Urdu: hamzah omission after alif-i-mamduudah

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    There are a number of Urdu words of Arabic origins that (should) have a hamzah, after the long alif, e.g ashyaa2. But, it seems that there is a trend in omitting such hamzas. What are your views about this. Should the hamzah be omitted or not?
  2. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    As far as I can recollect, hamzah in those cases is at times omitted even in respectable publications but I can't produce any examples at the moment. I believe this is a continuation of Persian practices, however I prefer not to leave it out. In a recent message I read kii binaa which I'd always prefer to write kii binaa2 as it facilitates the reading.

    I have to say that I'm looking forward to knowing more about it thanks to this thread.
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    In Qur’anic orthography, and, in general, in old Arabic manuscripts, ʼalif mamdūda, that is: the sequence /āʼ/, is written with the letter ʼalif with the sign madda, e.g. علمآ , where the modern Arabic orthography has علماء . In this Persian is closer to the old spelling.
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for this, fdb SaaHib.

    If the addition of a terminal hamzah is a more recent convention, what about those words where the hamzah is an integral part of the word, e.g. shaiy2 >> ashyaa2?
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The glottal stop is part of the word in šayʼ as it is in ʻulamāʼ. What I am saying is merely that the hamza sign ء is not normally written in unvocalised manuscripts; the reader is expected to know when to pronounce the hamza. So what you will find in old texts is usually شى , علما and the like.
  6. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for the clarification.
  7. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    In Urdu, this hamzah is routinely dropped and it is not considered improper. In fact, it is the norm.

    So we regualry write شے shai / اشیا ashyaa in Urdu as opposed to the respective Classical Arab spellings شيء and اشياء , even in unvocalised Arabic texts. This is a must!

    However, discussions of the hamzah in Arabic can get quite wieldy because the rules concerning the hamzah orthography are quite complicated. Besides, many now (esp. on the internet) seem to be dropping the hamzah quite often when they ought not to. But this can be discussed in the Arabic forum!

    In the pre- (/ peri-) / and early Islamic period there was marked difference in the use of the hamzah amongst the various tribes with the Banu Tamim using it and the Hijazi tribes, Quraish included, not bothering with the use of hamzah even within words (e.g. their pronunciation of the verb as saala instead of saa’ala / saa2ala [= he asked]).

    We had a discussion regarding the use of the hamzah in Classical / Quranic Arabic here.
  8. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    This is what I contest. I have spent my life reading mediaeval Arabic manuscripts, so I think I know what I am talking about.
  9. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Interesting discussion and information. It seems that at least in Urdu electronic media, there is actually a trend to write such words with the hamzah (اجزاء)...especially in names such as حناء ، ثناء etc. (in addition to the examples mentioned above).
  10. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ thank you, Faylasoof SaaHib. There does seem to be a situation in Urdu where one finds hamzah written as well as missed out. Here is an "unusual" example.

    bigaR jaa'e gii mere is but kii ik din
    "ilaa aslihi yarji3u kullu shaiy2-in"

    Akbar Ilahabadi

    So, you are saying that as far as Urdu is concerned, there is no need to write the final hamzah. Does this also apply to medial hamzas in words such as..

    mu2min, itmi2naan, mutma2in, ma2man, ma2muur etc?
  11. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    And what about maa2tam.
  12. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Yes, depends on which period we are talking about. When I say "Classical Arabic" I mean fuS-Haa as written now. I may not have clarified this but the Quraishi habit of dropping the hamzah was very common. In fact, the link to the Arabic forum discussion also points to this with some even suggesting that inclusion of the hamzah was a non-Arab phenomenon! It of course wasn't. Depended on which Arab tribe you were from.
  13. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    QP SaaHib, I was really talking about the hamzah in words like ashyaa as written in Urdu. Wasn't saying that we never use it! Also, Akbar ilaah-aabaadii is sticking to the rule of writing it in his Arabic verse. This shouldn't surprise us. But Urdu dictionaries too would write ashyaa, i.e. without the final hamzah (ashyaa2), and write shae and not shaii2, as in fuS-Haa. This is what I meant.

