Urdu-Hindi: Are the diphthongs disappearing?

Qureshpor

Senior Member
Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
In a recent thread UM SaaHib wrote "For most molvis and others versed in Arabic the difference is not only in 3 but also "z" here as that has to be uttered with the top edge of the tongue touching top front teeth". This could have been a typo or perhaps this is how he pronounces this word, with an "o" as opposed to an "au" (maulavii).

In Urdu/Hindi, we have "ai" and "au" which now appear to be gradually moving towards "e" and "o". Have you noticed this phenomenon?
 
  • UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I thought the basis of the question was this one observation. With the observation gone, is there still the question?

    Vowel transcription is tricky. maulvi can have many sounds, for example:

    1. maulvii - au diphtong
    2. molvii - not rhyming with the English 'mole', but with 'solve'
    3. molvii - rhyming with 'mole'

    I say it in the in #2 style. How best to write it in roman letters?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Apologies if my post was not clear. The so called "observation" was mere padding, call it context. The second paragraph has the question and yes it still stands.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    In Urdu/Hindi, we have "ai" and "au" which now appear to be gradually moving towards "e" and "o". Have you noticed this phenomenon?
    If I have understood the question correctly: No, not really (except due to some "Urdu dialects" and/or regional differences- a combination of mother tongues being other than Urdu and not being fortunate enough (due to lack of resources/poverty) to have proper Urdu education); maybe I haven't been around "bad company" yet...:)
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    If I have understood the question correctly: No, not really (except due to some "Urdu dialects" and regional differences- a combination of mother tongues being other than Urdu and not being fortunate enough (due to lack of resources/poverty) to have proper Urdu education); maybe I haven't been around "bad company" yet...:)
    I partly agree with this especially with you pointing to some who might not be fortunate enough to have a proper Urdu education, but this very commonly applies to well-to-do people choosing for English education and not giving importance to Urdu?:)

    As to the original question, I believe we have discussed this in numerous threads although in a scattered manner and what I remember is the fact of Western vs. Eastern Urdu.

    It would be unfortunately to say something about if a gradual evolution has been taking place, because one would have to observe the speech patterns of particular persons for years together or look to the differences between generations.

    Of course I'm familiar with speech patterns where people don't pronounce diphthongs at all but this might be caused by various reasons. In that case, I wouldn't be saying there is some evolution at play.
     

    tonyspeed

    Senior Member
    English & Creole - Jamaica
    In a recent thread UM SaaHib wrote "For most molvis and others versed in Arabic the difference is not only in 3 but also "z" here as that has to be uttered with the top edge of the tongue touching top front teeth". This could have been a typo or perhaps this is how he pronounces this word, with an "o" as opposed to an "au" (maulavii).

    In Urdu/Hindi, we have "ai" and "au" which now appear to be gradually moving towards "e" and "o". Have you noticed this phenomenon?

    Can you give any examples, particularly of the "ai" to "e" shift?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Can you give any examples, particularly of the "ai" to "e" shift?

    I hope I will be able to but I can't immediately think of an example right this moment in time. I shall try to think of one or two examples.
     

    souminwé

    Senior Member
    North American English, Hindi
    The diphthongs have been long dead, becoming modern æ and ɔ. Perhaps ɔ gets confused with o sometimes, but I have never heard e for æ.

    As for "jeb", it is the only way I would pronounce it, and that is reflected in both Hindi and Bengali spelling ( जेब , জেব )
     

    tonyspeed

    Senior Member
    English & Creole - Jamaica
    The diphthongs have been long dead, becoming modern æ and ɔ.

    Well at least in some dialects of Hindi/Urdu. I still hear some people say aa-uu in the word for 9, naa-uu.
    And in the South I think you can still hear a clear a-ii in kaise and other words.

    I was listening to one speech and it sounded like in saying maut he mispronounced and said mot once and then went back to maut. Maybe the pronunciation of the dipthong in Urdu aa-uu has grown closer to 'o' to the extent that it is easier to mispronounce it as 'o' but it is still not quite the same.
     
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    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    souminwé is right in that dipthongs have long been dead in Hindi-Urdu for औ (ɔ) and ऐ (æ). Only in Eastern Hindi/Bihari dialects do you get 'au' and 'ai' for these. And, correct, Southern Indians pronounce them this way as well - might be the old Sanskrit influence. This applies to Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic root words alike, i.e. is a genuine internal development specific to Indo-Aryan. Persians pronounce Haider as Haa-eedar, whereas North Indians and Pakistanis (NIPs) say 'Hædar'. Similarly, Hairaan (surprised) becomes 'Hæraan' for NIPs. This also applies to English words that require dipthongal pronunciation, e.g. Powder or House. Non-English speaking NIPs will often say, 'Pɔdar' instead of 'Paa-udar' and 'Hɔz' instead of 'Haa-uz'. This last is funny because Hɔz (Hauz) means 'water pond' in Hindi-Urdu.

