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Lesson 8: The letter ra
This lesson covers the final chapter of learning how to read Devanagari. This chapter covers one letter: letter ra. This letter has so many exceptions to the rule on vowel markings and consonant clusters. Therefore, a special chapter must be discussed on ra. This will be divided into three sections: vowels u and ū; half-letter form, second-clustered form.
VOWELS u and ū
Ra follows all of the rules of vowel markings except for short u and long ū to form ru and rū respectively. Figure 8.1 shows how the ru and rū should be written.
Recall from Lesson 5 and 6, letter ra is not a stick letter that there is an explicit half-form. There is a consistent form that the half-letter of ra (technically r) has. Figure 8.2 shows the half-form and the word pārtha (another name of Arjuna). Note that the r is on top of the letter.
SECOND CLUSTER FORM
If ra is the second letter of the cluster, then ra assumed a specialized form. Unlike the consonant clusters from Lessons 5 and 6 where the second letter assumed full form, clusters with ra as the second letter allows the first letter to assume full form and ra with two special symbols shown in Figure 8.2. The one on the left is for letters with sticks while the right is for letters without a stick. Except for the explicit consonants mentioned in the last lesson, all consonants obey this rule.
These are the only discussion points for the letter ra.
Try spelling these words using Devanagari Script:
1. dharma (religious principle and duty in Sanskrit)
2. vicitravīrya (father of Drtarastra, Pandu, and Vidura in Mahabharata)
3. srīmatī (honorable title for a woman in Sanskrit)
4. karuṇā (pity/mercy in Sanskrit)
5. matsya rūpa (Lords incarnation of a fish)
6. svārtha (selfishness in Sanskrit)
7. tritīya (third in Sanskrit)
8. dhṛtarāṣṭra (Pandus elder brother in Mahabharata)
Transliterate the following Devanagari words.
UPDATED: June 16, 2009