Urdu, Hindi: Small h (ہ) ending while spelling Indic words

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by UrduMedium, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    In Urdu there are many Persian and Arabic words that end in the small h (ہ). There are also a number of "Indic" words that seem to end in the same letter (small h) and at other times I see their variant with an alif (aa) ending.

    Examples:
    TaaNkaa v. TaaNkah
    paTaaxaa v. paTaaxah

    In other cases it is almost always an "h" ending instead of an "aa"

    Examples:
    Thikaanah
    taaNgah
    baarah (12, other such numbers too)
    thaanah
    okaaRah (place name in Punjab)
    amriikah (America)

    Are such "h" ending because they are such when written in Nagari? or is small h ending just a convention to indicate an ending short-vowel 'a'? Or something else at work here.

    Curious to get forum members views.
     
  2. Chhaatr Senior Member

    Hindi
    UM SaaHib just wanted to make a small correction. In Devnagari script except for baarah, none of the other words end with an "h". They all have "aa" ending.
     
  3. Alfaaz Senior Member

    English
    Indic and English words should end in an alif and the use of a ہ for these is (or at least should be) considered wrong. (This was discussed many times in a television program, after which the host said that a few Urdu newspapers took notice and became more careful with spelling of words like thaanaa, rikshaa, bharosaa, etc.)
     
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Did the host also say that those Indic words which end with an "-h" should also be written with an alif (long a, "-aa")?
     
  5. Alfaaz Senior Member

    English
    Excuse the ambiguity in the previous post. No, those should obviously be written with a -h, but what was pointed out was the fact that Indic words that are supposed to end in an alif are written with a he to make them appear like/resemble Arabic/Persian/Urdu words...that then sometimes leads to things like qaabil-e-bharosah, (which as discussed in this forum would be considered wrong in Urdu).
     
  6. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Thanks everyone for your quick responses.

    Alfaaz saahab- Is the host's claim validated by the well-known dictionaries? Curious how these spellings became so widespread. Adding aa to some of these just does not "sound" right. For example, taaNgah in writing would be read typically as taaNga which sounds right at least to my ears. Making it taaNgaa would sound a bit excessive. Do we have other sources validating the TV host views?
     
  7. Alfaaz Senior Member

    English
    Not sure, but the words end with an alif in Platts and UE. Examples: TaaNkaa ٹانکا ; Thikaanaa ٹھکانا
     
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I don't remember seeing these ever written with a final -h in Urdu.
     
  9. Alfaaz Senior Member

    English
     
  10. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  11. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for the citations, here, there and everywhere. As I said I don't remember seeing these written with a final -h. What I should have added was that this was in reputable printed materials. The net is a very useful source of information and knowledge but one has to be careful about the accuracy of some of the material. I am not a great fan of the Urdu LuGhat although it is a good source of first usages.

    In Urdu Ghazal poetry, a word like xazaanah can rhyme with aanaa, jaanaa. Sometimes for the sake of aesthetics, words are made to match as is the case of the Ghazal cited above, the words being Thikaanah and xazaanah.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  12. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
    If the word does end with a Chotii he (incorrectly), does this give the reader the impression that there should be an exhalation at the end of the word?

    What about the word "baarah"? How do you pronounced the "ah" at the end?
     
  13. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ I think the -h ending in baarah does seem material and somewhat different from the rest (thanks to Chhaatr for highlighting it). It is preserved in extensions like baarhwaaN (twelfth), and it does not decline to baare like saaraa/saare.

    Both the Indic Thikaanaa/Thikaanah and Arabic xazaanah do decline as Thikaane and xazaane, and lose the ending "h" in plurals ThikaanoN and xazaanoN. So practically there is no difference between them linguistic usage, except for source language. The final vowel measure for the two seems the same to me as well. It would be odd to hear someone say xazaanah in spoken language, as too would Thikaanah be. So the -h ending just seems a short vowel convention to me. Your mileage may vary.

    Edit: For completeness sake, adding Persian bahaanah to the examples Thikaana[a|h] and xazaanah as it behaves similarly in terms of declension and plurals.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  14. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
    This also in Hindi always ends with the "aa" matra, never "ah".
     
  15. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    [Urdu]

    It is [xəzaːnə], [bəɦaːnə] not [*xəzaːnaː], [*bəɦaːnaː].
    [bəɦaːnaː] is a verb, like in aaNsuu bahaanaa while [bəɦaːnə] is a noun.
     
  16. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    In fact, UM, in spoken Hindi, it is quite often declined: I hear both "baarah baje" and "baare baje", to take an example.
     
  17. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Interesting. I have never heard it this way. Does it apply equally for 11-18?
     
  18. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    ^ It does, even more often!
     
  19. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    It's probably a nonstandard/regional pronunciation.
     
  20. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I'm wondering if it really declines or is it a matter of a non-standard pronunciation, in other words if it is baarah baj gaye but *baare baje ko.
     

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