For instance, shouldn't Lord Rama actually be spelled as Lord Ram, because that's how we pronounce it? Why then do I frequently find an extra 'a' at the end in texts?

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    Simplest answer is because the English spell things the way they want to. If you are writing a book, do it your way. I had three different Chu's in my school -- all from the same family. Immigration spelled their names, Chew, Chiu and Chu. It makes no sense -- but that is the way it is. – WRX May 1 '17 at 19:41
  • @Willow On the contrary - and unlike immigration officials - this naming decision was made in accordance with consistent rules. – relaxing May 1 '17 at 20:04
  • @relaxing Okay, my experience says that there might indeed be rules, but that people think they hear one thing and it is different than the way the actual speakers say the word. Bombay/Mumbai... Peking/Beijing... more Native Canadian/Americans words than I can put in a comment... However your 'rule' is probably more correct than my "simple answer". – WRX May 1 '17 at 20:19
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    One person's pantheon is another person's mythology. It's disrespectful to call someone's belief system mythological. – Davo May 1 '17 at 20:19
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    Could you explain how your question is about learning English? It just seems to be someone's approximation that caught on, unless there is a reference writing system somewhere. – user3169 May 1 '17 at 21:52

The final 'a' comes from the original Sanskrit, where the final 'a' sound is known as the inherent schwa. It is not pronounced in Hindi, but a decision was made to preserve the original spelling when romanizing the characters.

  • Whose decision? Was this standardized somewhere? – user3169 May 1 '17 at 21:53

Please note that I mean no insult to English here. I know that intelligent people understand this, but some unintelligent orthodox based people would think I am criticising English, so I mentioned no offence.

We pronounce Raama very incorrectly if we pronounce as- 'Ram'. Note that there is A sound(as in 'a'lone) also with M (as in ja'm'). The ma is not 'Maaa' , it is Ma(as in 'mu'mble)

Note that Rama is not Raaamaaa, it is Raama, where Raa is pronounced as in ext'ra' and Ma is pronounced as in 'mu'mble.

So it is better to write Rama as Rama itself. In fact we should write as Raama, but fine, Rama is also okay(though, yet, not correct)

Note that mere 26 letters of English alphabet can never give exact and correct transliteration of what we speak verbally. Even the other characters of Roman script (such as à, è, ñ et cetera) are not completely able to script what is spoken vocally(as phonetics are very limited).

  • @Jasper the last paragraph if my answer may seem offensive to English to some people(as I have said that english alphabet can never give exact transliteration). Knowledgeable people would understand this, but those who are not that wiuld think I am offending English on its own site(this is English stack exchange) – user54836 May 7 '17 at 1:49
  • @Jasper I completely accede with the revised sentence. It certainly brings more meaning to what I wanted to point. – user54836 May 7 '17 at 21:54

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