    We also writ 3ulamaa instead of 3ulamaa2, though the latter might be creeping back in Urdu due to us Asians spending a lot of time now in the Arab countries!
  14. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ​I don't know about the texts themselves but I do remember reading in Professor A.S.Tritton's "Teach Yourself Arabic" where he mentions the absence of the glottal stop in Meccan Arabic. And the dialect with hamzah was considered "posher" and consequently the hamzah was a later addition.
  15. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Yes, Tritton did mention this but also others. Of course there are still some who say that while the Hijazi "street" language didn't have the use of the hamzah, when Hijazis used the fuS-Haa they did pronounce it. BTW, the oldest Quranic manuscript are in the maai2lii script and one notes the absence of the hamzah there. (But then there you have a lot of other things missing, i.e. the dots to distinguish between different consonants and all the diacritical marks that represent the short vowels).
  16. Abu Talha Senior Member

    I believe this is a case where script follows pronunciation. I don't think we say 3ulamaa2 in Urdu. We say 3ulamaa.

    But then you could say why do we write ض,ظ,ذ when we pronounce them all as ز. Well those letters are more basic, essential, and important (etymologically), to the Arabic script, than the hamza which, if I understand correctly, was invented later (and I think based on ع).

    Standard Arabic (modern and pre-modern) has somehow converged on writing the hamza in all cases, even though many of the Arab tribes did not pronounce it.
  17. Abu Talha Senior Member

    For Urdu, if the hamza is saakin, it is not written nor pronounced. Its seat instead is treated as a long vowel.

    If not saakin, it ought to be pronounced but is often softened in casual speech. So we will say

    muumin, itmiinaan, mutma2inn, maaman, maamuur.
  18. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for your contributions. For these, the usual pronunciation is momin and itmenaan, I believe. The former, is the name of a well-known poet of the...

    vuh jo ham meN tum meN qaraar thaa, tumheN yaad ho kih nah yaad ho

  19. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Indeed, ma2tam is yet another such word. But, I don't believe I have have ever seen it written as "ma3tam" in Urdu. It has always been maatam.
  20. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Would you say then "inshaa2 allaah" and maashaa2 allaah are exceptions?

    zaahir meN to aise haiN kih maashaa2 allaah
    sab yih kahte haiN ziyaadah hoN ge inshaa2 allaah
    baatin meN jo dekhaa unheN itne haiN puuch
    laa Haula wa laa quvvata illaa billaah
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  21. Abu Talha Senior Member

    I myself say, and I think I also hear itmiinaan, or at least itminaan. But, yes the common pronunciation of مومن is momin. However, Platts calls this the vulgar pronunciation:

    A مومن mūmin, vulg. momin (prop. muʼmin, act. part. of آمن 'to render secure or safe (from)...
    Source: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.8:1:2766.platts
    The hamza is not saakin, and is therefore pronounced. In any case. those are complete Arabic phrases, so they are pronounced as close as possible to the Arabic original.
  22. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Abu Talha SaaHib, I would say that as far as Urdu is concerned, the hamzah might as well be saakin. in-shaa2 allaah and not in-shaa2a_llaah.

    Our discussion is mainly focused on whether hamzah in these situations is written, should be written or left out and not really on the pronunciation aspect.
  23. Abu Talha Senior Member

    Ah... I see what you're saying.
    Why do you say that? For أستغفر الله we say astaGhfiru_llaah. So maintaining the همزة الوصل in الله doesn't seem to be an issue, right?
  24. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Precisely! The همزة الوصل hamzat-ul-waSl is not an issue since we don't write or hear it, but the hamzah in words like maa2tam and mo2min are also not heard. Some however do seem to inlcude it in the latter but not the former. Other examples too. The topic specifically is hamzah following alif mamduudah and there we always drop it in Urdu.

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