Urdu, Hindi: schwa deletion

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by tonyspeed, May 8, 2012.

  1. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    In previous threads, it has been noted that the schwa deletion tendency is very strong in Hindi-Urdu and it is a sign of mother-tongue speakers.

    If this is the case, how do we explain the existence of words like ikhatta/ikattha ? Are these merely exceptions?

    What about pronunciation variations like galatii vs galtii ? Is the second to be preferred as more native?

    When it comes to verb conjugation, is samajhaa now completely obsolete and foreign sounding when compared to samjhaa?
    Are there any verbs that break this seeming schwa deletion rule?
  2. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I would consider anyone pronouncing "galatii" and "samajhaa" as a non-native speaker. The tendency of schwa deletion doesn't mean that every schwa in every word has been deleted, so I don't see why "ikaTThaa" should be "ikTThaa" (I have heard the latter, though!).
  3. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Tony, I think it was suggested that those who keep the "-a" in words like "maulavii" are non-native. This is of course not correct as has been plainly obvious from Faylassof SaaHib's posts.

    Regarding ikhaTTaa vs ikaTThaa, I don't believe there is any connection with your thread topic.

    galatii/galtii are wrong in Urdu. The correct word is Ghalatii. Ghaltii is also wrong. Ghalatii pronunciation has nothing to do with native/non-native pronunciation. Ghalatii is correct and Ghaltii is wrong no matter who the speaker is. As for "samajhaa", I don't believe any Urdu speaker would pronounce it in this way. samjhaa is the norm.
  4. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    My opinion on Ghalatii and maulavii is that these words are simply such as they are and any alternative pronunciation is deemed wrong, no matter who utters them. I believe it is not relevant if the speaker is native or not.

    I'm not aware of any such word as samajhaa.
  5. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I think the point of this thread is not to determine whether Ghaltii is right or wrong. Instead whether Ghalatii is "natural" for an Urdu-Hindi speaker given their strong tendency to delete the middle short-vowels in such cases.

    For Indic words such deletion seems to be the norm, as in ..

    samajh --> naa samjhii
    pakaR --> pakRii
    phisal --> phislii
    lapak --> lapkii
    chhiRak --> chhiRkii

    and so on.

    Even for some non-Indic words this seems to be considered legit, e.g.

    qalam --> qalmii nusxah/aam
    safar --> safrii jaanamaaz
    xabar --> xush xabrii
    namak --> namkiin

    The point being that if the schwa deletion is such a strong force, then even for native Urdu speakers (untrained) to speak Ghalatii is not as natural as Ghaltii. Which is why you would find a very large number of "untrained" native speakers calling it Ghaltii, as it comes much more naturally to an Urdu-Hindi mouth than Ghalatii, unless trained.

    I agree with you fully that the standard pronunciation is Ghalatii. However, I understand (or would like) the focus here to be on natural tendency, vs learned behavior, among native speakers.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  6. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Now I understand why they say ghalati in movies. I found the idea that actors are given free reign to use their personal preferences in movies improbable , especially considering how much they usually do to match the dialect used to the supposed location of the movie.
  7. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Please also note that HU isn't the only language that demonstrates schwa deletion. American English does too: camera is /kæmərə/ in British English and /kæmrə/ (cam.ra) in Am Eng. Similarly, chocolate → choc.late, family → fam.ly. In HU if you retain schwas you will get constructs like 'Apani Bachapan ki Ghalatiyaan Samajho' - which you do see in religious diction and when people speak with emphasis. This is a subpar analogy, but think of an American Pastor getting worked-up and saying "It is-a the will-a of God-a!" To HU natives who speak naturally and don't see the point of speaking any other way, "apani bachapan ki ghalatiyaan samajho' will likely sound either non-native or pompous. Another imperfect analogy would be to consider sentences like "it was a Bach performance par excellence". The correct pronunciation would, I suppose be, 'it was a Bax performance paar exsello(n)s" (approximating here). But most English speakers would naturally say "it was a Baak performance par eksellans." To say it correctly will be perceived as elitist and/or unnatural. However, if you listen to, say, Marathi or Bengali native speakers in Bollywood, they frequently will say things like 'apani bachapan ki ghalatiyaan samajho' and it doesn't feel wrong because it goes with the rest of how they speak. It's basically become a regional lehja of speaking HU. Amol Palekar retains many medial schwas that a native speaker like, say, Naseeruddin Shah would drop.

