Help needed in Marathi spelling and pronunciation

Harry Spier harryspier at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 30 20:55:03 UTC 2000

Dear list members,

A chanting book I have has mostly sanskrit verses but there are some modern
marathi verses.  In the marathi verses there are words with nasalized
vowels.  These are indicated in the romanized chanting book by vowels with a
tilde and in the devanagari version by chandrabindu (or bindu if the vowel
has a portion above the line).

Marathi words with nasalized vowel spelling in the verse:

(a tilde after the vowel indicates tilde over the vowel,
capital vowel indicates a long vowel, M is bindu, & is chandrabindu).

transliteration               Devanagari

karU~                         karU&
kiraNe~                       kiraNeM
hame~                         hameM
bhedo~                        bhedoM

The pronunciation guide at the back of the romanized chanting book says
that: "[some hymns] are in Marathi rather than Sanskrit and for this reason
a tilde (~) over a vowel is used to indicate a nasal sound made at the back
of the throat with the mouth open; the sound is similar to the ending of
"hunh" or the nasalized vowels in French."

But in looking through "The Indo-Aryan Languages" by Colin P. Masica I come
across these statements about Marathi spelling and pronunciation.

page 118 of Masica: "Nasalization is absent from ...most Marathi dialects
(although present in Konkani and retained until recently in Marathi

page 437 of Masica: "...[Marathi] recently spelling reformed to bring closer
to pronunciation of colloquial standard, mainly by dropping unpronounced

1) Can someone elaborate what this "recent spelling reform" is.

2) And what would be the pronunciation and spelling of the Marathi words I
listed in view of this "recent spelling reform".

3) Is the Poona dialect considered the standard?  Is it the largest?

Many thanks in advance,

Harry Spier
371 Brickman Rd.
Hurleyville, New York
USA 12747

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