Punjabi/Lahori Urdu: allophony between zh and y (yeh to jeh)

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by lcfatima, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I have noticed something with speakers of Urdu who are from Punjabi speaking areas. There is this tendency to say they "y" close to a "j" sound in certain words. I have noticed it in yeh, yahaan, and yoon. It is not a full "j" but somehow like somewhere in between j and y.

    Have you ever noticed this? Is this just a consonant change? Is there an underlying reason?
     
  2. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Hmm, not too sure. Do you have any other examples or context?
     
  3. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Like someone saying I did like this (with some accompanying gesture) "maine yoon kiya" but instead they say "maine joon kiya" or saying "jeh saheeh baat nahin hai," etc. I can't expand. It is just something I noticed.
     
  4. avok

    avok Senior Member

    Like in Spanish "y", I reckon?
     
  5. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Hmm, I have no idea. I would need to hear it to know what to make of it. I'll ask one of my friends and see what they say. Is this a Lahori Urdu tendency from Mohajir speakers or Panjabis?
     
  6. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    I understand what sound you mean, but to me it doesn't sound so different from the pure "y" sound. I mean the sound is obviously different, but when spoken in an Urdu sentence, it's something I don't even notice. You might be right I don't know, but I've never really noticed such minor sound differences!
     
  7. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I have a very phonetic ear, so my ears perk up at this stuff. Anyway, it is not something that would be said by Urdu speaking mohajirs. I think you would have to hear it in natural speech to catch it. I think it represents and interesting sound change.
     
  8. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Well I'll consult my professor in a bit and see what she says. I guess we should await and see what Francois says.
     
  9. francois_auffret Senior Member

    Lahore, Pakistan
    France, French
    Yes, I've heard it a lot too, but never in Lahori Urdu!

    This is a typical pindu (village) pronounciation of people who never learned correctly urdu... Some people even pronounce it as a full fledged 'j'...

    It is the same kind of faulty pronounciation as some people in the villages of Punjab pronounce 'sh' as 's', 'z' as 'j', and 'f' as 'ph', etc....

    I really wonder if it is a typical PUnjabi mohajir pronounciation.... It is very possible, but I'm not expert enough to tell...

    I don't know if it belongs to a specific area but I've heard it from people of Gujranwala, Gujrat.. and this area...

    I've also heard it in India coming from Dogri speakers (Jammu).... was quite funny to hear THe Junited Nations or the Junited States of America...
     
  10. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I might be making a tangential question, but it's at least relevant to pronunciation. Is this /ph/ to/f/ phenomenon common with Pakistani Panjabis too? I often say fir instead of phir (often resembles "fe") or fool instead of "phool," but do speakers say "phikkar" instead "fikkar?" Does it work that way?

    Maybe this question merits its own thread...
     
  11. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I strongly disagree that this is only a lower class rural "paindu" accent. I have heard this regularly from some very educated Lahori people among whom I noticed the phenomenon in the first place. I will also affirm that this accent is not only Lahori, I have heard it widely from speakers of the broad pure-Punjabi areas. In the specific speakers I am thinking of, the rest of their Urdu accent is "seedha" with a strong Panjabi melodic touch, but just that jeh thing going on.

    Francois: Have you heard this y>j change in other words or other positions than initial or in those few words I mentioned? I haven't actually heard it but it may be so.


    Panjabigator: that phir>fir thing is common, but I have never heard Punjabis say phikkar for fikr... That is a common accent for some communities, though, like Gujarati immigrant types such as Memons, also I heard that change in some Northern regions where the languages are in a different family altogether like Dardic or something. That also strikes me as a Bangladeshi accent in Urdu. Just not Panjabi, it may once again be a class thing though.
     
  12. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Right. I have also heard people from the Gujarati community pronounce the /sh/ phony as /s/ in Hindi. Example: /sukriya/ (but I'm now off topic).

    mai.n aindaa apne kaan "perked" rakhuun gaa.
     
  13. francois_auffret Senior Member

    Lahore, Pakistan
    France, French
    Hmmm, here I doubt a bit. I would definitely tell you that the full fledged "j" accent is totally pindu / paindu... Now you're talking of an intermediary sound, which is difficult to identify for me... Then I would tell you something else, I know very educated Lahori people who are more educated in English than in Urdu (and of course, Punjabi is even more neglected), so it may happen that this people have any kind of 'defects' in their Urdu... People educated in Urdu will definitely have an accent ahl-e-zuban type, in which 'je' instead of 'ye' sounds impossible..