    However, under other influences (eg Punjabi) there is sometimes shift even in the non-dipthongal pronunciations. So, 'Mɔlvi' (मौलवी, مولوی) is the correct standard pronunciation for 'Maulvi' but under Punjabi influence 'ɔ' becomes 'o' and people will say Molvi (मोलवी) too in Delhi, Lahore, Chandigarh, Shimla, etc.

    UrduMedium, 'jeb' is correct. No one says 'jaib' (jæb), which would be the same vowel sound as 'bail' (bæl, ox). However, Persians will pronounce this word as 'jeeb' which is a very common pronunciation difference with Indo-Aryan speakers and Persian speakers. seb-seeb (apple), mez-meez/mezban-meezban (table). Although, note that Dari (Afghan Farsi) speakers speak it like NIPs, which is why NIPs have an easier time understanding what Dari-speakers are saying than people from Tehran (where even words common to Hindi-Urdu and Farsi are often tough to follow until you get the hang of it). Of course, Punjabi changes this too and you do hear something that resembles 'mira' instead of 'mera' (mine) sometimes, but never 'meera'. At speed the last -a can be deleted, 'meri kitab' (my book) can sound like 'mirkitab' in Punjabi-influenced Hindi-Urdu.
     
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    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    It really depends on many things whether a diphthong is heard or not and yes there may even be an East-West divide in this.

    We (i.e. yours truly, family and many close friends) are “diphthongers” and are trying to keep the diphthong alive. So although we hear ‘jeb’ a lot – so much so that we too falter into it – mostly we say ‘jaib’. Those not used to hearing “jaib” (which is most people we come across) think us strange - perhaps mirriixii or birjiisii. But for us it is ‘jaib’ and pair ( = foot, and never per, though we do say peR = tree, as it is meant to be and do not put a diphthong here!) and ghair ( = stranger) and be-ghairat (= shameless, brazen) and Hairaan (= perplexed, bewildered) and Hairat (= amazement, wonder etc) and Haidar and HauDh (Hauz = pool).

    Also, it is pairnaa (= to swim) and tairnaa (= to float), just as it is maulaanaa and maulavi (never molaanaa and molvi) for us. Similarly, it is mausam, mauqa3, and there is a truly a huge difference between a bail (= ox) and a bel ( a creeper) !

    So it is diphthongs all the way for us but more and more I hear the flattening of these diphthongs - a process that has been going on for a long while. In Urdu proper we are meant to pronounce our diphthongs clearly.
     
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    BP.

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    Greetings once more everyone
    ...
    In Urdu/Hindi, we have "ai" and "au" which now appear to be gradually moving towards "e" and "o". Have you noticed this phenomenon?
    I have just experienced the opposite in کریلہ and ڈکیت.

    Generally yes I'd agree, younger people seem to be rounding off their diphthongs where their parents don't.
     

    BP.

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    ... 'Mɔlvi' (मौलवी, مولوی) is the correct standard pronunciation for 'Maulvi' but under Punjabi influence 'ɔ' becomes 'o' and people will say Molvi (मोलवी) too in Delhi, Lahore, Chandigarh, Shimla, etc. ...
    I'd differ slightly and say it's maulawii, but that risks branching off into the topic of systematic elision.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    marrish said:
    I partly agree with this especially with you pointing to some who might not be fortunate enough to have a proper Urdu education, but this very commonly applies to well-to-do people choosing for English education and not giving importance to Urdu?:)
    Yes, I would agree that people from any part/level of society can be included.
    hindiurdu said:
    souminwé is right in that dipthongs have long been dead in Hindi-Urdu for औ (ɔ) and ऐ (æ). Only in Eastern Hindi/Bihari dialects do you get 'au' and 'ai' for these. And, correct, Southern Indians pronounce them this way as well - might be the old Sanskrit influence. This applies to Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic root words alike, i.e. is a genuine internal development specific to Indo-Aryan. Persians pronounce Haider as Haa-eedar, whereas North Indians and Pakistanis (NIPs) say 'Hædar'. Similarly, Hairaan (surprised) becomes 'Hæraan' for NIPs.
    Welcome to the forum hindiurdu! I would somewhat disagree with your opinion, because many people do still pronounce the words correctly, as Faylasoof SaaHib has detailed above in his post.
    hindiurdu said:
    but under Punjabi influence 'ɔ' becomes 'o' and people will say Molvi
    As I mentioned in my post above, there will be differences in pronunciations due to many factors. (Note: not a Punjabi expert) However, I would say that even while speaking Punjabi, many would pronounce it maulawi (and consider molvi wrong).
    hindiurdu said:
    Of course, Punjabi changes this too and you do hear something that resembles 'mira' instead of 'mera' (mine) sometimes, but never 'meera'. At speed the last -a can be deleted, 'meri kitab' (my book) can sound like 'mirkitab' in Punjabi-influenced Hindi-Urdu.
    Again, I would partially disagree with this as there are many people who would say "meri kitaab" in both Urdu and Punjabi...
    BelligerentPacifist said:
    Greetings once more everyone
    Greetings to you as well!
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    It really depends on many things whether a diphthong is heard or not and yes there may even be an East-West divide in this.

