Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Indic)

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These conventions are used to write and edit Indic-related articles, as well as to provide consistent naming of people, places, and historical terms of the Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lanka and other islands in the region.


In naming Indic-related topics and article titles in the English language Wikipedia, please follow these conventions. The term Indic is used here to refer to names and words that originated in one of the languages of the Indian subcontinent, and that are written in Brahmi derived scripts.


This applies to any articles related to Indic subjects, or words derived from languages written in an Indic script. It also applies to most of the religious works of the Indian religions.

Languages of origin[edit]

This convention should be applied to any language spoken in the Indian subcontinent that is written in an Indic script. The major languages are: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani (when written in Kannada or Devanagari scripts), Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Punjabi (when written in Gurmukhi script), Sanskrit, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu and Tulu (written in Kannada script).

The following languages are of Indic origin, but will usually be written in non-Indic scripts, usually derived from the Perso-Arabic script (see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Arabic). This convention will normally apply to them only when transliterating from writings in an Indic script: Urdu, Kashmiri, Punjabi (western), Sindhi.

Several languages may be written in Indic scripts, but are not themselves Indic languages. Some aspects of this convention may apply to them, but they may have their own conventions. They include Burmese, Javanese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, Tibetan.

Subject matter covered[edit]

This standard is recommended for use in articles in the following fields;

  • Religions originating in South Asia, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism. Articles on Buddhism may follow this convention, or that of other languages, depending on the language of origin.
  • Mythology of South Asia.
  • Historical articles and historical place names of South Asia, including especially history prior to 1800.

Modern names and terms[edit]

Personal, organisation, and company names in current and recent usage should generally be romanized according to the nameholder's preference, if that can be established. However, this convention may be appropriately applied to them in certain contexts. These include;

  • when it is necessary to accurately or unambiguously transliterate from original text, or to indicate original pronunciation,
  • when it is necessary to maintain consistency in the article

Titles and honorifics[edit]

In keeping with the neutral nature of Wikipedia and wider policies, honorifics should generally not be included with names, unless they are part of an external quotation.

It is common in devotional texts to precede the name of deities (gods), and sometimes revered individuals with the English term 'lord', the Sanskrit 'sri' or other appellations. These should be omitted in Wikipedia articles and the simple name should be used; e.g. 'Krishna', not 'Sri Krishna', 'Lord Krishna' or other forms. Sometimes postfixes are found, most commonly the appending of the term 'ji'. This should also be omitted.

Styles such as 'His Excellency', 'The Honourable', and 'Hon'ble' should be omitted. Names of offices such as 'MP' or 'Chief Justice' should not be used either as a suffix or a prefix.

Exceptions may be made in cases where the subject is not known except with titles or other honorifics (i.e. when the honorific becomes part of the name), or where they become the best means of disambiguation. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biographies.

Below is a list of commonly used honorifics which should be questioned;

  • Lord (English)
  • Sri or Shri
  • Swami
  • Sankaracharya
  • Raja, Rani (Maharaja, Maharani)
  • Guru, Jagadguru, Gurudev
  • Deva, Devi (where used as a suffix for deities)
  • Acharya
  • Bhagwan
  • Ji (suffix)
  • Saheb
  • Pujya
  • Sadhvi
  • His Excellency
  • Her Excellency
  • The Honourable
  • Hon'ble
  • Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Sri
  • Babu
  • The Great(suffix)

Redirects should be used for other forms of an individual's name.

Naming and transliteration[edit]

Each Indic article should be named according to its primary transliteration, if this can be clearly established. If a primary transliteration cannot be clearly established, then the article should be labelled with a simplified transliteration.

Informal transliterations should not be used for article titles, unless they can be justified as being the primary transliteration used in English. If a transliteration's status as primary cannot be justified or verified, then it should be corrected and replaced by a simplified transliteration. A redirect should then be left in its place. Redirects should also be created for the more common alternative spelling forms.

Where alternative spellings or informal transliterations are in widespread use, a limited number of the most common ones should be listed at the top of the main article.

