All IIR Languages: Sanksritic v to b

PolyglotJersey

New Member
English-America, Hindi
Perhaps this has been adressed before, but does anyone know why/how/when some sanskrit words with V in them started to become B in hindustani? Off the top of my head; veer --> beer, vikram --> bikram. Maybe this is not a hindustani thing but a dialect one.

Thanks!
 
  • desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    v>b is a Prakritization/colloquialism in Indo-Aryan languages that also happens in sh>s (e.g. desh>des), y>j (e.g. yantra>jantar as in jantar-mantar), and conjunct consonants (e.g. dharm>dharam). Some of the shifts may have occurred in Prakrit itself (Middle Indo-Aryan) while others occurred in New Indo-Aryan. This Prakritization/colloquialism isn't just restricted to native words, but also happens for Perso-Arabic words in q>k (e.g. qasam>kasam), Gh>g (e.g. Ghariib>gariib), x>kh (e.g. xuun>khuun), short vowels (e.g. suluuk>saluuk), conjunct consonants (e.g. garm>garam), etc.

    As a result, there are pronunciation variants for many words. In the case of v>b, it's often a regional variation, with the v pronunciation being more common in certain areas and the b pronunciation in others. That's why you've heard the dual pairs viir/biir and vikram/bikram.

    Note: Since you asked about "Hindustani" in particular, it's worth noting that the trends in Urdu and Hindi are a bit different. Urdu has been influenced by Perso-Arabic norms and not Sanskrit, so it generally considers Prakritized/colloquialized forms of Perso-Arabic words to be wrong while Indo-Aryan words are usually only present in Prakritized/colloquialized forms. Meanwhile, in Hindi the Sanskrit norms, Perso-Arabic norms, and their Prakritized forms are all often accepted. Therefore, for Hindi words that have v and b variations, Urdu typically has only b or neither. For example, Hindi has vair and bair (enmity), but Urdu has only the bair pronunciation.
     
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    PolyglotJersey

    New Member
    English-America, Hindi
    Interesting, is there a particular reason that the prakritization occurred other than the natural shifting of language? I.e. why v>b and not any other phoneme.
    Note: Since you asked about "Hindustani" in particular
    Would you say that most Hindi speakers are really speaking the Urdu forms more than the "shudd" Hindi? I generally thought of Hindi/Urdu as nearly identical, except for the writing and perhaps much heavier reliance on Perso-Arabic lexicon. (Anecdotally, most hindi speakers are also using many Perso-Arabic words as I've found)
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    Interesting, is there a particular reason that the prakritization occurred other than the natural shifting of language? I.e. why v>b and not any other phoneme.

    A natural shifting is a good explanation. Phonemes get phonetically adapted. I just mentioned above other examples of sound shifts besides v>b (i.e. sh>s, y>j, q>k, Gh>g, x>kh, etc.).

    Would you say that most Hindi speakers are really speaking the Urdu forms more than the "shudd" Hindi? I generally thought of Hindi/Urdu as nearly identical, except for the writing and perhaps much heavier reliance on Perso-Arabic lexicon. (Anecdotally, most hindi speakers are also using many Perso-Arabic words as I've found)

    Be careful about using phrases such as "Urdu forms" and "(shuddh) Hindi forms" as people may object to their usage being labeled Urdu or Hindi unless they are speakers of that language, and the "shuddh" label can also anger people because it may imply that the usage is unnatural. Anyway, the v>b shift occurs for many Indo-Aryan words in Hindi and Urdu, with Hindi having both the v and b forms, and Urdu typically only the b or neither. Sometimes the v pronunciation is more common in Hindi and sometimes b is, and it can also depend on the region. The same can be said for the sh>s and y>j shifts. In Urdu, the q, Gh, and x pronunciations for Perso-Arabic words prevail, but in Hindi the k, g, and kh pronunciations are more common (though the q, Gh, x pronunciations are also found). So to answer your question, Urdu and Hindi pronunciations are not necessarily the same. There can be distinct differences.
     
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    PolyglotJersey

    New Member
    English-America, Hindi
    I just mentioned above other example of sounds shifts besides v>b (i.e. sh>s, y>j, q>k, Gh>g, x>kh, etc.).
    Yes, I saw those, what I meant was why not any other phoneme in a sense of why v>b occurred and not v>some other consonant. Though I suppose that the v and b are pretty close. This is a stretch, but do you think it has anything to do with the similarity of the devanagari characters ब and व ?

    Be careful about using phrases such as "Urdu forms" and "(shuddh) Hindi forms" as people may object to their usage being labeled Urdu or Hindi unless they are speakers of that language, and the "shuddh" label can also anger people because it may imply that the usage is unnatural.
    Fair point, I'll keep that in mind.
    I appreciate your replies, very informative!
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    Yes, I saw those, what I meant was why not any other phoneme in a sense of why v>b occurred and not v>some other consonant. Though I suppose that the v and b are pretty close. This is a stretch, but do you think it has anything to do with the similarity of the devanagari characters ब and व ?

    v>b is a common sound shift that's been well documented in many Indo-European language branches. v>b shift might have to do with the similar characters in some cases, but generally no because it is also a common feature in Indo-Aryan languages that don't use Devanagari. The shift is even found in Sanskrit/Prakrit, so its first occurrences perhaps predate the use of writing.

    Note: v>b sometimes occurs in Perso-Arabic words too (in Hindi, not Urdu). For example, Arabic/Persian/Urdu have vidaa3, which in Hindi is vidaa and bidaa.

    Note 2: v can also shift to the vowels o/au when it's in non-initial positions. For example, pavan>paun.
     
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