Hindi, Urdu: retroflex R ड़ / ڑ

< Previous | Next >

eskandar

Moderator
English (US)
I have been reading about Hindi and Urdu phonology but I am still confused about the actual occurrence of the retroflex flap [ɽ], represented on this forum as R, or Hindi ड़ (with dot), Urdu ڑ . (Paging Dib baabuu...!)

My confusion stems from the fact that in Hindi, as with other dotted consonants it is commonly written without a dot, and commonly written in romanized Hindi as D.
Yet it seems to me that a distinction in spoken Hindi between the two sounds is always made (perhaps I am totally wrong about this). In other words, I don't think anyone actually pronounces बड़ा baRaa as बडा baDaa , do they? This is to be contrasted with, for example, j/z, s/sh, etc. which are in free variation for many Hindi speakers.

Some sources have described the [R] as an allophone of [D], similar to the allophonic status of [w] and [v] in both Hindi and Urdu. However if that's the case, I would wonder
(1) what are the conditions for their distribution, and
(2) why are [R] and [D] represented separately in Urdu orthography (as ڑ and ڈ respectively) whereas allophones [w] and [v] are represented with a single letter و ?
Are they maintained as separate phonemes in Urdu but not in Hindi, à la the distinction between j and z?
 
  • mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    My confusion stems from the fact that in Hindi, as with other dotted consonants it is commonly written without a dot and commonly written in romanized Hindi as D.
    Yet it seems to me that a distinction in spoken Hindi between the two sounds is always made (perhaps I am totally wrong about this). In other words, I don't think anyone actually pronounces बड़ा baRaa as बडा baDaa , do they? This is to be contrasted with, for example, j/z, s/sh, etc. which are in free variation for many Hindi speakers.
    No, the dot is usually written for R and Rh, but usually not for the consonants of Persian/Arabic origin. Though this may be changing. After having a conversation about this topic on another thread months ago, I've noticed the dots are being used more often for the Persian/Arabic sounds in recent literature.

    You are correct. Hindi speakers distinguish between R and D and don't pronounce baRaa as baDaa.


    Persian/Arabic sounds are not naturalised for many speakers, so those consonants are pronounced with their closest Hindi equivalent. It really doesn't have anything to do with orthography though. Dots aren't an issue for s/sh, which have completely different characters yet are mixed up by some speakers. Same goes for retroflex N and SH, neither of which are pronounced by many speakers though clearly different orthographically from n and sh.

    Some sources have described the [R] as an allophone of [D], similar to the allophonic status of [w] and [v] in both Hindi and Urdu. However if that's the case, I would wonder
    (1) what are the conditions for their distribution, and
    (2) why are [R] and [D] represented separately in Urdu orthography (as ڑ and ڈ respectively) whereas allophones [w] and [v] are represented with a single letter و ?
    Are they maintained as separate phonemes in Urdu but not in Hindi, à la the distinction between j and z?
    w and v are different issues than R and D. w and v are not differentiated in any Indic language as far as I know. It's debatable whether the exact sound is something in between w/v or dependent on the particular word.

    (1)R is an etymological derivative of D and considered to be an allophone in Hindi because there is a general pattern when each sound is used. Traditionally for Hindi/Urdu, with a few exceptions*, D is only used in the initial positions of words (such as Dar) or in cases where there is a preceding half consonant or nasalised vowel (such as haDDii, Taa.nDaa). In nearly all other cases, it takes the sound of R (which is never in the initial position). For English loanwords the D can be in any position.

    (2)In Urdu orthography, D is a modification of d, and R is a modification of r. It would complicate the spelling if R was represented as a further modification of D.

    *For example, the Hindi word niDar violates this rule
     
    Last edited:

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    w and v are different issues than R and D. w and v are not differentiated in any Indic language as far as I know. It's debatable whether the exact sound is something in between w/v or dependent on the particular word.

    (1)R is an etymological derivative of D and considered to be an allophone in Hindi because there is a general pattern when each sound is used.
    These two statements are at odds with each other. If [R] and [D] are allophones of a single phoneme then it is the same issue as [w] and [v] which are also allophones (see here for example). Yet there does seem to be a slight difference between the two, because although [R] and [D] can occasionally occur in the same word-position, as you pointed out, they do not seem to be in free variation, whereas /ʋ/ can apparently be pronounced differently by different speakers (as [ʋ], [w], or [v]) even in the same word-position.
     

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    ^ To put it another way, most speakers are unaware of the difference between [ʋ], [w], or [v], while they are aware of the difference between R and D. If you've heard the Indian English pronunciation of v and w, you will notice the interchangeability of [ʋ], [w], or [v] there too.

    EDIT: I should mention that there are some words in which both D and R forms are acceptable, and there are other words in which both R and r forms are acceptable. In either case, the difference is perceptible to speakers.
     