    We (i.e. yours truly, family and many close friends) are “diphthongers” and are trying to keep the diphthong alive. So although we hear ‘jeb’ a lot – so much so that we too falter into it – mostly we say ‘jaib’. Those not used to hearing “jaib” (which is most people we come across) think us strange - perhaps mirriixii or birjiisii. But for us it is ‘jaib
    ....

    Faylasoof saahab, your response encouraged me to look up a dictionary (one I have handy is Feroz-ul-Lughaat jaami3). It lists two distinct words as جیب

    The first one is pronounced jaib (like you describe above, ba-fath-i-awwal, wa-sukuun-i-dom-o-som). This is a masculine noun, with an Arabic origin. This one means girebaan (not sure hot to translate to English).

    The second one listed is jeb (ba-yaa-i-majhuul) which is a feminine noun with Urdu origin. This one means pocket.

    In your example above, which of these two were you referring to?
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Please make sure we are making a distinction between molvii (o rhymes with English hole), and mɔlvii (o rhymes with English solve). I think the latter is very common and also how I have always said it.
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I'd differ slightly and say it's maulawii, but that risks branching off into the topic of systematic elision.

    I disagree with that. It is extremely rare that a schwa in that position would be pronounced by Hindi-Urdu speakers. The rule is that in [vowel-consonant-schwa-consonant-vowel] situations, the middle schwa is compulsorily deleted. So, /mɔːləviː/ → /mɔːlviː/. Hindi-Urdu speakers will normally spell it in Roman as "Maulvi" also, and almost never "Maulavi". Maulvi has 1.5 million hits on Google and Maulavi has 280k (tellingly the top four are Malayalam, Tamil, Arab and Afghan). There are hundreds of words like this btw, both Sanskrit and Persian. Sadak (सड़क, سڈک) is 'sadak' but (सड़कें, سڑکیں) is sadken, not sadaken (medial schwa deletion). This is an overpoweringly strong tendency in native Hindi-Urdu and retaining these schwas is a strong marker of people who are non-native speakers. Similarly for Arab (ethnicity) - Arab and Arbi, not Arabi (check out "Quran ki Arabi Zuban- Arabi e Mu'ala (01) - Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, youtube at about 2:30). People say 'Arbi zubaan mein xyz' not 'Arabi zubaan mein xyz'. Religious minded people or those schooled in Sanskrit or Persian/Arabic will retain these schwas sometimes (and it sounds affected) but not common speakers. Even really religious Hindus and Muslims cannot help but delete these Sanskrit/Arabic schwas when they speak unconsciously at speed. This is a local development in Northern Indo-Aryan. It is not derived from any other branch or language.
     
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    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Please make sure we are making a distinction between molvii (o rhymes with English hole), and mɔlvii (o rhymes with English solve). I think the latter is very common and also how I have always said it.

    Yes, preserving that distinction, Punjabi-influenced people do say molvii (rhyming with h'o'le). They also say 'or' instead of 'ɔr' (for और/اور meaning 'and') and 'bot' instead of bɔhɔt (meaning a lot). Not all of them, but it's common enough. Punjabi actually seems to gravitate towards this 'o' a lot as even 'u' sounds become this. 'udhar' becomes 'odar', 'mauj' becomes 'moj', 'fauj' becomes 'foj'. Of course, they also make 'u' out of 'o' - 'poshak' becomes 'pushak' :)
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Faylasoof, I wish you luck with this. But you are really swimming against the tide on this. Northern Indo-Aryan, especially North-Western Indo-Aryan, has been demolishing schwas and diphthongs for over 2000 years now in defiance of Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic tradition alike. There seems to be something intrinsic to these languages that makes this preferred. You may want to read about 'Preferred Syllable Structures'. In order to really preserve these, you may have to switch the language itself. In Eastern Hindi languages and Bengali, there are distinct modes of speaking from Western/Standard Hindi-Urdu which is largely based on the Khariboli dialect. There is a different music to these languages. You will notice that they often also say 'ha-ee' for 'hai' (है, ہے). Standard HU does not. You might enjoy the sweet 'Tadbeer se bidgi hui taqdeer bana le' (youtube) song - note how she turns 'le' to 'lei' - very diphthongal and very wrong for standard HU, but delicious!
     
