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Visarga (IAST: visarga) (Sanskrit: विसर्गः) meaning "sending forth, discharge". In Sanskrit phonology (śikṣā), visarga (also called, equivalently, visarjanīya by earlier grammarians) is the name of a phone, [h], written as:

Visarga
Diacritics in Latin & Greek
accent
acute( ´ )
double acute( ˝ )
grave( ` )
double grave(  ̏ )
breve( ˘ )
inverted breve(  ̑ )
caron, háček( ˇ )
cedilla( ¸ )
circumflex( ˆ )
diaeresis, umlaut( ¨ )
dot( · )
hook, hook above(   ̡   ̢  ̉ )
horn(  ̛ )
iota subscript(  ͅ  )
macron( ¯ )
ogonek, nosinė( ˛ )
perispomene(  ͂  )
ring( ˚, ˳ )
rough breathing( )
smooth breathing( ᾿ )
Marks sometimes used as diacritics
apostrophe( )
bar( ◌̸ )
colon( : )
comma( , )
period( . )
hyphen( ˗ )
prime( )
tilde( ~ )
Diacritical marks in other scripts
Arabic diacritics
Early Cyrillic diacritics
kamora(  ҄ )
pokrytie(  ҇ )
titlo(  ҃ )
Gurmukhī diacritics
Hebrew diacritics
Indic diacritics
anusvara( )
chandrabindu( )
nukta( )
virama( )
visarga( )
IPA diacritics
Japanese diacritics
dakuten( )
handakuten( )
Khmer diacritics
Syriac diacritics
Thai diacritics
Related
Dotted circle
Punctuation marks
Logic symbols
Transliteration Symbol
IAST
Harvard-Kyoto ⟨H⟩

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 anusvāra appear between vowels and stop consonants.

The precise pronunciation of visarga in Vedic texts may vary between Śākhās. Some pronounce a slight echo of the preceding vowel after the aspiration: aḥ will be pronounced [ɐhᵄ], and iḥ will be pronounced [ihⁱ]. Visarga is not to be confused with colon.

Contents

TypesEdit

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 जिह्वामूलीय (Jihvāmūlīya or the guttural visarga) and उपध्मानीय (Upadhmānīya or the fricative visarga). The former may be pronounced before ⟨क⟩, ⟨ख⟩, and the latter before ⟨प⟩, and ⟨फ⟩, as in तव पितामहः कः (tava pitāmahaḥ kaḥ?, 'who is your grandfather?'), पक्षिणः खे उड्डयन्ते (pakṣiṇaḥ khe uḍḍayante, 'birds fly in the sky'), भोः पाहि (oḥ pāhi, 'sir, save me'), and तपःफलम् (tapaḥkalas, '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.[1] Distinct signs for Jihavamulīya and Upadhmanīya exists in Kannada, Tibetan, Sharada, Brahmi and Lantsa scripts.

Other Indic scriptsEdit

BurmeseEdit

In the Burmese alphabet, the visarga (variously called ရှေ့ကပေါက် shay ga pauk, ဝစ္စပေါက် wizza pauk, or ရှေ့ဆီး 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.

JapaneseEdit

 
The Visarga mark used by Motoori.

Motoori Norinaga invented a mark for visarga which he used in a book about Indian orthography.

JavaneseEdit

In the Javanese alphabet, 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.

KhmerEdit

In the Khmer alphabet, the visarga (known as the reăhmŭkh (រះមុខ, "shining face")) indicates an aspirated /-ʰ/ 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 yŭkôleăkpĭntŭ (យុគលពិន្ទុ, "pair of dots"), which indicates a short vowel followed by a glottal stop like their equivalent visarga marks in the Thai and Lao scripts.

LaoEdit

In the Lao alphabet, the visarga is represented with two small curled circles to the right of a letter as ◌ະ. As in the neighboring related Thai script, it indicates a glottal stop after the vowel.

TamilEdit

In the Tamil alphabet, the visarga (known as the āyutha eḻuttu (ஆயுத எழுத்து) or āytam (ஆய்தம்)) is represented with three small circles to the right of a letter as . It represented a now-obsolete /h/ or /x/ sound that has either become silent, or pronounced as /x/, /(a)k-/ or /-ka/ in careful speech. It is also placed before a consonant to transcribe some foreign phonemes, such as ஃப (/f/, as in ஃபேஷன் (fēṣaṉ, "fashion") and ஒஃபீஸ் (ōfīs, "office")), ஃஜ (/z/), ஃஸ் (/ks/), and ஃக் (/x/).

ThaiEdit

In the Thai alphabet, the visarga (known as the wisanchani (วิสรรชนีย์) or nom nang thangkhu (นมนางทั้งคู่)) is represented with two small curled circles to the right of a letter as ◌ะ. It represents a glottal stop that follows the affected vowel.

ReferencesEdit