What Is an Akshara?
The answer to the question of what is an akshara is complex. To understand the concept of akshara in Indic languages, it is necessary to consider multiple levels of meaning. In historical terms, the akshara is an example of the resilience of the human invention that we call writing. In purely linguistic terms, the concept can be defined as an example of an abugida writing system, which is by no means restricted to Asian languages. In sociocultural terms, akshara is beyond any simple description. Akshara can be viewed as connected to the metaphysical world in the liturgy of ancient philosophies.
KeywordsAkshara Alphasyllabary Devnagari Indian languages Indic orthography Sanskrit Writing systems
- Benware, W. A. (1974). The study of indo-European vocalism in the 19th century: From the beginnings of Whitney and Scherer: A critical-historical account. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Benjamins.Google Scholar
- Bright, W. (1996). The Devanagari script. In P. T. Daniels & W. Bright (Eds.), The world’s writing systems. New York, NY/Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Bright, W. (2000). A matter of typology: Alphasyllabaries and abugidas. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, 30(1), 1–11.Google Scholar
- Burrow, T. (2001). The Sanskrit language. New Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
- Chakrabarti, D. K. (2006). The Oxford companion to Indian archaeology: The archaeological foundations of ancient India, stone age to AD 13th century. New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Daniels, P. T. (1996). The invention of writing. In P. T. Daniels & W. Bright (Eds.), The world’s writing systems. New York, NY/Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Deshpande, M. (2011). Efforts to vernacularize Sanskrit: of success and failure. In J. Fishman & O. Garcia (Eds.), Handbook of language and ethnic identity: The success-failure continuum in language and ethnic identity efforts. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Gnanadesikan, A. E. (2011). The writing revolution: Cuneiform to the internet. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Houben, J. E. M. (1996). Ideology and status of Sanskrit: Contributions to the history of the Sanskrit language. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill.Google Scholar
- Keith, A. B. (1993). A history of Sanskrit literature. New Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
- Lo, L. (2012). South Asian writing systems comparison. http://www.ancientscripts.com/sa_ws_cmp.html.
- Nag, S. (2014). Alphabetism and the science of reading: From the perspective of the akshara languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00866.
- Padakannaya, P., & Mohanty, A. K. (2004). Indian orthography and teaching how to read: A psycholinguistic framework. Psychological Studies, 49(4), 262–271.Google Scholar
- Patel, P. G. (2004). Reading acquisition in India: Models of learning and dyslexia. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
- Patel, P. G., Pandey, P., & Rajgor, D. (2007). The Indic scripts: Palaeographic and linguistic perspectives. New Delhi, India: D.K. Printworld.Google Scholar
- Personal Interview. (2016, November). Dr Raisa Sultana held in Deoband. Agra.Google Scholar
- Prakash, P., & Joshi, R. M. (1995). Orthography and reading in Kannada: A Dravidian language. In I. Taylor & D. R. Olsen (Eds.), Scripts and literacy: Reading and learning to read alphabets, syllabaries and characters. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
- Rao, C. (2010). Morphology in word recognition: Hindi and Urdu. PhD thesis. Texas A&M University.Google Scholar
- Salomon, R. (1998). Indian epigraphy: A guide to the study of inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other Indo-Aryan languages. South Asia research. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Salomon, R. G. (1996). Brahmi and Kharoshthi. The world’s writing systems (pp. 373–383). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sanskrit translation of Holy Qur’an. (2010, August 15). The Milli Gazette, p. 18. Retrieved from http://www.milligazette.com/
- Siddiqi, M. T. (1994). Hindustani-English code-mixing in modern literary texts. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison.Google Scholar
- Trigger, B. G. (2004). Writing systems: A case study in cultural evolution. In S. D. Houston (Ed.), The first writing: Script invention as history and process (pp. 60–61). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar