Hindi-Urdu: cart

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
Hi,

Is the Hindi-Urdu word for "cart" टाँगा ٹانگا or ताँगा تانگا?

Thanks!
 
  • aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    I've encountered both. In fact, Manto alone used both:

    برقعے — اس نے ایک برقع پوش لڑکی دیکھی جو ٹانگے میں سے اتر رہی تھی

    बुर्क़े — उसने एक बुर्क़ापोश लड़की देखी जो टाँगे में से उतर रही थी

    بارش — تانگہ اس دور دراز جگہ ملنا محال ہے

    बारिश — ताँगा इस दूर-दराज़ जगह मिलना मुहाल है

    Also, FWIW: spelling-wise, it seems that تانگا co-exists with تانگہ and similarly that ٹانگا co-exists with ٹانگہ.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I would say that the actual Urdu or Hindi word is "taaNgaa" but as the Britishers could not or had difficulty with pronouncing a "t", they pronounced it as "tonga" which then also became to be pronounced as a TaaNgaa by the natives, bearing in mind that the English "t" was perceived to be closer to a retroflex "T".

    In Punjabi, it always seems to be prounced as "TaaNgaa".
     
    Last edited:

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    Based on some dictionary searches, the initial sound appears to be retroflex in Bengali and also in Marathi, but perhaps native speakers of these and other Indo-Aryan languages can confirm if this is accurate! I wonder if this suggests that it was retroflex in Urdu-Hindi at first as well. Then it started becoming dental for some mysterious reason but never transformed completely...? I don't know what could have prompted this dentalization though.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    One way to ascertain this is to find out if it is shown in any of the pre-colonial literature. Urdu LuGhat normally provides old occurrences of the word and on this occasion it gives "TaaNgaa" source to be "Shabd-saagar" whereas for "taaNgaa" it gives a reference linked to the poet Hali who lived and died during the British rule. So, the jury is still out.
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    One way to ascertain this is to find out if it is shown in any of the pre-colonial literature. Urdu LuGhat normally provides old occurrences of the word and on this occasion it gives "TaaNgaa" source to be "Shabd-saagar" whereas for "taaNgaa" it gives a reference linked to the poet Hali who lived and died during the British rule. So, the jury is still out.
    I agree that clear historical specimens would provide incontrovertible evidence one way or the other. That being said, I have trouble seeing a plausible way of logically reconciling the following three things:

    (a) The situation that Punjabi(=P), Bengali(=B), and Marathi(=M) all uniformly use a retroflex sound. [I'm continuing to assume for the moment that my dictionary searches are accurate reflections of the situation in Bengali and Marathi, which of course they may not be.]
    (b) The situation that both the dental and retroflex versions co-exist in Hindi-Urdu(=HU=UH).
    (c) The hypothesis that UH originally uniformly had a dental sound that incompletely underwent retroflexion under influence of the English.

    These taken together seem to me to lead to a "contradiction" in all cases (where by "contradiction" I just mean something that seems quite unlikely):

    (1) If the word descends into HU, P, B, and M from a common ancestral language, then the fact that the retroflex sound occurs in the majority of these languages suggests that the word was almost certainly retroflex in the ancestral language. But then what would have caused UH to uniformly have a dental sound...? There's no great reason for HU to have inherited a uniformly dental version of this one word that all of its sister languages retained as retroflex (including P, which is genetically quite close to UH).

    (2) If the word was loaned from one of these sister languages to the others, which way could the loaning have possibly gone to result in the present distribution? The word can't have been loaned into HU from one its sister languages: those sister languages all have a retroflex, so it would have been loaned into UH with a retroflex as well, but that contradicts the assumption made in (c) that HU uniformly used a dental sound initially. It can't have been loaned from UH into its sister languages before the English arrived: if HU uniformly used a dental sound as we've assumed in (c), it would have been loaned into those sister languages as a dental sound as well, which leads me to wonder why those languages all subsequently underwent complete retroflexion while UH only underwent partial retroflexion. That seems quite unlikely. The only other possibility is that it was loaned from HU into its sister languages after the English arrived, but this still doesn't explain why all three of the sister languages loaned the retroflex version when UH itself never underwent complete retroflexion and both forms continue to co-exist in HU.

    ---

    Of course, language doesn't always behave logically, so who knows! Maybe one of those unlikely things above is in fact what happened. In any case, even if we hypothesize instead that the sound was originally uniformly retroflex in HU, we're not really off the hook. We still need to answer this:
    I don't know what could have prompted this dentalization though.
    And I still don't know what could have prompted this, but here's a conjecture! The fact that the word is sometimes spelled with a gol he in Urdu might mean that the word underwent partial dentalization under influence of Persian...? In other words, at some point the word ٹانگا was "Persianized" to تانگہ and the latter gained currency as a kind of sophisticated-sounding/looking version of the former...?
     
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