    On schwa deletion rules, the most general rules, which are (a) schwa deletion at syllable-ends and (b) a → ø | (non-nasal)VC_CV for medial schwas. However, this is actually really maddening to speech synthesis folks because these misfire about 15% of the time. There seem to be several reasons for this, including idiopathy. One is v's becoming w's/glides. Astitv → Astitwa → Astitua. This seems like Astitva and (at least) appears to violate the rule. Then, there is the situation with double consonants, where there are several exceptions where schwa is retained. One is the example you gave ikattha (vC-a-CCv). Another is pustak → pustaken (vCC-a-Cv).

    BTW there are also situations where HU seems to show a preference to *insert* schwas. krishn → krishan, jashn → jashan, janm → janam, farsh → farash. There are all considered wrong and have been for hundreds of years. Afaik every school and every teacher teaches these are wrong. Every dictionary will tell you they are wrong. In every case, every single root language (Persian, Sanskrit, Arabic) tells you they are wrong. Yet they persist. Interestingly, the deletion/exclusion tendencies are so powerful that the same person speaking natural/vulgar HU will say 'araz' (instead of 'arz') but then 'arzi' (and not what would consistently have been 'arazi', because vC-a-cV deletion applies). Similarly, jashn (correct) → jashan (natural) → jashnon. janm → janam → janmon. varsh → baras → barson. If a tendency has persisted for so long, uniquely surfaced in this descendant language in defiance of the ancestral languages and refuses to die in the face of such massive educational disapproval, there is something very intrinsic to the language causing it. There is some variation here. Some words are mostly pronounced correctly by most urban speakers but rural folk will lapse into natural vulgar-speak. dard (correct, urban) → darad (vulgar, rural) → (sir-/ham-)dardi (universal). There is also regional variation in this.

    BTW, as a related aside, Punjabi seems to have other strong schwa deletion tendencies that HU does *not* share. It seems like in C-a-CvC, Punjabi tends to delete or shorten that initial schwa. I have not seen references on this and this is my personal observation. Navaz → N'vaz, Bajaaj → B'jaaj. Sawaal → S'waal. In some Punjabis, there is also this tendency (seems to vary individually) with opening short vowels and schwas. Aziz → 'Ziz. Awaaz → 'Waaz. Akhrot → 'Khrot. Ijaazat → 'Jaazat. 'Akhrotaan da sawaal si' becomes 'Khrotaan da swaaal si'. 'Azizi nun ijaazat deyo' becomes 'Zizi nun jaazat deyo' (actually heard this on Hasb e Haal one time and it struck me). All this is totally vulgar btw. You'd likely never see it in print in Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. I also just realized in saying these to myself that there is a tone change in going from Azizi to Zizi. It feels similar to 'D → T' change (you know, how Punjabis say 'taaliyaan' instead of 'daaliyaan' for 'branches' of a tree). Unlike HU, Punjabi is a tonal language, so maybe there is something odder going on here than a simple schwa deletion.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  8. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica

    I think that saying that purely because of schwa deletion, speakers of Hindi went from: 'Apani Bachapan ki Ghalatiyaan Samajho' to saying "apnii bachpan kii ghaltiyaan samjho" requires a great leap of faith.
    One, we have no proof that Hindi was ever spoken like this, not will we ever. We are at this point assuming that Hindi was at some point spoken like the artificial Sanskrit language we have today, which
    is not even the pure Vedic Sanskrit. Secondly, it requires one to believe that words such as bachpan are directly derived from sanskrit by some process of erosion.

