Urdu: ammaa

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It seems that the word "ammaa" [Arabic "As for"] is used quite frequently in Persian for "but/"however"", but not in Urdu. At least I don't remember seeing "ammaa" employed in Urdu. I am curious to know why this might be so. Any ideas?

    PS: I just remembered that it is used in a set phrases by our maulaviis as "ammaa ba3d".
  2. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I haven't heard or read ammaa in Urdu, even not from the maulaviis but I did so in Persian where this word is ubiquitous. I have always believed it was originally a Persian word but as it is with the languages, millions of Indians believe bi-l-kul بالکل [bilkul] to be an indigenous Indic word! In Urdu the word lekin is used as frequently as ammaa in Persian but I can't recollect the usage of lekin in Persian.
  3. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    marrish SaaHib, you may be right that ammaa alone may not be used in Urdu, although in the past we have been proven wrong about similar claims. Urdu literature has a habit of throwing up surprises! However, ammaa in اما بعد ammaa ba3d, as QP SaaHib mentions, is used in Urdu and not just by maulavis. The use of اما بعد in Arabic itself has quite a history and we use it the same way in Urdu. Normally it would be translated as "and proceeding (forward)", where the ammaa stands for 'and' rather than 'but'. The explanation for all this would be complicated so I think we can leave it at that.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  4. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Perhaps we should explore this further in older Urdu literature. One can come with a number of explanations but whether they are right would be another matter. For instance people mistaking ammaa = but for ammaa = mother. The context may not always help. Similarly, in writing اما could be read ammaa = but / mother or read amaa - used in some regions as an alternative to abe (!), or else even as umaa = reputation / fame; splendour. Again, the context should help us most of the times. Any explanation we attempt would be highly speculative.

    .... and as I mention above, اما بعد ammaa ba3d is used in Urdu.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  5. Treaty Senior Member

    In Persian valī, ammā, lāken, līken (or līkan)and līk are used for "but" (ordered from less to more formal/literary). Va ammā and ammā ba'd are also used in Persian to imply contrast or surprise when telling the next part of a story (~ "but then"). Is the Urdu و اما used in a sense of contrasting the rest of the story?
  6. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Yes, in Persian all these are used but in Urdu و اما is certainly not used in daily speech or commonly used in prose / poetry, though digging deeper into its literature might still show its usage. As for ammaa ba3d, as I mention above, it is used but mostly found in formal literary settings, whether prose or speech.
  7. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you Faylasoof SaaHib. I had similar conjectures in mind. Otherwise it seems odd that we use other Arabic words for but and the like but not "ammaa". But as you have indicated, this word may be hidden in some of our literary treasures.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2013

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