Gujarati, Hindi: માઁ

Kevinbb

New Member
English
[Moderator note: this thread is moved from the Other Languages forum, and the title changed from Unknown Language to Gujarati, Hindi: માઁ. Cherine]

Can anyone please help. I am trying to find out the meaning of this tattoo. Im not sure if it is chinese or japanese or ......
 

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  • Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    It's Gujarati for "mother". This is how it appears on a computer instead of in some individual's handwriting: માઁ

    I'm not sure about that short stroke in the upper left corner. It could be that the hook you can see at the top of the character as rendered on a computer is detached in some people's handwriting, but the detachment makes it look like a separate symbol, in which case the hook is just gone; the letter just has a simple straight line and the detached short stroke is something else. But I haven't seen that symbol before and don't know what it could be for, so the theory that it's just the hook getting detached in this handwriting style seems more likely.

    The rest of it is quite clear, though. The base consonant is મ (ma). The added vertical stroke on the right extends the vowel, which can be romanized as "ā" or "aa". The dot & crescent above indicates nasalization, which, in another language family, might be represented with a tilde (ã), but, in romanization of Indic languages, it tends to be represented with a subsequent nasal consonant, with a ring above it if you're able to add the ring (m̊ / n̊ depending on the next consonant after that). This yields the standard romanization as given at Google Translate: mām̊.

    It's not clear to me when that nasalization symbol _ઁ does and doesn't indicate the actual pronunciation of a consonant after the vowel instead of just vowel nasalization alone (so the sound could be closer to English "ma" or "mom"), so marking nasalization with an additional letter like that might be misleading to a reader who isn't used to that convention. But the other possible ways to romanize both of these vowel modifications (long and nasal) on the same vowel are rather troublesome too, so I guess they have to pick the least bad option. Or maybe there really is an audible "m" at the end anyway; if you ask in the Indic language subforum here you'll find someone better qualified than me to answer about the nasal pronunciation.

    This is the second time I've seen people here asking about a tattoo, both with pictures. I can't imagine meeting somebody who poses for a tattoo picture but refuses to say what it is!
     

    Maharaj

    Senior Member
    Bundeli, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi
    It's Hindi word माँ for mother, I think he has not drawn that horizontal line just for styling purpose. Pretty confident the stroke at the left also is for styling. Or as one user suggested it could be Gujarati in which that line is not drawn.
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    (ঁ), चन्द्रबिन्दु /candrabindu/ ( moon crescent - point ) is indeed a sign of a nasalised vowel
    Does this mean that there is not, under any circumstances (for example, in the middle of a word with something else like a B/P/D/T after it), ever a distinct sound of "m" or "n" after the vowel? If not, how was "m" chosen to represent it at the end of a word when vowel nasalization sounds more like "n"? Is it because that sound was pronounced in the past?
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    Does this mean that there is not, under any circumstances (for example, in the middle of a word with something else like a B/P/D/T after it), ever a distinct sound of "m" or "n" after the vowel?

    No, the m/n sound can be there.

    If not, how was "m" chosen to represent it at the end of a word when vowel nasalization sounds more like "n"? Is it because that sound was pronounced in the past?

    The transliteration is ṁ (m with a dot above it). Some choose this transliteration for the nasalized vowel and use ṅ (n with a dot above it) for the velar nasal consonant instead.
     
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