Pronunciation[change | change source]
Indian names, written in roman letters may use the letters for the vowels to denote different sounds than is conventional in American or British English.
The Sanskrit/devanagari vowels अ (u̱nder), आ (ah), इ (in), ई (eat), उ (put), ऊ (boot), ए (ate), ऐ (add), ओ (oh - not as a diphthong), औ (ogre), are mapped to 'a', 'aa', 'i', 'ee', 'u', 'oo', 'ae', 'ei', 'o', 'ou', in that order, in most transcriptions of Indian names into English.
Thus ‘Ekamresh’ is pronounced ‘AkaamrAsh’ where the capitalized A’s represent the long ‘a’ (as in the name of the letter) and the 'aa' has the vowel sound in 'ah'. The short 'a' and short 'o' of American English are absent in Indian languages and their use can often result in mispronunciation of Indian names.
Furthermore, the letters used in English for the retroflex consonants (t and d) are also used to sound dentals (as in 'math' and 'the'), especially when they occur in the beginning of a word. As an example, the India name 'Dev' would not have its first consonant pronounced as in the American name 'Dave'. Similarly the name 'Tarun' would not have its first consonant sounded as in 'Tom'.
The letter 'h' is used to aspirate certain consonants. So, in the names 'Khare', 'Ghanshyam', 'Kaccha', 'Jhumki', 'Vitthal', 'Ranchodh', 'Thimmayya', 'Uddhav', 'Phaneesh', and 'Bhanu', the sounds 'ka', 'ga', 'cha', 'ja', 'ta' (retroflex), 'da' (retroflex), 'ta' (dental), 'da' (dental), 'pa', and 'ba' are sounded with an strong outward breath.