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Thread: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

  1. #1
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    Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    ^^ you will notice shaayar should have been shaayarii in the title (galati ho gayii)^^

    In Hindi at least, it seems there are two words for poetry that are similar with different pronunciations.

    sher (which can also mean lion/tiger as we are discussing elsewhere) and shaayarii.


    The derivations given in my Oxford Hindi-English are different. Both are listed as being from Arabic, but in one case it derives from shir and in the other case shaair.

    To further confuse the situation Platts states:

    A شعر shěʻr (inf. n. of شعر 'to know'; 'to speak in verse') s.m. Poetry, verse; a verse, a couplet:—shěʻr-ḵẖẉānī, s.f. Reading, or studying, poetry:—shěʻr kahnā, shěʻr banānā, To compose verses:—shěʻr-goʼī, s.f. The art of poetry; writing poetry.

    I am assuming this is a short-e sound as in English (I may be wrong) which has no symbol as far as Hindi is concerned.

    Under sher, it only lists lion.

    In Platts it also lists

    P شاعري shāʻirī [shāʻir+ī = Zend aff. i = S. इ], s.f. The art or practice of poetry; poesy, poetry; poetic compositions; hyperbole, exaggeration.

    A شاعر shāʻir (act. part. of شعر 'to know; to give utterance to poetry'), s.m. A poet.

    So it seems the situations is:

    shaair/shaayar - poet

    Two different derivations:

    1. shaair/shaayar (Arabic) + ii (Persian) = shaairi/shaayarii (poetry)
    2. shěʻr (Arabic) - poetry


    My two questions are:

    1) Why is shěʻr pronounced like sher in modern Hindi? Is it always pronounced sher in Urdu as well?
    2) What is the real word for "poem" meaning an individual written work of poetry in Hindi and Urdu? (Ignoring kavita which is the standard word in Hindi)
    Last edited by tonyspeed; 7th March 2013 at 9:15 PM. Reason: Title mistake

  2. #2
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    Re: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyspeed View Post
    1) Why is shěʻr pronounced like sher in modern Hindi? Is it always pronounced sher in Urdu as well?
    2) What is the real word for "poem" meaning an individual written work of poetry in Hindi and Urdu? (Ignoring kavita which is the standard word in Hindi)
    1) Quite simply because there is no letter 3ain in Devanagri. The same applies to ba3d (after) being written as baad (wind). In my opinion, it is not pronounced "sher" in Urdu. We distinguish between a "shi3r" (the vowel is actually "i" but the gutteral 3, just like the H and h affects the vowel and it becomes somewhat like an e; see, marrish SaaHib's latest on the transliteration system) and a "sher"

    2) Poem in Urdu can be "shi3r" as well as "shaa3irii". shaa3ir (NOT shaayar) is the agent, i.e. poet. shi3r also is used for two lines of a Ghazal, i.e. a couplet..also called a bait. The general word for verse is nazm and prose is nasr.
    Last edited by Qureshpor; 8th March 2013 at 12:13 AM. Reason: Completed a sentence!

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    Re: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyspeed View Post
    A شعر shěʻr (inf. n. of شعر 'to know'; 'to speak in verse') s.m. Poetry, verse; a verse, a couplet:—shěʻr-ḵẖẉānī, s.f. Reading, or studying, poetry:—shěʻr kahnā, shěʻr banānā, To compose verses:—shěʻr-goʼī, s.f. The art of poetry; writing poetry.

    I am assuming this is a short-e sound as in English (I may be wrong) which has no symbol as far as Hindi is concerned.
    Yes, you are right, this is the short e sound but it does have a representation in extended Devanagari:

    (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) (ĕ) ɛ --- ऎ, ॆ


    Moreover, Platts is correct as to the definition, pronunciation and etymology.

    I think another word for ''a poem'' in Hindi is पद्य ''padya'' as opposed to ''prose'' - गद्य''gadya'' (if you happen to have interest and time, I can recommend a site for Hindi prose (an online library).

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    Re: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    Quote Originally Posted by QURESHPOR View Post
    1) In my opinion, it is not pronounced "sher" in Urdu. We distinguish between a "shi3r" (the vowel is actually "i" but the gutteral 3, just like the H and h affects the vowel and it becomes somewhat like an e.
    In Urdu, for people who do not pronounced the ain correctly, how is it pronounced?

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    Re: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    Quote Originally Posted by marrish View Post
    I can recommend a site for Hindi prose (an online library).
    shukriyaa. Now I can stop buying books online for a while.

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    Re: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyspeed View Post
    In Urdu, for people who do not pronounced the ain correctly, how is it pronounced?
    I am not talking about the full 3ain pronunciation. I've mentioned in one or two other threads that when an Urdu speaker pronounces ba3d or shi3r, there is a stress on the part of the word where the 3ain is. It is difficult to explain this in words. Whilst speaking Urdu, I don't pronounce the 3ain in the manner that I pronounce it for Arabic but I certainly know that I am not saying baad and sher.

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    Re: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyspeed View Post
    shukriyaa. Now I can stop buying books online for a while.
    jii, ko'ii baat nahiiN, is meN aap ko Hindi kii bahut saarii kitaabeN mileN gii.

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    Re: Hindi/Urdu - sher vs shaayar

    Quote Originally Posted by marrish View Post
    is meN idhar aap ko Hindi kii meN bahut saarii kitaabeN mileNgii.

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