Transliteration of Urdu and Hindi as used in this Forum

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by marrish, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu

    The background for this thread was a post by Chhaatr jii, which unfortunately got swept away in the WordReference crash/outage/disfunctionality of yesterday. This is the post which I have recovered from the file with a copy of the lost posts:

    After this kind request from our new participant, Chhaatr jii, I ran a search of the existing threads, as a consequence of which I concluded that none of the threads went into the required depth on the subject at hand. It seemed advantageous to spend a couple of hours yesterday and today to prepare a review of the transliteration methods which are in vogue in and outside of the Forum. The outcome of this is a comprehensive chart which I'm reproducing below.

    You can guess that posting of all these characters and making them visible - on the system the Forum uses - was a stumbling block in itself. I tried to do what I could but it is possible that you can't see all the characters being displayed properly on your computer.

    I hope that it will facilitate the participation of Chhaatr SaaHib and other future members. Please feel free to comment, point out the shortcomings and offer your suggestions!


    Urdu IIR Forum IPA ISO 15919 Devanagari
    Vowels اَ، ـَـ a ə a
    آ، ـا aa ā आ, ा
    اِ، ــِ i ɪ i इ, ि
    اِی، ــِیـــ ، ـِی، ئی ii ī ई, ​ी
    اُ، ـُـ u ʊ u उ, ​ु
    اُو، ـُو uu ū ऊ, ू
    او، و، ؤ o ō ओ, ​ो
    اَو، ـَوْ au ɔː au औ, ौ
    اے، ایـ ، ـیـ ، ـے، ئے e ē ए, ​े
    اَی، ـََیـْ ، ـَے، ـَی ai / ay ɛː ai ऐ, ै
    (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) (ĕ) ɛ --- ऎ, ॆ
    (ـُـ + ح، ع ھ) (ŏ) o --- ऒ, ॊ
    --- (ر) ri ɻ ऋ, ृ
    Nasalization ں ، ـنـْ۔ N ~ ~ ँ, /ं
    Consonants ب b b b ब्
    بھـ bh bh भ्
    پ p p p प्
    پھـ ph ph फ्
    ت t t त्
    تھـ th t̪ ʱ th थ्
    ٹ T ʈ ट्
    ٹھـ Th ʈʱ ṭh ठ्
    ث s/th s/θ s (स्)
    ج j d͡ʒ j ज्
    جھـ jh d͡ʒ ʱ jh झ्
    چ ch t͡ ʃ c च्
    چھـ chh t͡ ʃ ʱ ch छ्
    ح H /(7) ħ h/ḥ ह्
    خ x x kh ख़्
    د d d द्
    دھ dh d̪ʱ ʱ dh ध्
    ڈ D ɖ ड्
    ڈھ Dh ɖʱ ḍh ढ्
    ذ z/Z z/ð z (ज़्)
    ر r r r र्
    ڑ R ɽ ड़्
    ڑھ Rh ɽʱ ṛh ढ़्
    ز z z z ज़्
    ژ Zh ʒ zh (झ़्)
    س s s s स्
    ش sh ʃ sh श्
    ص s/S s/sˤ (स्)
    ض z/Dh z/dˤ (ज़्)
    ط t/T/(6) t/tˤ t (त्)
    ظ z/Z z/ðˤ (ज़्)
    ع 3 / (') ʕ/ə ' --- (अ')
    غ Gh ɣ ġ ग़्
    ف f f f फ़्
    ق q q q क़्
    ک k k k क्
    کھـ kh kh ख्
    گ g g g ग्
    گھـ gh gh घ्
    ل l l l ल्
    لھـ lh lh ल्ह्
    م m m m म्
    مھـ mh mh म्ह
    ن n n n न्
    نھـ nh nh न्ह
    --- (Pnj. ڻ) NR ɳ ण्
    و v/w ʋ v व्
    (ہ ، ﮩ ، ﮨ ، (ـہ h ɦ h ह्
    ھ h ʰ h (ह्)
    ء ('), (2) ʔ ' ---
    یـ ، ـیـ ، ی y j y य्
    --- (ش، کھـ، چھـ) sh/SH ʂ ष्
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2013
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ marrish SaaHib, you have done a grand job. Your post is not only very comprehensive but also quite attractive in its outlook. I am sure past, present and future members will be able to benefit from it. A very big thank you!
  3. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    NR is very ugly looking. I'd even prefer ~ for nasalisation.
  4. Chhaatr Senior Member