    Last edited:

    DurakSuka

    New Member
    English-Universal
    I have been reading about Hindi and Urdu phonology but I am still confused about the actual occurrence of the retroflex flap [ɽ], represented on this forum as R, or Hindi ड़ (with dot), Urdu ڑ . (Paging Dib baabuu...!)

    My confusion stems from the fact that in Hindi, as with other dotted consonants it is commonly written without a dot, and commonly written in romanized Hindi as D.
    Yet it seems to me that a distinction in spoken Hindi between the two sounds is always made (perhaps I am totally wrong about this). In other words, I don't think anyone actually pronounces बड़ा baRaa as बडा baDaa , do they? This is to be contrasted with, for example, j/z, s/sh, etc. which are in free variation for many Hindi speakers.

    Some sources have described the [R] as an allophone of [D], similar to the allophonic status of [w] and [v] in both Hindi and Urdu. However if that's the case, I would wonder
    (1) what are the conditions for their distribution, and
    (2) why are [R] and [D] represented separately in Urdu orthography (as ڑ and ڈ respectively) whereas allophones [w] and [v] are represented with a single letter و ?
    Are they maintained as separate phonemes in Urdu but not in Hindi, à la the distinction between j and z?
    You are right for the most part. In Hindi, they are distinct. For instance, you say "gaari" (with the dotted d) for a vehicle, but you cannot say "gaaDi" (sans dot) for the same word. Most Devanagari texts should have this dot below the 'd'. If they don't, it's clearly a mistake.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    [...]
    Some sources have described the [R] as an allophone of [D], similar to the allophonic status of [w] and [v] in both Hindi and Urdu. However if that's the case, I would wonder
    (1) what are the conditions for their distribution, and
    (2) why are [R] and [D] represented separately in Urdu orthography (as ڑ and ڈ respectively) whereas allophones [w] and [v] are represented with a single letter و ?
    Are they maintained as separate phonemes in Urdu but not in Hindi, à la the distinction between j and z?
    Actually my experience of reading Devanagri is that the the letter ड़ is depicted always with the subscript dot. But I agree that there is no confusion, as far as I know, between D as in Dol and R as in pakoRaa amongst Hindi speakers. I also agree that the j/z, ph/f, kh/x, g/Gh etc are "in free variation" for many Hindi speakers. I think due to the influence of English and mass education, the j/z and ph/f distinction is being kept more and more.

    1) I am sorry I did not follow the question.

    2) R and D are represented by two distinct letters because they are considered two distinct sounds. As for w (as in English and Arabic) and v (as in English and Persian), from the Urdu perspective they are considered/accepted as fairly close to each other. I only became aware of the difference when I was learning English and mixing up wire with vire. I think the Urdu/Hindi و/व are neither v nor w but somewhere in between.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    Thanks everyone. It seems I was mistaken about ड़ being commonly written undotted in Hindi for R. I was misled by the practice of writing both ड़ and ड as 'D' in romanized Hindi.

    I should mention that there are some words in which both D and R forms are acceptable, and there are other words in which both R and r forms are acceptable. In either case, the difference is perceptible to speakers.
    Very interesting! Could you mention some examples?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    Very interesting! Could you mention some examples?
    Here are some examples:

    laaDlaa ~ laaRlaa
    laaD ~ laaR
    draviD ~ draviR

    lungaaraa ~ lungaaRaa
    ghasiyaaraa ~ ghasiyaaRaa
    naar ~ naaR
    Despite short vowels being indicated in Devanagari, I believe the same phenomenon often occurs with colloquial Hindi pronunciations of words of Persian/Arabic origins with similar consonant clusters. But I'm not sure, I'll let those more familiar with Hindi than I be the judge of that.
    Yes, you're right. Consonant clusters can be difficult to pronounce for many speakers, so a schwa is inserted to make the pronunciation easier. Not just for Persian/Arabic words, but for Sanskrit words too.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    It is perhaps not out of place to mention here that R (the flap R about which we are talking) is written as ڑ in Urdu but in the older times it was ڙ .

    D was represented as ڐ so it was always a different letter.

    What was interesting to me to discover in standard Hindi was the word ढूँढ़ना (DhuuN.Rhnaa) while the Urdu word is ڈھونڈنا (DhuuNDnaa), I mean the difference of R vs. D, not the lack of aspiration.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    I am also eager to know the answer but I had heard this pronunciation only in formal speeches as far as I can recall.
     

