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8. The theory

The theory of the devanāgarī, as of the other Indian modes of writing, is syllabic and consonantal. That is to say, it regards as the written unit, not the simple sound, but the syllable (akṣara); and further, as the substantial part of the syllable, the consonant or the consonants which precede the vowel — this latter being merely implied, or, if written, being written by a subordinate sign attached to the consonant.