    As I've told you I've only heard it in these words 'ye' or any other word starting with 'y' never in the middle of a word... My feeling about it is that Punjabi speakers don't have this 'ye' at the beginning of words, so they go for the closest thing at hand which is 'je' (= if in Punjabi)

    Phir is obviously never phir with Punjabi speakers because in Punjabi it is 'fer' (with a long 'e'). However, the 'ph' pronounciation is definitely present in Punjabi, remember the famous place for Siri pae in andarun-shehr, called Phajja (standing for Fazal). All these Indic pronounciations have definitely a paindu taste, more than ever (I think in the past, this paindu accent was more present in Lahore, it is more and more replaced by the correct Urdu pronounciation in the city now)...

    I don't know enough to tell you any more details... Hope will find someone more knowledgeable.

    And by the way, contrary to common usage, There is no contempt when I use the word 'Pindu'. People may be less 'educated' there, but they are very much hospitable and nice. Even Lahore still has this pindu taste I like... Karachites say Lahore is a village!
     
  14. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Now that we have more input, I thought I'd revive this old thread to see what contributions come.
     
  15. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I still insist that I hear this from fairly educated people.
     
  16. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I have to say that I have never heard Punjabi speakers pronounce "y" as in "yahaaN" something akin to a "j" as in "jahaaN". Being a "peNDuu"* through and through [and having school teachers who were also "peNDuus"] I can reiterate that neither do I ever confuse "y" with a "j" like sound nor did my teachers or other "peNDuus" that I lived amongst. Part of my family come from a truly "peNDuu" background and even they never pronounced "y" incorrectly. I too have "an ear" for language and would have noticed this phenomenon if I had come across it. I do find it baffling though since Punjabi has hundreds of words which begin with "y" and "j" sounds and such a confusion between the two is therefore difficult to comprehend. Let me provide an example.

    mere jyuuNdiyaaN tuuN har vele kyuuN yarkadaa rahnaa veN? (Why are you scared all the time whilst I am alive?)

    * peNDuu= a person from a rural background
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  17. teaboy Senior Member

    USA
    English
    I know what icfatima is talking about. It is more like a zhe ژ than a jeem ج in sound. I have hearدd it also from educated Lahori Punjabis when the are speaking Urdu. But I think it has nothing to do with education or not knowing or hearing the difference. At least with my friends, it was a "cute" way for talking, like putting on an accent or a voice.
     
  18. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    It would be nice if you could provide a few examples of such occurrences so that this mystery might be solved.
     
  19. teaboy Senior Member

    USA
    English
    Hmmn. Let's say someone is explaining a deft hand movement for making roTi or a sewing technique. They might say, "Yun karo" or they might say with panache, "zhun! karo, samjhe?"
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  20. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    I take you meant to say, "samjhe?"!

    I am sorry my answer is "nahiiN samjhaa!"
     
  21. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Is this similar to when "s" and "sh" change to an aspirated "chh"? I usually hear this from affectionate parents to their children.
     
  22. BP. Senior Member

    Karachi
    Urdu
    One of my neighbours almost invariably changes every y that begins a word into a j. "Jou are a good man." So the phenomenon may be rare, or geographically limited to his side of the border, but existent nonetheless.
     
  23. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    BG SaaHib, I ought to have been more precise from the geographical perspective. But as the original question mentioned Lahore Punjabi I thought my reply would be taken to mean Pakistani side of the border. I am certainly fully aware of the pronounciation of our brethern from East Punjab including y>j, z>j and the rest. jaTT is a typical Punjabi word and I can't imagine any Punjabi on either side of the border or in southall in England pronouncing it as "yaTT". So, there is probably more to this than meets the eye!
     
  24. teaboy Senior Member

    USA
    English
    Whoops! You're right. Done!
     
  25. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Come to think of it, it is common with some Hindi dialects. Jamuna for Yamuna, for example.
     
  26. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    True. And we also have "v/b" variation as in "vaal/baal" for "hair". To be honest I don't really understand what exactly these Lahori Urdu speakers are supposed to be saying. Icfatima in her original post is not quite clear about this j like sound. francois_auffret appears to be saying that it is a "j" whilst teaboy thinks it is more like a "zh". Frankly I am quite confused.
     
