Pashto/Hindi: mutual intelligibility

mrs.dengler

Member
England, English
Hi :)
I knew some afghan people who spoke only pashto, nothing else. They were all massive fans of bollywood films which I think are in urdu or hindi and they seemed to understand these films. I find this odd as pashto is a persian language and Hindi is indo-aryan...If you speak pashto can you understand hindi or urdu?

The reason I ask is that I'm trying to decide on an ancient language to study for my masters programme and I'd like to study one that gives me at least some access to the greatest number of living languages...I'm interested in both persian and indian languages and if by learning indian languages I could make the first steps towards understanding pashto, tajik ect I'd definitely take that option.

Thanks in advance for your help! :D
 
  • lcfatima

    Senior Member
    English USA
    I know people who speak Arabic and Swahili who can also understand Hindi well enough to watch films and claim to have learned a bit of Hindi from watching films. The languages of Pashto and Hindi are not mutually intelligible but I find it interesting that people all over the world watch Bollywood films and pick up a lot of Hindi from them.
     

    BP.

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    ^I believe Pashto has much greater mutual intelligibility with Hindi than say with Icelandic. You'd just keep on discovering cognate pairs, if you're not too radically-challenged:)

    @Post 1: Might I suggest Urdu. Not because I speak it, but because it will allow you to sit on the fence between both language sub-families. Later you could move in whichever direction you like.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Hi :)
    I knew some afghan people who spoke only pashto, nothing else. They were all massive fans of bollywood films which I think are in urdu or hindi and they seemed to understand these films. I find this odd as pashto is a persian language and Hindi is indo-aryan...If you speak pashto can you understand hindi or urdu?

    The reason I ask is that I'm trying to decide on an ancient language to study for my masters programme and I'd like to study one that gives me at least some access to the greatest number of living languages...I'm interested in both persian and indian languages and if by learning indian languages I could make the first steps towards understanding pashto, tajik ect I'd definitely take that option.

    Thanks in advance for your help! :D
    Since you are asking about ancient languages, what about Avestan or Sanskrit?
     

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    I find this odd as pashto is a persian language and Hindi is indo-aryan...
    Pashto is not a "Persian" language. It is Indo-Iranian, as are Hindi/Urdu (albeit Pashto is in the Iranian branch and Hindi/Urdu in the Indo-Aryan branch).

    If you speak pashto can you understand hindi or urdu?
    No. But Bollywood films are very popular in Afghanistan, and if you watch enough of them you can learn the language, or at least start to understand a lot of it. Bollywood is also really popular in other regions where there is no linguistic mutual intelligibility (ie. Central Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, etc.)
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Since you are asking about ancient languages, what about Avestan or Sanskrit?
    Well, Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit were so awfully close as to virtually be dialects of each other. I remember recently being stunned when someone showed me a series of transforms between them (I may even have posted one on a thread here before, can't remember). From http://http://books.google.com/books?id=rPHVAAAAMAAJ&pg=PR31

    In Avestan: təm amavantəm yazatəm, sūrəm dāmōhu səvištəm, miþrəm yazāi saoþrābyō
    In Vedic sanskrit: tam ámavantam yajatám, śūrəm dhāmasu śáviṣṭham, mitrám yajái hōtrábhyaḥ
    Meaning: Mithra that strong mighty angel, most beneficent to all creatures, I will worship with libations.

    I believe that between these two, due to the seriously limited corpus of Avestan compared to Vedic, practically speaking you have no choice but to learn Vedic if you want to learn Avestan because it helps you triangulate onto the meanings of many words. þ is "th" (थ़, which we discussed once before).