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    What was interesting to me to discover in standard Hindi was the word ढूँढ़ना (DhuuN.Rhnaa) while the Urdu word is ڈھونڈنا (DhuuNDnaa), I mean the difference of R vs. D, not the lack of aspiration.
    ढूँढना and ढूँढ़ना are both acceptable in writing. ढूँढना is more common (3 times more based on Google), and it's the only form listed by Chaturvedi. In speech too I've mostly heard ढूँढना, and only rarely ढूँढ़ना.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    What was interesting to me to discover in standard Hindi was the word ढूँढ़ना (DhuuN.Rhnaa) while the Urdu word is ڈھونڈنا (DhuuNDnaa), I mean the difference of R vs. D, not the lack of aspiration.
    In Hindi, the standard is neither "DhuuN.Rhnaa" nor "DhuuNDnaa" - but it is "DhuunDhnaa". I am surprised that Urdu has the "-Dnaa" instead of "-Dhnaa".
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    In Hindi, the standard is neither "DhuuN.Rhnaa" nor "DhuuNDnaa" - but it is "DhuunDhnaa". I am surprised that Urdu has the "-Dnaa" instead of "-Dhnaa".
    A number of words which have two aspirated consonants have lost the second aspiration in Urdu. The example that readily comes to mind is the word "bhiik" which I believe is "bhiikh" in Hindi. I think this has been discussed elsewhere in the forum.

    Edit: Others that I can think of are:

    jhuuT/jhuuTh...............as in "sajan re jhuuT mat bolo, xudaa ke paas jaanaa hai,akaR kis baat kii pyaare yih sar phir bhii jhukaanaa hai (Mukesh)

    bhuuk
    /bhuukh............ as in "bhuuk hii bhuuk hai insaan se Haivaan tak (Rafi)

    dhokaa/dhokhaa......... as in "maiN ne o sanam tujhe pyaar kiyaa, tuu ne o sanam mujhe dhokaa diyaa (?)

    bhiik/bhiikh............... as in "miltii hai bhiik maulaa tere Huzuur se (Lata)

    There are other types too, e.g hoNTh (Hindi) > hoNT (Urdu)..............as in "hoNT yih naazuk naazuk jaise kuNvaarii kaliyaaN" (ek kalii muskaa'ii - Rafi)

    As the title of the thread is simply the consonant R, I wonder if I can ask this question from our Urdu speaking friends who listen to Pakistani Urdu TV channels. I have noticed that the "r" being pronounced tilts somewhat towards a "R". I don't think I am just imagining this. I would say that this occurrence is solely in the speech of the younger (maybe up to 35) age group. Has anyone else noticed this at all?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    tarkshya

    Senior Member
    Marwari
    This thread was about ड़ /ڑ , but went offtrack in /ph/ vs. /f/ and /j/ vs. /z/ debate.

    Anyway, let me add my two cents here. In Hindi, as well as many other IA languages like Marwari and Sindhi, ड़ /ڑ is a very different sound from ड/ڈ. ड़ /ڑ is retroflex, while ड/ڈ is alveolar. ड़ /ڑ almost sounds like /r/ in many dialects. In fact ड़ /ڑ can be considered as an allophone of र /ر in IA languages. It is no coincidence that Urdu employs the modified base shape of /r/ sound, ر, for ड़ phoneme. Also note that many words such as Marwari (मारवाड़ी ) are really spoken as "maarwaaRii". The common transcription of ड़ /ڑ as "r" stems from this fact.

    Sindhis typically tend to speak र /ر as ड़ /ڑ , giving rise to common stereotypical phrase associated with Sindhis - अड़े बाबा (aRe baba). But let me add that this mixing of ड़ /ڑ and र /ر is common among Rajasthanis too. Many words such as "dhuur" (dust) are spoken as "dhuuR" in some of my cousins' villages. We joke that they speak like Sindhis, while they claim that their pronunciation is correct and we speak incorrectly.
     
    Last edited:

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    ढूँढना and ढूँढ़ना are both acceptable in writing. ढूँढना is more common (3 times more based on Google), and it's the only form listed by Chaturvedi. In speech too I've mostly heard ढूँढना, and only rarely ढूँढ़ना.
    Thank you for answering. The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary (1993) by R. S. McGregor has both head words. Only ढूँढ़ना is provided with a definition while ढूँढना is described merely as a pronunciation variant. Chaturvedi's dictionary from 1970 indeed lists only ढूँढना but uses it in the entry "bil" as in "bil DhuuN.Rhnaa". Also, in this case I would not rely on Google indeed because we know that typing the extra dot is an extra effort and the attitude towards dots is somewhat careless, especially online.
     

    tarkshya

    Senior Member
    Marwari
    In Hindi, the standard is neither "DhuuN.Rhnaa" nor "DhuuNDnaa" - but it is "DhuunDhnaa". I am surprised that Urdu has the "-Dnaa" instead of "-Dhnaa".
    No offence meant, but you are wrong. In Hindi, the correct spelling is ढूँढ़ना (DhuuN.Rhnaa). That is to say, marrish's observation is very accurate. I am surprised that as a native Hindi speaker you made this mistake. But this is not rare. I have seen many Hindi speakers mix up ढ़ and ढ, and ड and ड़ . Meaning, they don't pay attention to the dot in these letters. Ultimately, this wrong way of writing enters into their speech too. It is the same sloppiness with the use of dots which makes Hindi speakers confuse /z/ with /j/ and /f/ with /ph/.
     

