International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration

International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration

The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a popular transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts.

IAST is the most popular transliteration scheme for romanization of Sanskrit and Pali. It is often used in printed publications, especially for books dealing with ancient Sanskrit and Pali topics related to Indian religions. With the wider availability of Unicode fonts, it is also increasingly used for electronic texts.

IAST is based on a standard established by the "International Congress of Orientalists" at Geneva in 1894 [History of Skt. transcription and "1894, Rapport de la Trans." [] ] . It allows a lossless transliteration of Devanāgarī (and other Indic scripts, such as Sharada script), and as such represents not only the phonemes of Sanskrit, but allows essentially phonetic transcription (e.g. Visarga "unicode|ḥ" is an allophone of word-final "r" and "s").

The National Library at Kolkata romanization, intended for the romanization of all Indic scripts, is an extension of IAST.

IAST sign inventory and conventions

The sign inventory of IAST (both small and capital letters) shown with Devanāgarī equivalents and phonetic values in IPA, is as follows (valid for Sanskrit; for Hindi, some minor phonological changes have occurred):

Note: Unlike ASCII-only romanizations such as ITRANS or Harvard-Kyoto, the diacritics used for IAST allow capitalization of proper names. The capital variants of letters never occurring word-initially (IAST|Ṇ Ṅ Ñ Ṝ) are only useful in unicode|Pāṇini contexts, where the convention is to typeset the "IT" sounds as capital letters (see unicode|Aṣṭādhyāyī).

Comparison with ISO 15919

For the most part, IAST is a subset of ISO 15919. The following five exceptions are due to the ISO standard accommodating an extended repertoire symbols to allow transliteration of Devanāgarī and other Indic scripts as used for languages other than Sanskrit.

ee also

* Devanagari transliteration
* Harvard-Kyoto
* National Library at Kolkata romanization
* ISO 15919
* Shiva Sutra


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