    marrish SaaHib thank you very much for this ready reckoner! :thumbsup:
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    We have been using NR to distinguish it from N, as in maaN (mother). There is no compulsion on anyone to use any particular system. As long as one is able to put one's message across and others are able to understand it, that is all that matters. You can use ~ or any other symbol you wish to use.We'll soon get used to your innovation.
  6. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you very much for the encouragement.
  7. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    NR might be ugly looking but it is nothing compared to the IPA symbols, would you agree? And also it is easy to type. Please come forward with an alternative for it. ~ is a nice way to convey nasalization but the problem is that it has to be placed above the vowel sign so it is quite bothersome to type it directly from the keyboard.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  8. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Yes, well now I don't have to look so perplexed when you and Marrish-saahib type Punjabi words. Previously, when I saw NR I shuddered
    and was greatful to not be learning Punjabi.
  9. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I believe I have used NR for Hindi words too. Well, learning any language should be a matter of free choice and no one is insisting that you should learn Punjabi.
  10. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    Really nice job, marrish. This thread should be made a sticky; it would be of quite some help for all the future learners as well!
  11. lambdakneit

    lambdakneit Member

    English - U.S.A., Español - México
    Indeed QUERESHPOR Saa7ib, a great number of words in Hindi in fact have this retroflex NR. The first ones to come to mind is cold or ThaNRDa (टण्ड) and pronounciation uccaraNR (उच्चरण), and in my studies of Hindi grammar I have also come accross vyakaraNR (व्यकरण) which means grammar.

    Most of these words seem to be from Sanskrit origin so I would not think that they are very common in colloquial speech. But don't take my word for it, perhaps a native speaker might have more to say about this.
  12. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you very much! :p
  13. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I see, maybe I didn't see those threads.
  14. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
  15. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Nice job marrish saahab. I agree this should be added to sticky notes.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  16. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    "Thandaa" is a very common word, lambdakneit; however, it is not written or said with a retroflex (ठंडा). उच्चरण reminds me of an unrelated, very colloquial word, उत्तरण. As for grammar, that's vyaakaraNR (व्याकरण) - and that's a standard term for "grammar", nothing colloquial or shuddh about it.
  17. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Dear All,

    I've made the thread a sticky (Great job, Marrish Sahib :thumbsup:). Please don't use it to chat. And if you have to discuss the transliteration of a particular word/letter/sound, open a new thread for it, with links to this one if you wish.

  18. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Great work marrish SaaHib! Just a small addition is needed!

    Could you add 'ay' as an alternative for 'ai' so we have: ai / ay

    Some may prefer one to the other and yours truly uses either forms and perhaps in the past may be more the 'ay' form.

  19. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    I suggest that the sound Ghayn should be written gh (underlined rather than capitalized) in order to reserve the capital letters for retroflex letters.

    The sh sound should be underlined too, as there is no other way to differentiate it from the group : s + h.

    Underlining is therefore a way of showing that two letters actually represent a simple sound:

    gh (aspirate) vs. gh (affricate)
    kh (aspirate) vs. kh (affricate)
    sh (cluster) vs. sh (fricative)
    th (aspirate) vs. th (affricate)


    To be honest, I am not a great fan of the N to mark nazalisation. I kind of like the old school style that Punjabigator Sahab taught us a while ago: .n (dot-enn), while we could keep N for retroflex N (that would allow us to avoid NR or whatnot and increase the overall consistency of the system)
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  20. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Faylasoof SaaHib, thank you very much. I agree, I have missed this one and I'd like to add it since I use it myself at times. Unfortunately I can't edit it any more so may I ask you to do it for me?
  21. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Done, marrish SaaHib!
  22. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Great, it's complete now.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  23. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Dear Urdu and Hindi knowing friends,

    How do you feel about the possible manner of transliterating Urdu words ending in -ah with a ''visarga'' instead of incorrect long -aa?

    For example, chest is سینہ in Urdu, transliterated siinah, and I don't know whether this word is used in Hindi but it would be written as सीना, equal to siinaa, the verb meaning 'to sew'.

