There are forty-six (46) letters or alphabets in Hindi. Each letter represents one sound. The sounds are divided into two types, just like English: vowels & consonants. Since the consonants (alphabets) cannot make any sound of their own, they always need the vowels to help them out. But if we don’t associate alphabets with any vowels, they are shown with a little slanted line at their bottom. That little line is called a ‘halant’ (हलन्त).