Hindi: Pronunciation of "r" in English loanwords

Pokeflute

Senior Member
English - American
Hi all,

Is "r" pronounced at the end of syllables in English loanwords? In my experience, words like "card," "internet," and homework," are pronounced without an "r" (i.e. 'kaaD', 'inTaneT', 'homvak').

However there are some English loanwords which seem to keep this "r" (e.g. "car" is 'kaar', "number" is 'nambar').

Does anyone know what's going on here? My original hunch was maybe that "r" needed to have a sound after it to be dropped, except I've heard "professor" as 'profesa', which would break this "rule".

(FWIW all these pronunciations come from people who also speak English fluently (e.g., went to an English medium school), in case that makes this a biased sample)
 
  • littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    The "r" is usually pronounced in Indians' English in all of these: "card," "internet," "homework," "professor." And this holds true whether the speaker is a fluent English speaker or not. I have in fact never heard an Indian speaking these words without an "r."
     

    Pokeflute

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Interesting - I wonder if this varies by speaker.

    Littlepond, I'm a bit surprised because dropping the "r" seemed to be the norm in my experience. It's quite possible I'm mishearing.

    I can't link videos here, but in 3 idiots trailer Aamir Khan says "saalaa paidaa hone ke liye bhi teen sau million spam (sperm) se res (race) lagaani paRii thi." However Farhaan's father I believe says "meraa beTaa enjiniir (engineer) banegaa" with an "r".
     
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    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    I can't link videos here, but in 3 idiots trailer Aamir Khan says "saalaa paidaa hone ke liye bhi teen sau million spam (sperm) se res (race) lagaani paRii thi." However Farhaan's father I believe says "meraa beTaa enjiniir (engineer) banegaa" with an "r".

    Aamir Khan says "sparm" (sperm), not "spam"!
    (And Parikshit Sahni says "ainjiniiyar.")
     
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    Pvitr

    Member
    Panjabi
    Perhaps someone more used to speaking with native English speakers would pick up the habit of not pronouncing 'r's. Whilst someone learning English purely at school (in India) is more likely to pronounce the r as that features in the spelling?

    Just a thought, no actual research behind this. Although I have heard of eg 'stomach' being taught as /stomaʧ/ rather than /stomak/.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Perhaps someone more used to speaking with native English speakers would pick up the habit of not pronouncing 'r's. Whilst someone learning English purely at school (in India) is more likely to pronounce the r as that features in the spelling?

    Just a thought, no actual research behind this. Although I have heard of eg 'stomach' being taught as /stomaʧ/ rather than /stomak/.

    Do you mean to say all the native English speakers say "intenet" for internet and "caad" for "card"?

    And I have never heard anyone being taught /stomaʧ/! (Was the teacher a German?)
     

    Pvitr

    Member
    Panjabi
    Very common to miss out 'r's in Southern UK English esp in London/surrounding areas. So not all English speakers. But still quite normal, including for educated/well spoken people.
    So internet => intənet

    The stomach anecdote was told to me by someone taught in a village school several decades ago. I was trying to illustrate that Indians may try to pronounce English words phonetically, although obviously that doesn't always work out.
     

    Pokeflute

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Aamir Khan says "sparm" (sperm), not "spam"!
    @littlepond - Interesting. I relistened to the clip many times, and I kind of hear an "r". My brain keeps alternating between it being /spəm/ and /spəɾm/, so now I'm extremely confused.

    Assuming I can't link videos, there's a youtube video called "harry potter first visit to Hogwarts station scene harry found 9¾ railway station in hindi". (Watching this movie is what prompted the question actually).

    At 0:28, Harry asks "ek baat bataenge, aapko pataa hai plaitfaum (platform) nambar paune das kahaaN hoga?"

    Perhaps "r" before another consonant (like "m" in "sperm") is slightly softer, and for whatever reason I'm not able to hear it.

    __
    (And Parikshit Sahni says "ainjiniiyar.")

    Ah my mistake. In general I have a very hard time hearing the difference between "iiyar" and "iir" (I was saying "career" as "kariir" instead of "kariyar" until very recently).
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    It may (or may not!) be worth mentioning that the r-coloured vowels of American English can be quite extreme with the tongue pulled quite far back and even turned up as in retroflex sounds (such as Hindi ट and ड).

    R-colored vowel - Wikipedia

    In fact, the vowel in the standard American pronunciation of bird is considered by some to be a syllabic r and may in fact be extremely similar to the ancient Sanskrit pronunciation of ऋ (possibly interesting side-note). The pronunciation of that sound is a wider topic though and I don't consider myself an authority on it!!

    Anyway if your brain is listening for something akin to what you would hear in the American pronunciation of (say) sperm, that may be causing it to sound a bit different to you compared to how it sounds to Indian people. In much the same way as how many Indian people hear English t and d as ट and ड or how some people hear क़ (se qalam) as क (se kashmir)
     

    Pokeflute

    Senior Member
    English - American
    That might be it honestly. Since it's an English word my brain might just be expecting a certain sound, and mishearing things.

    I'm slightly spooked now haha, but thanks for the help everyone. I'll do some more digging and see what I can turn up.
     
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