  27. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Moderator note:
    This new thread is now merged with the previous one about the same topic.


    I am learning about allophony and realized something. I think many Punjabis might have observed this and others may have noticed some aspects of it. Often, when Punjabis say a word that starts with 'y' they turn it into a (sometimes faint) 'zh' sound - 'year' becomes 'zhear' and 'yaad' (memory) becomes 'zhaad'. On the other hand, when they say 'television' they don't say 'telivizhan' but instead say 'teliviyan'. 'Zh' in the middle of words becomes 'y'. These two sounds ('zh' and 'y') seem connected in the Punjabi mind. Have you noticed something similar? Kya aapney bhi zhey baat dekhi hai? :) Would also be interested in regional variations in this.

    Update: Found an example! Youtube for 'Faiz Ahmed Faiz's 'Kab Yaad Mein Tera Saath Nahin' sung by Khaiyyam and Jagjit Kaur'. You hear 'yaad' in a native Hindi-Urdu pronunciation from Khaiyaam followed by Punjabi-tinted pronunciation from Jagjit Kaur that has a distinct 'zh' to it. It's right at the beginning of the song. Maybe this is exclusive to eastern Punjabi, though I doubt it - I think it is broader than that because I know old Potohari speakers who say it this way.

    Update2: I also just realized that some Dogri and Kashmiri speakers will often colloquially turn 'j' into 'zh' sounds (jamadar → zhamadar) . In HU, there's a relationship between 'y' and 'j' because yamuna → jamuna. I wonder if there is some bigger tangle between zh, y and j going on in the Northen subcontinent.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2012
  28. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I was about to quote Icfatima's thread but she has beaten me to it!

    I have listened to the video and to be honest with you, because Jagjit sings in company with Khayyam (simultaneously), it is difficult to separate her "yaad" from Khayyam's. I then decided to listen to Tahira Sayyid's version of the same piece of poetry and to my ears she says "yaad" in the normal way.

    Could you possibly post one or two more such sources. As Icfatima's thread will show, I have not noticed this phenomenon. I do pay careful attention to how people speak and I am sure I would have become aware of this sound had I been exposed to it. But, there is always the first time!
     
  29. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I went and looked that the thread Icfatima posted (thank you icf!). Exactly what teaboy said - it is zhe ژ and not jeem ج. QP, I suspect something else might be going on with you (though I could be wrong). Could it be that these are so natively allophonic to you that you aren't able to notice it though you yourself do it? This is not as strange a theory as it seems. HU-natives do this with v and w all the time and completely deny that they hear any difference.

    Let me see if I can find other examples where these are spoken distinctly. Maybe you can do a self-diagnostic in the meantime. Relax completely and forget all language rules and everything. Say 'yaar', 'bulaya', 'yaad', 'hilaya' to yourself. Is your tongue riding higher when you say the words with the 'y' in the beginning vs when it's in the middle? If yes, this might be going on. If not, then maybe my guess is wrong. I sometimes find that I will also say 'zhaar' instead of 'yaar' but mine is softer and tends to happen when I spend a lot of time hanging out with Punjabi speakers. I 'nativize', I guess. Now that I think about it, I feel that some Dogri speakers are simply unable to say 'yaar' - they just say 'zhaar' all the time. Maybe this is a Northern Punjabi thing (pure conjecture).
     
  30. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I have not noticed y > zh, but frequently heard zh > y from those of Punjabi background. Teliviyan (television) is a perfect example. Have also heard vision standalone as viyan also.
     
  31. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    This is always a possibility but I have been in company of Urdu speakers whose Urdu I would rate as top notch. If my "yaad" was "zhaad" along with other people of Punjabi origin, I would have become aware that my Urdu speaking friends pronounce the "y" in somewhat different manner compared with Punjabi speaking peoples. Besides, I am fully aware of v/w difference, as displayed in British English (v/w), Arabic (w) and Iranian Persian/Afghan Persian (v/w). Have you heard Noor Jahan, Mohammed Rafi and other well known Punjabi singers pronounce the initial y as zh? I am a great fan of Rafi marHuum. Perhaps you can listen to one of his songs for me. "yaad meN terii jaag jaag ke ham..", or "yaad nah jaa'e" or "vuh apnii yaad dilaane ko..or "aap ne yaad dilaayaa mujhe yaad aayaa". As a matter of interest, do you hear him saying "zhaad"?
     