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    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Yes, preserving that distinction, Punjabi-influenced people do say molvii (rhyming with h'o'le). They also say 'or' instead of 'ɔr' (for और/اور meaning 'and') and 'bot' instead of bɔhɔt (meaning a lot). Not all of them, but it's common enough. Punjabi actually seems to gravitate towards this 'o' a lot as even 'u' sounds become this. 'udhar' becomes 'odar', 'mauj' becomes 'moj', 'fauj' becomes 'foj'. Of course, they also make 'u' out of 'o' - 'poshak' becomes 'pushak' :)
    Very interesting and insightful observations. Welcome to the forum, hindiurdu!
     

    ihaveacomputer

    Member
    Canadian English
    ...and 'bot' instead of bɔhɔt (meaning a lot). Not all of them, but it's common enough...

    Hmm, wouldn't you agree that "bɔt" with a rising tone is much more common than "bot"? I'm not a native speaker and don't yet have extensive experience with different dialects, but I can't recall ever making a mental note of "bot" during my time spent in Indian Punjab. Furthermore, the form I'm proposing is taught on page 70 of Mangat Rai Bhardwaj's Colloquial Punjabi:

    "A similar problem is exemplified by bahut ਬਹੁਤ which is pronounced as [bɔt {+rising tone indicated by author with an acute accent}]. The rule of pronunciation in this case is, if you find -hu or [ਹੁ] in the middle or at the end of a word in Punjabi, pronunce it as [ɔ{+´}]"

    Sorry for veering off topic!
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    souminwé is right in that dipthongs have long been dead in Hindi-Urdu for औ (ɔ) and ऐ (æ). Only in Eastern Hindi/Bihari dialects do you get 'au' and 'ai' for these. And, correct, Southern Indians pronounce them this way as well - might be the old Sanskrit influence. This applies to Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic root words alike, i.e. is a genuine internal development specific to Indo-Aryan. Persians pronounce Haider as Haa-eedar, whereas North Indians and Pakistanis (NIPs) say 'Hædar'. Similarly, Hairaan (surprised) becomes 'Hæraan' for NIPs. This also applies to English words that require dipthongal pronunciation, e.g. Powder or House. Non-English speaking NIPs will often say, 'Pɔdar' instead of 'Paa-udar' and 'Hɔz' instead of 'Haa-uz'. This last is funny because Hɔz (Hauz) means 'water pond' in Hindi-Urdu.

    I am not sure if the Persians (all of them) pronounce the word "Haidar" in the manner you depict but this is not important for this thread because it is not Farsi that is under discussion. It is also interesting how you lump together all Pakistanis (from the border with China to the Arabian Sea and the western extremities of Baluchistan) as one coherent diphthong pronouncing/mispronouncing unit! I am also intrigued by your pronunciation of the English word "house" as "haa-uz". Pray, do tell us the locality where English speakers pronounce this word in this fashion. Powder/poDar etc are not really helpful to this discussion.

    However, under other influences (eg Punjabi) there is sometimes shift even in the non-dipthongal pronunciations. So, 'Mɔlvi' (मौलवी, مولوی) is the correct standard pronunciation for 'Maulvi' but under Punjabi influence 'ɔ' becomes 'o' and people will say Molvi (मोलवी) too in Delhi, Lahore, Chandigarh, Shimla, etc.

    Have you or someone else that you are aware of carried out a study on this vowel shift where Punjabi has influenced this change? Is this influence uniform both in India and in Pakistan or is it greater or lesser in one than the other? I am asking this because Punjab, geographically, is a fair distance away from at least some Urdu/Hindi speaking areas. Are Hindi speakers of Bengali background also being effected by this highly contagious wave that is converting the diphthong to an "o" vowel?

    Of course, Punjabi changes this too and you do hear something that resembles 'mira' instead of 'mera' (mine) sometimes, but never 'meera'. At speed the last -a can be deleted, 'meri kitab' (my book) can sound like 'mirkitab' in Punjabi-influenced Hindi-Urdu.

