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.
     
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