    On the Pashto question, it's tougher to give a clear answer. I might start with Persian because it will make the etymology clearer (which is always helpful in bringing a language 'together' in a learner's mind). Also Pashto speakers are very often bilingual in Afghanistan in Dari Persian, so there is also that. However, depending on your background and situation, it might actually make sense to start with Hindi-Urdu too. The reason is that there are many Persian words in HU that have changed sense and/or pronunciation between MPers and HU but are used in similar ways in Pashto as in HU (update: I am going to strikethrough the sense point - my impression is that this is true, but I don't speak Pashto really, so shouldn't make such statements). Also Pashto has retroflex sounds, which can be tough for English speakers to master and are present in HU+Pashto. In a way what I am saying is that HU is pretty Persianized anyway in the way it is spoken, so it is vocabulary-wise actually a mix of Indo-Aryan and Iranian. Also Pakistani Pashto speakers are very often bilingual in HU. I would echo eskandar also - these are all Indo-Iranian languages, so ultimately share many features.

    These are my personal opinions. Others can legitimately disagree with them.
     
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    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    Well, Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit were so awfully close as to virtually be dialects of each other. I remember recently being stunned when someone showed me a series of transforms between them (I may even have posted one on a thread here before, can't remember). From [URL="http://http//books.google.com/books...AAMAAJ&pg=PR31"]http://http://books.google.com/books...AAMAAJ&pg=PR31[/URL] ...
    Interesting (the comparison of both sentences)!
    In a way what I am saying is that HU is pretty Persianized anyway in the way it is spoken, so it is vocabulary-wise actually a mix of Indo-Aryan and Iranian.
    Here I would (suggest the two be treated as separate languages and) mention that although the lower registers (introductory classes) of both Urdu and Hindi might be very similar, the higher registers (and if you're taking upper level classes in a college or university) would be quite different, with Urdu literature leaning more towards Persian/Arabic in terms of borrowed vocabulary and themes...while Hindi literature would lean more towards Sanskrit...etc.
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Interesting (the comparison of both sentences)!
    I am always shocked at how close lots of Persian and Sanskrit is. It is interesting how much Persian-equivalent Sanskrit has been lost in HU too BTW. aap (water, cf aab), ashv (horse, cf asb), asti (is, cf ast), bhoot (was/done, cf bood), ashan (stone, cf sang), shat (hundred, cf sad), naabh (navel, cf naaf), prashan (question, cf porsesh), mrita (dead, cf murda), shvet (white, cf safed), sthaan (place, cf staan), kapi (ape, cf kapi), endlessly long list. And how many related-but-different cognates exist if you peel back just a bit. har (green/yellow, cf zar gold/yellow), brihat (expansive, cf buland tall), khshetra (area, cf shehr town), madhu (honey/wine, cf may/mad wine), jan (being/person, cf jaan life/being), another endless list. It gets to the point where if a word doesn't have an equivalent in both, that's often a signal that one or the other language borrowed it from somewhere else. Pashto also has some words which are startlingly close to Sanskrit - ghar (غر, mountain, giri) somes to mind. Put it all together and you kinda see why it's called the Indo-Iranian family.

