Punjabi: pher, naa spelling in Shahmukhi

MonsieurGonzalito

Senior Member
Spanish
I have repeatedly seen educated Punjabi speakers writing in Shahmukhi the words
pher ....... noun: turn, adverb: later, conjunction: therefore ........ ਫੇਰ
naa ........ adverb: no .................................................................. ਨਾ

as فیر and نہ, respectively
My understanding is that they should be written پھیر and نا, respectively, but when I ask about it, they insist otherwise.

So, this is the background information I have:

pher
* Punjabi has the "ph" sound, a sort of a deep, more labial "f", same as the Hindi फ or the Urdu پھ . In Gurmukhi script, this is represented by the letter ਫ
* For borrowed Urdu words, or words with a clear "f" sound, the dotted letter ਫ਼ is used. This would be equivalent to the Hindi फ़ or the Urdu ف
* In Hindi especially, many people don't use the dotted version of letters, and some are even losing the ability to differentiate between the sounds (not only for फ़ but for the rest of the dotted letters as well)
* in Punjabi, a reverse phenomenon occurs. Many people are careless about the dotted versions of the letters, but for this particular letter, many people tend to pronounce it as "f" even when it is a "ph".

naa
* It is always a long "aa" sound in Punjabi. Not like نہ in Urdu or न in Hindi
* In the Gurmukhi script it is written ਨਾ. The second ◌ਾ sign means a long A.

Therefore: pher should always be written پھیر (even in Urdu), and the Punjabi "no" should always be written نا

Am I correct on both accounts? Are there other elements that I am missing?
 
  • desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    I have repeatedly seen educated Punjabi speakers writing in Shahmukhi the words
    pher ....... noun: turn, adverb: later, conjunction: therefore ........ ਫੇਰ
    naa ........ adverb: no .................................................................. ਨਾ

    as فیر and نہ, respectively
    My understanding is that they should be written پھیر and نا, respectively, but when I ask about it, they insist otherwise.

    So, this is the background information I have:

    pher
    * Punjabi has the "ph" sound, a sort of a deep, more labial "f", same as the Hindi फ or the Urdu پھ . In Gurmukhi script, this is represented by the letter ਫ
    * For borrowed Urdu words, or words with a clear "f" sound, the dotted letter ਫ਼ is used. This would be equivalent to the Hindi फ़ or the Urdu ف
    * In Hindi especially, many people don't use the dotted version of letters, and some are even losing the ability to differentiate between the sounds (not only for फ़ but for the rest of the dotted letters as well)
    * in Punjabi, a reverse phenomenon occurs. Many people are careless about the dotted versions of the letters, but for this particular letter, many people tend to pronounce it as "f" even when it is a "ph".

    naa
    * It is always a long "aa" sound in Punjabi. Not like نہ in Urdu or न in Hindi
    * In the Gurmukhi script it is written ਨਾ. The second ◌ਾ sign means a long A.

    Therefore: pher should always be written پھیر (even in Urdu), and the Punjabi "no" should always be written نا

    Am I correct on both accounts? Are there other elements that I am missing?
    Actually, in Hindi the dotted letters are used comparatively more than in other languages that use Indic scripts, such as Punjabi or Gujarati. And it’s not really correct to call the absence of the dots “careless”. Some use them, but they are not a standard part of the orthography of any Indic script.

    Many assimilate the sounds because people have traditionally not been taught to keep the Persianate sounds separate from Indic ones unless they grew up in or were exposed to an Islamicate environment. The script conventions are a reflection of this cultural difference. Thus pronunciations sometimes differ in Pakistan and India.
     

    MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    فیر and بھیر are different words

    فیر is "then", used as a temporal adverb or conjunction.
    بھیر means "turn, rotation" and is also used as a modal or temporal adverb indicating iteration: "again, in turn"
     

    Pardesi

    New Member
    Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ/پنجابی
    I think you have picked up on an interesting trend.

