ISO 15919

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ISO 15919 "Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts into Latin characters" is one of a series of international standards for romanization. It was published in 2001 and uses diacritics to map the much larger set of consonants and vowels in Brahmic scripts to the Latin script.


ISO 15919 transliterations
ISO 7-bit
Deva Arab Kthi Beng Guru Gujr Orya Modi Taml Telu Knda Mlym Sinh Count
a a اَ 𑂃 𑘀 10
ā aa آ 𑂄 𑘁 10
æ ae 1
ǣ aee 1
i i اِ 𑂅 𑘂 10
ī ii اِی 𑂆 𑘃 10
u u اُ 𑂇 𑘄 10
ū uu اُو 𑂈 𑘅 10
ŭ ^u 1
,r رْ 𑘆 8
r̥̄ ,rr ړ 𑘇 8
,l ڶ 𑘈 8
l̥̄ ,ll ڵ 𑘉 8
e e اٝ 6
ē ee اے 𑂉 𑘊 10
ê ^e 2
ai ai اَے 𑂊 𑘋 10
o o اٗ 6
ō oo او 𑂋 𑘌 10
ô ^o 2
au au اَو 𑂌 𑘍 10
 ;m ں 𑂁 𑘽 10
.m 1
~m ں 𑂀 𑘿 N/A 6
^n 1
.h ه 𑂂 𑘾 9
_h 2
^h 2
_k 1
k k ك 𑂍 𑘎 10
kh kh کھ 𑂎 𑘏 9
g g گ 𑂏 𑘐 9
gh gh گھ 𑂐 𑘑 9
 ;n ڠ 𑂑 𑘒 10
n̆g 1
c c چ 𑂒 𑘓 10
ĉ ^c 1
ch ch چھ 𑂓 𑘔 9
j j ج 𑂔 𑘕 10
jh jh جھ 𑂕 𑘖 9
ñ n ڃ 𑂖 𑘗 10
n̆j 1
.t ٹ 𑂗 𑘘 10
ṭh .th ٹھ 𑂘 𑘙 9
.d ڈ 𑂙 𑘚 9
.r ड़ ڑ 𑂚 ড় ଡ଼ 4
ḍh .dh ڈھ 𑂛 𑘛 9
ṛh .rh ढ़ ڑھ 𑂜 ঢ় ଢ଼ 3
.n ڹ 𑂝 𑘜 10
n̆ḍ 1
t t ت 𑂞 𑘝 10
th th تھ 𑂟 𑘞 9
d d د 𑂠 𑘟 9
dh dh دھ 𑂡 𑘠 9
n n ن 𑂢 𑘡 10
n̆d 1
p p پ 𑂣 𑘢 10
ph ph پھ 𑂤 𑘣 9
b b ب 𑂥 𑘤 9
bh bh بھ 𑂦 𑘥 9
m m م 𑂧 𑘦 10
m̆b 1
_r ڔ 5
_t 1
_n ڽ 3
_l ڎ N/A 5
y y ي 𑂨 𑘧 10
 ;y य़ য় 3
r r ر 𑂩 𑘨 10
^r ऱ् 1
l l ل 𑂪 𑘩 10
.l ۻ ਲ਼ 𑘯 9
v v و 𑂫 𑘪 10
ś  ;s ش 𑂮 ਸ਼ 𑘫 10
.s ښ 𑂬 𑘬 9
s s س 𑂭 𑘭 10
h h ه 𑂯 𑘮 10
' 7
q q क़ ق ক় ਕ਼ ક઼ 4
k͟h _kh ख़ خ খ় ਖ਼ ખ઼ 4
ġ .g ग़ غ গ় ਗ਼ ગ઼ 4
z z ज़ ز জ় ਜ਼ જ઼ ಜ಼ 6
f f फ़ ف ফ় ਫ਼ ફ઼ ಫ಼ 6
ث 1
ş ص 1
ح 1
đ ذ 1
ض 1
ظ 1
ţ ط 1

Relation to other systems[edit]

ISO 15919 is an international standard on the romanization of many Brahmic scripts, which was agreed upon in 2001 by a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries.[citation needed] However, the Hunterian transliteration system is the "national system of romanization in India" and a United Nations expert group noted about ISO 15919 that "there is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products."[1][2][3]

Another standard, United Nations Romanization Systems for Geographical Names (UNRSGN), was developed by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN)[4] and covers many Brahmic scripts.