    Would you find सीनः a better solution?
  24. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It is good to have a consultation process marrish SaaHib. However a Hindi speaker would need to have prior knowledge whether a particular word ends with an -ah in Urdu in order for him/her to make a decision to use the visarga or not.
  25. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Yes, QP SaaHib, this is my intention to have a consultation process. Thank you for the appreciation.
    I have addressed the ''Urdu and Hindi knowers'' for this task as I can imagine the speaker of Hindi only can have this difficulty. Let it be said, it is good to have your answer since you are the the ''Urdu and Hindi knower''!
  26. jakubisek Member

    I know I cannot change the habit of this forum, just someone asked an alternative to NR, so here's my solution:

    Write nasalisation by M instead of N and use N instead of NR.
    Then the "row" of retroflex sounds would all be in capitals T Th D Dh N

    I acutally like the tilda (even if written after the vowel - just as the N is) much better, but would have to switch keyboards to be able to enter it, so I use M for (chandra)bindu.

    However, where the dot precedes a plosive, I'd just transcribe it as the homorganic nasal:

    THaNDaa (instead of ThaMDaa), gandaa (instead of gaMdaa)

    The advantage of NR is that people who are here for some years, are used to it.
    The disadvantage is that newcomers may be pretty perplexed! As the rest seems self-understood, to me the only confusing letter, this one, looked like a retroflex R preceded by nazalization. And well, how do you actually differenciate between nazalized vowel followed by R and oral vowel followed by N ?
  27. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    Not at all: since that's not how we pronounce it. If you put the visarga, there's the "ha" sound (heavy aspiration), which is not the case with almost all words ending in "-ah" in Urdu (and in "-aa" in Hindi). I doubt whether Urdu speakers also pronounce this "h" of "siinah": do they?
  28. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    I like this idea. I've seen M used to indicate nasalization on other online sites so it wouldn't be that big of a change for me.
  29. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Yes, सीना is used in Hindi for both "chest" and "to sew". Obviously, context determines the meaning. It's fairly easy to differentiate between a noun and verb, so I don't think there's any confusion.

    सीनः (siinaH) is pronounced differently than सीना (siinaa) as GB mentioned. Most Urdu speakers pronounce سینہ (siinah) as سينا (siinaa). The equivalent Hindi spelling of سینہ would be सीनह्; however, it is not pronounced as such and so not transcribed that way. Urdu preserves the Persian spelling of words, while Hindi generally transcribes words as they are pronounced. Thus, the Persian -ah becomes -aa in Hindi.

    I think words such as siinaa/siinah should be transcribed according to individual preferences. There's no ambiguity in meaning regardless of the transcription.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  30. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    You make some valid points jakubisek. There is certainly room for further contemplation and improvement.
  31. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I think it would be fair to say that सीनः was merely some food for thought and no more. I personally agree that the visarga served a particular pronunciaion albeit it may not be followed to the letter in modern times (eg. in du:kh).

    Whilst it is true that Urdu speakers do not use aspiration at the end of "siinah", Urdu speakers, IMHO, do not pronounce it as "siinaa" either. But we won't dwell on this.

    Regarding the way Devanagri transcribing words "generally" as they are transcribed, I can give you many instances when it does n't. Here is just one from a recent post.

    Khabar sun ke to uskii (g_ _ D) hii f_T gayii

    Would "faT" be transcribed by an "f" or a "ph"?

    Well, there are times when there can be ambiguity in meaning but I agree people can make their own choice how they wish to transcribe this or any other word for that matter.
  32. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    It has appeared that I have re-invented the wheel! Dr. D.C. Phillott, Hindustani* Lecturer Cambridge University wrote in 1918:

    On p. 332: [Visarga] is rare in Hindi, it is sometimes used to transliterate the Persian final silent h.

    On p. 338 As already stated, the symbol : may be used for the final silent h of Urdu and Persian.

    *I can but heartily recommend this book for those who wish to improve their Urdu!
  33. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    That book is nearly a century old, though. Its assertion about the visarga is not relevant for current usage. It would potentially cause confusion as the visarga would be pronounced differently for Sanskrit words vs. Persian words. The book also claims on p. 338 that Hindi is written in 3 other scripts, which again is not the case in current times.

