Urdu: ماحول "maahaul"

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by omlick, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. omlick Senior Member

    Portland, Oregon, USA
    American English
    Someone was wondering why this word was not in Platts, and I theorized that the word was not in the Urdu lexicon when Platts was written. It carries the meaning of "environment" in the biological sense. I am wondering if it was borrowed from Arabic in the 20th century when people became more aware of environmental problems and environmental degradation due to pollution and other factors. Or has the word been used in Urdu prior to Platts in the 19th century?
  2. BP. Senior Member

    maahaul isn't restricted to environment in the biological sense. It means ambiance in general e.g. sentence: 'fard jis maahaol me.n baRaa huaa ho to yeh naguziir hae kek uskaa athar qubuul kare'-'it is inevitable that a person growing up in a certain envireonment absorbs its characteristics'.

    You raise an important question about its omission. Although the word's use seems to precede the era of ecology-awareness, but maybe its use has grown. What would we have used, atraaf-اطراف?
    That said, the omission could have been on Platt's part.
  3. teaboy Senior Member

    I've only thought of it as more social environment, neighbourhood, the culture of a social group or strata, etc. Un ka mohaal issi tarah hai. Is the word related to mohalla?
  4. omlick Senior Member

    Portland, Oregon, USA
    American English
    Maybe because it was not a much known word then as you said.

    The online Urdu dictionary lists the word to mean environment in the ecological sense for the most part by the way. It is a bit misleading then.
  5. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    ماحول maaHaul is most likely a relatively late addition to the Urdu lexicon, so I’m not surprised that Platts doesn’t have it. Not sure when we acquired it.

    It means as both BP and Teaboy define it: ambiance / social environment, culture of a social group; and also milieu.

    It consists of two parts, both of Arabic origin:
    ما maa ( what / that) + حول Haula (about / around) = ماحول = what / that is around / about (literally speaking).

    No, ماحول maahaul is not related etymologically to محلّہ muhallah / mahallah.

    As I say above, ماحول consists of two parts and the حول bit has the root ح-و-ل , while محلّہ has the root ح-ل-ل.

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