Gujarati: pronunciation rules

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by jakubisek, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
    Does Gujarati follow the same rules of pronunciation as related to spelling as Hindi does?

    I mean especially regarding the inherent "a" - when pronounced and when zero. And any other possible irregularities...

    (Someone mentioned here earlier that the letter in Gujarati which I'd expect to be aspirated "j" is pronounced "z" - not sure though if he meant only Bharochi Guju or all)

    Thanks for answers!
     
  2. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
    Hindi has rules for this? I don't think so. There are certain guidelines at best. 'a' is the primary cause of pronunciation deviation from spelling in Hindi.

    As far as Gujarati goes, the distinction between i and ii and u and uu seems to be ignored by many speakers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  3. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    The inherent "a" in Gujarati is similar as that in Hindi.
     
  4. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
    What about the letter do you pronounce this one closer to "ph" or to "f" as Bengali does ?

    Thank you



    And intervocallic ડ ઢ remain same (plosives) as in initial position, or are they flaps as the Hindi dotted ones?

    That is to say, do they become something-that-sounds-like-Spanish-r between vowels, or are they something-that-sound-like-English-d between vowels as well? (Sorry for the long compounds - Sanskrit influence :p)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2013
  5. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    That's "f", as in "faTaakRaa" (firecrackers).

    Something-that-sounds-like-Spanish-r between vowels.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2013
  6. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
    More about the Hindi and Gujarati D-R:
    I realized, I oversimplified the "rule". In Hindi, the flap R is not only between vowels, but also after vowels, isn't it...
    I think I'd not be able to put the rules, if Hindi wrote no dot there! Especially as, due to the loss of "inherent a", the R can occur immediately after a consonant as well (pakRo), where D can occur too, can't it (here I cannot think of an example readily, so perhaps I am wrong and D never stands after consonants?). So, ehm, how would the rule be in Gujarati?

    This is to computerize a transcription (by no means scientific, but popular, where D will have to be transcribed as "d" and R as "r", now how do we teach the computer to know which ડ ઢ are R RH and which D DH automatically?

    Are you able to name the "rules" ?

    I'd attempt:
    1) after D, NR, L, l, and in the word-initial position, leave D as D
    2) everywhere else, substitute D with R

    Is that correct or would this yield errors?

    Are the diphthongs ai, au pronounced as we transcribe them here (a followed by y,w-glide) or is the first element more like "e", "o" respectively?

    Is pronounced as "z" or as "jh"?

    If "z", do you know if it is an all-Gujarat feature, or just a dialect (that would be perceived as rather incorrect by some)?

    (We'd happily transcribe jh as "z" in the web-project I am doing it for, as we'd save letters. But only if it does not either weeken understanding - e.g. if j-letter can sound "z" as well, or feel too improper as compared to "jh" pronunciation which I'd expect to be the standard)

    Any other points, where there is not 1-to-1 letter-sound correspondence, which I should take care of?

    Thanx ahead to GB for further answers (and possibly for bringing some other Guju speaker in, if there's any available) !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2013
  7. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    The same as in Hindi: "pakRo" itself exists also in Gujarati.

    I cannot name the rules, but your first rule above would certainly yield errors. There is often "R" after "l" (ell) without schwa inherent and ell with schwa inherent (also the case with Rajasthani Hindi, which is quite close to Gujarati). As for your second rule, everywhere else (i.e., after other consonants), "D" could be subsituted with "R" but also with "d" at times. Of course, the computer will have to take care that the word is not a compound word, as otherwise all these rules won't apply.

    It is never pronounced as "z": always "jh".

    The same as we transcribe them here, but I don't recall, at least at the moment, many Gujarati words with these dipthongs. In Gujarati, we have often rather "aii"/"aaii" and "auu" sounds: for example, "gauu maataa" ("cow mother", ગૌ માતા) and "kaaii paNR!" ("anything!", કાઈ પણ).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2013
  8. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
    Sorry, GreatBear, I haven't understood the example: is there the diphthong "au" which you say is rare and thus you mistyped the transcription or is there the more common two-vowels sequence "a+uu" and thus you mistyped the Gujarati spelling?
     