    ਫਿਰ phir meaning 'then' is written as پھِر (as also spelt in Urdu)
    ਫੇਰ pher meaning 'turn/rotation' or as an adverb meaning 'again, afterwards, thereafter' is written پھیر

    It is prevalent in East Punjab to mispronounce both phir and pher as fir and fer as the only distinguishing mark between the sound ph and f in the Gurmukhi alphabet is a nuqta - a dot at the bottom of ਫ - and the distinguishing sounds are not diligently taught despite being present in the language.

    ਫਿਰ phir is incorrectly pronounced ਫ਼ਿਰ fir
    ਫੇਰ pher is incorrectly pronounced ਫ਼ੇਰ fer

    It seems like the mispronunciation of pher when used as an adverb is entering Shahmukhi by being spelt as فیر fer.
    An explanation of this could be that since Punjab's partition in 1947 the Punjabi language's sphere of influence has largely been coming from East Punjab where pher in mispronounced and that has been picked up by Punjabi speakers in West Punjab and the diaspora who have begun literally writing it with a ف instead of پھ
    As for فیر fer, searches in two Shahmukhi dictionaries come blank and a Google search shows this spelling is mainly used in some poetry and documents translated by regional councils in England for Punjabi readers in Shahmukhi.

    The prevalence in mispronouncing phir/pher as fir/fer is interesting because the f sound is not native to Gurmukhi orthography but has entered through loanwords. One would expect borrowed sounds to be lost in the pronunciation more often in favour of original sounds as in the cases of ਜ ਜ਼ ਖ ਖ਼ ਗ ਗ਼ but not in this instance where ਫ ph is native and replaced for ਫ਼ f which came from Arabic and Persian loanwords.

    In regards to نا naa and نہ nah this has already been discussed here: Hindi/Urdu - na vs naa
    Shahmukhi differenticates between نہ and نا like Devanagari न na and ना naa but in Gurmukhi both would be ਨਾ
    According to a dictionary by Punjabi University, Patiala نہ indicates negation and نا means no although their dictionary shows them to be interchangeable:

    جی نا کرنا ਜੀ ਨਾ ਕਰਨਾ jee naa karna (unwilling, not in the mood)
    نا موافِق ਨਾਮੁਆਫ਼ਕ naa muaafiq (unfavourable)
    صبر نہ کرنا ਸਬਰ ਨਾ ਕਰਨਾ sabar nah karna (impatient, not being patient)
    نہ واقف ਨਾਵਾਕਫ਼ nah waaqif (unacquainted, stranger)


    Also notice how in Shahmukhi the nah or naa is written separately from the word it is negating, as in Devanagari for Hindi, whereas in Gurmukhi it is written as one word.
     
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    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    but in Gurmukhi both would be ਨਾ
    According to the linked dictionary entries, in Gurmukhi ਨ na and ਨਾ naa can be used interchangeably.
    Also notice how in Shahmukhi the nah or naa is written separately from the word it is negating, as in Devanagari for Hindi, whereas in Gurmukhi it is written as one word.
    With regard to naa- in compounds, I think the tendency in both Hindi and Gurmukhi Punjabi is to write it as one word. For example, naa-mumkin is written नामुमकिन in Hindi and ਨਾਮੁਮਕਿਨ in Gurmukhi Punjabi.
     
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    Pardesi

    New Member
    Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ/پنجابی
    in Gurmukhi ਨ na and ਨਾ naa can be used
    I've only seen Gurmukhi ਨ in Sikh scriptures like the Guru Granth Sahib.
    Are there any examples of it being used in Punjabi?

    Shahmukhi نہ واقف can be transliterated into Devanagari as नावाक़िफ़ or न वाक़िफ़- the latter example's न being commonly used in Hindi.
    In Gurmukhi however, whether that choice of either spelling it as ਨਾਵਾਕਫ਼ or ਨ ਵਾਕਫ਼ exists would be down to Punjabi's usage of ਨ as a negating compound, which I am yet to come across.
     
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