Urdu: سمجھئے

zmrkhn

New Member
English
Hello,

Could someone kindly explain what the funny shaped symbol above Urdu letters mean?

New to learning the Urdu language so help would be appreciated :)
 

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  • aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    It's a "hamzah on its seat" (it together with the little bump underneath it constitute the medial form of this character). The word is samajhiye, which is a polite imperative meaning "please understand."
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hello Aevynn,
    Do you write it سمجهئ or سمجهئى? If so, do you drop the glottal stop/hamza in the pronunciation?

    I'm asking because I don't know the spelling of the word and your transliteration doesn't coincide with a word with a hamza, and also because to my eyes this looks like a calligraphy decoration rather than a hamza. Like the ones discussed in this thread in the Arabic forum.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Hi cherine,

    سَ +مَ + جھِ+ ھمزۃ+ ے

    I shall use an apostrophe for the hamzah in the word in question.

    سَمَجھِئے samajhi'e [Classical Arabic does not have a "majhuul" sound "e" as in "be" (sounds like English bay) which means "without" and is written as "بے". If we wrote this as بِی, this would be read as "bii" and would not serve the purpose.

    This hamzah is not the true Arabic glottal stop as in من یشاءُ. It is a device used in Urdu phonetics to denote words which should be written as اے ، او ، ای etc but are an eye-sore, so in their place ئے ، ؤ ، ئی are written. In this word the hamzah is not a "decoration". I hope this makes sense.
     
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    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    Hello Aevynn,
    Do you write it سمجهئ or سمجهئى? If so, do you drop the glottal stop/hamza in the pronunciation?

    I'm asking because I don't know the spelling of the word and your transliteration doesn't coincide with a word with a hamza, and also because to my eyes this looks like a calligraphy decoration rather than a hamza. Like the ones discussed in this thread in the Arabic forum.

    You write it سمجھئیے or, in this case, سمجھئے. The hamza is used between the two vowels i and e in samajhie. This is a feature of Urdu spelling where you have two vowels next to each other. The hiatus between i and e (i.e. a syllable break between them, as in the English word create) is often broken in speech and even in writing by the insertion of the glide y.

    I'm asking because I don't know the spelling of the word and your transliteration doesn't coincide with a word with a hamza, and also because to my eyes this looks like a calligraphy decoration rather than a hamza. Like the ones discussed in this thread in the Arabic forum.

    On that point specifically this is again a feature of the hamza in nastaliq orthography and indeed this is specifically mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the Urdu script.

    Urdu alphabet - Wikipedia
     
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    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Thank you, Qureshpor and Au101.
    And is this hamza always written this way (not like the "regular" ء)? or is this just because it's a work of calligraphy so it's written different?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you, Qureshpor and Au101.
    And is this hamza always written this way (not like the "regular" ء)? or is this just because it's a work of calligraphy so it's written different?
    It depends on whether the font being used is نستعلیق or نسخ. For the latter, it is always proper and fit looking hamzah whereas for the former it is a very weak squiggle :)
     

    zmrkhn

    New Member
    English
    Hi cherine,

    سَ +مَ + جھِ+ ھمزۃ+ ے

    I shall use an apostrophe for the hamzah in the word in question.

    سَمَجھِئے samajhi'e [Classical Arabic does not have a "majhuul" sound "e" as in "be" (sounds like English bay) which means "without" and is written as "بے". If we wrote this as بِی, this would be read as "bii" and would not serve the purpose.

    This hamzah is not the true Arabic glottal stop as in من یشاءُ. It is a device used in Urdu phonetics to denote words which should be written as اے ، او ، ای etc but are an eye-sore, so in their place ئے ، ؤ ، ئی are written. In this word the hamzah is not a "decoration". I hope this makes sense.
    Sorry but I am still quite confused with the use of this “seating humza”... is it solely use to show there are two vowels next to each other or does it change the pronunciation too?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Concerning your word, the hamzah is a connector between two vowels...

    samajh-i+hamzah+e

    The word could be written three ways in Urdu, showing all vowels.

    سَمَجھِ اے samajhi-e

    سَمَجھِئے samajhi'e

    سَمَجھِیے samajhiye

    First option is not used at all. The second and third options are the common ones.
     
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    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    I'm sorry about the confusion caused by my sloppy transliteration...!

    I would say, with all due respect to cherine, that there was nothing very sloppy about your transliteration and certainly nothing wrong at all. It's just not what somebody familiar with Arabic (where as I'm sure you know the hamza has a sound of its own and needs to be represented in the transliteration) would expect to see.

    Cause you see what happened is the Persians they took Arabic writing and they - they - they - they went their own way with it, really didn't they?

    And then the Persians went to India and the Indians thought to themselves, you know what these Persians have done with Arabic is - it's good, but it doesn't go far enough :p

    Urdu writing is famously challenging to get a grip on, certainly for people who have not grown up with it, but all the more rewarding for it I'm sure, it is very pretty.
     