    Here I would (suggest the two be treated as separate languages and) mention that although the lower registers (introductory classes) of both Urdu and Hindi might be very similar, the higher registers (and if you're taking upper level classes in a college or university) would be quite different, with Urdu literature leaning more towards Persian/Arabic in terms of borrowed vocabulary and themes...while Hindi literature would lean more towards Sanskrit...etc.
    Sure. Also, it's more helpful to learn the script too, even though Pashto script is a bit different, but it's the same model as Urdu. BTW are there any words in HU which are borrowed from Pashto? There must be.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    BTW are there any words in HU which are borrowed from Pashto? There must be.
    I have no idea but I often wonder about a lot of words in Urdu that seem to have x and a retroflex consonant, e.g. axroT (walnut).
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    I am always shocked at how close lots of Persian and Sanskrit is. It is interesting how much Persian-equivalent Sanskrit has been lost in HU too BTW. aap (water, cf aab), ashv (horse, cf asb), asti (is, cf ast), bhoot (was/done, cf bood), ashan (stone, cf sang), shat (hundred, cf sad), naabh (navel, cf naaf), prashan (question, cf porsesh), mrita (dead, cf murda), shvet (white, cf safed), sthaan (place, cf staan), kapi (ape, cf kapi), endlessly long list. And how many related-but-different cognates exist if you peel back just a bit. har (green/yellow, cf zar gold/yellow), brihat (expansive, cf buland tall), khshetra (area, cf shehr town), madhu (honey/wine, cf may/mad wine), jan (being/person, cf jaan life/being), another endless list. It gets to the point where if a word doesn't have an equivalent in both, that's often a signal that one or the other language borrowed it from somewhere else. Pashto also has some words which are startlingly close to Sanskrit - ghar (غر, mountain, giri) somes to mind. Put it all together and you kinda see why it's called the Indo-Iranian family.
    Yes, most of these are very good examples of Indo-Iranian cognates, but a few of them are actually loan words (kapi is an Indian loan word in Persian; jaan is a Persian loan in Hindi/Urdu).
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    hindiurdu said:
    ...It is interesting how much Persian-equivalent Sanskrit has been lost in HU too BTW....
    Thanks! Again a really interesting list! I didn't understand the quoted sentence though...are you saying that the Sanskrit versions have been lost in Hindi and Urdu or both versions? (because most of the one's in parentheses are in use....in Urdu poetry/literature, if not colloquially.) Also what does the cf abbreviation stand for?........current form?
    hindiurdu said:
    BTW are there any words in HU which are borrowed from Pashto? There must be.
    I guess one could be jaanaan (which has roots in or is equivalent to Persian/Urdu jaan). Can't think of others right now.....but words are borrowed and used in "fusion poetry" which gives a really interesting sound and depth, while presenting a collaboration of different languages and cultures.

    Dictionary about akhrot: سنسکرت زبان سے اسم جامد ہے۔ لفظ اکشروٹ سے ماخوذ ہے۔
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Yes, most of these are very good examples of Indo-Iranian cognates, but a few of them are actually loan words (kapi is an Indian loan word in Persian; jaan is a Persian loan in Hindi/Urdu).
    Thank you fb sahab, I didn't know about kapi being borrowed into Persian! It is such an old word and has kind of fallen into disuse in HU also (except for religious usage: kapish) so the borrowing must have been thousands of years ago. Would you do me the kindness of pointing me at any refs on it? On Jaan/Jan, I was actually talking about the word Jan (جن meaning person/living-being) and the word Jaan (جان meaning life/living-being) as close cognates. Both are present in HU but with the simultaneous evolution of branches of Indo-Iranian have taken on two sense flavors.


    Thanks! Again a really interesting list! I didn't understand the quoted sentence though...are you saying that the Sanskrit versions have been lost in Hindi and Urdu or both versions? (because most of the one's in parentheses are in use....in Urdu poetry/literature, if not colloquially.) Also what does the cf abbreviation stand for?........current form?
    Alfaaz sahab, I actually meant that the Sanskrit has been lost. So, while 'aap' for 'water' shows up at massive scale in Sanskrit verses, it is completely gone from HU. I suppose we could think of the Persianization of HU partly as a 'restoration' of ancient Sanskritic/Indo-Iranian word forms. It is also really interesting how many two-form words are rampant in HU now, ie one word from Proto-Indo-Iranian that shows up as two words of somewhat-related but distinct meanings in HU. So, brihat/brihan → bada (بڑا) and buland (بلند) [Update - Bad example and wrong, Bada apparently comes from vridh, not brihat]. Some words are just gone completely from normal usage in either Skt or Pers form: ashv/asb, asti/ast. Maybe you see them as suffixes or in 'arty' strings (naastik = atheist) but that's it. Connecting back to the topic here, you see this 'meaning drift' within Iranian too. In Pashto, afaik, dimaagh means 'brain/intellect' (دماغ/दिमाग़ ​) just like it does in HU and it lacks the 'nose' meaning that MPers has for it. You see the flip of this phenomenon too, where old Indo-Iranian has made it to HU but seems to have been lost in MPers. One example is 'pati' (master, eg lakhpati). It shows up in Avestan, including with some startlingly Sanskritic-identical forms like (dampaiti = husband+wife, cf dampati in modern HU), and forms exist in English (potent, despot, potential) but afaik it is absent from MPers.

    cf is shorthand for 'compare with'. I think it is from Latin 'confer'. Sorry, academic usage (kind of like, eg, ie, etc).

