Symbol used in Sanskrit–similar to English but different in use

Symbol used in Sanskrit–similar to English but different in use

Like English, Sanskrit does not have many symbols or signs that do not have sounds in the words that contain them. In English, we come across a number of letters that are kept silent in words.

Example: psychology—‘p’ is not considered while making the sound of this word.
Gnome—‘g’ is not taken into consideration while speaking this word.

However, Sanskrit uses one symbol that denotes the absence of sound at that place. This symbol causes lots of confusion for beginners but its application is very simple. This symbol is called Avagraha and represents half अ.

Symbol of Avagraha used in Sanskrit avoiding its sound:

Symbol used in Sanskrit to tell the absense of sound of 'अ'
Symbol used in Sanskrit to tell the absense of sound of ‘अ’

You will be surprised to note the similarity of its structure with the English letter ‘s’. However, it has no sound in Sanskrit and is used to denote that we have to miss the sound of ‘अ’. In Vedic texts, double usage of this symbol is used to show that the sound of ‘आ’ needs to be avoided. So, while chanting or reading these words, we need to take care of this symbol.

Usually, this symbol is used after ए or ओ. However, it is used at other places where they have to pin-point the conjunction done. This symbol is used on conventional basis and helps in knowing the clarity between two conjunct words.

Examples of some words containing these symbols:

कोऽपि—it should be pronounced as ‘kopi’ rather than ‘ko-apÎ’…

भवाऽपि—this word should be pronounced as ‘BhavāpÎ’ rather than ‘Bhavā-apÎ’.

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