If the formal transliteration differs from the article title, it should be included once in the introductory section of the article for reference. The name in the original script may also be included, for further reference. See below for advice on formatting these.

Primary transliteration[edit]

A word has a primary transliteration if at least 75% of all references in wider English usage have the same transliteration. Primary transliterations may sometimes be less accurate than other transliterations.

Simplified transliteration[edit]

A simplified transliteration scheme is used to produce an easy-to-read version of the formal transliteration. The simplified transliteration converts the formal transliteration into a Latin form that complies with Latin phonemic rules. This means that Indic transliteration symbols that are not part of the standard Latin alphabet are merged with the closest Latin equivalent. The simplified transliteration is also included with the formal transliteration at the transliteration table.

Formal transliteration[edit]

A formal transliteration preserves all phonetic information in the original script, and should be used where unambiguous transliteration is needed. The preferred formal transliteration is the standardised ISO 15919 transliteration scheme for Indic scripts. This system uses the Latin alphabet (the Roman script) with additional diacritic symbols to represent Indic scripts accurately. For Sanskrit and Pali, IAST is preferred, which differs from ISO 15919 only in a very few points.

See this concise table for aid in transliteration.

The formal transliteration can be used for all Wikis written in Latin-based scripts. The simplified transliteration however may be suitable only for the English Wikipedia.


Use the {{lang}} tag to mark non-English strings. When giving a term in its native script, provide the ISO 639-2 code (if unavailable, ISO 639-3) to identify the language. Example:

{{lang|ta|தமிழ்}}, {{lang|hi|हिन्दी}}
தமிழ், हिन्दी

Giving a term in ISO 15919 transliteration, simply add "-Latn" (the ISO 15924 code for the Latin alphabet) to the language code:

''{{lang|ta-Latn|tamiḻ}}, {{lang|hi-Latn|hindī}}''
tamiḻ, hindī

Use {{IAST}} only for Sanskrit terms:

{{lang|sa|संस्कृतम्}} ''{{IAST|saṃskṛtam}}''
संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam

Preferred format for introducing the article subject[edit]

Ideally, when introducing an article that is covered by this policy, IPA transcriptions (with audio file if possible) and transliterations of the Indic script should be included.

A special {{indic}} template has been made to take care of formatting issues. Use this format when you have the original script text, transliteration, IPA and audio pronunciation file:

'''Simplified Transliteration''' ({{indic | lang=Language code | defaultipa={{IPAc-en|...}} (English IPA) | indic=Indic Text | trans=ISO Transliteration | indicipa=Indic IPA text | indicaudio=Audio file.ogg }}) ...
'''Sikhism''' ({{indic|lang=pa|defaultipa={{IPAc-en|ˈ|s|iː|k|ɪ|z|əm|audio=Seekism.ogg}}|indic=ਸਿੱਖੀ|trans=sikkhī|indicipa=ˈsɪk.kʰiː| indicaudio=Sikkhi.ogg}}) is a...
Sikhism (/ˈskɪzəm/ ; Punjabiਸਿੱਖੀ, sikkhī, IPA: [ˈsɪk.kʰiː] ) is a...

Without audio[edit]

Use this when you have the original script text, transliteration and IPA but do not have the audio pronunciation. This is likely to be the most used format.

'''Simplified Transliteration''' ({{indic | lang=Language code | defaultipa={{IPAc-en|...}} (English IPA) | indic=Indic Text | trans=ISO Transliteration | indicipa=Indic IPA text }}) ...
'''Mumbai''' ({{indic|lang=mr|defaultipa={{IPAc-en|m|ʊ|m|ˈ|b|aɪ}}|indic=मुंबई|trans=mumbaī}}) is a...
Mumbai (/mʊmˈb/; Marathiमुंबई, mumbaī) is a...

Other versions[edit]

If both the English and Indic pronunciation are the same (likely if the Indic word isn't used in English) then ignore the indicipa parameter. If you don't have audio files, you can simply leave those parameters out. For full details of what the template can do, see Template:Indic.