    I guess one could be jaanaan (which has roots in or is equivalent to Persian/Urdu jaan). Can't think of others right now.....but words are borrowed and used in "fusion poetry" which gives a really interesting sound and depth, while presenting a collaboration of different languages and cultures.

    Dictionary about akhrot: سنسکرت زبان سے اسم جامد ہے۔ لفظ اکشروٹ سے ماخوذ ہے۔
    Very interesting observation on Janaan. I sometimes wonder where the end-nasalization tendency comes from in HU where Persian has explicit noon. Could it be Pashto? What about sarak (سڑک, road, سړك)? That has a Pashto 'feel' to it, doesn't it? What about the word for 'fondness' in Punjabi saRakka (सड़क्का, meaning chaska)? Mainu dopehre chaa peen daa saRakka lag gaya.
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    All of these words are very interesting. kapi occurs early in New Persian, but if it were cognate with, rather than borrowed from Indian languages one would expect -b- in Persian. New Persain jaan is from Middle Persian gyaan, and is not related to Skt. jan "to give birth" and other words of this root; these rather are cognate with Persian zaadan. dimaagh is of course Arabic.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    hindiurdu said:
    In Pashto, afaik, dimaagh means 'brain/intellect' (دماغ/दिमाग़ ​) just like it does in HU and it lacks the 'nose' meaning that MPers has for it.
    I think Urdu (not sure about Pashto, but most likely it also) carries the "nose meaning" that you speak of regarding Persian (as does Arabic-from where the word is borrowed). If I am not wrong, it is used in Urdu scientific/medical terminology.( دماغ definitions 4 and 5)
    hindiurdu said:
    Very interesting observation on Janaan. I sometimes wonder where the end-nasalization tendency comes from in HU where Persian has explicit noon. Could it be Pashto? What about sarak (سڑک, road, سړك)? That has a Pashto 'feel' to it, doesn't it? What about the word for 'fondness' in Punjabi saRakka (सड़क्का, meaning chaska)? Mainu dopehre chaa peen daa saRakka lag gaya.
    Again, I might be wrong....but I thought that the nuun is present in Pashto جانان , as in the Pashto song by Irfaan Khaan and Hadiqa Kiyani :

    da starge jadu gari deeda meena le wanaeda
    یہ آنکھیں جادوگر ہیں، یہ پیار پاگل ہے
    janaan che pake ussi sumra khkale dunyaa gaeda
    یہ دنیا کتنی حسین ہے کہ میرا "جانان" (محبوب) اس میں رہتا ہے!

    or the Urdu/Pashto film's song by Noor Jahan (marHumah):
    او جانے والے میں تیرے قربان خدا حافظ
    او میرے حسیں خوابوں کے مہمان خدا حافظ ، اووو ...میرے جانان خدا حافظ

    but mostly absent in Urdu, as in this poem by Ahmad Faraaz (marhoum).....or maybe this( jaanaN) is different from the Pashto janaan :
    کتنا آساں تھا تیرے ہجر میں مارنا جاناں
    پھر بھی اک عمر لگی جان سے جاتے جاتے

    Dictionary about saRak: اصلاً پراکرت زبان کا لفظ ہے اور بطور اسم مستعمل ہے۔ اردو میں پراکرت سے ماخوذ ہے اصل معنی اور اصل حالت میں عربی رسم الخط کے ساتھ بطور اسم استعمال ہوتا ہے۔ 1611ء کو قلی قطب شاہ کے دیوان میں مستعمل ملتا ہے۔
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I think Urdu (not sure about Pashto, but most likely it also) carries the "nose meaning" that you speak of regarding Persian (as does Arabic-from where the word is borrowed). If I am not wrong, it is used in Urdu scientific/medical terminology.( دماغ definitions 4 and 5)
    Aaargh! (Though you never hear it in that sense in normal spoken Urdu, do you? Mera dimaagh beh raha hai, joshanda hai kya? I checked in the Pashto dictionary and it seems pretty specific to brain - could be wrong).

