Hindi/Urdu: Pronunciation of खंडहर

El Ganador

Senior Member
India - Hindi and English
My understanding is that the 'अ's in many words spelled with an 'अ + ह + अ' are sometimes pronounced as the 'e' in 'bed'.

Examples are:
ठहरना, ज़हर, कहना, दोपहर, etc

Then, why is 'खंडहर' rarely, if ever, pronounced using the 'e' in 'bed' (the Wiktionary doesn't cite an entry with the "'e' in 'bed' sound" in the possible pronunciations, unlike for all the other words I listed).
  • Maybe because it was originally a composite word (khaNd-ghar), of which the -h- sound is just a softening of the original -gh-?

    [EDIT]: Interestingly in Urdu, the -h- sound seems to disappear altoghether, being absorbed into the retroflex D: khaNDar


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    ^ Both khaNd-har and khaNdar are used by Hindi speakers, and I assume Urdu speakers too. But your explanation about it being a composite word with the original “gh” softened is likely correct.
    Thanks for confirming that I'm not the only one to pronounce the word as khaNDar instead of khaNDahar.
    Considering your points, I agree that if the 'gh' can be softened to a 'h', and the 'h' be elided at times, people may not pronounce the word the way they do for other 'अ + ह + अ' words.