  32. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    You indicated "HU-natives" persistent denial as the ground for a theory. I hope the non-denial attitude of yours truly will be considered insignificant enough so that it poses no obstacle for proceeding further on this theory as compared with this reference context of "HU-natives" which is vaster than all English native speakers.

    Would it be not too much to ask for a couple of examples of what happens with 'v'?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  33. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I didn't mean 'denial' unkindly here. This is actually the definition of allophony. It is when two or more sounds are perceived to be the same phoneme by the speakers of a language. When this happens, there is often (but not always) a single symbol in the written version of the language to indicate both sounds. For instance, व represents both v and w. A native speaker *can* train themselves to tell the difference between the sounds. Afaik every language has some form of allophony. Japanese speakers for instance have allophony between l and r, which makes it hard for them to tell the difference between 'light' and 'right'. This doesn't mean that no Japanese can learn to speak English correctly. They can, of course.

    Native english speakers have trouble with ٹ and ٹھ - they cannot consciously differentiate between them. They usually represent both with 't'. Tom uses 'ٹھ', Night uses 'ٹ'. To a native English speaker he/she is saying both identically when in fact they are not. If you tell them that they are saying these two sounds differently, they will often deny it. This denial is true for them - they really do believe it's the same sound. In linguistics classes in the US, often a lit flame will be put in front of a speaker and they will see it flicker when they say Tom but not when they say night (or they are asked to hold a hand in front of their mouths and asked if they feel a gust of air with one and not the other). Only when the difference stares someone in the face do they believe it. HU-speakers use both v and w, but unconsciously. Is sound avaaz or awaaz for HU-speakers? Is Benaras Vararansi or Waranasi in pronunciation? These decisions are made allophonically and unconsciously for most HU-speakers. Obviously, HU is a broad language and allophony varies by region. The majority of HU-speakers will likely pronounce 'vow' and 'wow' similarly.

    I think for some Punjabis the same thing is going on between y and zh. And clearly other people have seen it before I have (re the previous thread), so I am clearly not imagining it. For any human, there are almost certainly sets of sounds they cannot tell apart that humans of other linguistic backgrounds absolutely can.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  34. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Yes, that makes sense. Maybe this zh doesn't exist in your Punjabi circle. I concede that possibility.

    Me too, but I am able to preserve it in English pronunciation as long as I hang out with Americans, etc. With desi company, I lapse into the usual northern subcontinental pattern. All w- start words become v's for me and mid-v's become w's. Some mid v's and w's are still v's though I have noticed (if I become suddenly aware). Don't know why.

    You know, when you said Rafi, I said to myself 'no way does Rafi pronounce y's as zh's.' And, in fact, he doesn't (I checked aap ne yaad dilaya to mujhe). But then I heard and reheard. I feel like he's not saying his y's like a typical HU-native. There's a very faint zh about it. This was shocking to me as I have always thought his HU-diction couldn't possibly be more native and perfect. Maybe others can take a listen and see if they hear the same thing. Then I heard Noorjehan (Dil dhadakne ka sabab yaad aaya). Perfect y's in both beginning ('yaad') and medial ('aaya') positions. No trace of zh that I could tell. This is surprising to me as I think of Noorjehan as much more of a Punjabi singer than Rafi. Will listen some more.
     
  35. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I'd be totally fine with that.
     
  36. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I also realized now that some z's are also being mixed with zh sounds. YT for 'Dunya TV-20-05-12 Hasb E Haal Part 2/5' at 2:02. nazdeek → na[y/zh]deek. It's actually a mixed sound between y and zh. I realized that lots of Punjabis say this too. Now search for 'Mizahiya Nazm Punjabi - Anwar Masood - 'Aaj kee Pakaiye' at 0:22 - this is the classic poem that almost all Punjabis seem to know. mazaal → mazhaal. This is also rampant I realized.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  37. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I would n't wish to go off topic but I don't believe the T in Tom is our Th as in "Thahar jaa..". Neither is the "t" in night our "T" as in "TaaT". I accept the first is an aspirated t and the second (in night) is not aspirated. However they do not map exactly with our t (tel), T (Topii), th (thaalii or Th (Thokar).
     