    H بچپن बचपन baćpan, = H بچپنا बचपना baćpanā, [S. वत्स+त्वं], s.m. Infancy, childhood; childishness, &c. (=bāl-pan, q.v.).
    H اپنا अपना apnā [gen. of آپ;—S. आत्मानं, acc. of आत्मन्, pronom. adj. (f. -ī), Of or belonging to self, own

    The derivations given above even by Platts are speculative and fairly unbelievable, requiring a stretch of the imagination.

    That being said, I wonder if the tendency has to do with words that have 2 schwas back-to-back. Ghalatii is one such word. Samajhnaa is another such word.
    However, ikhattaa does not follow this pattern.
    H اکهٿا इखट्टा ikhaṭṭā [S. एक+स्थितः, rt. स्था], adj. & adv.(=اکٿها ikaṭṭhā), United, collected, assembled or gathered together; together, in one and the same place.

    The second point you bring out has to do with the tendency of North Indians' tongue to rebel against certain foreign conjuncts they found unnatural, such as word-initial conjuncts beginning with 's',
    so that 'skool' was originally pronounced 'iskool' and 'strii' was pronounced 'istrii'.
  9. Alfaaz Senior Member

    For some unknown reason, the top three sound a bit awkward, but namkeen sounds fine...(also, the first reminds one of the famous dish made with kalmii shora :))
  10. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Awkward in what sense? Pronunciation wise? or just the word/term is unfamiliar?
  11. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Pronunciation wise. Maybe I'm not reading it correctly, but I would think that there are slight a's in the words...(might be wrong): qalamii, safarii, khabarii....?
  12. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    qalmii nusxah = manuscript
    qalmii aam = mangoes eaten sliced
    safrii jaanamaaz = travel prayer rug
    xush xabri = good news
  13. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    These sounds sound alien to me (saying even at the risk of being declared wrong/non-standard)
  14. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English

    You are forgetting that each consonant in Hindi has an inherent schwa: that is what "hindiurdu" was talking about when he's talking about schwa deletions. Excellent post once again by hindiurdu.

    I find your labelling of the Sanskrit we have today as "artificial" quite objectionable. If you mean it to be artificial in the same way just as Urdu would be if one were to pronounce "maulavii", then I quite agree with you, however.

    You certainly evince strong leaps of imagination, though: from where did you get the idea that North Indians' original pronunciation of "school" was "iskool" and that of "strii" was "istrii"? In fact, FYI, in north India, if someone pronounces these words in this manner, then one is thought to be Punjabi!
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  15. Alfaaz Senior Member

    As I said before, maybe I'm not reading the words correctly off the screen....(sometimes it seems it would be helpful if there was sound in these forums :) )!
  16. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I personally have always said and heard "qalmii aam" and "xush xabrii": with no slight "a"s.
  17. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  18. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Could you clarify which are "these pronunciations", the ones mentioned by UrduMedium or the ones with the a's? Thanks!
  19. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ُْQP Wrote --

    The point I was making is that the "native speakers" speak these words the way I wrote them. I have never heard qalamii aam. Have you? Let's see those references. OUD dictionary lists several words/terms with qalmii (not qalamii) such as:

    qalmii dost
    qalmii nusxah
    qalmii shorah

    What's the evidence for these all to be qalamii? Not that I need it, but perhaps to satisfy your concern. Even if some source shows it as such, have you ever heard these from even the Urdu luminaries of your own liking? Be they Iftikhar Arif, or anyone else. Let's hear them. For every luminary saying maulavii, I bet you may find nine (also luminaries) saying maulvii. Am I exaggerating? Hardly. Off-topic analogy: I went through this exercise on the saahab/saahib (in standalone usage after a name) debate and the pristine saahib was as harder to find than a needle in a haystack.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  20. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ Also if this sticking to Perso-Arabic pronunciation of words like maulavii is so sacrosanct, let's at least be honest and not stop there but make sure we utter all the Arabic sounds properly as well, distinguishing all the shades of z and proper 3ain, H, and qaaf and duaad and so on. Half of the loan words would be officially be declared to have "wrong" pronunciations by 99.999% of the "native speakers" then.