    tarkshya

    Senior Member
    Marwari
    tarkshya saahib, how do you pronounce the word ढूँढ़ना in everyday speech?
    Same as it is written - DhuuN.Rhnaa. This is the only correct pronunciation. Some people may pronounce it as DhuuN.Dhnaa or RhuuN.Rhnaa, and it may even pass unnoticed in common speech as all this pronunciations are very similar, but that does not make it right.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    No offence meant, but you are wrong. In Hindi, the correct spelling is ढूँढ़ना (DhuuN.Rhnaa).
    I do not think so, tarkshya jii; can you quote any authority which says that this is the correct spelling and not DhuunDhnaa? I would expect "Rhnaa" to be in a Rajasthani/Sindhi/Gujarati/Marathi dialect/language, not in standard Hindi.
     

    tarkshya

    Senior Member
    Marwari
    I do not think so, tarkshya jii; can you quote any authority which says that this is the correct spelling and not DhuunDhnaa? I would expect "Rhnaa" to be in a Rajasthani/Sindhi/Gujarati/Marathi dialect/language, not in standard Hindi.
    It is difficult to quote reliable references, because I am acutely aware that even respected publications tend to be careless in correctly appreciating the difference between ढ and ढ़ , and ड and ड़. However, I can find some references on Internet. For example, try "Comprehensive English-Hindi dictionary By Bholānātha Tivārī, Amaranātha Kapūra, Viśvaprakāśa Gupta" on google books. Go to page 1182 and check the definition of "Seek". The authors clearly write it as ढूँढ़ना. The fact that the authors mark a dot below the second ढ, but not the first one implies that they are aware of this difference.

    Also, I remember from my school days when our Hindi teacher told us the retroflex ड़ and are rarely found in word beginnings in Hindi, and non-retroflex ड and are rare in middle and end of the words. So far I have seen this rule of thumb work well.
     

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    Thank you for answering. The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary (1993) by R. S. McGregor has both head words. Only ढूँढ़ना is provided with a definition while ढूँढना is described merely as a pronunciation variant. Chaturvedi's dictionary from 1970 indeed lists only ढूँढना but uses it in the entry "bil" as in "bil DhuuN.Rhnaa".
    Sometimes dictionary entries can be outdated, so a head word doesn't necessarily mean it's the more standard or widely used form. For example, someone mentioned the Oxford dictionary has "tajrabaa" as a head word. However, this is a form that's hardly used in Hindi. The standard and most common form is "tajurbaa", which apparently the dictionary lists as a variant.

    I have seen many Hindi speakers mix up ढ़ and ढ, and ड and ड़ .
    So, you've heard pronunciations such as gaaDii instead of gaaRii??? I never have. Keep in mind there are similar forms in other languages such as Punjabi "gaDDii".

    Same as it is written - DhuuN.Rhnaa. This is the only correct pronunciation.
    I beg to differ. I've already demonstrated a dictionary entry with Dhuu.nDhnaa. There are also plenty of references to this form in literature. That's not to say Dhuu.nRhnaa is wrong. The point is in this particular case both forms are correct.

    It is difficult to quote reliable references, because I am acutely aware that even respected publications tend to be careless in correctly appreciating the difference between ढ and ढ़ , and ड and ड़.
    Once again I disagree. In writing, especially news, literature, and other formal types of writing, the dots for R and Rh are usually shown. It's for the Persian/Arabic phonemes that dots are often not shown, though it seems to be changing in recent literature. See my post 2.

    Also, I remember from my school days when our Hindi teacher told us the retroflex ड़ and are rarely found in word beginnings in Hindi, and non-retroflex ड and are rare in middle and end of the words. So far I have seen this rule of thumb work well.
    This I agree with, and I mentioned it in post 2 as well.
     
    Last edited:

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    I have been reading about Hindi and Urdu phonology but I am still confused about the actual occurrence of the retroflex flap [ɽ], represented on this forum as R, or Hindi ड़ (with dot), Urdu ڑ . (Paging Dib baabuu...!)
    Thanks for the page, and sorry for being late. Actually, most of your questions have already been answered, especially by mundiya-jii's posty #2. I'll just disambiguate some points in the "proper jargon".

