Urdu: Saaf Urdu

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by urdustan, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. urdustan Junior Member

    Urdu & English
    I have heard my elders speak of a "Saaf Urdu". What does this mean exactly? From what I understand of their explanation, it refers to an Urdu with higher-register (Farsi) vocabulary. Is this correct?
  2. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    More or less yes! We have another way of expressing it by using the term shustah = Saaf:
    شستہ اردو shustah urduu = Fluent, unadulterated speech (esp. these days without a preponderance of English words).

    [shustah = washed - from the Persian verb shustan = to wash ]

    You can use this term for any language: شستہ زبان shustah zabaan = Eloquent, fluent language / speech.

    But because Urdu vocabulary is traditionally derived from Prakrit, Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit, with a helping of words from European languages too, esp. English, it is not so easy always to define exactly what would constitute shustah urduu. However, most native Urduphones and non-native Urduphones with a solid grounding in Persian and Arabic languages tend to go for words from these two but without excluding words of Indic origin and "urduwised" words borrowed from European languages. In fact, there are times we might prefer not just a Prakrit word but one from Sanskrit that have been well and truly part of the language for centuries, rather than go for those from Arabic or Persian. This still speech would still be called shustah urduu.

    Another term is بلیغ اردو baliiGh urduu = eloquent urduu.

    Often we use the two terms together: شستہ و بلیغ اردو \ زبان shustah o baliiGh urduu / zabaan = Fluent and eloquent urduu / language or speech
  3. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I agree with all points of the preceding post. Besides, I would like to add that Saaf urduu, as well as shustah urduu, includes lack of dialectical features in regard to vocabulary, syntax and pronunciation. In other words, we can say it relates to Modern Standard literary Urdu.

    Seemingly contradicting what F. SaaHib and myself have said, it is sometimes used not in the sense of the particular language, i.e. Urdu, but generally for requesting a clear-cut manner of speech, cf.

    Saaf-Saaf kahiye, aSl mudda3aa kyaa hai
    Saaf Urdu meN bataa'o kih aSl mudda3aa kyaa hai.

    BTW. I have noticed Faylasoof SaaHib's transliteration of the third person present of ''honaa'' that is ہے. hae. I will go with it from now on.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    "mushaa'ire ka aaGhaaz Raina Sahib ki istiqbaaliyah taqreer se hu'a. nihaayat narm-o-naazuk lehje meiN, saaf-o-shaffaaf zabaan ka iste'maal--- goya, kaanoN meiN misri ghulne lagi! maiN ne is se pehle kabhi kisi ko aisi dhuli-dhulaai zabaan bolte naheeN suna tha, is liye dam-ba-khud ho kar unheN suna kiya!"

    From Raj Kumar "Qais

  5. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Of course, Saaf o shaffaaf is also used, just as dhulii and also manjhii zabaan.

    But in baliiGh urduu we say baliiGh zabaan etc.
  6. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    It can mean different to different people; you should ask the speaker to explain what he or she means by the same. Urdu is a hybrid language which came out due to conversion of many other languages; when one reads its history, one realizes that there can't be "one" manner of speaking it which is correct/pure while others being incorrect/impure. It is a subjective/grey area.
  7. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    ^ Contrary to your opinion, Modern Standard Urdu does have a standard of correctness and eloquence, based i.a. on its rich literary history and concepts like فصاحت and استناد. As for its being hybrid, the case is no different from let's say Hindi or English. Still we know what is Standard literary English and what is not.

    This thread and its opening post in particular is perfectly suited for a reference:

    Urdu-Hindi: What is "fasiiH" and "mustanad"?

    Do consider my post where I shared a Hindi-Hindi lexicon's entry, which corresponds with the subject matter in here.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  8. urdustan Junior Member

    Urdu & English
    Is "xaaliS urduu" also the same as "Saaf urduu"?
  9. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    It would all depend on how one would define "xaaliS" (pure) Urdu, given that our vocabulary is a big mix of mainly Prakrit derived words together with those from other Indic languages (including Sanskrit), further mixed with a very large proportion of foreign words that have become "Urduwized" ... and we all know from which languages we've borrowed from.
  10. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    ^Perhaps such a criterion could be the grammar system, correct conjugation (like aap haiN instead of aap ho, maiN karuuN gaa not ham kare gaa etc.). Hovewer this epithet eerily resembles a similar one from Hindi. I have encountered it in one or two Hindi works on the history of languages.
  11. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Quite! We too had here some exhaustive - I would even say exhausting (!) - discussions on this issue.
    But coming to the point of system of grammar, correct conjugation etc. we will not be able to say "this is xaaliS Urdu" because the same grammatical arguments would apply to Hindi, given that our grammars are the same with what many would consider only minor differences, e.g. opposite gender allocations for some nouns etc.
  12. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I find this term is an unfortunate one and I don't use it. Yes, the discussions were both exhaustive and exhausting but they have served their purpose I hope this was not in vain.

    I have to agree with you about the system of verbs but it has not to be confrontational, Faylasoof SaaHib. Within Urdu one can say "His Urdu is xaaliS" without any reference to Hindi because Hindi is irrelevant for the so-called purity of Urdu.

    All these speculations aside, I would lik e udrustan to have his or her say what context he or she heard it in. xaaliS Urdu is not something I'd be ready to say; there are other terms which serve the purpose, as said in this thread.
  13. urdustan Junior Member

    Urdu & English
    Marrish SaHeb, I'm a he. On a TV show a character said "vuh to xaaliS urduu boltaa hai". It sounded similar to Saaf urduu in meaning but I wanted to confirm.
  14. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ I would suggest that "vuh" speaks Urdu without a preponderance of English and therefore implying a good command of Urdu vocabulary, with a "lahjah" that is clearly of a mother-tongue speaker or at least a neutral one and last but not least a form of language that is fluent and idiomatic.
  15. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Marrish SaaHib, I do not quite follow your reference to "confrontational"! I'm merely pointing out that the term "xaaliS" for Urdu presents me with a problem for reasons I've mentioned here already and those we've all discussed before. There are times we've seen that a sentence may be described equally as Urdu or Hindi - I mean colloquial Hindi. I'm of course aware that modern literary Hindi is a different cup of tea altogether.
  16. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I too would use these criteria to describe what I prefer to call shustah Urdu although one could always argue that we are getting into a semantic debate as to what is "xaaliS" and what is "shustah" but given the present day trends, the preference of not using too many English words would qualify as "shustah", may be "xaaliS" too. However, I somehow prefer the former term .... but then I am partial to it!
  17. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    And you have full right not to follow it since I used a wrong word :warn:. My apologies, my intention was to write 'comparative', that is to say, in this case Urdu needs not be talked about with reference/comparison to other languages.
  18. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Quite so! Context always plays a very important role!
    I know there is TheTh but the way some of us may be using / thinking of how Saaf / xaaliS / shuddh etc. are used by others may differ as well.
    As I say, I do have a kind of uncomfortable feeling about these terms at least as far as my own mother tongue goes but do feel that often now people trying to speak Urdu are found deficient in even basic vocabulary, leave alone well-recognized higher vocabulary that all living languages aspire to. Languages also borrow from each other and we've borrowed a lot and will continue to do so. Just need to "Urduwize" them more as we used to.
  19. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    OK marrish SaaHib! I see what you were trying to say. Thanks for the clarification!

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