    Funny thing is that Persians also borrowed from Arabic but never felt the need to blindly follow in pronunciation of Arabic sounds, and also freely mixed Persian and Arabic words to form beautiful phrases and terms, and applied Persian grammar elements (like izafat) to Arabic compounds. That to me is a sign of people who are proud of their linguistic heritage and are not afraid to borrow and make words part of their language on "their" terms. We in South Asia seem to have a "ghulaamanah" attitude to much of the same literary activities, and are belligerent in defending such linguistic apartheid.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  21. BP. Senior Member

    I understood it to be xush xabarii with the penultimate consonant appearing to disappear thanks to fast speech.
  22. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    With the "a"s as in maulavii/Ghalatii.
  23. Alfaaz Senior Member


    معزز UM SaaHib,

    I'll briefly say that I would agree with some of your points, but would disagree with others. If a million people are saying juruurat, jindagi, and mojij, but only 220,000 are saying zaruurat, zindagi, mu'azziz, does that mean we all should start "blindly" following the majority...?
  24. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Thanks Alfaaz. Your example is interesting. If Arabic pronunciation is sacrosanct, then clearly zaruurat and mu'azziz are also wrong. As duaad != z and proper 3ain is almost never pronounced in mu3azziz in urdu. I hope you will agree.

    Also, I am talking about native Urdu speakers. They are not saying juruurat, jindagii, or mojij. Have you ever run in to such people?

    Curious how you picked 220,000. Have you been keeping count? :)
  25. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    gb, I don't quite see how the pronunciation of "maulavii" is connected with Sanskrit being "artificial"! Unless of course you are merely looking for a confrontation and that would not be very helpful towards this discussion.

    I don't know of any Punjabi who would say "iskuul". In fact it would be "skuul". For "strii" it is more likely to be "istarii" in the Indian Punjab. For Pakistani Punjabis, this word would mean "iron" only!
  26. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    UM SaaHib, I am away from my normal "station" and for this reason I am in a slightly difficult position. I am quite willing to meet your (or anyone else's) challenge but it is not easy to search for pieces of recorded speech that is likely to have words like 'qalamii' and 'xush-xabarii". At least three persons (excluding me) namely Faylasoof, marrish and BP SaaHibaan pronounce the word as "maulavii" and BP SaaHib has indicated that for him it is "xush-xabarii". If I get the opportunity I shall try to find instances where the "a" is preserved. I have already provided an example from Ghalib (talab > talaboN). May I ask how you would write and pronounce the word (Arabic) for disease?
  27. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I would like to reitterate that we are discussing the deletion/preservation of the "a" vowel and not the metamorphosis of consonants. Now that you have brought in the Persian speakers you might find this surprising but Farsi speakers, to the best of my knowledge, religiously preserve this vowel. You might like pronouncing the word as "naazniin" but they pronounce it as "naaz​aniin"! namakiin likewise! Platts has "qalmii" as vulgar and "qalamii" as the standard pronunciation. Here is a shi3r from a Siraj Aurangabadi Ghazal.

    xabar-i-taHayyur-i-3ishq sun, nah junuuN rahaa nah parii rahii
    nah to tuu rahaa nah to maiN rahaa, jo rahii so be-xabarii rahii

    And here is Hasrat Mohani

    saath un ke jo aa'e the ham Beirut se Hasrat
    yih rog natiijah hai usii ham-safarii kaa

    Just a curiosity. Do you pronounce such words minus the "a" under Punjabi influence as has been suggested by someone in another thread?
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  28. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The thread title encompasses both Urdu and Hindi and some of the examples you have quoted in your post/s are equally applicable to Hindi. With this in mind, Alfaaz's question is relevent and yes I have run into such people. On this forum!
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  29. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    This is based on the script, not the actual pronunciation. The decision to let there be an inherent schwa behind each character that does not have a matra is based on Sanskrit.
    It has nothing at all to do with Hindi/Urdu in and of itself. When Perso-Arabic script was the de-facto standard people did not worry about schwa deletion after every consonant.
    There are other completely different issues inherent to Perso-Arabic script like "is the vowel an i or an a"?

    Sanskrit has schwa (or some other vowel sound) after all consonants and consonant clusters. Hindi doesn't. There is no relation here.