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    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    I would say, with all due respect to cherine, that there was nothing very sloppy about your transliteration and certainly nothing wrong at all. It's just not what somebody familiar with Arabic (where as I'm sure you know the hamza has a sound of its own and needs to be represented in the transliteration) would expect to see.
    Fair enough! :)

    Probably if I had just been slightly more careful to write samajhi'e, @zmrkhn might have gotten a clearer answer to their questions about what letter it is and what it does [without complications about spelling variants, nasx vs nasta3liiq, calligraphic decorations, etc]. Then again, those are all probably good things to be aware of, so maybe the oversight was a boon in disguise...?

    is it solely use to show there are two vowels next to each other or does it change the pronunciation too?
    If I might add a few words to @Qureshpor jii's response, in case it helps:

    Urdu orthography is sort of set up so that all written syllables must begin with a consonant symbol. But it is not true that all spoken syllables in the language must begin with a consonant. Some spoken syllables have no initial consonant: they begin with a vowel (and the previous syllable ends with a vowel). This means a "missing consonant" symbol is needed in the orthography to mark off the place where there is no consonant in the spoken language but where the internal logic of the orthography expects there to be a consonant symbol. The hamzah serves this purpose in the middle of a word. [Alif serves this purpose at the beginning of a word.]

    While the hamzah makes no sound of its own and just marks off the position of this "missing consonant," it can't be omitted. If one writes سمجھے instead of سمجھئے, the word changes to samjhe instead of samajhi'e --- without the hamzah, the baRii ye vowel symbol ے "attaches itself" directly to the preceding consonant symbol جھ. This is an entirely different form of the same verb (a masculine perfective participle [either plural or oblique], or the 2nd or 3rd person singular subjunctive).
     
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    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I'm sorry about the confusion caused by my sloppy transliteration...!
    Oh, not at all! It's just like what Au101 said:
    It's just not what somebody familiar with Arabic [..] would expect to see.

    You said "it's a hamza on its seat", and then you transliterated it without a hamza sound (like any Arabic speaker would expect :D) so I needed to check how it's actually written in Arabic letters.
    And thank you for the added info about Urdu pronunciation and orthography. :thumbsup:
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Fair enough! :)

    Probably if I had just been slightly more careful to write samajhi'e, @zmrkhn might have gotten a clearer answer to their questions about what letter it is and what it does [without complications about spelling variants, nasx vs nasta3liiq, calligraphic decorations, etc]. Then again, those are all probably good things to be aware of, so maybe the oversight was a boon in disguise...?


    If I might add a few words to @Qureshpor jii's response, in case it helps:

    Urdu orthography is sort of set up so that all written syllables must begin with a consonant symbol. But it is not true that all spoken syllables in the language must begin with a consonant. Some spoken syllables have no initial consonant: they begin with a vowel (and the previous syllable ends with a vowel). This means a "missing consonant" symbol is needed in the orthography to mark off the place where there is no consonant in the spoken language but where the internal logic of the orthography expects there to be a consonant symbol. The hamzah serves this purpose in the middle of a word. [Alif serves this purpose at the beginning of a word.]

    While the hamzah makes no sound of its own and just marks off the position of this "missing consonant," it can't be omitted. If one writes سمجھے instead of سمجھئے, the word changes to samjhe instead of samajhi'e --- without the hamzah, the baRii ye vowel symbol ے "attaches itself" directly to the preceding consonant symbol جھ. This is an entirely different form of the same verb (a masculine perfective participle [either plural or oblique], or the 2nd or 3rd person singular subjunctive).
    Now that you have started apeaking about the "missing consonant", for the sake of completion let me add a few words about the hamzah. Here is a quote from Professor A.S.Tritton, formerly of SOAS. This is what he says about the Arabic script in general and hamzah in particular.

    "At first only the consonants were written, though in the earliest known inscriptions three of them, alif (which was then the glottal stop) w, and y were also used to indicate the long vowels. The first book to be written was the Koran and this fixed the spelling of the language because the text was too sacred to be tampered with. Unfortunately, Muhammad spoke the dialect of Mecca which did not use the glottal stop, replacing it near u and i by the consonants w and y. Other dialects kept the glottal stop and were considered more elegant. So, a special sign for the glottal stop was invented {hamzah}, written
    like the new vowel signs outside the consonantal framework. It was introduced into the Koran and now appears in all Arabic sometimes alone and sometimes in conjunction with alif or w or y but representing only one sound....".

    In Urdu orthography, the initial alif + zabar (fatHah)/zer (kasrah) or pesh (Dhammah) does not carry a hamzah and this alif is considered as a hamzah.

    So, ab (now) is theoratically speaking 2ab (hamzah (2) + zabar + be = اَب)

    aab is 2aab = alif +zabar + alif (of prolongation) + be = اَاب =آب

    تأثیر is written as تاثیر where this alif is now the alif of prolongation in Urdu.

    مُؤمِن is written as مومِن and pronounced as "momin" with a "majhuul vaa'o".

    مُطمَئِن is written with a hamzah.
     
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