Visarga (IAST: visarga) (Sanskrit: ?) means "sending forth, discharge". In Sanskrit phonology (?ik), visarga (also called, equivalently, visarjan?ya by earlier grammarians) is the name of a phone voiceless glottal fricative, [h], written as:
Visarga is an allophone of /r/ and /s/ in pausa (at the end of an utterance). Since /-s/ is a common inflectional suffix (of nominative singular, second person singular, etc.), visarga appears frequently in Sanskrit texts. In the traditional order of Sanskrit sounds, visarga and anusv?ra appear between vowels and stop consonants.
The precise pronunciation of visarga in Vedic texts may vary between kh?s. Some pronounce a slight echo of the preceding vowel after the aspiration: a? will be pronounced [?h?], and i? will be pronounced [ih?]. Visarga is not to be confused with colon.
The visarga is commonly found in writing, resembling the punctuation mark of colon or as two tiny circles one above the other. This form is retained by most Indian scripts.
According to Sanskrit phonologists, the visarga has two optional allophones, namely (jihv?m?l?ya or the guttural visarga) and (upadhm?n?ya or the fricative visarga). The former may be pronounced before ⟨?⟩, ⟨?⟩, and the latter before ⟨?⟩, and ⟨?⟩, as in ? (tava pit?maha? ka, 'who is your grandfather?'), ? (pak?i?a? khe uayante, 'birds fly in the sky'), ? (bho? p?hi, 'sir, save me'), and ? (tapa?phalam, 'result of penances'). They were written with various symbols, e.g. X-like symbol vs sideways 3-like symbol above flipped sideways one, or both as two crescent-shaped semi-circles one above the other, facing the top and bottom respectively. Distinct signs for jihavamul?ya and upadhman?ya exists in Kannada, Tibetan, Sharada, Brahmi and Lantsa scripts.
In the Burmese script, the visarga (variously called ? shay ga pauk, ? wizza nalone pauk, or ? shay zi and represented with two dots to the right of the letter as ), when used with joined to a letter, creates the high tone.
Motoori Norinaga invented a mark for visarga which he used in a book about Indian orthography.
In the Javanese script, the visarga (known as the wignyan (?)) is represented by a two curls to the right of a syllable as ?: the first curl is short and circular, and the second curl is long. It adds a /-h/ after a vowel.
In the Kannada script, the visarga (which is called visarga) is represented with two small circles to the right of a letter ?. It brings an "a?" sound to the end of the letter.
In the Khmer script, the visarga (known as the re?hm?kh (, "shining face")) indicates an aspirated /?/ sound added after a syllable. It is represented with two small circles at the right of a letter as ?, and it should not be confused with the similar-looking y?kôle?kp?nt? (?, "pair of dots"), which indicates a short vowel followed by a glottal stop like their equivalent visarga marks in the Thai and Lao scripts.
In the Odia script, the visarga is represented with a vertical infinity sign to the right of a letter as ?. It indicates the post-vocalic voiceless glottal fricative a? [h] sound after the letter.
In the Tamil script, similar to visarga (which is called ?yutha e?uttu (? ?), ?ytam (), muppaal pulli, thaninilai, aghenam), is represented with three small circles to the right of a letter as ?. Its used to transcribe /q/ or /h/ sound that has either become silent, or pronounced as , /(a)k-/ or /-ka/ in careful speech. Like Sanskrit, it cannot add on to any letter and add aspiration to them. It should be always placed between a single short vowel(?, ?, ?, ?, ?) and a hard consonant (, , , , , ) for example ? (aqthu), ? (eqgu).
In the Telugu script, the visarga (which is called visarga) is represented with two small circles to the right of a letter ?. It brings an "ah" sound to the end of the letter.
In the Thai script, the visarga (known as the visanchani (?) or nom nang thangkhu ()) is represented with two small curled circles to the right of a letter as . It represents a glottal stop that follows the affected vowel.