Persian and Arabic Influence on Hindi

vikramkr

Member
USA - English
Hello:

I was wondering which language, Persian or Arabic, has had more influence on Hindi. Is most Persian vocabulary independent from Arabic vocabulary? Did Persian vocabulary make its way into Hindi via Arabic? I am also interested in finding out what language Hindi borrows most of its vocabulary from (I'm guessing Sanskrit).

Thanks,

Vikram
 
  • DrLindenbrock

    Senior Member
    Italian
    This discussion was carried on quite extensively in other threads, you might want to do some searches in the forums.
    Getting to what you said:

    Hello:

    I was wondering which language, Persian or Arabic, has had more influence on Hindi. Is most Persian vocabulary independent from Arabic vocabulary? No, most of the vocabulary that went from Persian into Hindi is originally Arabic, especially for religious and administrative terms Did Persian vocabulary make its way into Hindi via Arabic? No, most Arabic words made their way through Persian I am also interested in finding out what language Hindi borrows most of its vocabulary from (I'm guessing Sanskrit) Probably, but I'm not qualified to answer:) .

    Thanks,

    Vikram
     

    Alijsh

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    Of course Persian. Most of originally Arabic words have come to Hindi and Urdu thru Persian and thus they are Persian loanwords for them. As Ottoman_Turkish article of Wikipedia states, "Ottoman Turkish's Arabic borrowings were not the result of the direct exposure of the language to Arabic is evidenced by the typically Persian phonological mutation of the words." We can say the same thing for Hindi and Urdu.

    Apart from that, as Persian language article of Wikipedia states, "For five centuries prior to the British colonization of present day Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, Persian was widely used as a second or first language in the Indian subcontinent; it took prominence as the language of culture and education in several Muslim courts in the subcontinent and became the "official language" under the Mughal emperors. Only in 1843 did the subcontinent begin conducting business in English.[7] Evidence of Persian's historical influence in the region can be seen in the extent of its influence on Urdu, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, and Sindhi language, as well as the popularity that Persian literature still enjoys in the region."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_franca#Persian:
    "Persian served as the lingua franca of the eastern Islamic world and became the second lingua franca of the Islamic World.[3] Besides serving as the state and administrative language in many Islamic dynasties, some of which included Samanids, Ghurids, Ghaznavids, Ilkhanids, Seljuqids, Moguls and early Ottomans, Persian cultural and political forms, and often the Persian language were used by the cultural elites from the Balkans to India.[4] Arnold Joseph Toynbee's assessment of the role of the Persian language is worth quoting in more detail:In the Iranic world, before it began to succumb to the process of Westernization, the New Persian language, which had been fashioned into literary form in mighty works of art. . . gained a currency as a lingua franca; and at its widest, about the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of the Christian Era, its range in this role extended, without a break, across the face of South-Eastern Europe and South-Western Asia. [5] Persian remains the lingua franca in its native homelands of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan and was the lingua franca of India before the British conquest. It is still understood by many intellectuals of India and Pakistan."

    India and Pakistan have given us great Persian poets like Amir Khusro Dehlavi and Muhammad Iqbal Lahuri. Even in Persian literature, we have a style called "Indian Style".

    Here and here can give you more information that you may like to know.

    As I conclude from what I have read, Arabic just influenced Persian directly and originally Arabic words that are found in other neighboring languages are mostly thru Persian or languages influenced by Persian and thus they are borrowings from Persian or Persian-influenced languages.

    Persian vocabulary is Persian vocabulary no matter how much it is borrowing. Once you know Persian, you know the originally Arabic loanwords that are found in Hindi and Urdu as well as native Persian loanwords plus cognates because Hindi, Sanskrit, and Persian belong to one family: Indo-Iranian_languages.

    ***
    - There might be some mistakes in details but in generality it's true. In any case, if you find any mistake please tell me since I don't know all ins and outs about the history of Persian in other regions and I'd like to know about it. Hame chiz râ hamegân dânand: All people together know everything :D
     

    vikramkr

    Member
    USA - English
    Thanks Alijsh!

    That was really interesting...exactly what I was looking for! :)

    It's amazing to think that Persian was the lingua franca of India, in early times! I would have never guessed...