    Some sources have described the [R] as an allophone of [D], similar to the allophonic status of [w] and [v] in both Hindi and Urdu.
    Originally, they were certainly allophones, though I can't give you the exact dates when. It is clear from etymological considerations. However, I think, it is unreasonable to analyze D and R as allophones now, especially because borrowings of English words (e.g. the town Noida - noveDaa in local pronunciation - an English acronym) and new/transparent coinages (e.g. niDar) break the complementary distribution of the two.

    However if that's the case, I would wonder
    (1) what are the conditions for their distribution, and
    (2) why are [R] and [D] represented separately in Urdu orthography (as ڑ and ڈ respectively) whereas allophones [w] and [v] are represented with a single letter و ?
    Are they maintained as separate phonemes in Urdu but not in Hindi, à la the distinction between j and z?
    (1) mundiya-jii has given the "original" conditions of distribution in post #2, which are still (largely?) valid in the inherited vocabulary, i.e. D(h) occurs word initially, in geminates, and when following (nasal?*) consonants; and R(h) otherwise.
    (2) Likely because the process of phonemicization has been in progress for a while. Moreover, we should also remember that hardly any writing system is strictly phonemic. It is not uncommon to be overspecific in distinguishing some of the allophones (Sanskrit does for palatal nasal, for example).

    ---

    EDIT: *I am thinking of the word "akRan". Not sure whether it follows the original distribution, or whether it is in analogy to "akaRnaa".
     
    Last edited:

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    ^ Many thanks, this (as well as mundiya jii's response) is exactly the kind of information I was looking for when I made this thread. Much obliged.
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    What was interesting to me to discover in standard Hindi was the word ढूँढ़ना (DhuuN.Rhnaa) while the Urdu word is ڈھونڈنا (DhuuNDnaa), I mean the difference of R vs. D, not the lack of aspiration.
    Given the phonological properties of Hindi/Urdu, I'd expect the most common variants to be Dhuu~R(h)- (with nasal vowel and flapped R) and DhuunD(h)- (with consonantal n and stop D). I am just a touch surprised to see the form with nasal vowel and the following stop to be common enough to be considered standard in Urdu. Could you, please, reconsider if you meant to write "DhuunDnaa"? I understand, the (un-diacritic-ed) Urdu spelling remains same, but I expect most Urdu speakers to be able to tell the difference in pronunciation.
     
    Last edited:

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Sometimes dictionary entries can be outdated, so a head word doesn't necessarily mean it's the more standard or widely used form. For example, someone mentioned the Oxford dictionary has "tajrabaa" as a head word. However, this is a form that's hardly used in Hindi. The standard and most common form is "tajurbaa", which apparently the dictionary lists as a variant.
    I agree dictionaries happen not to keep pace with the spoken (and perhaps written) language, still the Oxford one is much recenter than Chaturvedi. Now you said that the variand with second Dh is much more popular on Google about which I said that it was not reliable due to the difference of a dot only which tends to be omitted in this and other situations.

    I checked the results for Hindi books with Rh and Dh. On the first sight you get more for Dh and less for Rh but it is a delusion. I didn't count but almost all books listed for Dh had Rh in the printed text, and I checked a couple of dozens!

    Given the phonological properties of Hindi/Urdu, I'd expect the most common variants to be Dhuu~R(h)- (with nasal vowel and flapped R) and DhuunD(h)- (with consonantal n and stop D). I am just a touch surprised to see the form with nasal vowel and the following stop to be common enough to be considered standard in Urdu. Could you, please, reconsider if you meant to write "DhuunDnaa"? I understand, the (un-diacritic-ed) Urdu spelling remains same, but I expect most Urdu speakers to be able to tell the difference in pronunciation.
    Thank you for this observation but I am very positive about my transliteration-cum-transcription accuracy, I meant to write DhuuNDnaa with a nasal vowel, not with a nasal consonant. [ḍhū̃ḍnā]
     
    Last edited:

    tonyspeed

    Senior Member
    English & Creole - Jamaica
    No offence meant, but you are wrong. In Hindi, the correct spelling is ढूँढ़ना (DhuuN.Rhnaa). That is to say, marrish's observation is very accurate. I am surprised that as a native Hindi speaker you made this mistake. But this is not rare. I have seen many Hindi speakers mix up ढ़ and ढ, and ड and ड़ . Meaning, they don't pay attention to the dot in these letters. Ultimately, this wrong way of writing enters into their speech too. It is the same sloppiness with the use of dots which makes Hindi speakers confuse /z/ with /j/ and /f/ with /ph/.
    He is absolutely not wrong. The standard spelling is as above; however, if anyone pronounced it that way I would laugh at them. It is by far, almost always pronounced as DHuuNDHnaa or DHuuNDnaa due to loss of aspiration.