    Hindi has only used the the Sanskrit syllabary since the 1800s, which is when schwa deletion came into play. It is not an inherent part of the language before the adoption of the Sanskrit syllabary.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  30. Alfaaz Senior Member

    I think I might also qualify to gain a place in this distinguished list :eek:; I've heard khush-khabari and will try to locate specific examples and episodes of programs on YT (if and when time permits)...
    You're welcome, but I thought we were speaking of Urdu convention here. If I'm not mistaken, Urdu proper wouldn't differentiate between all the z's as you have stated, but a'yin is pronounced (obviously not to the extent as would be in Arabic), as would shadds and separate zabars or zairs...?
    Rarely, but I think there was an episode of Loose Talk in which such an accent was used...(and the people identify as Urdu speakers, not as any other language speakers). When you correct them, they say that is how they've been speaking all their life, so its hard to change. This is why in the other thread in response to QP, I said that environmental influences might have an effect. An interesting thing that I noticed is that these people have the right pronunciation when singing a song or reciting Quranic verses.
    An oft-quoted example (at least it seems from seeing Indian media) is Lata M. While speaking she makes mistakes here and there, but while singing she has perfect pronunciation (almost always, not always of course--no one's perfect).

    I'm still searching for the answer and will reply when I have one....(it was just a random number, but might have some significance) :)
  31. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica

    From Platts:

    H استري इस्त्री istrī [S. स्त्री], s.f. Woman; wife:—istrī-barg, istrī-jāt, s.f. Woman-kind:—istrī-dhan, s.m. Settlement made on a wife by her father; jointure; wife's property or paraphernalia:—istrī karnā, v.t. To take a wife, to marry:—istrī - gāmī, s.m. One who goes after women, an adulterer:—istrī-ling, (in Gram.) the feminine gender.

    S ستري स्त्री strī, s.f. A woman; a wife:—strī-bodhak, adj. (in Gram.) Of the feminine gender, feminine

    Notice how it labels istrii as Hindi and strii as Sanskrit? That's because North Indians did not like the word-initial consonant-clusters beginning with 's'. We did not start using strii until whole-sale Sanskritisation ensued, wiping out the native forms.
  32. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    If one wants a thorough examination of this issue please see "Aspects of Hindi Phonology" - Ohala, 1983.
    It addressed many of the concerns I had regarding this issue and painted it as a "complicated matter". (p.139)
    Proving this is the fact that not all the test subjects responded similarly and some test subjects even varied between responses.
    This would eliminate the idea that non-schwa deletion is a non-native trait. It is more complicated than that.
    Mentioned repetatively as a factor is whether or not a speaker is familiar with the resulting consonant cluster. So it seems
    prior familiarity with the resulting sound is a factor that will also determine whether or not a speaker schwa-deletes.

    My main concerns was whether we are dealing with a merely script issue or not. On page 127 she says
    "Of course this assumes the schwa-deletion rule used by Hindi speakers for reading the Devanagari orthography
    is the same as the schwa-deletion rule they have internalized for spoken Hindi. I think this assumption is justified,
    since the environments in which the schwa is deleted are the same." (p.127)

    On the matter of Urdu words it says:

    "If the word is a Sanskrit or Urdu loan, speakers aspiring to the most pretigious pronunciation will render these words as they were
    rendered in the original language" (p.138) and also "In the case of the PA loans of Table 6.2, Urdu speakers retain the /schwa/ - at least
    in formal style; I am not sure if they retain the /schwa/ in casual styles of speaking. However, all non-Urdu speakers delete the /schwa/".

    Said PA loans in Table 6.2 were bagal, daulat, nazar, naukar, biraadar, Xabar, suurat, xushaamad, ghalat, guzar, zaxam, jigar, zewar, zaram, muugal, resham, rogan, wazan, sharaarat, shaayar, safar, adaalat, arab, aadam, kaagaz.