    Awesome links...thanks again! :)

    --Vikram
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    Thanks Alijsh!

    That was really interesting...exactly what I was looking for! :)

    It's amazing to think that Persian was the lingua franca of India, in early times! I would have never guessed...

    Awesome links...thanks again! :)

    --Vikram
    I sure copied Alijsh's post to dig into it later. When I've sobered up a bit, I'll also try to Google for the relative importance of Indian exams in different languages during different periods. Might be more interesting stuff there.
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Thanks Alijsh!

    That was really interesting...exactly what I was looking for! :)

    It's amazing to think that Persian was the lingua franca of India, in early times! I would have never guessed...

    Awesome links...thanks again! :)

    --Vikram
    Persian definitely was the lingua franca of India. My grandparents had to learn it, and boast to me how they still know it very well. The educated class was very fluent in both Persian and Urdu (at least in North India).

    There were several threads (some started by you) which offer some more info. I'll post them for completions sake, since you already know about them.
    Here, here, and here.

    Do you have a copy of Rupert Snell's Teach Yourself Hindi? I'd recommend it; there is a page which explains Arabic and Persian loan words pretty well. Also useful is Urdu: An Essential Grammar by Ruth Schmidt.
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    I am also interested in finding out what language Hindi borrows most of its vocabulary from (I'm guessing Sanskrit).
    Standard Hindi, or what is more correctly termed as "rashtriyebhasha" or "state language" derives much of its vocab from Sanskrit. In reading the newspaper, I've seen random Persian derived words here and there, but the vast majority is Sanskritic "tatsams" (borrowed words). Now, with that said, Hindi varies from location to location. Perhaps you've heard the saying "kos kos pe badle pani, chaar kos pe baani," meaning that the water changes with every "kos" (2 miles i think) and that with every 4 kos's, the language changes. An Hindi-wala in Delhi may speak a Hindi with many Sanskrit and Persian origin words whereas someone from Chhattisgarh may prefer a more purer Hindi, whatever that entails. My advice to you is to use whatever version of Hindi you feel most comfortable with, but know that their are some variant here and there.
     

    vikramkr

    Member
    USA - English
    Persian definitely was the lingua franca of India. My grandparents had to learn it, and boast to me how they still know it very well. The educated class was very fluent in both Persian and Urdu (at least in North India).

    There were several threads (some started by you) which offer some more info. I'll post them for completions sake, since you already know about them.
    Here, here, and here.

    Do you have a copy of Rupert Snell's Teach Yourself Hindi? I'd recommend it; there is a page which explains Arabic and Persian loan words pretty well. Also useful is Urdu: An Essetial Grammar by Ruth Schmidt.
    Hey panjabigator, I actually do have that book! I haven't seen that page though...I'll have to find it!
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    Do you have a copy of Rupert Snell's Teach Yourself Hindi? I'd recommend it; there is a page which explains Arabic and Persian loan words pretty well. Also useful is Urdu: An Essential Grammar by Ruth Schmidt.
    Nor do I find that page in my 1992 copy. But the TY series books get edited and changed but keep their titles. The 2003 Chinese (Elizabeth Scurfield) is 100% different from the 1947 edition (H.R. Williamson), and there might be another one between them.

    The grammar mentioned is not only useful; I find it one of the best grammars of that size for any language. Also, Ms. Schmidt has one chapter "Persian elements in Urdu" and one "Arabic elements in Urdu", 10 pages each.

    I'll add that I like Snell's book as well, but the font size is a point too small and the typesetting too compact for my taste.
     

    Alijsh

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    Persian definitely was the lingua franca of India. My grandparents had to learn it, and boast to me how they still know it very well. The educated class was very fluent in both Persian and Urdu (at least in North India).
    How interesting. Can your grandparents read Persian literature? Hafiz, Sa'di, Rumi (mawlana), etc. Are there still Persian learners? I think those who like Urdu literature may like to learn Persian.

    Do you know about Persian in today Bengal? The well-known term "Persian is sugar" comes from a conversation with a Bengali king who was a Persian poet. Here I found an article about Persian in Bengal in the past. It talks about its history, how it was removed from there (scroll about half of the page to see it) and its influence on Bengali's grammar and vocabulary.
     
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