The ALA-LC romanization was approved by the Library of Congress and the American Library Association and is a US standard, the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is not a standard (as no specification exists for it) but a convention developed in Europe for the transliteration of Sanskrit rather than the transcription of Brahmic scripts.

As a notable difference, both international standards, ISO 15919 and UNRSGN[5] transliterate anusvara as , while ALA-LC and IAST use for it. However, ISO 15919 provides guidance towards disambiguating between various anusvara situations (such as labial versus dental nasalizations), which is described in the table below.

Comparison with UNRSGN and IAST[edit]

The table below shows the differences between ISO 15919, UNRSGN[5] and IAST for Devanagari transliteration.

Devanagari ISO 15919 UNRSGN IAST Comment
ए / े ē e e To distinguish between long and short 'e' in Dravidian languages, 'e' now represents ऎ / ॆ (short). Note that the use of ē is considered optional in ISO 15919, and using e for (long) is acceptable for languages that do not distinguish long and short e.
ओ / ो ō o o To distinguish between long and short 'o' in Dravidian languages, 'o' now represents ऒ / ॊ (short). Note that the use of ō is considered optional in ISO 15919, and using o for (long) is acceptable for languages that do not distinguish long and short o.
ऋ / ृ In ISO 15919, ṛ is used to represent ड़.
ॠ / ॄ r̥̄ For consistency with r̥
ऌ / ॢ In ISO 15919, ḷ is used to represent .
ॡ / ॣ l̥̄ l̤̄ For consistency with l̥
◌ं ISO 15919 has two options about anusvāra. (1) In the simplified nasalization option, an anusvāra is always transliterated as . (2) In the strict nasalization option, anusvāra before a class consonant is transliterated as the class nasal— before k, kh, g, gh, ṅ; ñ before c, ch, j, jh, ñ; before ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ; n before t, th, d, dh, n; m before p, ph, b, bh, m. is sometimes used to specifically represent Gurmukhi Tippi .
ṅ ñ ṇ n m
◌ँ Vowel nasalization is transliterated as a tilde above the transliterated vowel (over the second vowel in the case of a digraph such as aĩ, aũ), except in Sanskrit.

Font support[edit]

Only certain fonts support all Latin Unicode characters for the transliteration of Indic scripts according to this standard, for example, Tahoma supports almost all the characters needed. Arial and Times New Roman font packages that come with Microsoft Office 2007 and later also support most Latin Extended Additional characters like ḑ, ḥ, ḷ, ḻ, ṁ, ṅ, ṇ, ṛ, ṣ and ṭ.

Computer input by selection from a screen[edit]

Further Information: Unicode input#Selection from a screen

Applet for character selection

Many systems provide a way to select Unicode characters visually. ISO/IEC 14755 refers to this as a screen-selection entry method.

Microsoft Windows has provided a Unicode version of the Character Map program (find it by hitting ⊞ Win+R then type charmap then hit ↵ Enter) since version NT 4.0 – appearing in the consumer edition since XP. This is limited to characters in the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP). Characters are searchable by Unicode character name, and the table can be limited to a particular code block. More advanced third-party tools of the same type are also available (a notable freeware example is BabelMap).

macOS provides a "character palette" with much the same functionality, along with searching by related characters, glyph tables in a font, etc. It can be enabled in the input menu in the menu bar under System Preferences → International → Input Menu (or System Preferences → Language and Text → Input Sources) or can be viewed under Edit → Emoji & Symbols in many programs.

Equivalent tools – such as gucharmap (GNOME) or kcharselect (KDE) – exist on most Linux desktop environments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Technical reference manual for the standardization of geographical names, United Nations Publications, 2007, ISBN 978-92-1-161500-5, ... ISO 15919 ... There is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products ... The Hunterian system is the actually used national system of romanization in India ... 
  2. ^ United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Far East, Volume 2, United Nations, 1955, ... In India the Hunterian system is used, whereby every sound in the local language is uniformly represented by a certain letter in the Roman alphabet ... 
  3. ^ National Library (India), Indian scientific & technical publications, exhibition 1960: a bibliography, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Government of India, 1960, ... The Hunterian system of transliteration, which has international acceptance, has been used ... 
  4. ^ "UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems". Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  5. ^ a b "Differences between ISO 15919 and UNRSGN". Working group on Romanization systems. March 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 

External links[edit]