    Same as it is written - DhuuN.Rhnaa. This is the only correct pronunciation. Some people may pronounce it as DhuuN.Dhnaa or RhuuN.Rhnaa, and it may even pass unnoticed in common speech as all this pronunciations are very similar, but that does not make it right.
    One has to be very careful with saying that the written standard is "right", especially with languages like Hindi where the written standard was artificial from the very beginning, using pronunciations that were already dying if not already dead. Just because something is written doesn't mean it is "right."

    Also, I remember from my school days when our Hindi teacher told us the retroflex ड़ and are rarely found in word beginnings in Hindi,
    They are never found at the beginning of words in Hindi.
     
    Last edited:

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    One has to be very careful with saying that the written standard is "right", especially with languages like Hindi where the written standard was artificial from the very beginning, using pronunciations that were already dying if not already dead. Just because something is written doesn't mean it is "right."
    I don't think it was artificial because Hindi is a largely phonetic language. Obviously no language is completely phonetic. But if a spelling such as ढूँढ़ना was chosen, it means there was and still is a portion of the population that uses this pronunciation.

    Given the phonological properties of Hindi/Urdu, I'd expect the most common variants to be Dhuu~R(h)- (with nasal vowel and flapped R) and DhuunD(h)- (with consonantal n and stop D). I am just a touch surprised to see the form with nasal vowel and the following stop to be common enough to be considered standard in Urdu. Could you, please, reconsider if you meant to write "DhuunDnaa"? I understand, the (un-diacritic-ed) Urdu spelling remains same, but I expect most Urdu speakers to be able to tell the difference in pronunciation.
    I agree with you about this variation, but the word is with a nasal vowel in both variants as shown in the proper Hindi spellings: ढूँढना and ढूँढ़ना. The nature of the consonants following it affects the articulation of the nasal vowel, with ढूँढना having a consonantal touch.
     
    Last edited:

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    The example that readily comes to mind is the word "bhiik" which I believe is "bhiikh" in Hindi.
    In orthography it is "bhiikh" but in pronunciation it is often deaspirated to "bhiik" in Hindi, just as "-ah" is often pronounced as "-aa" in Urdu (not a deaspiration but a similar analogy). Deaspiration also occurs in the pronunciation of the other Hindi words you listed and in "Dhuu.nDhnaa", which many pronounce as "Dhuu.nDnaa".

    I checked the results for Hindi books with Rh and Dh. On the first sight you get more for Dh and less for Rh but it is a delusion. I didn't count but almost all books listed for Dh had Rh in the printed text, and I checked a couple of dozens!
    In the previews and snippets on Google books, I found many examples of ढूँढना, but you're right about ढूँढ़ना being more common.
     
    Last edited:

    tarkshya

    Senior Member
    Marwari
    I was very certain about the difference in pronunciation of ड and ड़ , but now new doubts and cropped in my mind, so reviving this thread. :)

    My understanding is the ड is alveolar and non-retroflex, like the d in English word daddy; and ड़ is postalveolar and retroflex.

    But this is problematic because the retroflex consonant series in Devanagri is commonly written as ट ठ ड ढ ण . So this series is mixing retroflex and non-retroflex consonants. Shouldn't the series be really written as ट ठ ड़ ढ़ ण ?

    I know I am making some wrong assumption, but don't know where.
     

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    I was very certain about the difference in pronunciation of ड and ड़ , but now new doubts and cropped in my mind, so reviving this thread. :)

    My understanding is the ड is alveolar and non-retroflex, like the d in English word daddy; and ड़ is postalveolar and retroflex.

    But this is problematic because the retroflex consonant series in Devanagri is commonly written as ट ठ ड ढ ण . So this series is mixing retroflex and non-retroflex consonants. Shouldn't the series be really written as ट ठ ड़ ढ़ ण ?

    I know I am making some wrong assumption, but don't know where.
    ड and ड़ are both retroflex. The difference is ड is a plosive, while ड़ is a flap. I know ड is used as an approximation when transliterating English words. But if we are considering British or American pronunciation, then the pronunciation of ड in डर is not the same as the d in the English word daddy.

    Thanks, except that for me it is "DhuunDnaa" (not the nasal N). I am, like Dib jii, very surprised by this nasal N.
    You probably do pronounce it with nasal N without even realizing it. The quality of the nasal N is dependent on the structure of the word. That's why it sounds different in DhuuND(h)naa vs. DhuuNR(h)naa, and baaNdhnaa vs. yahaaN. But in all four cases there is a nasal N.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    ^ I do not think so, mundiya jii, because if I do some reverse engineering, then "baaNdh" (a word that does not exist) pronunciation is completely different from "baandh" (a word which exists: can mean "to tie" and "dam"). Similarly, I am able to pronounce both "DhuuNDhnaa" and "DhuunDhnaa" and can notice the easily spottable difference between the two, but it is only the latter that I use.
     

    tonyspeed

    Senior Member
    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Many words such as "dhuur" (dust) are spoken as "dhuuR" in some of my cousins' villages. We joke that they speak like Sindhis, while they claim that their pronunciation is correct and we speak incorrectly.
    Not to mention H धूल dhūl [S. धूलिः], s.f. Dust - So we have a three-way fight between r,R,and l.
     