    Again, I might be wrong....but I thought that the nuun is present in Pashto جانان , as in the Pashto song by Irfaan Khaan and Hadiqa Kiyani
    Aaargh! Aaargh! But I hear 'janaaN' in Pashto all the time - I think, will go back and listen some more.

    Dictionary about saRak: اصلاً پراکرت زبان کا لفظ ہے اور بطور اسم مستعمل ہے۔ اردو میں پراکرت سے ماخوذ ہے اصل معنی اور اصل حالت میں عربی رسم الخط کے ساتھ بطور اسم استعمال ہوتا ہے۔ 1611ء کو قلی قطب شاہ کے دیوان میں مستعمل ملتا ہے۔
    Aaargh! Aaargh! Aaargh! (So this is a loan from HU to Pashto? What is the Sanskrit for it, I wonder?)

    And as if this wasn't bad enough -


    All of these words are very interesting. kapi occurs early in New Persian, but if it were cognate with, rather than borrowed from Indian languages one would expect -b- in Persian. New Persain jaan is from Middle Persian gyaan, and is not related to Skt. jan "to give birth" and other words of this root; these rather are cognate with Persian zaadan. dimaagh is of course Arabic.
    Aaargh! Aaargh! Aaargh! Aaargh! I meant 'jan' as in person. Not as in to give birth (jan-na). From http://books.google.com/books?id=M49xnrM5BZwC&pg=PA71 (The Indo-Aryan Languages, Colin Masica) - Pers. jan 'soui, life' = NIA jan 'living being'. Though I see in other refs a connection being made between jaan and jivan, so now I wonder about this too.

    I think, having hit the 4 aaargh mark of personal incompetence and wrongness (this would be 6 if I had not gone back and corrected myself), the time has come for me to be quiet on this thread and listen more than I say!!
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    Though you never hear it in that sense in normal spoken Urdu, do you? Mera dimaagh beh raha hai, joshanda hai kya?
    :) ; It would obviously depend on the setting! You probably won't hear it at the local grocery store where someone is buying joshandah, but if you visit a medical school, a neuroscience research center, or even a hospital...you might here it very often. Such words are also used in Urdu TV medical programs, in addition to the English/Latin medical terminology.
    So this is a loan from HU to Pashto? What is the Sanskrit for it, I wonder?)
    Another "loan" is probably ٹھیک ٹھاک (pronounced ٹیک ٹاک) which seems to be used in some Pashto morning shows.
     

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    'Jaanaan' is not a Pashto loanword in HU. Both Pashto and HU got it, separately, from Persian. There seem to be many Persian words ending in 'n' that became nasalized in HU, though I don't know anything about a corresponding phenomenon in Pashto.
     

    lcfatima

    Senior Member
    English USA
    Is chargha an Urdu word also? If not, that could be a sort of Pashto loan word in Urdu. Although I have seen ads saying "chicken chargha" (chicken chicken?) which makes me think in Urdu it comes to mean a certain style of fried chicken rather than simply a chicken as in Pashto (chargh/chargha). If it isn't an Urdu word, I don't know if that counts as a true lexical adoption since it isn't used broadly in place of "chikin" or "murghi" but used for a specific style of dish, but it is a Pashto word.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Very interesting observation on Janaan. I sometimes wonder where the end-nasalization tendency comes from in HU where Persian has explicit noon. Could it be Pashto?
    Regarding this topic, this thread may be of interest to you.

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2096868&highlight=nuun-i-Ghunnah

    The "nuun-i-Ghunnah" is a phenomenon which most certainly was part of Classical Persian poetry but it appears that its usage and memory has been wiped off from the psyche of the Persian speakers' mind.

