Hindi, Urdu: bilkul بالكل

tarkshya

Senior Member
Marwari
What is the correct pronunciation of word بالكل in Urdu?

The reason I ask is because the word is written as बिल्कुल in Hindi, and pronounced exactly as written, i.e. "bilkul". Its strange spelling in Urdu roused my curiosity. Apparently the word is Arabic in origin, and Arabic pronunciation is same as Hindi version.
 
  • Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    The Urdu pronunciation is also bilkul. The spelling has to do with the Arabic convention of retaining the alif of the definite article al- (the) after the preposition bi- (with/at/...), which is joined in writing to the following word, and the fact that al- loses its "a-" in pronunciation when it follows a vowel. So, it may be transcribed from Arabic as bi-'l-kull (I used the ' here simply to denote the omitted a, no glottal stop or any other sound), where kull = total/whole, so "bilkul" is essentially something like "in the whole".
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    Dib SaaHib has already provided a very comprehensive reply, but here are a few relevant posts and threads on this topic:

    Urdu: اگر اُنہیں تمہاری ضرورت ہوتی تو وہ ضرور تم سے رابطے کی کوشیش کرتے۔
    Alfaaz said:
    Chhaatr said:
    Could someone please explain why is there an "alif" after "be" of bilkul? Is this how bilkul is written in Urdu or am I reading it incorrectly?
    ...
    This is how bilkul is written in Urdu. You will find such spelling of many words which have been directly taken from Arabic and the original spelling is retained. Another example can be filHaal - فی الحال , discussed in this thread along with bilkul.
    ...
    Urdu: Filhaal فی الحال
    omlick said:
    Thanks for taking time to explain the reason why the "al" sort of disappears when you say it. In Hindi, the spelling of course would not take into account that "al" at all, so most Hindi speakers do not even know of its existence. The very common word "bilkuul" also is another example of this. Now I know why it is not spelled the same way in Hindi as in Urdu.
     

    tarkshya

    Senior Member
    Marwari
    Thanks Dib and Alfaaz for great explanation. I was curious about the spelling of proper name "zulfiqar" ذو الفقار too, but I guess now it is covered under the same explanation.
     

    Simple1234

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    People use "bilkul" to mean "absolutely" like this: "yeh vakya bilkul sahi hai" - This sentence is absolutely correct.
    However, why does it sound incorrect to my native ears when someone says "mai bilkul dara huwa hu". - I am absolutely terrified.
    I'd rather say " mai bahut dara huwa hu". Bahut sounds correct here.
    Can anyone please explain me the grammatical aspect of this, as in why "bahut" doesn't work in the second sentence even though the English substitute "absolutely" works fine in both the sentences?
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    People use "bilkul" to mean "absolutely" like this: "yeh vakya bilkul sahi hai" - This sentence is absolutely correct.
    However, why does it sound incorrect to my native ears when someone says "mai bilkul dara huwa hu". - I am absolutely terrified.
    I'd rather say " mai bahut dara huwa hu". Bahut sounds correct here.
    Can anyone please explain me the grammatical aspect of this, as in why "bahut" doesn't work in the second sentence even though the English substitute "absolutely" works fine in both the sentences?
    Actually, "maiN bahut Daraa huaa huuN" is a perfectly fine sentence and is more common than saying "maiN bilkul Daraa huaa huuN". The two phrases convey slightly different meanings though. The first phrase I wrote means "I am very/extremely terrified (or scared, afraid, frightened, etc.)" while the second means "I am quite/completely/absolutely/totally terrified (or scared, afraid, frightened, etc.)".
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Isn’t bilkul the Arabic بالکل? It is also used in Persian, pronounced belkol (colloquially bekol even benkol) ‘all of’, ‘completely’ ‘entirely’’
     
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    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    It's from Arabic (Arabic preposition bi- and the word كل) but not used in Arabic. We have كلِّيًا - كُلِّيتًا - بالكليِّة kulliyyan, kulliyyatan, bilkulliya, but to my knowledge, the last one isn't very commonly used.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Hi cherine, if بالکل, in this form, is not used in Arabic couldn't the be/bi have come from Persian?
    بالکل certainly is cited in Arabic, for example Wehr.

    As for whether بِ is Persian in بالکل, I would say no for two reasons.

    1) All words with بِ preceding the Arabic definite article have the Arabic preposition بِ.

    2) In Persian بِ is used with Persian verbs, as بِکُن، بِکرد etc while بَ is used with non-verbs etc, e.g روز بَروز، بَخانہ رفتم، بَاین، بآن، بَدین، بَدان and so forth. In the Modern Persian language, I don't believe this distinction is preserved.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    1) All words with بِ preceding the Arabic definite article have the Arabic preposition بِ.
    I can accept this.

    2) In Persian بِ is used with Persian verbs, as بِکُن، بِکرد etc while بَ is used with non-verbs etc, e.g روز بَروز، بَخانہ رفتم، بَاین، بآن، بَدین، بَدان and so forth. In the Modern Persian language, I don't believe this distinction is preserved.
    Is this a rule, is there any references for this?

    Modern Persian aside, a few regional accents within present Iran use 'ba' for verbs.

    بدان, بدین are from padi-in and padi-ān (pati-), you'd expect the short vowel /a/ to have been the original pronunciation.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    بالکل certainly is cited in Arabic, for example Wehr.
    Thank you, I didn't know this. Wehr (Arabic-English dictionary) does indeed give:
    بالكل on the whole, in the aggregate, taken altogether, in bulk.

    But I still believe it isn't used, at least not commonly, in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).

    Hi cherine, if بالکل, in this form, is not used in Arabic couldn't the be/bi have come from Persian?
    Putting aside the fact that بالكل is/was used in Arabic, and to add to Qureshpor's reply, I don't see a reason why the word would be formed like this when the Arabic preposition already gives the appropriate meaning.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Putting aside the fact that بالكل is/was used in Arabic, and to add to Qureshpor's reply, I don't see a reason why the word would be formed like this when the Arabic preposition already gives the appropriate meaning.
    I accept what you are saying and had accepted Qureshpor's reply, especially for this word as it is a wholesale borrowing, including ال.

    Some Arabic borrowed words do take on Persian prepositions/suffixes: بقدری, بوقت etc., unless these are from Arabic too.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Some Arabic borrowed words do take on Persian prepositions/suffixes: بقدری, بوقت etc., unless these are from Arabic too.
    No, the بَ here is not Arabic but Persian and is still pronounced in some quarters as ba- as ba-vaqt, ba-qadrii etc as in the examples I gave in my previous post. In Iran it may be pronounced as bi- now. fdb is of the view that there has possibly been some contamination between the Persian pa- and the Arabic bi-.
    Persian: prefix-be
     
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