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    ^ I do not think so, mundiya jii, because if I do some reverse engineering, then "baaNdh" (a word that does not exist) pronunciation is completely different from "baandh" (a word which exists: can mean "to tie" and "dam").
    "baaNdh" does exist and is the correct form.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    "baaNdh" does exist and is the correct form.
    Thanks for pointing to me that it does exist; I have never heard of it in real life, though, but of course it may exist. But since I have never heard it from any Hindi speaker so far in my life, it might be only a correct form: it certainly cannot be the correct form, mundiya jii.
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    I hope I'll be forgiven for reviving an old thread! A fellow forum member linked me to this thread a little while ago, and after digging around a bit, I had some references and some thoughts that I felt may be marginally worth adding to the discussion.

    In case people haven't seen it before, there's an old doctoral dissertation of Misra's titled "Historical Phonology of Modern Standard Hindi" (dated 1967). Certainly not everything discussed in this dissertation is original to this dissertation, but it does at least give a lot of references to other things in the literature, which is nice. In particular, there's substantial discussion in that dissertation about the development of the voiced retroflex stops [ɖ⁽ʱ⁾] in Indo-Aryan (which apparently did not exist in Proto-Indo-Iranian). There's also a slightly different theory regarding these stops proposed by S. K. Chatterji in "Indo-Aryan and Hindi" [p. 62].

    Misra also discusses the retroflex flaps [ɽ⁽ʱ⁾]. It seems the intervocalic realization of the phonemes /ɖ⁽ʱ⁾/ as [ɽ⁽ʱ⁾] dates quite far back: there's seems to be some evidence (the finding of which is attributed to S. K. Chatterji's tome on the origin of Bengali) that Middle Indo-Aryan words involving an intervocalic /ɖ/ were transliterated into Greek using the letter rho, and some people seem to believe that this realization may even go back to the Old Indo-Aryan period [cf. Misra p. 165].

    In any case, it seems that word-final (or maybe, more precisely, morpheme-final) short vowels were lost at some point in the transition from "Old Hindi" to modern times, and this resulted in the phoneme /ɖ⁽ʱ⁾/ being realized as [ɽ⁽ʱ⁾] not just intervocalically, but also between a vowel and the end of a word(/morpheme).

    One thing that isn't really made clear in Misra's dissertation is what kind of a phonological rule the rule ɖ⁽ʱ⁾ → ɽ⁽ʱ⁾ was. In American English, there's a intervocalic t → ɾ phonological rule, but I think it's what the lexical phonologists would call "post-lexical," in that the rule pays no attention to the morpheme structure of an utterance (for example, the phoneme /t/ in "they eat" is not realized as a flap, but the /t/s in "they eat ice-cream" and "butter" are).

    I kind of suspect that the intervocalic ɖ⁽ʱ⁾ → ɽ⁽ʱ⁾ phonological rule in Indo-Aryan may *not* have been post-lexical (ie, that this rule *would* have been sensitive to the morpheme structure of an utterance). If it had been post-lexical, it would mean that people at some point may have realized the phoneme /ɖ/ in phrases like uskaa Dar as a [ɽ]. This feels fairly surprising given my personal experience with modern Hindi-Urdu phonology, but I'm not really sure how one might figure out what the historical situation was like... Since the written record isn't completely reliable when it comes to phonetic realizations, this may just be an unfalsifiable musing.

    Apparently the words niDar and niDhaal are attested in writing as far back as the 1400s [Misra, p. 218]. (I found niDar in poetry of Kabir, which explains the dating of that word. I don't know how niDhaal was dated.) Another word that comes to mind along these lines is suDaul, but I also don't know how to date this word.

    Misra argues that words like niDar and niDhaal indicate that the retroflex flaps [ɽ⁽ʱ⁾] had become distinct phonemes as early as the 1400-1500s, well before loans from English had had any substantial effect on the language. I find this a slightly tenuous argument, since niDar and niDhaal evidently involve prefixation, as does the word suDaul. If we just have the data of just these words, it could be that the ɖ⁽ʱ⁾ → ɽ⁽ʱ⁾ phonological rules were sensitive to the morpheme boundary, or that they applied prior (ie, at a "deeper stratum") than the morphological rules involving prefixation of the morphemes /nɪ/ and /sʊ/. (It's worth pointing out, in Misra's defense, that lexical-phonological models didn't exist at the time of his dissertation.)

    I can't think of any Hindi-Urdu words outside of English loans that involves [ɖ⁽ʱ⁾] between a vowel and either another vowel or the end of a word, and where this situation isn't the result of prefixes.

