Klatoan wrote:Not that I understand what that last staff with the feathers should mean, or the role that it plays. Any enlightenment would be much appreciated, if anyone reads my log, that is. If not, I'll just stroll along my path unknowing.
The "staff with feathers" is an ow or au kind of sound. My Hindi teacher called them flags. Two flags on the staff is the ow sound, a single flag is a pure "O" sound.
The tricky thing with Devanagari vowels is that a different version of the vowel is attached to the consonant if is pronounced with the vowel. This version of the vowel is called a Matra (मात्रा) in Hindi. So the vowel in question on its own (e.g. at the start of a word or start of a syllable) looks like औ , but you only use the flags and staff when adding it to a consonant. Also, any consonant without a matra gets the short A matra by default. In Hindi, this is missed out between syllables and at the end of words, but in Sanskrit it is always pronounced unless indicated otherwise. Which is why you get the name "Krishna" and "Raama" in Sanskrit but in Hindi it's pronounced "Krishn" (which sort of becomes "Krishan") and "Raam".
Klatoan wrote:Not sure what the bow on top of the line means.
Not sure if it's pronounced naasika, naas(a)ka, or naas-ka.
It's pronounced "naasika". The "bow on top" is part of the short E vowel, drawn like: ि. The matra for the long E goes to the right of the consonant, and the short E goes ahead of the consonant. So की is pronounced like English "key", whereas कि should actually be pronounced with the same vowel sound as की but shorter in duration, more truncated. In effect, this often changes to a sound like the short i in "fish", but but that isn't quite right. This, incidentally, is why some people will tell you that "Sikh" should be pronounced like English "sick" rather than "seek", but that's not actually correct.
Klatoan wrote:Namaste (Hallo!), of course, just wondering if the feather turns the sound "ta" into "te", or if there is some other kind of magic doing it.
The feather is is the matra for the pure "A" sound. The full vowel is ए. Two feathers would be sort of "ai". Confusingly, the full vowel for this is the "A" but with a single feather: ऐ.
I missed your post with aham अहम् Notice that little stroke at the bottom of the M म? It is called a "halanta" and is the symbol which indicates the consonant should not be followed by the vowel A. In Hindi it is just called "halant", but in Sanskrit you say the A because it doesn't have a halanta. The symbol can also be used to join consonants in place of writing them in conjunct form, e.g. kya could be written क्या or क् या. There shouldn't be a space between क् and या but when I join them up windows automatically creates the conjunct form for क.