The Pali Companion

In Pali, all words end with a vowel.

The Alphabet

1. The Pali alphabet consists of 41 letters. Refer to the table below, you will notice that there are 8 vowels and 33 consonants.

Table 1: The Pali Alphabet

2. You will also notice that some of the letters use a diacritic mark, either a dot, macron (line) or tilde directly above or beneath the letter. There will be no problem writing them on paper, however these letters are not supported in most (computer) font sets. A convenient way of writing these letters without the diacritics will be as follow:

Figure 1: Diacritics and alternative representation

Figure 2: Examples on writing without diacritics

To learn more about handling diacritics, please refer to A Guide to Learning the Pali Language (John Bullitt).