    Other guidelines given on 138 and 139 are:

    - schwas tend to be deleted in casual style of speaking and retained in formal style
    - schwas tend to be deleted in a faster tempo of speaking

    -whether the speaker has posited a morpheme boundary in the environment preceding schwa and "the (psychological) reality of the morpheme boundary for the average native speaker" p.122
    - whether the resulting cluster violates the constraints of the language
    -whether or not the suffix providing the environment is a blocking suffix, i.e. a suffix marked

    Finally, Ohala mentions that "In the case of forms derived from verbs, e.g., [nikal]...,[niklaa], etc., the schwa seems to be lost without question for all speakers I know of. These forms have been in the language for a long time. Also, almost all the verbs of Hindi are native words, and therefore the question of 'status' involved in retaining the schwa does not arise."
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  33. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    QP saahab, I did not intend to challenge you, nor give you homework. maiN is jasaarat kaa mutaHammil nahiN ho saktaa :)

    My questions should have sounded less excited, as it serves no one to engage in an endless back and forth references where we may lose the forest for the trees. I am not suggesting to prove you or anyone wrong. However, I do like to suggest what I speak and hear is representative of an overwhelming number of native speakers. These two statements need not be contradictory. If you do like to look for examples, please do count both maulvii and maulavii, not only the latter. I'll be curious to see the results.

    I assume you are referring to the word maraz? I do use it just like that at times, but at other times just marz. Not sure how this dynamic works. From my family I learned maraz.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  34. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I agree with you that the thread is not about consonants. However the bottom-line justification I heard for the a-vowel in maulavii was that it must be preserved because that's how it is in Arabic and that pronunciation must be preserved. So my logical question was, why not preserve the Arabic pronunciation all the way? Why can't we utter all the consonant sounds "correctly" also. It is after all not impossible, we we learned to say the qaaf just fine. Why not zaal, zu'e, zuaad, suaad, the, He, 3ain and so on as well? Why be selective in preserving the purity of Arabic pronunciation? This is how I justify my consonant discussion here. Hope it makes sense to you.

    I did not suggest xush-xabarii is wrong (please go back and check). All I said is that based on my hearing majority of native speakers, I do not hear it. I do not know what vulgar means in lexical context, but good to see it is there. I sent a dictionary link earlier too that lists several variations of qalmii. Ferozul-Lughaat lists qalam all the way but switches to qalmeN (sideburns). Would you call qalameN instead? Do you pronounce badlah as badalah also, since badal is Arabic? How about calling xarch xarj/xaraj since it is also rooted in Arabic?

    Aside from this forum, I'm curious if you are commonly hearing things like qalami dost and xush-xabarii in everyday conversations? It sounds so alien to me that I could not have missed it, if I heard it even 20% of the time.

    So to summarize, I am not calling maulavii or qalamii wrong (who am I to talk like that any way!). What I am questioning this unwavering allegiance to inviolability of Arabic pronunciation as long as the Urdu compond has any Arabic stem. I have given several examples where actually it is not so above. And I am very thankful it is not so.

    In poetic context I am not surprised to see xabarii, as obviously it is not wrong. In fact, allow me to quote Faraz ...

    xalq kii be xabarii hai kih mirii ruswaa'ii
    log mujhko hii sunate haiN fasane mere

    And no, I do not think this is Punjabi influence on my speech. I have heard it the same way from a wide spectrum of native Urdu speakers. Thanks for throwing me that lifeline, though. :) I appreciate it.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  35. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
  36. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Tonyspeed, I am a bit confused as to the point you are making. Could you clarify? Basically, what I was able to tease out is that -
    (a) people who want prestige comply with non-native pronunciation. AGREED. This is always true in any language.
    (b) schwa deletion rules have exceptions. AGREED. This is also true of most linguistic rules.
    (c) there is variation among speakers of the language. AGREED. This is also true in any language spoken in scale.