    The nasalisation of the nuun after a long vowel (as in jaaN (life/soul), jahaaN (world), shiiriiN (sweet), xuuN (blood)) was a device employed by poets for purposes of prosody. In terms of syllables, one can depict a short syllable by 1, a long by 2 and an extra long by 2,1

    jaa = 2
    jaan = 2,1
    jaaN = 2
    ja-haan =1,2,1
    ja-haaN = 1, 2

    From this, you can see that the n is counted but N is n't.

    nah tuu zamiiN ke liye hai nah aasmaaN ke liye
    jahaaN hai tere liye, tuu nahiiN jahaaN ke liye

    Iqbal

    Here if zamiiN is read as zamiin, aasmaaN as aasmaan and jahaaN as jahaan, then this will throw the whole coulpet off balance! (in terms of line length).
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Again, I might be wrong....but I thought that the nuun is present in Pashto جانان , as in the Pashto song by Irfaan Khaan and Hadiqa Kiyani :

    da starge jadu gari deeda meena le wanaeda
    یہ آنکھیں جادوگر ہیں، یہ پیار پاگل ہے
    janaan che pake ussi sumra khkale dunyaa gaeda
    یہ دنیا کتنی حسین ہے کہ میرا "جانان" (محبوب) اس میں رہتا ہے!

    or the Urdu/Pashto film's song by Noor Jahan (marHumah):
    او جانے والے میں تیرے قربان خدا حافظ
    او میرے حسیں خوابوں کے مہمان خدا حافظ ، اووو ...میرے جانان خدا حافظ

    but mostly absent in Urdu, as in this poem by Ahmad Faraaz (marhoum).....or maybe this( jaanaN) is different from the Pashto janaan :
    کتنا آساں تھا تیرے ہجر میں مارنا جاناں
    پھر بھی اک عمر لگی جان سے جاتے جاتے

    There is only one "jaanaan"! It is from Persian and used in Urdu (and Pashto and other language)

    P جانان jānān, s.m. (pl. of jān), Lives; souls; sweethearts; (poet.) a beloved one, a sweetheart.

    In the poetic form, it is jaanaaN.

    You as an ultimate film and song connoisseur will no doubt know of this Pakistani song.

    raftah raftah vuh mere dill kaa saamaaN ho ga'e
    pahle jaaN, phir jaan-i-jaaN, phir jaan-i-jaanaaN ho ga'e

    For "janaaN" to mean "sweet heart", I believe the full construction is "jaan-i-jaanaaN" (life of lives) where the "jaan-i-" part is understood.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    I think Urdu (not sure about Pashto, but most likely it also) carries the "nose meaning" that you speak of regarding Persian (as does Arabic-from where the word is borrowed). If I am not wrong, it is used in Urdu scientific/medical terminology.( دماغ definitions 4 and 5)

    Again, I might be wrong.
    Not only that, in poetry too!
     
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    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    Thanks for the explanation Qureshpor SaaHib and confirmation marrish SaaHib!
    will no doubt know of this Pakistani song.

    raftah raftah vuh mere dill kaa saamaaN ho ga'e
    pahle jaaN, phir jaan-i-jaaN, phir jaan-i-jaanaaN ho ga'e

    For "janaaN" to mean "sweet heart", I believe the full construction is "jaan-i-jaanaaN" (life of lives) where the "jaan-i-" part is understood.
    Yes; might be wrong, but this song was a copy/"inspired" by a song in a Bollywood film Hum KahaaN Jaa RaheN haiN (sung by Asha B. and Mahinder K.)....and the lyrics were "hastii kaa saamaaN" in the Mehdi Hassan version. It later "inspired" another similar song in an Amir K and Pujaa B. film, where the lyrics were "dil ke mehmaaN".
     

    Ironicus

    Senior Member
    English & Swahili - East Africa
    What a fascinating and erudite thread!

    My understanding of the Bollywood phenomenon is that the film writers set out to produce material that would be understood all over the Indian Empire, embracing everything from Burma to Baluchistan and from the Himalayas to the southern tip of India. To do this they developed the stock plots and characters, with plenty of melodrama and slapstick, so that the films were a visual experience anyone could understand. I have seen children of 4 or 5 who do not understand a word of Hindi, laughing and crying in all the appropriate places. This is really a tour-de-force of applied psychology. So today you can watch Bollywood movies on bus journeys in South America, sometimes badly dubbed into Spanish or Portuguese, sometimes sub-titled for a population far from fully literate. Everyone loves them - everyone, that is, except Hollywood.

