Urdu/Hindi: dehlii vs dillii

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by UrduMedium, Apr 22, 2012.

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  1. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    There seem to be two clear camps on this word/city-name. I grew up listening to it as dillii in conversations around me. However, in much of printed matter in Urdu you would find dehlii. Yet again, in much of poetry I believe dillii is more prevalent. For example, Mir's famous misra3, dillii jo ik shahr thaa aalam meN intixaab, and the famous hanooz dillii duur ast ...

    In Karachi, you find both names. From my unscientific survey, dehlii is more common use by the "dehliwaalas" of Karachi (aka Punjabi Suadagaran-e-Dehli).

    Curious which of these is the older term? Also how the other one came about? How each relates to the English Delhi?
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    I would suggest that "dillii" is the oldest form and "dihlii/dehlii" is the Persianised form as in هنوز دهلی دور است and ہنوز دہلی دور
    although ہنوز دلی دور است is also found. Dehli is of course the Anglicised format.

    Here is an example from xutuut-i-Ghalib of dihlii.

    bha'ii kyaa puuchhte ho? kyaa likhuuN? dihlii kii hastii munHasir ka’ii haNgaamoN pih hai;qal3ah,chaaNdnii chauk, har roz majma3 jaami3 masjid kaa,har hafte sair jamnaa ke pul kii, har saal melaa phuul vaaloN kaa. yih paaNchoN baateN ab nahiiN, phir kaho dihlii kahaaN? haaN, ko'ii shahr is naam kaa Hindustaan meN thaa!

    Here are a few examples of dillii.

    shikavaa-e-aablah abhii se 'Meer'
    hai pyaare hanoz dillii duur

    dillii ke nah the kuuche auraaq-i-musavvir the
    jo shakl nazar aa'ii tasviir nazar aa'ii.

    [Meer Taqi Meer]

    thaa 'Zauq' pahale dillii meN Panjaab kaa saa husn
    par ab vo paanii kahate haiN Multaan bah gayaa


    sar-i-aaGhaaz-i-mausam meN andhe haiN ham
    kih dillii ko chhoReN, lohaaruu ko jaa'eN


    roz-afzuuN Husn kaa har daur ik sayyaarah hai
    hai dabistaaN Lakhnau, dillii agar gahvaarah hai

    [Saif Lakhnavii]

    ham dillii bhii ho aaye haiN, Lahore bhii ghuume,
    ai yaar! magar terii galii terii galii hai!!!!

    [Bashir Badr]

    bulbul-i-dillii ne baaNdhaa is chaman meN aashiyaaN
    ham-navaa haiN sab 3anaadil baaGh-i-hastii ke jahaaN


    And some examples of dehlii

    tazkarah-e-dehlii-e-marhoom ka ai dost na chheR
    nah sunaa jaayegaa ham se yeh fasaanah hargiz

    uTh ga’e saaqii jo the maixaanah xaalii rah gayaa
    yaadgaar-i-bazm-i-dihlii ek Haalii rah gayaa


    un kii roz-i-vafaat dehlii meN
    yahii mazkuur dostaan men tha

    [Meer Mahdi Majrooh]

    dehlii hai aaj bazm-e-SulaimaaN banii hu'ii
    rashk-e-na3eem rashk-e-paristaaN banii hu'ii

    [Taalib Banaarsi]

    zameen-e-Paak hamaare jigar kaa tukRa hai
    hameN 3azeez hai dihlii-o-Lakhnaoo ki tarah

    [Ali Sardar Ja’fari]

    I have not had time to adjust these quotes fully to suit my transcription system but I am sure everyone should be able to make out the couplets.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  3. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Thank you, QP saahab for your valuable insight, and for all the excellent examples. The one from xutuut-i-Ghalib that mentions both dehlii/dihlii and dillii is probably the most telling.
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    UM SaaHib, I have found a more accurate (and fuller) quote from Ghalib's xutuut which I had posted earlier in the forum. This shows "dihlii" only which seems more logical. I have amended the original post. On hindsight, I ought to have left it as it was and posted the fuller quote here. But, never mind. Hindsight is great but...
  5. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Understood. Thanks for clarifying.
  6. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Just happened to be browsing Altaf Husain Hali's Yadgar-e-Ghalib's diibaachah. Right in the first paragraph he used the word daarul-xilaafah-e-dihlii. Then in the second paragraph, he quickly switches to dillii and uses it twice in the same para. See here for the actual text from the 1897 publication.

    Just reading through it a few times, it seemed to me that he used the name dihlii when referring to the official name of the capital, likely influenced by the Persianised form of the name. But then in general references he switches to dillii instead. Even beyond the diibaachah, I found several mentions of dillii. Not a comprehensive scan by any means. Its a 400+ page book!
  7. flyinfishjoe Senior Member

    American English
    I think देहली is used in Sanskrit to refer to Delhi. In Kannada, we use ದೆಹಲಿ dehali and ನವದೆಹಲಿ navadehali which I believe comes from the Sanskrit usage. As for Hindi, दिल्ली dillii of course is the common term.