    I am not sure if I missed something here. On inherent schwas in lettering, yes this is dependent on script. Schwa deletion refers to this as well as the deletion as words change form (nazar → nazrana). Do we know that schwas were pronounced in Vedic Sanskrit? No idea. Although, as you may know, Vedic Sanskrit and Avestan Persian were very close languages and I have seen some transforms between them, e.g. look at http://books.google.com/books?id=lZxGAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA323 -
    yō yaθā puθrəm taurunəm, haoməm vanadaēta mašyō, frā ābyō tanubyō, haomō visāite baēšazai (in Avestan)
    yō yáthā putráṃ táruṇaṃ, sōmáṃ vandēta mártyaḥ, prá ābhyas tanubhyaḥ, sōmō viśatē bhēṩajāya (in Vedic Sanskrit)

    Two things. First, if Northern India and Iran were speaking such close languages, how could they possibly be artificial. They, or close forms of them, must have been natural at some point - so I am not sure I agree with your contention there. Second, I don't really see any more schwas in Vedic Sanskrit compared to Avestan Persian. I am no expert and could be wrong on this, but schwa deletion in IA seems like a post-Sanskrit phenomenon. Also, remember we can compare the bazillion cognates in Sanskrit and Avestan/Persian for this too for medial schwas present in one but not the other - buland/brihat, jaan (life)/jana (person/being), doxtar/duhitr (daughter), biradar/bhratr (brother), pidar/pitr (father), asp-asb/ashv (horse), dast/hast (hand), dand/dant (tooth), xshathra/kshetra (area). The list is endless and I have trouble finding very many where Sanskrit has an extra schwa in the middle that Avestan or Persian don't. So, I have trouble agreeing with what seems to be your contention, though maybe I misunderstood you. BTW interesting and disconnected aside here is that xshathra → sheher in Persian where kshetra → khet in Hindi. Interesting that those two words should have a common root.
  37. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Tonyspeed, thank you for sharing this research. Very helpful. So retaining the schwa in question seems to be a sign of formality? Interesting. I better practice it for special occasions :)
  38. Alfaaz Senior Member

    I guess here is the part where we might be thinking differently. According to your post, it is preservation of Arabic pronunciation. According to me, it was preservation of Urdu pronunciation....as (probably most) of our ancestors speaking proper Urdu would have said maulawi and frowned upon something like molvi (mole-vii)...or maybe not :) ? Maybe that was too stereotypic of a thought as Urdu has many varieties...;
  39. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I contend that most of them (ancestors) said maulvii, instead. No one is arguing for molvii (mole-vii) BTW.

    Ever heard baba-i-Urdu maulavii abdul haq? I haven't, as of yet. Search YT for "maulvi abdul haq" and you'll find a couple of good starting points.

    Also would Urdu plural of maulavii be maulaviyoN or maulviyoN? I have never heard the former from anyone. The latter is ubiquitous.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  40. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    HU, what leads to nazraanah (نذرانہ) is not nazar (نظر), but nazr (نذر).
  41. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    If Platts says so, that becomes reality? Laughable, indeed. You are welcome to live in your Platts-defined world, but I prefer to live in the actual world. I am a north Indian myself and I've never heard these. The only "istrii" I know is the iron for ironing clothes.

    I don't know what happens in western Punjab, but at least in India there are many Punjabi speakers who do pronounce "school" as "iskuul". This is in fact one of the stereotypes in people's minds about Punjabi pronunciation.

    As for the connection, you should ask tonyspeed, since according to him schwa deletion is somehow linked to Sanskrit, even if the same tendency is being exhibited as strongly by Urdu as Hindi - and there are not too many Sanskrit-origin words in Urdu, I guess. Anyone saying "maulavii" and "ghalatii" does come across to me as one of the three: artificial, pretentious / non-native / having been born or having lived in that artificial environment where they were spoken like that. I am not saying that these are wrong, but they are not "natural" to me. I have never even heard "ghalatii" or "xabarii" in my whole life, including TV, films, etc. They might very well exist somewhere - I am sure you've already quoted some couplets from somewhere to prove that - but what I am talking about is how the overwhelming majority speaks them. And contrary to Faylasoof's opinions, that is what language is to me, not some rose petals clasped holy and sheathed from the world in a young girl's prayer books. "Ghalatii" and "xabarii" might very well be correct of course, just as some of the "artificial" Sanskrit that tonyspeed mentions might be. Got the connection?

