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South Asian Studies: Romanization errors

A summary of Yale University Library's South Asia Collection, which includes material from and about Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Himalayan region, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Common South Asian Romanization errors

Systems of Romanizing South Asian writing systems have changed over the years., meaning that resources may be transliterated in multiple styles for any one resource. While this can be frustrating, some patterns and options do come up again and again. For complete tables of current standards go here. If you have any problems, please do email the South and Southeast Asian Studies Librarian for additional assistance. For writing in Devanagari, the following transliteration patterns are common: 


Devanagari -- Correct Romanization (incorrect alternates)
आ – ā (a, aa)
ऐ – ai (e, ē, ee)

औ – au (o, ō, oo)
ऋ – ṛ (r, ri)

ॠ – ṝ (r, rr, ri)


Devanagari -- Correct Romanization (incorrect alternates)

क – k (g)

च – c (ch)

छ – ch (c)
ज, ज़ – j, z (often confusion between the two)

फ – ph (p, f)

फ़ – f (ph)

व – v (w)

श – ś (s, sh, z)
ष – ṣ [Sanskrit], sh [Hindi] (s, sh)

ङ – ṅ (n, ng)
ञ – ñ (n)

ँ – m̐

ं – ṃ when at word end only; ṅ before gutturals, ñ before palatals, ṇ before cerebrals, n before dentals, and m before labials. Often confusion here; “ng” is a common mistaken variant for all classes of consonants.


Other alphabet systems (Bangla, Arabic, Telugu, Tamil, etc.) follow similar patterns.


PDF of Romanization error list

Librarian for South Asian Studies