    Now the aspirated stop [ɖʱ] doesn't ever occur in English loans as far as I'm aware, so it seems to me that there *may* still be an argument to be made that there is only a single phoneme /ɖʱ/ and that [ɖʱ] and [ɽʱ] are two allophonic realizations of this phoneme. One could perhaps envision a rule that roughly says that, the phoneme /ɖʱ/ is realized as [ɽʱ] whenever it occurs in a sequence of the form VɖʱW, where V is a vowel, W is either a vowel or the end of a morpheme, and these is no morpheme boundary between V and ɖʱ...? (This is definitely a falsifiable hypothesis, since it's a completely synchronic assertion, and I'd love to hear about any counterexamples people are able to find to this!)

    On the other hand, English loans have definitely eroded the complementary distribution of [ɖ] and [ɽ], so it's probably fair to say that these two sounds are distinct phonemes now, even if they weren't distinct phonemes 600 years ago. (That said, I do remember being half-asleep once on a drive from Delhi to Chandigarh and looking out of the car window and seeing a sign where "road" was transliterated as रोड़. Maybe I dreamt it, maybe it was just an unintentional spelling error, but maybe the phonemicization isn't quite complete yet for some speakers...)

    Another thing worth pointing out regarding the retroflex flap [ɽ] is that there also seems to be some interplay between [ɽ] and [ɾ]. For example, I've at least seen some authors (eg, Nirmal Verma) write झरना (jharnaa) for the verb that I'm used to hearing as [dʒʱəɽnaː], which suggests that there may be some kind of dialectical variation. And then there's perhaps a somewhat different kind of interplay suggested by the word paiRii ("step," eg of a ladder), which apparently derives from pair ("foot").

    EDIT: *I am thinking of the word "akRan". Not sure whether it follows the original distribution, or whether it is in analogy to "akaRnaa".
    I think that the "analogy to akaRnaa" does explain things quite well! There's a reasonably productive derivational suffix with phonemic representation /ən/ that suffixes onto verbal roots and turns them into nouns [1]. This suggests that akRan might be analyzed as having a morphophonemic representation /əkəɽ#ən/, where /əkəɽ/ is the verbal root and # denotes a morpheme boundary.

    Now I think that there's some paper out there where the author proposes a schwa deletion rule where /ə/ gets deleted in sequences of the form VCəC#V (where V denotes vowels, C consonants, and # a morpheme boundary) [2]. I'm having trouble finding the paper now, but in any case this schwa deletion rule applies perfectly to /əkəɽ#ən/ and yields the expected surface representation [əkɽən]. Similar analyses also explain the surface representations of ragRan and pakRam-pakRaaii [3].

    Probably analyzed in this way, one could propose some morphophonemic restrictions on the consonant clusters in which the flap /ɽ/ can be involved...

    -----

    [1]: There are lots of examples of this suffix in action: dhaRkan, phislan, rapTan, saRan, ...

    [2]: This schwa deletion rule explains the schwa deletion that happens in a number of morphological processes aside from suffixation of /ən/, like the one in going from saRak to the plural saRkeN, or the one in going from saraknaa to the causative sarkaanaa, ...

    [3]: My proposed morphological breakdown for pakRam-pakRaaii (the game of "tag") would be /pəkəɽ#ən#pəkəɽ#ɑːiː/. The derivational suffixes /ən/ and /ɑːiː/ both turn verbal roots into nouns. We then apply the schwa deletion rule mentioned above, and a rule involving nasal assimilation, and we get the expected the surface representation [pəkɽəmpəkɽɑːiː].
     
    Last edited:

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    Originally, they were certainly allophones, though I can't give you the exact dates when. It is clear from etymological considerations. However, I think, it is unreasonable to analyze D and R as allophones now, especially because borrowings of English words (e.g. the town Noida - noveDaa in local pronunciation - an English acronym) and new/transparent coinages (e.g. niDar) break the complementary distribution of the two.
    I can't think of any Hindi-Urdu words outside of English loans that involves [ɖ⁽ʱ⁾] between a vowel and either another vowel or the end of a word, and where this situation isn't the result of prefixes.
    I have an example of this: laaD (as in laaD-pyaar or laaDlaa) [and this example means much of my above post might be garbage! :)]. I've occasionally run into laaR as a variant of laaD, but the final [ɖ] is the pronunciation that's more common in the version of Hindi-Urdu that I've been exposed to. This seems to indicate that it's not just English loans that have rendered it unreasonable to regard [ɽ] as an allophone of /ɖ/.

    It would be interesting to have some kind of a historical explanation of the pronunciation of laaD with a final [ɖ]. For instance, maybe it's influenced by some other Indo-Aryan language in which [ɽ] and [ɖ] have never been allophones...?
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top