    Note: I do think that either the visarga or ह् could (and actually might) be used when transliterating the final Persian h in Devanagari-based Urdu.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  34. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    You make a couple of valid remarks about the state of affairs in Hindi - but I dare say they are not applicable here. I was talking of transliteration of Urdu into Nagari, not about Hindi usages. I shall continue this topic in the thread devoted to visarga.
  35. jakubisek Member

    Since 2 users commented positively about the suggested change of the retroflex nasal's transcription from NR to N and of the anusvar/anunasik from N to M, I'd lobby for making a vote on that across the users group.

    However, what I found really useful in the Slavic forum here, they have a box of letters with a diacritic on the menu bar of the post-editing window (just where we have the icons for inserting a link, picture etc). So when writing the post, one can just click on the letters offered there (ś, etc..) and they are entered into the text. If we could get a similar "button" of letters with subscript dots and with macrons, we could easily enter here the proper transliteration!

    Anyone knows how to "embed" this into our post editor? Look at the Slavic languages quick reply window, so you know what I mean
  36. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    My stance on your suggestion is that the characters with diacritics in the Slavic forums offer the possibility of typing the original letters from screen, which occur in the alphabets of those languages while we've been discussing transliteration here, not typing in the original alphabets. For this reason I am not a big fan of this suggestion. Apart from this, this forum is a multilingual one and different transliteration schemes are in vogue for those languages.

    Anyone who wishes to transliterate NR as N and N as M is free to do so without any hesitation and no poll is needed for it. However, I personally would stick to the custom of NR for retroflex nasal and N for nasalization of the vowel. The reason is simply the high occurence of nasalization in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi (and others) so using a single character for it is an advantage, as opposed to very low occurence of the nasal retroflex, and complete absence of this sound in Urdu. As far as M for the nasal is concerned, it doesn't really reflect very well the fact that in these languages, it is the dental nasal consonant [n] which can be substituted by the nasalization of the syllable. Moreover, the Urdu script uses [n] character (or modified at the end of the word) to depict nasalization. M is perhaps good for transliterating Sanskrit (and I do use it at times).
  37. jakubisek Member

  38. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Upon further reflection, it's probably best to continue representing the nasal sound as N, since that is the accepted standard here. For retroflex n, I think n or N are good options and would prevent any possible confusion caused by NR.
  39. urdustan Member

    Urdu & English

    Is v or is w the more acceptable transcription on this forum for و ?
  40. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    ^It doesn't matter. There are some words from Arabic where as you know it is [w] and nothing else, some from Persian where all of them are [v] and in original Urdu words (Indic) they are so called conditional allophones. It means they get pronounced in both ways, not only in Indic words but in all Urdu words. This explanation is only valid for v/w not for [o] [au] [uu]!
  41. sapnachaandni Senior Member

    Iran, Tehran
    Persian (فارسی)
    Great job marrish jii! :thumbsup:
    vo (=voh/vuh) “TRANSLITERATION CHART” jo aap ne lagaayaa hai, bahut achchhaa hai. bahut saare logoN ke kaam aa’egaa. ise banaane ke liye bahut bahut shukriyaa. :)

    par maiN iske baare meN kuchh kahnaa chaahtii huuN. is chart meN aisaa likhaa gayaa hai:

    Urdu IIR Forum IPA ISO 15919 Devanagari
    (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) (ĕ) ɛ --- ऎ, ॆ
    (ـُـ + ح، ع ھ) (ŏ) o --- ऒ, ॊ

    pahlii baat: (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) ke liye IPA 3alaamat [e] hai, [ɛ] nahiiN.
    duusrii baat: (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) aur (ـُـ + ح، ع ھ) ke alaavaa (=3laavah) ek aur aavaaz bhii Hindii aur Urduu donoN meN bolii jaatii hai, aur vo aavaaz hai:
    (ـَـ + ح، ع ھ), jiskii IPA 3alaamat [ɛ] hai; jaise [kɛna:] (کہنا), [rɛna:] (رہنا) vaGhairah.

    mujhe lagtaa hai jab (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) aur (ـُـ + ح، ع ھ) ko is chart meN lagaayaa gayaa hai to phir (ـَـ + ح، ع ھ) ko bhii lagaanaa chaahiye.

    kuchh aisaa hii:

