Devanagari ( DAY-və-NAH-gər-ee; देवनागरी, IAST: Devanāgarī, Sanskrit pronunciation: [deːʋɐˈnaːɡɐriː]), also called Nagari (Sanskrit: नागरी, Nāgarī ?), is a left-to-right abugida, based on the ancient Brāhmī script, used in the Indian subcontinent

It was developed in ancient India from the 1st to the 4th century CE and was in regular use by the 7th century CE

The Devanagari script, composed of 47 primary characters including 14 vowels and 33 consonants, is the fourth most widely adopted writing system in the world, being used for over 120 languages

The orthography of this script reflects the pronunciation of the language

Unlike the Latin alphabet, the script has no concept of letter case

It is written from left to right, has a strong preference for symmetrical rounded shapes within squared outlines, and is recognisable by a horizontal line, known as a shirorekhā, that runs along the top of full letters

In a cursory look, the Devanagari script appears different from other Indic scripts such as Bengali-Assamese, or Gurmukhi, but a closer examination reveals they are very similar except for angles and structural emphasis

Among the languages using it – as either their only script or one of their scripts – are Marathi, Pāḷi, Sanskrit (the ancient Nagari script for Sanskrit had two additional consonantal characters), Hindi, Boro, Nepali, Sherpa, Prakrit, Apabhramsha, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj Bhasha, Chhattisgarhi, Haryanvi, Magahi, Nagpuri, Rajasthani, Bhili, Dogri, Maithili, Kashmiri, Konkani, Sindhi, Nepal Bhasa, Mundari and Santali

The Devanagari script is closely related to the Nandinagari script commonly found in numerous ancient manuscripts of South India, and it is distantly related to a number of southeast Asian scripts