    Regarding the language of the Vedas. This language is called Chhandas, which is cognate with the word Zend. It is not Sanskrit, which is an artificial language developed much later than Chhandas. The Avesta is a book in Zend. As has been pointed out here, with only a little work it's easy to see the parallels between the two. In fact, consider that Chhandas has dropped the short vowels e and o; that Zend z does duty for both ch and j in Chhandas; that Zend does not show aspiration; then making due allowance for transliteration, one who knows either language can read and understand the other.

    Sanskrit preserved and codified almost all of Chhandas, so think of it as a much more formal superset of the latter.

    So to understand the whole vast spectrum of languages of South Asia, I would study Sanskrit and classical Arabic. This would give me the bulk of the vocabulary, especially in the loftier registers; but it would be almost no help with the grammar. As a bonus, this would throw light on a whole lot more of the surroundings. You would be able to understand names like Megawati Sukarno, Bhumibol and Sirikit; you would know why Socotra is so called, and understand the relationship between the names Yemen and Somalia, and much else besides; and you would suddenly see that the Indian Ocean was a bustling highway long before the English and the Portuguese knew how to build log canoes.
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Dictionary about saRak: اصلاً پراکرت زبان کا لفظ ہے اور بطور اسم مستعمل ہے۔ اردو میں پراکرت سے ماخوذ ہے اصل معنی اور اصل حالت میں عربی رسم الخط کے ساتھ بطور اسم استعمال ہوتا ہے۔ 1611ء کو قلی قطب شاہ کے دیوان میں مستعمل ملتا ہے۔
    I looked into this more -
    Sanskrit dictionary - http://spokensanskrit.de/index.php?script=HK&beginning=0+&tinput=+road&trans=Translate&direction=AU - सृति (srti) and सरणी (saraNi)
    Dari Wiktionary entry - http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/سرک - so it is definitely there in Dari too.

    I could go look at Avestan but that would tell us nothing because it is too dang close to Vedic. Could Urdu dictionary entry you quoted be a mistake? Could it actually be an older Persian word that is preserved in Dari and found retroflexed in Pashto and made its way into HU?
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Regarding the language of the Vedas. This language is called Chhandas, which is cognate with the word Zend.
    Interesting post Ironicus! I thought chhand meant meter of poetry. Did it originally mean something different?
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Regarding the language of the Vedas. This language is called Chhandas, which is cognate with the word Zend. It is not Sanskrit, which is an artificial language developed much later than Chhandas. The Avesta is a book in Zend. As has been pointed out here, with only a little work it's easy to see the parallels between the two. In fact, consider that Chhandas has dropped the short vowels e and o; that Zend z does duty for both ch and j in Chhandas; that Zend does not show aspiration; then making due allowance for transliteration, one who knows either language can read and understand the other.
    A bit of confusion here. The Zoroastrian scripture is called Avesta. Zand is the translation of the Avesta into Middle Persian (Pahlavi). The pioneering scholars of the 18th and early 19th century referred to the Avesta as “Zend” or “Zend-Avesta”, but we know now that this was a mistake. The language of the Avesta is properly called “Avestan”, not “Zend”. The Middle-Persain word “zand” is Avestan “zanti-“, which means “knowledge” and is cognate with the Sanskrit root jan-, “to know”, not with chhanda-, and also with Persian dānistan “to know”. The correspondence of Skt. /j/ , Avestan /z/ , Persian /d/ is regular.
     
