Gujarati: Surat (pronunciation)

seitt

Senior Member
English/Welsh
Hi
Is the spelling સુરત correct, please? In particular, should the U be short or long? It seems to be short in the Gujarati entry on the city in Wikipedia, but the Hindi version has it with a long U: सूरत, so I am a bit confused.
Best Wishes
Simon
 
  • Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    That said, I (non-Gujarati) have only ever heard it as सूरत, and Hindi news sites also spell it as so.
    The pronunciation bit is easy - Gujarati has no vowel length distinction. So, that's that.

    The spelling is a different matter, of course. But a little bit of googling in the Gujarati language media seems to suggest that સુરત is indeed the usual spelling. The spelling સૂરત does seem to occur occasionally - especially in informal (unedited) writing, as you'd expect in a language without length distinction in the pronunciation. Interestingly, the news-site oneindia seems to write both સૂરત and સુરત.
     

    seitt

    Senior Member
    English/Welsh
    Wow, thank you so much, all is clear now.

    When short U and long U fall together, the result tends to be more like long U than short U, so that makes total sense.
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Wow, thank you so much, all is clear now.

    When short U and long U fall together, the result tends to be more like long U than short U, so that makes total sense.
    You are welcome. Btw, it’s a good thing that you cross-checked only the Hindi name and not the Bengali. That would have opened a whole different can of worms. 😂
     

    seitt

    Senior Member
    English/Welsh
    Wow, thank you so much, all is clear now. When short U and long U fall together, the result tends to be more like long U than short U, so that makes total sense.

    By the way, what does the name સુરત actually mean?

    This is what I've been able to discover so far but it's only based on what I could glean from the web. Interestingly, Sanskrit has both सूरत and सुरत, essentially the same word, but the former in particular means "well disposed towards, compassionate, tender; tranquil, calm", which seems a good name for a port; perhaps it refers in particular to the sea surrounding it.

    Apparently, સુરત was the most prosperous port in the Mughal empire and only ceased to be an important port because the mouth of the તાપી [< तपती “(the) warming/heating (goddess)”, a daughter of सूर्यः], silted up.
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    Btw, it’s a good thing that you cross-checked only the Hindi name and not the Bengali. That would have opened a whole different can of worms. 😂
    Now I'm curious! Why is it সুরাট? In particular: (1) Why the retroflex ট? (2) I guess the Bengali inherent vowel is not a schwa, so I can see why choosing between অ and আ might feel sort of arbitrary, but is there a reason why আ is preferred here?
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    My guess is that it is a direct transcription from English. Bengali often does this for place-names outside its own vicinity (and sometimes even inside Bengal). That probably also explains the retroflex t used in Bengali in "Gujarat" as well. There may be a second (strengthening) factor - a confusion with Soraṭh (<Saurāṣṭra), but I doubt Bengalis were that well-acquainted with Gujarat to know that (mostly local?) name of Kathiawad.
     
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