    Urdu IIR Forum IPA ISO 15919 Devanagari
    (ـَـ + ح، ع ھ) ɛ ---
    (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) (ĕ) e --- ऎ, ॆ
    (ـُـ + ح، ع ھ) (ŏ) o --- ऒ, ॊ

    ek aur baat in tiin aavaazoN ke baare meN jinkii IPA 3alaamat aisii hai: [ɛ], [e], [o];
    in tiin aavaazoN ko Urduu meN “zailii aavaazeN” (ذیلی آوازیں) (allophones) kahte haiN aur Urduu meN inke liye alag alag naam bhii rakhe ga'e haiN:
    [ɛ] ko Urduu meN "xafiif [ɛ:]" (خفیف اَے), "zabar-e-maj'huul" (زبر مجہول), "xafiif zabar" (خفیف زبر) vaGhairah kahte haiN.
    [e] ko Urduu meN "xafiif [e:]" (خفیف اِے), "zer-e-maj'huul" (زیر مجہول), "xafiif zer" (خفیف زیر) vaGhairah kahte haiN.
    [o] ko Urduu meN "xafiif [o:]" (خفیف اُو), "pesh-e-maj'huul" (پیش مجہول), "xafiif pesh" (خفیف پیش) vaGhairah kahte haiN.

    ye (=yeh/yih) sab naam maiN ne Dr. Gopiichand Naarang aur Dr. Gyaanchand Jain ke mazaamiin (مضامین) (essays) meN dekhe, jaise in mazaamiin meN:

    گوپی چند نارنگ، ڈاکٹر: اردو کی بنیادی اور ذیلی آوازیں، مشمولہ مقالہ در ’اردو املا و قواعد‘ مرتّب: ڈاکٹر فرمان فتح پوری، مقتدرہ قومی زبان اسلام آباد،۱۹۹۰ء
    گیان چند جین، ڈاکٹر: اردو کی آوازیں، مشمولہ مقالہ در ’اردو املا و قواعد‘ مرتّب: ڈاکٹر فرمان فتح پوری، مقتدرہ قومی زبان اسلام آباد،۱۹۹۰ء

    Urduu kii saarii aavaazoN kii IPA 3alaamateN Dr. Gyaanchand Jain ne “Lisaanii Mutaale” (لسانی مطالعے) pages 148-149 meN likhii haiN. vahaaN bhii (ـَـ + ح، ع ھ) ke liye IPA 3alaamat [ɛ] hai aur (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ) ke liye IPA 3alaamat [e]. wikipedia par bhii (ـَـ + ح، ع ھ) ke liye IPA 3alaamat [ɛ] hai.

    mujhe pataa nahiiN ki IIR Forum ke mutaabiq [ɛ] (ـَـ + ح، ع ھ) ke liye kaun sii 3alaamat miltii hai. ye bhii pakkaa maaluum (=ma3luum) nahiiN ki devnaagrii meN [ɛ] (ـَـ + ح، ع ھ) ke liye koii 3alaamat banaa’ii ga’ii hai ki nahiiN. baRii mehrbaanii (=mihrbaanii) hogii agar koii bataa de.

    aaxrii baat ye ki jis taraH Urduu lipi meN in zailii aavaazoN ([ɛ], [e], [o]) ke liye alag alag 3alaamat banaa'ii nahiiN ga'ii hai, Hindii lipi meN bhii inke liye koii alag 3alaamat maujuud nahiiN. iskii vajah ye hai ki ye sab zailii aavaazeN (allophones) haiN. (meraa matlab ye hai ki bhale hii devnaagrii meN in tiin zailii aavaazoN ([ɛ], [e], [o]) ke liye alag alag 3alaamateN maujuud hoN, par Hindii likhaavaT meN in 3alaamatoN (ऎ, ऒ) kaa istemaal (=isti3maal) nahiiN kiyaa jaataa).

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  42. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    sapnachaandni jii, is maHfil meN aap ke shaamil hone par apnii xwushii zaahir karne ke saath saath aap ke is tabsire ke liye shukriyah kahnaa chaahuuN gaa. baa ijaazat, baaqii aNgrezii meN likh letaa huuN taa kih sab Haaziriin samajh sakeN.

    Your contribution is significant because it delves into scarcely covered topic of so called allophones or rather vowels which somehow used not to be considered as part of Urdu or Hindi, mainly because of lack of graphic representations in their own scripts.

    You will have noticed that I put these entries in brackets, for the same reasons. These sounds and letter combinations fall rather into the category of phonetical transcription than transliteration, nevertheless I found out during the preparation of this chart that would be wiser to include them in the list than to leave them out.

