Konkani Alphabets
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Konkani Alphabets

Konkani alphabets refers to the five different scripts (Devanagari, Roman, Kannada, Malayalam and Perso-Arabic scripts) currently used to write the Konkani language.

As of 1987, the "Goan Antruz dialect" in the Devanagari script has been declared Standard Konkani and promulgated as an official language in the Indian state of Goa.[1][2] As Konkani in the Roman script is not mandated as an official script by law. However, an ordinance passed by the government of Goa allows the use of Roman script for official communication. This ordinance has been put into effect by various ministries in varying degrees. For example, the Goa Panchayat Rules, 1996 stipulate that the various forms used in the election process must be in both the Roman and Devanagari script.

Ancient

The earliest inscription in Konkani in Goykanadi script (extinct now) is of the Gupta period in the 2nd century CE found at Aravalem, Goa. It reads

?acipur?c? ?irasi

(On the top of Shachipura)

The famous inscription at the foot of the colossal Jain monolith Gomavara (B?hubali) Konkani: gom?o - pretty masc., var - God at Shravanabelagola of 981 CE reads,

?r?c?vuar?j kara viy?l, ?r?ga?g?r?j sutt?l kara viy?l

(Chavundaraya got it done, Gangaraya got it done again.)[3]

At the foot of the Gommateshwara at Shravanabelagola there are two inscriptions. One on the right foot and one on the left. On the right foot the inscription is written in old Kannada. On the left foot it is in Devanagari.

Present

The rules for writing Konkani in the Devanagari script are elucidated in a book released by the Goa Konkani Academy titled kka ?uddhal?khan?c? n?m. While the rules for writing Konkani in the Roman script are elucidated in a book titled thomas svans ko?ka?i k?ndr Romi Lipi by writer Pratap Naik, released by Konkani singer Ull?s Buyv at Dalgado Konkani Academy and in Romi Lipient Konknni Kors.[4]

Vowels and syllabic consonants

Short vowel Long vowel
?-?-?-o- a
/?/
?-?-?-a-? ?
/?:/
?-?-?-i-? i
/i/
?-?-?-i-? ?
/i:/
?-?-?-u-? u
/u/
?-?-?-u-? ?
/u:/
?-?-?-ru-? ?
//
?-?-?-?-? ?
/:/
?-?-?-?-? ?
/l?/
?-?-?-?-? ?
/l?:/
?-?-?-e-? e
/æ/
- -
?-?-?-(ê or e)- e
/e/
?-?-?-(ê or e)- ?
/e:/
?-?-?-(ô or o)- o
/o/
?-?-?-(ô or o)- ?
/o:/
?-?-?-o-? e
/æ/
- -
?-?-?-oi- ai
/?j/
?-?-?-ov- au
//

Observations

  • ?, ? and ? are rarely used in Konkani except to render tatsam words. e.g. (imagined-derivative of )
  • ?, ? and ? are rendered in the Roman script by o. Under Portuguese rule, the Konkani language was modified to fit the Roman syllabary system. As a result, Portuguese orthography has eliminated or deformed original Konkani sounds.[5] e.g.
  1. ? - ? kart? is written as korta or even corta (sometimes it is nasalised to cortam)
  2. ? - d?n is written as don.
  3. ? - porn? is written as pornem
  4. ? and ? are rendered by a and ê respectively in the Roman script.
  5. ? - ? hv is written as hanv or Anv
  6. ? - kænar? is written as Kanara or Canara.
  • Nasal vowels in certain cases are represented by a tilde (~) above the character e.g. pãy (foot).[4]
  • For explicit differentiation, closed vowels (? and ?) are represented with a circumflex (ê and ô), while open vowels (? and ?) are represented by (e and o).[4] However, the circumflex is sometimes omitted if it is expected that the reader will know the correct vowel sound.

