Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English


Pongal, also known as Thamizhar Thirunāḷ, is an important festival observed by the people of Tamil Nāḍu for celebrating the birth of the Tamil month Thai (January 12-15), which they believe will pave way for new opportunities (Thai pirandhāl vazhi pirakkum) and good harvest in the coming months In different regions of India, similar harvest festivals are celebrated with different names and rituals. In Punjab the festival is known as Lohri, while in Assam it is called Bhogāli Bihu, in Karṇāṭaka, Āndhra Pradeśh, Mahārāṣhtra, Madhya Pradeśh, Utthar Pradeśh and Bihār it is known as Makara Sankrānthi.

The astronomical significance of the festival is that it marks the beginning of Uttarāyaṇa (sun’s movement northward for a six month period).Hindhu mythology considers this period to be auspicious and all important events are scheduled during this time.

The festival is also meant for thanking the Nature (Sun) for providing prosperity throughout the year .The celebrations of the festival last for four days, each day signifying a unique ritual.

  • The first day is celebrated as Bhogi by throwing all unwanted and old materials in fire .People enjoy the moment by dancing and singing around the fire. This ritual marks the end of the old Thai and the emergence of the new Thai.
  • The second day is the main celebration of Pongal and this falls on the first day of the Thai month. On this day, people wake up early; decorate new pots (with kolam, sugar cane pieces) and boil rice with fresh milk, jaggery and cashew nuts. When the preparation boils over, people gather around shouting “Pongalo Pongal” as it is considered that good fortune is forth coming . Later, the new boiled rice is offered to Sun God and then to the family members followed by a delicious feast. People also visit friends and relatives exchanging sweets and greetings.
  • The third day Māṭṭu Pongal, is for offering thanks to cattle for its help in agriculture. On this day, Jallikaṭṭu (taming the wild bull) contest is conducted in some parts of Tamil Nāḍu to mark the occasion.
  • The final day is Kāṇum Pongal,(Kāṇum means ‘to see’) and as the name indicates , people visit places like beaches, parks and other picnic spots to socialize with people. Houses are decorated with Kolam as a part of these festivities.


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