    What dialect of Punjabi do you speak where you end up saying "mirkitab"? You must speak at lightning speed!
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Yes, preserving that distinction, Punjabi-influenced people do say molvii (rhyming with h'o'le). They also say 'or' instead of 'ɔr' (for और/اور meaning 'and') and 'bot' instead of bɔhɔt (meaning a lot). Not all of them, but it's common enough. Punjabi actually seems to gravitate towards this 'o' a lot as even 'u' sounds become this. 'udhar' becomes 'odar', 'mauj' becomes 'moj', 'fauj' becomes 'foj'. Of course, they also make 'u' out of 'o' - 'poshak' becomes 'pushak' :)

    Are you aware how other people whose mother tongue is not Urdu or Hindi pronounce maulavii/aur/bahut/udhar/fauj/poshaak and the like when speaking Urdu or Hindi or is this phenomenon that you are describing just restricted to Punjabis speaking Urdu or Hindi? I am once again assuming that you have access to some such study that has been carried out in which samples of all Urdu/Hindi speakers whose mother tongue is not Urdu/Hindi have been taken and the conclusion that has been drawn is that everyone barring Punjabis pronounces these types of words perfectly! At least this is how I am understanding your statements about Punjabi speakers' influence on Urdu and Hindi speech.

    Do you pronounce "udhar" has "odar" when speaking Urdu or Hindi? I seem to get it right every time with my eyes closed and even standing on one leg on occasions! Perhaps, I am endowed with some unique power that most other people don't possess.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    It is rare to hear maulvii pronounced molvii (rhyming with hole). Ditto for maulvii and maulavii. I cannot recall hearing these except from religious types (with Urdu heavily Arabic-influenced). What I hear from all types of ethnic accents is mOlvii (rhyme with solve).
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Faylasoof saahab, your response encouraged me to look up a dictionary (one I have handy is Feroz-ul-Lughaat jaami3). It lists two distinct words as جیب

    The first one is pronounced jaib (like you describe above, ba-fath-i-awwal, wa-sukuun-i-dom-o-som). This is a masculine noun, with an Arabic origin. This one means girebaan (not sure hot to translate to English).

    The second one listed is jeb (ba-yaa-i-majhuul) which is a feminine noun with Urdu origin. This one means pocket.

    In your example above, which of these two were you referring to?
    UM SaaHib, I do see what you mean but جیب is really jaib :

    A جيب jaib, vulg. jeb, s.f. The opening at the neck and bosom (of a shirt, &c.); the breast-collar (of a garment); the heart; the bosom; (the Arabs often carry things within the bosom of the shirt, &c.; and hence the word is now applied by them to) 'a pocket' (in which sense the Turks, Persians, and Indians pronounce it jeb):—jaib-pāra, adj. Having the collar rent; sad:—jaib-ćākī, s.f. Heart-rending:—jeb-i-ḵẖāṣ, s.f. A privy purse:—jeb-ḵẖarć, s.m. Pocket-money:—jeb-katrā, s.m. A pickpocket: jeb katarnā (-), To pick the pocket (of):—jeb-ghaṛī, s.f. A watch.


    In Farsi it did change which affected us because our ancestors were indeed once Persophones. However, in some families a switch back to a diphthonged version -the original Arabic - was made. Not everyone follows this of course.

    One could say that in a sense it doesn't matter as the context tells you which (jaib / jeb, as per your reference) might be meant. But having said this, no one I know who recited these verses ever bothered to say jaib, as they should have (that is apart from my family members and some close friends:


    جوں صبح، چاکِ جَیب مجھے تار و پود تھا
    بازی خورِ فریب ہے ایلِ نظر کا ذوق


    چپک رہا ہے بدن پر لہو سے پیراہن
    ہمارے جَیب کو اب حاجتِ رفو کیا ہے


    غالبؔ
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Faylasoof, I wish you luck with this. But you are really swimming against the tide on this. Northern Indo-Aryan, especially North-Western Indo-Aryan, has been demolishing schwas and diphthongs for over 2000 years ...........there are distinct modes of speaking from Western/Standard Hindi-Urdu which is largely based on the Khariboli dialect. There is a different music to these languages. You will notice that they often also say 'ha-ee' for 'hai' (है, ہے). Standard HU does not. You might enjoy the sweet 'Tadbeer se bidgi hui taqdeer bana le' (youtube) song - note how she turns 'le' to 'lei' - very diphthongal and very wrong for standard HU, but delicious!
    Thank you for your sentiments but I need neither luck nor opinions from non-native Urdu speakers who might never have learnt proper Urdu pronunciation! You are new here, it seems, so allow me to inform that swimming against the tide is neither daunting nor new to me. I’m not interested in the common mispronunciation of the plebs and the “juhhaal”! What is Ghalat-ul-3aam may be 3aam but it is plain Ghalat (wrong) !