Consonants

Plosive Nasal Approximant Fricative Affricative
Voicing -> Unvoiced Voiced Unvoiced Voiced Unvoiced Voiced
Aspiration -> Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
Guttural ?-?-Ka-?-? ka
/k/
?-?-Kha-?- kha
/k?/
?-?-Ga-?-? ga
/?/
?-?-Gha-?- gha
//
?-?-Nga-?-? ?a
/?/
?-?-Ha-?- ha
/?/
Palatal ?-?-Cha-?-? ca
/c/
?-?-Chha-?- cha
/c?/
?-?-Ja-?-? ja
/?,/
?-?-Jha-?- jha
//
?-?-Nja-?-? ña
/?/
?-?-Ya-?-? ya
/j/
?-?-Sha,Xa-?-? ?a
/?, ?/
Retroflex ?-?-Tta-?-? ?a
/?/
?-?-Ttha-?- ?ha
//
?-?-Dda-?-? ?a
/?/
?-?-Ddha-?- ?ha
//
?-?-Nna-?-? ?a
/?/
?-?-Ra-?-? ra
/r/
?-?-Xa-?-? ?a
/?/
Dental ?-?-Ta-?- ta
/t?/
?-?-Tha-?- tha
/t/
?-?-Da-?-? da
/d?/
?-?-Dha-?- dha
/d/
?-?-Na-?-? na
/n/
?-?-La-?-? la
/l/
?-?-Sa-?- sa
/s/
Labial ?-?-Pa-?-? pa
/p/
?-?-Pha-?- pha
/p?/
?-?-Ba-?-? ba
/b/
?-?-Bha-?- bha
/b?/
?-?-Ma-?-? ma
/m/
?-?-Va-?-? va
/?/
Alveolar -?-Cha-?-? ca
/t/
-?-Za-?- ja
/d/
Labiodental --Fa-? fa
/f/
Retroflex Lateral flap ?-?-Lla-?-? ?a
//

Observations

  • ? and ? in the Kannada and Malayalam scripts respectively, render two sounds, (c) and (t).
  • ? and ? in the Kannada and Malayalam scripts respectively, render two sounds, (?) and (d).
  • In the Roman script, a retroflex consonant is got by simply doubling the corresponding dental consonant; e.g. ? - ta, ? - Tta.
  • Roman Konkani does not distinguish between ? and ?. Both are written as Sha or Xa and pronounced as ?.
  • Roman Konkani does not distinguish between ? and . Both are normally written as F and pronounced accordingly. e.g. tomorrow ? (ph?llek)- fallek (f?llek)
  • ? n?n in the Nawayati Konkani script not only is a separate consonant, but also performs the role of the anusv?ra. It indicates a homorganic nasal preceding another consonant; e.g. ra?g, ? ao. It also undergoes nasalisation; e.g. ? hv.
  • ?, 'ayin ? ghayin and ? he in the Nawayati Konkani script are used for incorporated Perso-Arabic words.
  • Joined characters are denoted with an apostrophe ('), e.g., mell'lo. m followed by an apostrophe at the end of a word indicates that the m consonant is to be pronounced, and that it is not a nasal vowel, e.g. kam'.[4]

Nasal consonants and nasalisation

In Konkani, the anusv?ra ? ? is traditionally defined as representing a nasal stop homorganic to a following plosive,(anun?sika) and also vowel nasalisation. The precise phonetic value of the phoneme is dependent on the phonological environment.[6] Word-finally, it is realized as nasalization of the preceding vowel (e.g. byi [bã:yi], "a well"). It results in vowel nasalization also medially between a short vowel and a non-obstruent (t?v? [te] "you (acc.)". It is pronounced as a homorganic nasal, with the preceding vowel becoming nasalized allophonically, in the following cases: between a long vowel and a voiced stop (tbo [ta:mbo] "copper", cd? [t?a:ndi:] "silver"), between a long vowel and a voiceless stop (dt [da:nt] "tooth"), and also between a short vowel and an obstruent (sbayi- [sa:mbay] "to support", The last rule has two sets of exceptions where the anusv?ra effects only a nasalization of the preceding short vowel. Words from the first set are morphologically derived from words with a long nasalized vowel (ms [mãs], "meat". In such cases the vowel is sometimes denasalized ([ma:s]. The second set is composed of a few words like (pvc? [pã?t], "to arrive".)