  9. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
  10. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    ^ Well, that's some seriously wrong info out there on that particular thread. So, to give examples:

    ઝાબળો = jhaabRo, ઝાંકી = jhaaNkii
    જીવટ = jiivaT, જોખમ = jokham

    As for my example, sorry if it was not clear. In Hindi, if you write ગૌ, then you would pronounce it as "gau" ("au" like "o" in "hot", thus a diphthong); whereas the same word in Gujarati is written like that but it's not a diphthong, hence pronounced like a+uu ("gauu"; similarly ઔરત, aurat in Hindi, would be pronounced as auurat in Gujarati). Gujaratis have a tendency to otherwise have the "o" long by default (for example, they pronounce the English word "road" similar to "rod"); however, it's a matter of dialect then whether "મોહન" is "mohan" with long o or short o. There are words that always take a short "o" as well, like પોંક (that's a Gujarati delicacy eaten in winter months, Jan-Feb).
    Hope things are clear now, jakubisek!
     
  11. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
    Now I understand what you meant - there was not a misprint in the examples, just a bit loose usage of the term diphthong.

    Just to rectify the usage of the terms, the Hindi औ transLITERATED <au> and ऐ transliterated <ai> are actually pronounced as monophthongs (as is the sound in English "hot", "law", "Shawn" - all are monophthongs), so we would transcribe them with single IPA signs! Some only call them diphthongs loosely, as those letters signified diphthongs from time ancient till not so long ago in History. (And still do in Gujarati, as you now demonstrated, and in Eastern and Southern languages) If the ગૌ in Gujarati is pronounced as one syllable (as opposed to two syllables: ગઉ), and the vowel quality changes within the time of its being enunciated, then we are having a diphthong here. (English letters are really confusing here, as they have anything but the original Latin values and so we use commonly one letter for diphthongs in English - as in "cake" - and two letters for monophthongs, as in "cough". However, if the Gujarati one is roughly like in English "sour", then it means I have understood you properly and Gujarati has preserved the diphthong in contrast to Hindi).
     
  12. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    ^ Oh, I'm not a linguist: I have always used the words diphthong used for combinations like "au" and "eu" in French, so I applied the same. The important is that you understand: which I have failed to even now. So, to again clarify, it's pronounced like ગઉ indeed: not like "ou" in "sour" (that would be like the German "Bauer"; no, that's not the case in Gujarati). It's like ga-uu (two syllables; ગઉ), but written as ગૌ (confusing for a Hindi speaker, as the sound is a ... monophthong then ... in Hindi).
     
  13. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
    I see, I understood wrongly.
    So ઔ is not like English "south"/ German "Baum" and ઐ is neither as in English "hate" nor as in "kite"?

    Are they really two syllables?! Like in "Saoodi" (when no ayn is pronounced) ? ... Very surprising, indeed.

    Can you think of other such examples where ઐ ઔ represent two syllables?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  14. jakubisek Junior Member

    Czechia
    Czech
    The weather back here (Czechia) is still as if it were mid-Feb. So... what does the ponk consist of and how does one prepare it?

    Could you try to recall more words where e,o are compulsorily short?
    And any where short "e","o" would sound improper, on the contrary?
     
  15. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    "poNk" is roasted jowar (sorghum) stalks: interestingly, Wiki spells it as પૌંક, and there are 400-odd results for this spelling on Google. I wonder whether પોંક, giving 4000+ results, has been started to be pronounced with a long o? (And even then, the spelling should remain the same: unless I see some Hindi influence...)

    By the way, I also realized that there are also many Gujaratis who say "rod" as "road"! In short, there are Gujaratis who lean towards open "o" and others who lean towards closed "o": but the Gujaratis who get "road" and "rod" right are very few! :D Maybe, the conclusion to derive is that the "o" in Gujarati is a bit fluid.

    Many such examples though where "o" has to be short: "moTh", "kilo", "pol" (which is a type of locality where close-knit communities live), etc.
    Both open and closed "o" work: "bhoNsRii" (a very vulgar - and common - swear word), "mor", "shor", "DhoRh", etc. (should be closed, but open one is also colloquial)
    Can't think of examples where closed "o" would be improper.
     
  16. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Yes, like Saoodi. ઐ is "a-ii" like the south Indian interjection "aiiyyo!" or like the "khaii" in Hindi song "Khaii ke paan banaaraswaalaa". Any words using these spellings should be pronounced like that: so all of them are your examples!
     
  17. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    I realise that that was a hasty observation: as I said later, both sets of speakers exist. For some it's the short "o" that's the default one, for others long "o". I don't know if dialect differentiation helps here (Surati, Amdavadi, Kutchhi, Kathiawadi, etc.).
     

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