्रा, साथ, कि, किंतु, मगर, लेकिन, चाहे, या, अथवा, तथा, और, etc.

Some indeclinables are followed by case-signs also e.g., अब से, तब से, यहाँ से, वहाँ से, सदा से etc.

The rule lays down that the indeclinables be written as separate words e.g. गज भर कपड़ा, रात भर, दिन भर, मुझे जाने तो दो, काम भी नहीं बना, पचास रुपये मात्र, etc.

The honorific indeclinables श्री and जी should also be written as separate word e.g. श्री श्रीराम जी, कन्हैयालाल जी, महात्मा जी etc.

Indeclinables such as प्रति, मात्र, यथा etc. in compounds should not be written separately e.g. प्रतिदिन, प्रतिशत, मानवमात्र, निमित्तमात्र, यथासमय etc., for the constituents compounded together are treated as a single compound word. While following the provisions of this rule, the Committee have also provided for a hyphen in between the constituents in cases of co-ordinative compounds and dependent determinative compounds to avoid risk of ambiguity.

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Rules 4, 5 and 6 are clear. The hyphen is only for clarity. Some examples of co-ordinative compounds are : देख-रेख, चाल-चलन, हँसी-मजाक, लेन-देन, पढ़ना-लिखना, खेल-कूद etc.

According to rule 7 Hyphen may be used in between determinative compounds to avoid risk of ambiguity. For example, if a hyphen is not used in the compound word भू-तत्व (elements or science of earth), it is likely to be confused with भूतत्व meaning 'the state of being as element'. In the case of common dependent determinatives as in words like रामराज्य, गंगाजल, राजकुमार, ग्रामवासी, आत्महत्या etc., a hyphen is not necessary at all.

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Rule 8 forbids the use of glidal य-व where it is optional. This prohibition is applicable in respect of all types of words in all cases e.g. दिखाए गए, राम के लिए, पुस्तक लिए हुए, नई दिल्ली.

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Rule 10 directs that the words borrowed from Sanskrit should ordinarily be spelt in their original Sanskrit form. Accordingly, it would be improper to spell ब्रह्मा as ब्रम्हा, चिह्न as चिन्ह, उऋण as उरिण etc. Similarly, wrong spellings of words as ग्रहीत, दृष्टव्य, कान्तिवान्‌, अत्याधिक, अनाधिकार etc. are not acceptable. Wherever हल sign has dropped out of use in words like महान, विद्वान etc., it need not be revived.

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Rule 11 relates to the use of `fifth letters' (पंचमाक्षर) and अनुस्वार. Where fifth letter of a class of consonants (वर्ग) precedes any of the four remaining letters of the same class, the अनुस्वार and not the fifth letter should be used; e.g. गंगा, टंटा, संध्या, धंधा etc. If the fifth letter precedes any letter of a class (वर्ग) other than its own or repeats itself, it does not change into an अनुस्वार but remains as it is, e.g. वाङमय, अन्य, सम्मति, चिन्मय, उन्मुख etc. Forms like वांगमय, संमति, चिंमय, उंमुख etc. are incorrect.

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The Committee has sympathetically considered the question of the use of चंद्रबिंदु (a nasal sound expressed by a point in the middle of a digit over a letter) and has provided for its application where necessary. The rule 12 laid down in this respect is quite clear.

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Rule 13 and 14 dealing with spellings of Hindi words of English, Arabic, Persian or any other foreign origin and their peculiar sounds, do not require explanation. However, it is not out of context to reproduce here the recommendation on transliteration of international terms into Devanagari Script, made by the Seminar on the Linguistics of Scientific Terminology organised by the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology in August-September, 1962 which runs thus:

"The transliteration of English terms should not be made so complex as to necessitate the introduction of new signs and symbols in the present Devanagari characters. The Devanagari rendering of English terms should aim at maximum approximation to the standard English pronunciation with such modifications as are prevalent in the educated circle in India."

The same recommendation may apply to words adopted from other languages also.

Some Hindi words have two parallel forms in currency, both of which have been generally recognised by scholars in the field, e.g. गरदन-गर्दन, गरमी-गर्मी, बरफ़-बर्फ़, बरतन-बर्तन, बिलकुल-बिल्कुल, सरदी-सर्दी, कुरसी-कुर्सी, भरती-भर्ती, बरदाश्त-बर्दाश्त, वापिस-वापस, एकाई-इकाई, दोबारा-दुबारा etc.

Uniformity in the spelling of such words was not considered essential.

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