    By the way, I was wondering if tonyspeed has some recordings from the Vedic era, since he spoke so confidently of how Sanskrit of today is not spoken the same way it was. I would be glad to get some of them if he has! :D

    EDIT: I noticed that according to tonyspeed north Indians were originally supposed to say "istrii" but that tendency has been wiped out due to some "Sanskritisation" (I do wonder though how did this drive affect even uneducated Hindi speakers, how did this so-called Sanskritisation really occur ... well, anyway!). So I guess that "sthaan" was "isthaan", "score" was "iscore" (since maybe cricket happened before Sanskritisation, whenever the latter took place?), and so on? By the way, where's the foreign conjunct in "strii" - what's foreign to it?
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  42. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    There are many such words across Hindi-Urdu, which are common in both their non-schwa-deleted and schwa-deleted forms: maraz/marz, rakam/rakm, dharam/dharm, garam/garm, hukam/hukum/hukm, charam/charm, sharam/sharm, etc.
    I use "marz" by the way.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  43. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Speaking of literary luminaries, I just spotted janaab Iftikhar Arif in the "Jashn-e-Iftikhar Arif III" youtube video using the word maulvii few times. Fast forward to about 59:45 and listen for a couple of minutes.
  44. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Thank you and good catch. I stand corrected.
  45. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Hmmm ... I don't think I have ever heard any Punjabi say istrii or strii, so can't really picture how that would go. The traditional word for women is 'naar' or 'rann'. People with Pahari influence (Dogri, Punchhi, Mirpuri) might say 'nuaar'. And when they say 'skool' it's usually 'sakool' or 'askool'. 'iskool' is more UP. I think Persians do 'eskool'. This is all very odd given that Sanskrit has 'skand', 'stan', 'sneh' and lots of such combinations. Why was this lost in HU and Punjabi? I wonder. I totally disagree that rural West Punjabis say 'skool' - they do not. I am actually reminded of an old PTV public service ad here 'Nai Roshni Sakool, Nai Roshni Sakool' (mid 1980s, it started 'Ai watan key logon, ye baat tumhe samjhana hai ...', wonder if anyone here remembers it). The guy singing it had a clear Punjabi lilt to his voice, though he spoke Urdu very well. Punjabi has lots of other schwa insertions too - mulk → mulak is common enough. Just search for 'NAWAN AYAN AE SOHNIA - Pakistani Punjabi Stage Drama Full' on YT at 1:30 - I am sure there are zillions more examples.
  46. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    BTW be cautious using British studies from the pre-1900 timeframe. The reason is that they expanded from Calcutta westwards. Most of their initial studies of Hindi-Urdu were of the Eastern Hindi region. You will notice several things about this, including the fact that their Nagri vowel pronunciations are usually diphthongal and many of their location examples involve places like Bhagalpur :) On Molvi vs Maulvi vs Maulavi, Molvi is wrong in HU and no natives say it that way that I am aware of - I cannot imagine a rural HU speaker saying this. When Punjabis speak HU non-natively they do sometimes say it that way (gave a specific YT clip on this earlier). However, Western (i.e. standard) HU uses Maulvi. Eastern HU might be Maulavi, but that is not the standard Khariboli dialect.
  47. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I think you're right, since in my very limited interaction with a few Punjabis, I've heard "sakool" and "askool"; however, there does exist a perception in certain sections that "iskool" is Punjabi, which is what I've heard, not the Punjabis themselves. Maybe I didn't hear from the right people. However, I've never heard "iskool" in at least western UP, where I've spent large portions of my life.

    As for "strii", well, actually, it's anyway not a word that's commonly used even in Hindi. One would say "aurat" or "naarii".
  48. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    If I could define my entire knowledge of the history of Hindi off of one Dr. Who who could travel back in time in a telephone box and that person was you, you'd have a point. And you'd have a reason for vehemence, if not belligerence. Until then, I will trust researchers who actually lived back then and heard 1800s Hindi first hand.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  49. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Not being sure of its relevance to the topic, I thought to come to know it by asking the question.

    How do you hear or pronounce the Urdu word متعلقہ ?
  50. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)

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