24. The vowel

The vowel ऋ ṛ is simply a smooth or untrilled r-sound, assuming a vocalic office in syllable-making — as, by a like abbreviation, it has done also in certain Slavonic languages. The vowel ऌ ḷ is an l-sound similarly uttered — like the English l-vowel in such words as able, angle, addle.

a. The modern Hindus pronounce these vowels as ri, rī, li (or even lri), having long lost the habit and the facility of giving a vowel value to the pure r- and l-sounds. Their example is widely followed by European scholars; and hence also the (distorting and altogether objectionable) transliterations ṛi, ṛī, ḷi. There is no real difficulty in the way of acquiring and practising the true utterance.

b. Some of the grammarians (see APr. i. 37, note) attempt to define more nearly the way in which, in these vowels, a real r- or l-element is combined with something else.