I was researching different writing systems when I came across a fact about Devanagari. the conjunct consonants of the script are fascinating yet confusing; evidently some of them may combine up to 5 consonents into a single symbol. one source mentioned that only 5 consonant conjunct is in regular use is ""म्क्ब्श" (mkbsha). I was geussing that; being such an unusual cluster; it probably sees actuall frequent use because of a small number of frequently used words containing it. if you know any languages written using Devanagari; what words (if any) do you know of that are frequently used and contain that consonant cluster?

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    Isn't that four consonants, M-K-B-Ś, not five, M-K-B-S-H? श is a single consonant in Devanagari, even if it's sometimes transcribed with two in English.
    – Draconis
    Aug 27, 2022 at 21:25
  • is that true? I don't know; do you know what the 5 consonent conjunct that is frequently used in devanagari is? wikipedia says that there is one; but does not identify what it is Aug 27, 2022 at 21:33
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    Wikipedia cites a handout for practicing Devanagari writing, which lists conjuncts by frequency; the only five-consonant one I see there is R-T-S-N-Y.
    – Draconis
    Aug 27, 2022 at 21:35
  • what frequently used words in hindi, sanskrit or the like uses that consonent cluster? Aug 27, 2022 at 21:41
  • If your question is about RTSNY, I'd recommend asking that separately, or editing this one to focus on that instead. I don't know Hindi so I can't speak to that, I just see it on the list of conjuncts.
    – Draconis
    Aug 27, 2022 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


You can compose fairly long conjuncts like ल्ग्म्ब्क्ष्र = lgmbkṣra, which is just a made-up sequence. Sanskrit allows some interesting clusters, whereas Hindi and other modern Indic languages have a proper subset of the Sanskrit clusters. If you exclude formulaic expressions in works like found in the Aṣṭādhāyī (which are arguably not part of the Sanskrit language, and were often created because they could be easily distinguished from words of Sanskrit), a cluster like म्क्ब्श violates the rules of consonant sequencing in Sanskrit. Also, postvocalic /r/ in the coda is orthographically not a "consonant", it is treated as a vocalic diacritic (it hangs over the line above the "real" consonants. I doubt that म्क्ब्श is actually in common use in any language. It is possible that म्क्ब्श occurs somewhere in the Aṣṭādhāyī (I don't have a unicode searchable copy but if someone does, that's a good place to look).

  • thanks for the reply; it was such an unusual cluster that i kind of assumed that if it was actually in regular use; it must be because one or two (relatively) frequently used words incorporate it Aug 28, 2022 at 0:47

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