    Most of the times people go with transliteration on the forum but at moments it's important to emphasise the pronunciation. There seems no agreed ''forum standard'' to represent these vowels as yet!

    It is very interesting to see so good scholarly references. Unfortunately I don't have access to them, however will have to agree with the IPA [e] for (ـِـ + ح، ع ھ). As a matter of principle I am cautious with Wikipedia and to be frank, I assigned [ɛ] because I perceive it to be this sound, not [e], especially with regard to Urdu. Your remark about the short [e] not being used in Hindi is also pertinent - however the symbols do exist in Devanagari and that is why I included them in the Devanagari column.

    More often than not we use [ai] to hint at the vowel in kaihnaa, with explanation that it's short. It seems you have touched on a topic that hasn't found its solution yet! Still, from the perspective of transliteration - it remains kahnaa, muHtaram, mihrbaan (Urdu) while in Hindi the latter two would become (in phonetic transcription, following Nagari spelling) [mo:htərəm], [me:hərba:n].

    Once more, thank you very much for your learned comments. I will try to look for a specific thread where this topic came up and where we can share more information.
  43. sapnachaandni Senior Member

    Iran, Tehran
    Persian (فارسی)
    Thanks for answering marrish jii. :)

    maaf (=mu3aaf) kiijiye ki maiN ne angrezii meN nahiiN likh diyaa, par lagtaa hai agar angrezii meN likhtii, to mujhii ko achchhaa nahiiN lagtaa aur meraa man nahiiN bhartaa (Urduu-Hindii itnii pyaarii lagtii hai naa, is liye)

    btw, as you know, these are short vowels: [ɛ], [e], [o]; and these are long vowels [ɛ:], [e:], [o:].

    You're right. (kaash aisaa nahiiN hotaa)

    Could you please look at this:
    "بِہتر" >>> Urduu transliteration is "bihtar", but its pronunciation is not [bihtər] in Urduu.
    "बेहतर" >>> Hindii transliteration is "behtar"(after 'a'-deletion), but its pronunciation is not [be:htər] in Hindii.

    Which one is the right pronunciation: [behtər] or [bɛhtər]? ([e] and [ɛ] are both short vowels)
    Is it possible that both are pronounced ([behtər] and [bɛhtər])?

    "چِہرہ" >>> Urduu transliteration is "chihrah", but its pronunciation is not [tʃihra:] in Urduu.
    "चेहरा" >>> Hindii transliteration is "chehraa"(after 'a'-deletion), but its pronunciation is not [tʃe:hra:] in Hindii.

    Which one is the right pronunciation: [tʃehra:] or [tʃɛhra:]? ([e] and [ɛ] are both short vowels)
    Is it possible that both are pronounced ([tʃehra:] and [tʃɛhra:])?

    "سِہرا" >>> Urduu transliteration is "sihraa", but its pronunciation is not [sihra:] in Urduu.
    "सेहरा" >>> Hindii transliteration is "sehraa"(after 'a'-deletion), but its pronunciation is not [se:hra:] in Hindii.

    Which one is the right pronunciation: [sehra:] or [sɛhra:]? ([e] and [ɛ] are both short vowels)
    Is it possible that both are pronounced ([sehra:] and [sɛhra:])?

    Yes. The pronunciation is [kɛhna:] ([ɛ] is short vowel), but "kahnaa" (کہنا , कहना) can't be written as kaihnaa (!), however [ɛ:] is written as "ai".

    Thank you so much.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  44. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    You are very welcome indeed!

    You have made a couple of pertinent points which are not only about transcription/transliteration but in principle about pronunciation vs. spelling in Urdu and Hindi respectively of those short vowels (o, e, ɛ). It would be a pity if this discussion got lost in between all other matters in this long thread; moreover the topic into which you were kind to offer new insights unfortunately exceeds the scope of this thread and deserves a thread of its own :) As said in the first post here, this chart is based on observations of the forum and is not prescriptive, rather the opposite, and believe it or not, kahnaa does get written as kaihnaa in the forum, to indicate [ɛ], however it is not the only way of pronunciation.