    I agree that Urdu has its roots in KhaRii Bolii, a point that has been discussed numerous times in this forum, but Urdu has gone beyond KhaRii Bolii, and the latter, bye the way, did have diphthongs because Prakrit did too! Please see the Indic words I list above. Many are of Prakrit origin and when it comes to the pronunciation of borrowed Arabic and Persian words, we’ve kept diphthonged forms as I’ve already mentioned above.

    Dropping diphthongs means poor Urdu diction. Period!

    I don’t agree with much of what you say above. If you are suggesting that Western Urdu (Delhi, Agra, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Panipat) has no diphthongs then I don’t think you know Urdu! Both Eastern and Western dialects of Urdu proper have and have always had diphthongs.

    Incidentally, I’m by no means alone in keeping the diphthong alive! There are plenty of Urdu lovers (even in this forum) who do care about this language and its correct diction.

    BTW, live youtube links are not allowed! I had to delete it!
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    ^ Is it a typo above, in hamare jeb? I have always heard/read it as hamarii jeb?
    This is interesting! I have two very reliable versions of Ghalib's diiwaan (plus another one which I can’t be so sure of). One has hamaare jaib (diacritics for jaib shown) and the other hamaarii jaib / jeb (no diacritics).

    If we go by your jaib (masc.) = garebaan, then it'll be hamaare jaib, i.e. hamaare garebaan <--- this makes more sense to me!

    If, however, we go by your jeb (fem.) = pocket, then it should be hamaarii jeb (but also jaib for some to also mean pocket, not just garebaan - same pronunciation but different gender).

    It'll be good to find out what others have in their copies of Mirza SaaHib's diiwaan and the opinions of various scholars. Which one do they think it is supposed to be.


    In a sense this reminds me of Iftakhar Aarif SaaHib's umaid (with a diphthong!) as opposed to umiid. But that was a slightly different argument as it didn't involve gender of the noun though the pronunciation issue was there.

    Edit: UM SaaHib, I see you deleted your post to which I was replying! Anyway, I think something interesting may come out of what I say here!
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ My copy of the diiwaan lists ہماری جیب. "Diiwaan-i-Ghalib Musavvar (by A. R. Chughtai)", published aiwaan-i-ishaa3at Lahore.

    I can see you preference for jaib=girebaan meaning. On the other hand a hole in the pocket can have severe consequences for a person, hence it's more deserving of the rafuu. :)

    Edit: I recall hamaarii jeb also from the Indian drama serial, Mirza Ghalib (by Gulzar). Jagjit Singh's rendering of the ghazal for the serial also uses hamaarii jeb.
     
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    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I disagree with that. It is extremely rare that a schwa in that position would be pronounced by Hindi-Urdu speakers. The rule is that in [vowel-consonant-schwa-consonant-vowel] situations, the middle schwa is compulsorily deleted. So, /mɔːləviː/ → /mɔːlviː/. Hindi-Urdu speakers will normally spell it in Roman as "Maulvi" also, and almost never "Maulavi". Maulvi has 1.5 million hits on Google and Maulavi has 280k (tellingly the top four are Malayalam, Tamil, Arab and Afghan). ....Similarly for Arab (ethnicity) - Arab and Arbi, not Arabi (check out "Quran ki Arabi Zuban- Arabi e Mu'ala (01) - Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, youtube at about 2:30). People say 'Arbi zubaan mein xyz' not 'Arabi zubaan mein xyz'. Religious minded people or those schooled in Sanskrit or Persian/Arabic will retain these schwas sometimes (and it sounds affected) but not common speakers. Even really religious Hindus and Muslims cannot help but delete these Sanskrit/Arabic schwas when they speak unconsciously at speed. This is a local development in Northern Indo-Aryan. It is not derived from any other branch or language.
    I’m sorry but you are wrong on both counts! It is 3arabii / ‘arabii !

    A عربي ʻara (rel. n. fr. ʻarab), m. = P عربيه ʻarabīya (for A. ʻarabīyat), f. adj. & s. Arabian; Arabic;—an Arab; an Arabian horse;—the Arabic language

    As you have it (‘Arbi) is plain wrong! Similarly it is maulavii and not what you have! We pronounce both, the ‘au’ diphthong and the ‘a’ Harakat after the ‘laam’.