Avagraha (?)

Konkani is one of the few modern Indo-Aryan languages to apply the avagraha beyond mere sustenance of an exclamation, cry or shout in speech. It is used by verbs in continuous tense. The avagraha is not used in Standard Konkani in the continuous tense. Its use is however popular and prevalent amongst the Canara Saraswats, both Gaud and Bhanap, writing in their native Amchigele dialect, in the continuous tense with the aim of conforming to the schwa deletion rule.[7]

Sentence Konkani in Devanagari
He was doing ?
He is doing
He will be doing ?

(According to the schwa deletion rule in Indo-Aryan languages, will be read as karat ?s? and not as karta's? as prevalent pronunciation is.)

The avagraha is also used to mark the non-elision of word-final inherent a, which otherwise is a modern orthographic convention baisa "sit" versus bais.

Schwa deletion

The IPA symbol for the schwa

The schwa deletion or schwa syncope phenomenon plays a crucial role in Konkani and several other Indo-Aryan languages, where schwas implicit in the written scripts of those languages are obligatorily deleted for correct pronunciation.[8][9] Schwa syncope is extremely important in these languages for intelligibility and unaccented speech. It also presents a challenge to non-native speakers and speech synthesis software because the scripts, including Nagar Barap, do not provide indicators of where schwas should be dropped.[10]

This means the schwa ('?') implicit in each consonant of the script is "obligatorily deleted" at the end of words and in certain other contexts,[11] unlike in Sanskrit. This phenomenon has been termed the "schwa syncope rule" or the "schwa deletion rule" of Konkani. In other words, when a vowel-preceded consonant is followed by a vowel-succeeded consonant, the schwa inherent in the first consonant is deleted.[12] However, this formalization is inexact and incomplete (i.e. sometimes deletes a schwa when it shouldn't or, at other times, fails to delete it when it should), and can yield errors. Schwa deletion is computationally important because it is essential to building text-to-speech software for Konkani.[12] Without the appropriate deletion of schwas, any speech output would sound unnatural.

Vowel nasalization

With some words that contain /n/ or /m/ consonants separated from succeeding consonants by schwas, the schwa deletion process has the effect of nasalizing any preceding vowels. Some examples in Konkani include:

  • j?va? => j?vlo

Schwa rules

  1. The final inherent ? is generally omitted. E.g. is d?v, not d?va.
  2. Schwa is retained in single letter words. E.g. ? is ka, not k.
  3. Schwa is omitted if the next letter is a consonant conjunct. E.g. is ?mcy?, not ?macy?.
  4. Schwa is retained in the second letter of a three letter word that ends ?. E.g. is karap, not karp.
  5. Schwa is omitted from the second letter of a three letter word that ends with a vowel other than ?. E.g. is cerko, not cerako.
  6. Schwa is omitted from the second letter of a word with four letters. E.g. is karp?ci, not karap?ci.
  7. Schwa is retained in the third letter of a word with four letters, if the final letter ends with a vowel other than ?. E.g. is gva, not gv.
  8. Verb roots always end in a consonant even if they undergo declination. e.g. ? += ?, hence one says ?pãvc? not ?pãvac? , +=, hence we say ?payt? not ?payat?.

As a result of schwa syncope, the Konkani pronunciation of many words differs from that expected from a literal Sanskrit-style rendering of Devanagari. For instance, ? is kart? not karat?, is ?payt? not ?payat?', is v?d not v?da and ? is mirsg not mirasga.

For instance, the letter sequence is pronounced differently in ? (sky) and ?? (in the sky). In , there is no schwa deletion for the letter ?, since it is the second letter in a three letter word that ends with ?. Hence it is pronounced as ma?ab. In , the letter ? has schwa deletion since it is the second letter of a word with four letters. Hence it is pronounced as ma?b?r.[11] While native speakers correctly pronounce the sequences differently in different contexts, non-native speakers and voice-synthesis software can make them "sound unnatural", making it difficult for the listener to grasp the intended meaning.