    Last edited:

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    A bit of confusion here. The Zoroastrian scripture is called Avesta. Zand is the translation of the Avesta into Middle Persian (Pahlavi). The pioneering scholars of the 18th and early 19th century referred to the Avesta as “Zend” or “Zend-Avesta”, but we know now that this was a mistake. The language of the Avesta is properly called “Avestan”, not “Zend”. The Middle-Persain word “zand” is Avestan “zanti-“, which means “knowledge” and is cognate with the Sanskrit root jan-, “to know”, not with chhanda-, and also with Persian dānistan “to know”. The correspondence of Skt. /j/ , Avestan /z/ , Persian /d/ is regular.
    Ah, makes sense! FDB, wasn't is jnan/gnan for knowledge in Sanskrit though, which has turned into jan-na (to know, H/U/Punj) as well as gyaan. Also seems nicely cognate to knon/know. So, chhand has nothing to do with any of this, correct?
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    I looked into this more -
    Sanskrit dictionary - http://spokensanskrit.de/index.php?script=HK&beginning=0+&tinput=+road&trans=Translate&direction=AU - सृति (srti) and सरणी (saraNi)
    Dari Wiktionary entry - http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/سرک - so it is definitely there in Dari too.

    I could go look at Avestan but that would tell us nothing because it is too dang close to Vedic. Could Urdu dictionary entry you quoted be a mistake? Could it actually be an older Persian word that is preserved in Dari and found retroflexed in Pashto and made its way into HU?
    The defence of the quoted on-line dictionary comes from an unexpected hook since I, amongst others, do most of the time the job of pointing out to liberties such dictionaries frequently take. The time will show whether they get doing any better but for now, although useful, they cannot be called reliable dictionaries. This time, however, the dictionary is right to say that saRak is derived from Prakrit, and more so, the Prakrit words originates from the Sanskrit word which you have linked above!
    I don't know why Pashto should 'retroflexize' an otherwise non-retroflex Persian 'r' but one can but agree with your suggestion about the Pashto connection which seems to have acted as a transfer language to Dari Persian. This word is unheard of in Classical or colloquial Tehrani Persian, with the exception of the diminutive form of 'sar (head)'. I wouldn't suggest that saRak is a Persian-Pashtufied-word which gained its blossom time in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and other 'Indic' languages, on the contrary, this would be another instance of numerous Indic lexical borrowings in Iranian languages.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Ah, makes sense! FDB, wasn't is jnan/gnan for knowledge in Sanskrit though, which has turned into jan-na (to know, H/U/Punj) as well as gyaan. Also seems nicely cognate to knon/know. So, chhand has nothing to do with any of this, correct?
    Yes, you are right. And of course English “know” (with its silent k as a memento of the etymology), Greek gignoskō, gnōsis, etc. etc. are all related as well.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The defence of the quoted on-line dictionary comes from an unexpected hook since I, amongst others, do most of the time the job of pointing out to liberties such dictionaries frequently take. The time will show whether they get doing any better but for now, although useful, they cannot be called reliable dictionaries. This time, however, the dictionary is right to say that saRak is derived from Prakrit, and more so, the Prakrit words originates from the Sanskrit word which you have linked above!
    I don't know why Pashto should 'retroflexize' an otherwise non-retroflex Persian 'r' but one can but agree with your suggestion about the Pashto connection which seems to have acted as a transfer language to Dari Persian. This word is unheard of in Classical or colloquial Tehrani Persian, with the exception of the diminutive form of 'sar (head)'. I wouldn't suggest that saRak is a Persian-Pashtufied-word which gained its blossom time in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and other 'Indic' languages, on the contrary, this would be another instance of numerous Indic lexical borrowings in Iranian languages.
    Yes, Pashto and Afghan Persian saRak are borrowed from Urdu. But Persian sar "head" is genuine Iranian (Avestan sarah-).
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    By the way, I love this Indo-Iranian forum. Everyone is knowledgable, polite, and ready to agree that they might sometimes be wrong. Not at all typical on here....
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Yes, Pashto and Afghan Persian saRak are borrowed from Urdu. But Persian sar "head" is genuine Iranian (Avestan sarah-).
    Of course, and I was referring to the word ''sarak'' which you had mentioned before as belonging to the vocabulary of Dari Persian. I wasn't denying the Persianness of 'sar' but suggesting ''sarak'' in (Iranian) Persian would only mean a ''little head'', not a road. For those who may not know, the suffix -ak is the marker of diminutives.

    Anyway, thank you for your contributions!
     
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