    I invite you to open a new thread which can cover all the aspects of this topic so that all interested parties can freely contribute in it. I will be certainly happy to take part and try to give my view.

    baaqii urduu kii bajaa'e aNgrezii likhne ke liye ma3azirat chaahtaa huuN lekin wa3dah yih hai kih aap kii nayii laRii meN Urdu, Hindi meN zaruur likhuuN gaa!
  45. sapnachaandni Senior Member

    Iran, Tehran
    Persian (فارسی)
    Thank You so much marrish jii,


    Urduu-Hindii meN likhii hu'ii baateN paRh kar baRii xushii (=xwushii) hogii. :)
  46. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    I have a question about phonetic transcription, rather than transliteration. If I want to distinguish the IPA [dã:t] and [da:nt], can I do that within the present transliteration scheme? I think the only option I have now is "daaNt" which - as Urdu or Hindi transliteration goes - can be realized as either. Am I reasoning it right? If so, can we add a bit to the present transliteration scheme to make it also transcription-friendly? I personally prefer to transcribe the speech, rather than transliterate the spelling, but I'd like to diverge from the forum norms as little as possible.
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  47. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Yes, it is perfectly possible in this scheme, we are though free to ameliorate and expand it. As far as transcription is concerned, we have a good choice between IPA and ISO 15919 (traditionally used for transcription of Indic languages).

    Please see for yourself if these solutions suit you:

    [dã:t] daaNt
    [da:nt] daant
  48. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    Thanks for your reply. Firstly, sorry about the typo in my question. I wrote "daNt", when I meant "daaNt". I don't want to use IPA because it is cumbersome to type, and many may not be familiar with it. ISO 15919 is just another transliteration scheme. I prefer to use the forum's prevalent transliteration scheme, but modified as unobtrusively as possible. In fact it is already quite suitable for transcription, thanks to a good phonetic match of the native spellings this scheme transliterates, and that means my style of writing is normally different only in missing some hamza's, final h-s, etc. because they don't occur in the kind of speech I am familiar with, and most people hopefully don't even notice it.

    The problem I am facing here is however, that if I write "daaNt" it may be taken as a transliteration of Devanagari "दांत", which may well be pronounced [da:nt] as the normal conventions of pronouncing anusvaar in Hindi goes. Also, Urdu orthography does not distinguish between a nuun-e Ghunna and a normal nuun in this position. Can that also lead to confusion? This is one of those rare cases where I think the transcription scheme may have to differ slightly from the transliteration scheme. What do you think?
  49. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I find IPA a nasty thing to type too and if and when necessary, I copy it from the first page of this thread. I never found your transliteration bothersome; everything is good as far as we can understand each other in terms of words we are talking about. It is indeed very close to transcription and careful "transliterators" always tend to be keeping the pronunciation in mind. Final -h most of the time doesn't occur in Urdu or Hindi too but sometimes it does. hamza's are important as far as Urdu spelling and grammar and sometimes pronunciation is concerned but nobody minds if you don't indicate them. When I transliterate Hindi I never use hamzas where one could use them merely as an apostrophe indicating the syllables, barring a diphthong, because they are not there. In Urdu they are there and although they have never been meant to be pronounced as such, they serve this very function of separating phonemes.

    I understand your problem. There is a dichotomy at least in my personal case. On the one hand I indicate Ghunnas as required by pronunciation, as you rightly state, in this position, while, trying to be faithful to the spirit of transliteration, I also do it when a "bindi" is there in Nagari. Still I think it is not obnoxious because most of the cases it seems unlikely that Urdu and Hindi differ on these points. I think, but I am completely not sure, that [da:nt] is and perhaps can't be pronounced with [n] in Hindi. Thank you very much for these points, which give testimony to your utmost care and attention. For this reason I will open a thread about it. If and when we all come to an agreement I am sure it can be incorporated into these guidelines which can be consulted on the first page.
  50. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    This time a question about transliteration proper of Devanagari Hindi. Do we have a way to transliterate ज्ञ as in ज्ञान (Hindi pronunciation in IPA /gja:n ~ gjã:n/) = knowledge? Etymologically (i.e. in Sanskrit) it is a conjunct of "j (ज्) + ñ (ञ)" (Roman transliteration in IAST with Devanagari in parantheses), though the pronunciation is very different in standard Hindi (and other modern languages of the subcontinent - which do differ among themselves). Also, the palatal nasal ñ is not a stand-alone phoneme in Hindi (neither can I remember of any independent existence in Sanskrit).

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