Proposed scripts

There have been various proposals to have a script specifically for Konkani. In 1965, S. V. Raykar from Sirsi in Karnataka devised a distinctive script for Konkani by combining features of the Devanagari and Kannada scripts.[13] Similarly, in 2020, Ronan Lewis from Udupi created a unique script for Konkani using alphabets from various languages including Arabic, French and Hebrew.[14] There is also a movement to revive the Goykanadi script and a proposal has been made to introduce a Unicode block for Goykanadi.[15] In 1993, Gajanana Ghantkar wrote the book History of Goa through Gõykanadi script, which has many historical Konkani documents written in Goykanadi, along with its Devanagari transliteration.[16]

See also

Citations

  1. ^ Goa, Daman and Diu Act, 1987 section 1 subsection 2 clause (c) defines "Konkani language" as Konkani in Devanagari script, and section 3 subsection 1 promulgates Konkani to be the official language of the Union Territory.
  2. ^ On 20.8.1992 Parliament of India by effecting the 78th amendment to the Constitution of India, Konkani in Devanagari script has been included in VIIIth Schedule of Constitution of India.
  3. ^ Chavundaraya was the military chief of the Ganga dynasty King Gangaraya. This inscription on the Bahubali statue draws attention to a Basadi (Jain temple) initially built by him and then modified by Gangaraya in the 12th century CE Ref: S. Settar in Adiga (2006), p 256
  4. ^ a b c d Almeida, SJ, Matthew. Romi Lipient Konknni Kors. Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr.
  5. ^ A history of Konkani literature: from 1500 to 1992 By Manoharar?ya Sarades?ya (pg. 22)
  6. ^ Varma, Siddheshwar (1929), Critical studies in the phonetic observations of Indian grammarians
  7. ^ Parijnanashram III (2008). Hva ?mmi (First ed.). Mumbai: Sharvari Arts. pp. 5-7.
  8. ^ Larry M. Hyman; Victoria Fromkin; Charles N. Li (1988), Language, speech, and mind, 1988, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-415-00311-3, ... The implicit /a/ is not read when the symbol appears in word-final position or in certain other contexts where it is obligatorily deleted (via the so-called schwa-deletion rule which plays a crucial role in Konkani word phonology ...
  9. ^ Indian linguistics, Volume 37, Linguistic Society of India, 1976, 1976, ... the history of the schwa deletion rule in Gujarati has been examined. The historical perspective brings out the fact that schwa deletion is not an isolated phenomenon; the loss of final -a has preceded the loss of medial -a-; ...
  10. ^ Tej K. Bhatia (1987), A history of the Hindi grammatical tradition: Hindi-Hindustani grammar, grammarians, history and problems, BRILL, ISBN 90-04-07924-6, ... Hindi literature fails as a reliable indicator of the actual pronunciation because it is written in the Devanagari script ... the schwa syncope rule which operates in Hindi ...
  11. ^ a b "Transliteration to Kannada Script - Understanding Schwa". Konkanverter. Archived from the original on 20 June 2020. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ a b Monojit Choudhury; Anupam Basu; Sudeshna Sarkar (July 2004), "A Diachronic Approach for Schwa Deletion in Indo Aryan Languages" (PDF), Proceedings of the Workshop of the ACL Special Interest Group on Computational Phonology (SIGPHON), Association for Computations Linguistics, ... schwa deletion is an important issue for grapheme-to-phoneme conversion of IAL, which in turn is required for a good Text-to-Speech synthesizer ...
  13. ^ P. Masica, Colin (1993). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 470. ISBN 9780521299442.
  14. ^ Kamath, Bhuvana (12 September 2020). "13-year old boy scripts history with a new script for Konkani". NewsKarnataka. Archived from the original on 9 February 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  15. ^ Basty, Shashank Shenoy (20 August 2020). "Introducing the Goyakanadi Alphabet" (PDF). Unicode Technical Site (published 1 October 2020). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  16. ^ Ghantkar, Gajanana (1993). History of Goa through Gõykanadi script. Rajahauns Vitaran. ISBN 9788185339931.

Further reading


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