  38. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Interesting. I have read this poem in Shahmukhi and heard Anwar Masood's recitations many times. I have always perceived this as "mayaal" and not "mazhaal". I shall listen to it again with even more attention. Anwar Masood comes from Distruct Gujarat and I have heard this very word being pronounced in this manner in that locality. (And by the way, listen to his "ambRii" poem on Youtube and you will hear him pronouncing the word "school" as "skuul" and not "sakuul").
     
  39. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    It sounded like the Urdu word majaal to me. Perhaps j → zh change? Is mazaal Punjabi for majaal (daring attempt)?
     
  40. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    No, it is still "majaal" in Punjabi.
     
  41. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    It is 'majaal' not 'mazaal', my mistake ('mazaal' is an incorrect pronunciation prevalent in some parts of my family, and I do it too: j → z deterioration is common with Kashmiri-speakers, person/jan → zan, raajaa ↔ raazaa). Anyway, don't you think A.M. sounds at first like he says 'mazhaal'. Then he says it again and it is 'majaal'. And what does Azizi sound like to you? My original thesis was that -
    * Beginning 'y' becomes 'zh' (conditional allophony)
    * Medial 'zh' becomes 'y' (conditional allophony)

    Maybe what actually happens is that -
    * Beginning 'y' becomes soft 'zh' (conditional allophony)
    * Medial 'zh', 'z', 'y' and 'j' become 'y', 'zh' or an intermediate sound (free allophony)

    Literate Dogri speakers will say clear 'j', but illiterate ones do this funky j/y/zh thing also, even in lead-positions - boy/Jaagat ↔ Zhaagat ↔ Yaagat (totally sounds like 'y' for some people)
     
  42. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I'd heard a weather broadcast with yaalah-baarii. I couldn't contain my amusement!
     
  43. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Yes, you are correct and I glossed over it intentionally (maybe I shouldn't have). T in Tom is /tʰ/ whereas Th in Theher is /ʈʰ/ in IPA. Tel is /t̪/. I did the mapping anyway as that is the closest that exists and because it still helps illustrate the point - unintentional and unaware use of multiple types of sounds where the speaker perceives them to be a single type of sound. Irrelevant to this, but interesting nonetheless, is the th of thaali, which is /t̪ʰ/. The closest English to this is /θ/, represented sometimes in Nagri as थ़.
     
  44. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Well, many many moons back I got caught using the "thaalii" "th" sound to pronounce "thousand". Little did I know then that the "th" in "thousand" is a /θ/ (and the "th" in that is not our "daal" but the voiced equivalent of /θ/ (i.e delta). So, they may be close but far enough to become object of ridicule!:)
     
  45. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
  46. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I think you may have misread hu's post. He is not placing a dot below a "ya" but below a "tha".
     
  47. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
    Sorry, I was referring to the title of the thread: "allophony between zh and y (yeh to jeh)", not to HindiUrdu's comments.
     
  48. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    A few days ago I was conversing in Punjabi with a Sikh work colleague and a friend, originally from Ludhiana, East Punjab, when I noticed he used a "y" for a "z". If my memory serves me right, he said "hayaar" for "hazaar". I shall pay more attention to his speech and see if there is any kind of pattern for this change.
     
  49. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I heard examples of this y-zh phenomenon many times in India, but alas I don't remember the words or context! :eek:
     
  50. Dib Senior Member

    Germany
    Bengali (India)
    I have a feeling, I have noticed the same (or at least, similar) phenomenon among the Punjabi speakers in Delhi, but the realization is not really same as zh, j, etc. and if my memory serves me right, it happens only at the beginning of words. The only other context I have heard it in (inside or outside of India), is how Spanish speakers pronounce "y" (e.g. "ayer"), at least in the Madrileño accent - Spanish accents of course vary a lot, and this sound is especially variable. Wikipedia suggests, it is a voiced palatal fricative IPA: /ʝ/, while the dominant H/U realization of "y" is of a voiced palatal approximant IPA: /j/, i.e. a bit more open than the previous one. However, I know no Punjabi/Hindi speaker who actually merges y with j or z or anything else. It's just an allophone of the usual sound, still remaining distinct from other sounds, but it does stand out to people who are not used to it and are observant. [e.g. to Hindi speakers it might be immediately obvious that the "s" Bengalis use in "khas" = "private" and "khasta" = "crispy" (for food items) are different but Bengalis themselves generally fail to notice it ... it's just an allophony leading to no merger or anything.]
     

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