    مولوی (mowlavee)
    Noun A 1. One of the order of dervishes founded by Djalaleddin-Roomi, famous poet. See مولانا || By ext. A dervish. 2. R. A learned man; also, a doctor of the law or lawyer. 3. [For کلاه مولوی] A kind of turban. smaller than the ordinary turbans. [O.S.] My lord or master.


    a مولوی maula, Judicial, belonging to a judge or magistrate; a doctor of the Muhammadan law; an assistant lawyer; a learned man; divine, religious, belonging to God; a dervīsh, Muhammadan monk;--kulāhi maulawī, A kind of high woollen cap worn by them.


    Although Platts doesn’t seem to list maulavi ( he does list
    مولانا मौलाना maulaanaa- with a diphthong, as it should be), but he does mention this name: Maulavī Rūmī

    None of this has anything to do with religion and everything to do with good Urdu / Hindi teaching and learning!
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    ^ My copy of the diiwaan lists ہماری جیب. "Diiwaan-i-Ghalib Musavvar (by A. R. Chughtai)", published aiwaan-i-ishaa3at Lahore.

    I can see you preference for jaib=girebaan meaning. On the other hand a hole in the pocket can have severe consequences for a person, hence it's more deserving of the rafuu. :)

    Edit: I recall hamaarii jeb also from the Indian drama serial, Mirza Ghalib (by Gulzar). Jagjit Singh's rendering of the ghazal for the serial also uses hamaarii jeb.
    Thanks for the Chughtai reference!
    Well, I'm not going to make a fuss about jaib / garebaan (collar / breast of garment) versus jaib / jeb (pocket). It was just my gut feeling since garebaan has a lot to do with a very obvious sign of somebody's disposition. Used a lot in poetry. But you are right, a hole in the pocket can have grave consequences. However, if your garebaan gets chaak it too will need rafuu (darning)! :)
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I’m sorry but you are wrong on both counts! It is 3arabii / ‘arabii !

    No yaar, it's not. Yes, people do often write Arabi, but they actually say 'Arbi' - surely you see this in your daily life. I can show you zillions of examples (did you even *listen* to the YouTube video)? It's no different than Garam (colloquial) → Garmi. Remember, arab is also a number in HindiUrdu (= a billion). 'Aik arab rupae' but 'Arbon rupae' not 'Arabon' rupae. Similarly, 'aik arab se baat ki' and 'kaee arbon se baat ki', not 'kaee arabon se baat ki'. If you are pronouncing the two Arab plurals differently, it means you're putting in some special effort into it which most speakers aren't going to do.

    As you have it (‘Arbi) is plain wrong! Similarly it is maulavii and not what you have! We pronounce both, the ‘au’ diphthong and the ‘a’ Harakat after the ‘laam’.

    Then what is your explanation for 1.5m Google hits for 'Maulvi' and 280k for 'Maulavi'?


    None of this has anything to do with religion and everything to do with good Urdu / Hindi teaching and learning!

    According to who? The point I am making is this - the language itself has a preferred syllable structure, which is extremely well documented in linguistic literature. Yes, Sanskrit-aware people will say 'Tulasi' instead of 'Tulsi' and Arabic-aware people will say 'Maulavi' instead of 'Maulvi'. They might also say 'paurush' and 'maulvi' diphthongally, but this is not the natural rhythm of this language. This is why the uncaring majority will say 'maulvi', 'arbi', 'tulsi'. Hindi-Urdu isn't Arabic or Persian or Sanskrit. With things like this, you can try as hard as you want and people wont change. School → Iskool. Snan → Isnan. Make that Askool and Asnan if you're Punjabi. The British tried fixing it for 200 years. Can't be done unless you teach them English itself and embed its preferred structures in their minds.

    This is just one example. There are so many others. Western HU speakers have a tendency to make v's out of w's if they are in a leading position in the syllable and precede a vowel. So, War → Var, Wow → vow. They make w's out of all v's in medial positions. Advertise → Adwertise. Eastern Hindi speakers, Maharashtrians and Arabs make w's out of everything. Dev → Dew → Deo. Persians (and some Northern Punjabis) make v's out of everything. Wazifa → Vazifeh. It *can't* be helped. You can try to teach people their way out of it but it is like defying gravity. It's going to take permanent effort. Please don't be offended. I am not advocating any pronunciation and really have no preferences here. Just reporting it like I see it.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ I see what HU is describing all the time. An inherent linguistic preference theory sounds interesting.

    Perhaps it would be interesting to see counter examples of indigenous HU words (not Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian loans) where such short vowels are pronounced. Any usages where the middle short vowel of words like arab (number), kharab (number), saRak, etc are preserved while modifying the word with other vowels?
     
