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Extinct Hindi Letters

Things change as time passes by; Nothing is permanent in our world.Not so long ago a lot of Hindi letters were written very differently , there were mainly 'two different ways' of writing some of the letters.As time went by some forms got more popular than others and well.... the other ones just lost their fame- like a retired actor- and fell out of use.The old form of writing letters disappeared from textbooks about 60ish years ago and they haven't been used in books ever since.The old form of writing Devanagari letters is called 'Amanak Roop' (अमानक रूप ) literally meaning "Non-standard form" & the new form is called (you guessed it) 'Manak Roop' (मानक रूप ) literally meaning "Standard Form". The 'अमानक रूप' of writing devanagari has lost it's fame so much that people now don't even know that it exists ! Even native speakers don't know that such a form exists let alone writing using it ! Some grandparents and Most degree holders in Hindi know how to write a few letters in the old form but very rarely in all of them! My high school Hindi teacher (he is a Ph.D and a celebrated one) was unaware of the old way of writing Some of these letters.It is Astonishing that in such a short amount of time Native Hindi Speakers would just 'forget' a certain way to write a language!! अमानक रूप की मान्यता इतनी कम हो गयी कि लोग उसे मन्ना ही भूल गए ! So.......here is the अमानक रूप ! *Drum Rolls......................

[The blue arrows point from the old form to the new form] Alt text

*If anyone knows more ways of 'writing hindi letters' please share them in the comments below & please feel free to correct me If I have made any errors.

January 18, 2017



I thought ळ was another way of writing ल used in some areas.


Yes it is , but it's amanak form of writing it 'in Hindi'(non-standard) not used anymore -like I said you can find it in old books(no major hindi publishers use them now). (I'm assuming by areas you mean book,literature etc. If by areas you mean 'regional locations' read shrikrishna1's comment)


Yes. it is different from ल. ' ळ ' is a retroflex consonant. As pointed by ShirishSri the letter ळ is a prominent consonant in Marathi. It is also a prominent consonant in all South Indian Languages. The meaning of word changes if you use one for other. It is not used in Hindi, but it exists in Rajasthani./ Marwadi. You may have come across a ladies platform called राजस्थानी / मारवाडी महिला मंडळ.


There is some misunderstanding, the letters in the second row in the first column are not new and old forms but short and long vowels. Similarly, letters in the fourth row in the second column are two differents consonants and not old and new forms.


If possible can you please provide reference from any source , My book says that these are amanak roop of those letters.I know some Hindi experts who say the same too.

I know that the letters that you pointed are separate & different 'in' the devanagari script. But these were 'used' like the ones I have pointed out(letters) in hindi i.e. same sound ,used in the same manner in spellings.

All of the letters that I have shown in the picture are indeed Different ! (But only inside the Devanagari script, they were always 'used' in the same manner in Hindi) these letters are used in sanskrit (mostly in an old form of sanskrit that people have forgotten how to speak or read) these are not used in Hindi anymore! But when they were, they were used as another way to write the same letters that are now in common usage in Hindi (again they had the same sound 'in Hindi').

At a lot of places people confuse these as different letters in Hindi, they are wrong! (Actually they are right, but not quite ! You see these were always used in the same manner in Hindi! BUT these are different letters with their own unique sounds and roles inside the 'Devanagari script').

The letter ळ is not in use in Hindi but I think it's used a lot in marathi, similar case for the vowel.Hindi is usually written 'using' the Devanagari Script but not all of it! Keyboards and some web pages confusingly include them as part of the Hindi alphabet but they are actually not .


You have touched upon a good topic. However, there are a few errors. The ल is different from ळ in pronunciation as well as in meaning of words having these letters interchanged. But it happens that ळ is not used in Hindi. The old अमानक‌ version of ल was more like ऌ without the 'c' shape at the bottom right.

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