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Each vowel in Hindi has two forms: an independent character, and a mātrā, or vowel marker. A mātrā is added to a consonant to denote the vowel sound following it. First learn the independent characters, then their mātrās. Listed below is the independent character, a consonant combined with the mātrā, and an example word using that vowel.

Vowel Mātrā Example Audio
a ka कब kab
ā का बात bāt
i िक ki दिन din
ī की जीभ jībh
u कु ku डुबना ḍubnā
ū कू भूत bhūt
o को ko जोश josh
au कौ kau शौक shauk
e के ke जेब jeb
ai कै kai कैसा kaisa
कृ kṛ कृपया kṛpya

Independent Character vs. Mātrā

The independent character can be used in two different situations. First, if a word starts with a vowel sound, then the independent character is used.

e + क k = एक ek

The other way the independent character can be used is when two vowels are together, with not consonant in the middle.

k + अ a + ई i = कई kai

The mātrā for a vowel is used when the vowel sound is after a consonant.

k + ए e + क k = केक kek

Two Important Exceptions

Notice below how these two mātrās are written to the right of the consonant, rather than under it. These are the only two exceptions.

r + उ u = रु ru

r + ऊ ū = रू