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    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    There may be some truth in the Eastern Hindi-Urdu caring much more about the diphthong than the Western. I have a sample of one, a friend from Patna (Bihar) who tends to use all the diphthongs in words like pauda, maulvii, baiThak,and so on. At time I notice an extra short vowel after the 'h' in a word like kahte (which most Karachiites will say kehte), resulting in something sounding like kahite. Often also using noun genders also that are alien to me.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ I see what HU is describing all the time. An inherent linguistic preference theory sounds interesting.

    Perhaps it would be interesting to see counter examples of indigenous HU words (not Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian loans) where such short vowels are pronounced. Any usages where the middle short vowel of words like arab (number), kharab (number), saRak, etc are preserved while modifying the word with other vowels?

    HU, is bandaroN (plural of bandar) an indigenous counter example of your theory? I know some people may say bandroN, but can also visualize many saying bandaroN without much training, preserving the short-vowel after d. Or does this not fit the mould?
     
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    greatbear

    Banned
    India - Hindi & English
    I don't think "bandar" qualifies, since I don't recognise it to have a schwa: which is a short vowel sound, which does not seem to me the case with "bandar". There is another word in Hindi, "dar" (which means "rate"): the plural remains "daroN", not "droN", and again there is no question of schwa deletion, since in the first case there is no schwa.
    In my opinion, it would be difficult to come up with counter examples, since what HU describes are very good observations of patterns the way Hindi-Urdu has been following. Some people might love to pronounce "maulavii", but languages are defined by what is "aam", not by hypothetical notions of purity and/or good diction.
     

    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    Do you pronounce "udhar" has "odar" when speaking Urdu or Hindi? I seem to get it right every time with my eyes closed and even standing on one leg on occasions! Perhaps, I am endowed with some unique power that most other people don't possess.

    You a rural speaker of Punjabi? No, you're probably someone that is educated in Hindi/Urdu. I *never* pronounce maulvi as molvi or udhar as odar. That's because I speak HU at native level. The question was 'does anyone say molvi' and the answer is, yes, many Punjabi people do. Are you asserting that no Punjabi speakers say 'or', 'molvi' and 'foj'? So, then if no one in the subcontinent says 'molvi' where does this come from? Outer space?

    AI am once again assuming that you have access to some such study that has been carried out in which samples of all Urdu/Hindi speakers whose mother tongue is not Urdu/Hindi have been taken and the conclusion that has been drawn is that everyone barring Punjabis pronounces these types of words perfectly! At least this is how I am understanding your statements about Punjabi speakers' influence on Urdu and Hindi speech.

    'All', 'everyone'? Where are you getting this from? Maybe you're having a separate discussion elsewhere and confusing them? Please tone down your stridency otherwise I also have a tendency to get sucked up in it and it's going to ruin the tone for everyone. If you disagree, just say you disagree.
     
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    hindiurdu

    Senior Member
    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    HU, is bandaroN (plural of bandar) an indigenous counter example of your theory? I know some people may say bandroN, but can also visualize many saying bandaroN without much training, preserving the short-vowel after d. Or does this not fit the mould?

    Excellent question. The schwa deletion rule is usually expressed as a → ø | (non-nasal)VC_CV (http://books.google.com/books?id=jJOXzRXsSK0C&pg=PA39). Bandaron, you will note actually has a nasalized vowel preceding the first consonant, bãdarõ, so the schwa isn't deleted. BTW even the rule is wrong about 10-20% of the time.

    On the whole though, the pattern is overwhelmingly strong. Some examples (http://books.google.com/books?id=3_Sp1g_QziwC&pg=PA637) - namak → namkeen, hiran → hirni, waapas → waapsi, oopar → oopri, garaj/garajna → garjila, pichak → pichka, sisak → siski. I wonder if the people who say 'tulasi' and 'maulavi' are also sticking to their guns and saying 'namakeen', 'waapasi', 'oopari', 'garajila', 'pichaka' and 'sisaki'. If not, then they're going out of their way to make exceptions for some words, which is bound to take effort. BTW listen to many nonnative-HU speakers in Hindi movies - they absolutely *do* say these words as 'namakeen', etc. Bengali and Eastern HindiUrdu speakers also (often) retain these medial schwas. If maulavi is preferred over maulvi then, speaking with the same music, solah → solahvaa will also happen instead of solah → solhvaa.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    No yaar, it's not. Yes, people do often write Arabi, but they actually say 'Arbi' - surely you see this in your daily life. I can show you zillions of examples (did you even *listen* to the YouTube video)?

    I believe there is a misunderstanding. When they say arbii, in the daily life, they mean a vegetable.
     
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