Nuqtā (Hindi-Urdu नुक़्ता, نقطہ, from Arabic nuqta نقطة "dot," or "period."), also spelled Nuktā, is a term for a diacritic mark that was introduced in Devanāgari and some other Indian scripts to represent sounds not present in the original scripts. It takes the form of a dot placed below a character. Also, in another sense deriving from the Arabic script itself, there "are some letters in Urdu that share the same basic shape but differ in the placement of dots(s) or nuqta(s)" in the Urdu script: the letter ع ain, with the addition of a nuqta, becomes the letter غ g͟hain.
Examples from Devanāgari, the script used to write Hindi, are: क़ qa, ख़ ḵẖa, ग़ ġa, ज़ za, ड़ ṛa, ढ़ ṛha, फ़ fa, झ़ zha, modifying क ka, ख kha, ग ga, ज ja, ड ḍa, ढ ḍha, फ pha, झ jha, respectively. The term nuqtā नुक़्ता itself is an example; other examples include क़िला (قلعہ) qilā "fortress", and आग़ा ख़ान Āgā Khān (آغا خان, combination of a Perso-Arabic (aga) and a Turko-Mongolic (khan) honorific, now the title of the leader of the Nizari Ismaili sect. Examples of more common words are बड़ा "big", पढ़ना "read", पेड़ "tree", अंग्रेज़ी "english", or करोड़ "crore".
The nuqtā, and the phonological distinction it represents, is sometimes ignored in practice, i.e. क़िला qilā can simply be spelled as किला kilā. Manisha Kulshreshtha and Ramkumar Mathur write in the text Dialect Accent Features for Establishing Speaker Identity that "A few sounds, borrowed from the other languages like Persian and Arabic, are written with a dot (bindu or nuktā). Many people who speak Hindi as a second language, especially those who come from rural backgrounds and do not speak conventional Hindi (also called Khariboli), or speak in one of its dialects , pronounce these sounds as their nearest equivalents." For example, these rural speakers will assimilate the sound ɣ (ग़ غ) as ɡ (ग گ).
In work where transliteration between Hindi and Urdu occurs, it is usually important that typers retain the nuqtas when printing words. In some cases, for the ease of typing quickly, some people do not use the nuqta as individuals familiar with the language understand that the nuqtas are implied and will pronounce the words properly regardless of their presence.
With a renewed Hindi-Urdu language contact, many Urdu writers now publish their works in Devanagari editions. Since the Perso-Arabic orthography is preserved in Nastaʿlīq script Urdu orthography, these writers use the nuqtā in Devanāgari when transcribing these consonants.
- Govindaraju, Venu; Setlur, Srirangaraj (Ranga) (25 September 2009). Guide to OCR for Indic Scripts: Document Recognition and Retrieval. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 165. ISBN 9781848003309. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Kulshreshtha, Manisha; Mathur, Ramkumar (24 March 2012). Dialect Accent Features for Establishing Speaker Identity: A Case Study. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 19–. ISBN 9781461411376. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Vajpeyi, K. D. (Kishorī Dās Vājpayī; किशोरीदास वाजपेयी), Hindī shabdanushāsan हिन्दी शब्दनुशासन (1957, 1958, 1973, 1976, 1988).