    BTW, I have heard both 'hanooz dehli dur ast' and 'hanooz dilli dur ast'
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It would be interesting to see if there is an "h" in the Sanskrit word for "dihlii/dehlii" from actual texts. On the other hand, it would also be interesting to see how "dillii" lost its "h" or how "dihlii/dehlii" gained this consonant.

    Going back to UP's post re: yaadgaar-i-Ghalib, does anyone know any Urdu poet hailing from this place called "X dillavii" as opposed to "X dihlavii/dehlavii"?

    Regarding "hanuuz", I would utter it as "hanoz" as per Talat Mahmood's singing one of Mirza Ghalib's Ghazals.
  9. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Thank you for this very helpful insight, FFJ saahab. This may provide the basis for why the Persianized version chose dihlii over dillii.
  10. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Did a bit more scanning of Yadgar-e-Ghallib ... I see a clear pattern emerge. For normal descriptive numerous references to the city's name, Hali uses dillii, pretty consistently in the pages I scanned. However, whenever, either there is an official name involved, or a Farsi-style izaafat used, he switches to dihlii.

    Examples of the latter:

    fatH-i-dihlii, page 12
    xuun-i-dihlii, page 24
    ahl-i-dihlii, page 27
    dihlii college*, page 28

    *Side note. Likely inspiration for the name of Delhi College in Karachi, it seems to me.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  11. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Here's a forum post affirming your statement about देहली (dehali) coming from Sanskrit, meaning threshold (similar to Persian dahliiz), also providing possible historical evolution of the name. Seems quite plausible, but would be nice to corroborate it from a more substantive source.
  12. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Here are quotes from Platts.

    H دهلي दिहलीdihlī, děhlī, दहेलीdahlī, prop. n. The city of Dehli, the metropolis of Hindūstān (under the Mohammadan rule; see dillī; and dahal).

    P دهليز dahlīz, děhlīz (=S. देहली;—A. dihlīz, fr. the Pers.), s.f. Threshold; portico, entrance hall, vestibule:—dahlīz jhāknā, v.n.=dahlīz lagnā:—dahlīz-kā kuttā, s.m. The dog of the porch, house-dog;—a hanger-on, parasite:—dahlīz khundlānā, s.m. lit. 'Treading the threshold'; a ceremonial visit paid by a young man about to be married to the parents of his intended bride:—dahlīz lagnā (-), To cross the threshold (of), to pay a visit (to).

    H دلی दिल्लीdillī, prop. n. The city of Dillī or Dehlī (also callcd Shāhjahānābād;—the ancient Hastināpur; cf. S. dilī-pa):—dillī-wāl, dillī-wālā, s.m. A native, or an inhabitant, of Dillī.

    H دهل दहल dahal (v.n. fr. dahalnā, q.v.), s.f. Shaking tremulously, shaking, trembling, quaking, tremor; fear, apprehension, dread;—shifting sand, quicksand, &c. (=daldal). (The name of Dahlī or Dehlī is said to be derived from this word; the ground on which the city was built being so loose and infirm that tent-pins could not be fixed in it.)
  13. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    When it comes to etymology of names almost anything goes! There is no evidence presented for the suggestions made in the forum entitled “Etymology of the word Delhi (Dehli)” linked above (post # 11).

    Many theories abound as to how the city got its name (and whether it was originally dehlii or dillii) and the question remains unanswered. Ultimately the weight of evidence may point towards the former. This Wiki article on the city mentions some of the theories under the section “Etymology and idioms”. You can take your pick!

    We need to look at sources earlier than the Urdu poets since these poets are of a the 18th -19th centuries and later. The city (and its name dehlii) is much older. I haven’t had the time to look at our ancient Indic sources but a reliable foreign source is Ibn Batuta the 14th century traveller from Tangiers.

    In his famous riHlaat (travels), entitled تحفة النظار في غرائب الأمصار وعجائب الأسفار‎ A Gift for Observers of the Wonders of Cities and Marvels of Travelling - better known as رحلة ابن بطوطة The journey of Ibn Batuta - he mentions many cities in India but foremost amongst them is dehlii (دھلی) where he spent quite some time. Repeatedly he mentions dehlii and never dillii as the name used by locals. For example his long section on the city is called ذکر وصف مدینہ دھلی A description of the city of Dehli (دھلی).

    I shall look further into his and other works of an earlier period when I get the time.
  14. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Thank you Faylasoof SaaHib for introducing Ibn Batuta into the discussions. Al-Beruni preceded Ibn-Batuta by around 400 years. I wonder if "dehlii" is mentioned anywhere in his writings when he was travelling in India. It would also be useful if older citations of the name of this city could be found in the works of Sanskrit writers
  15. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    A few more examples:

    marsiyah-i-dihlii (Mirza DaaGh Dihlavii)

    falak-i-zamiin-o-malaa'ik, janaab thii dillii
    bahisht-o-xuld meN bhii intixaab thii dillii
    javaab kaahe ko thaa laa-javaab thii dillii
    magar xayaal se dekhaa to xvaab thii dillii

    dihlii-i-marHuum (Hali)

    tazkirah-i-dihlii-i-marHuum ai dost nah chheR
    nah sunaa jaa'e gaa ham se yih fasaanah hargiz

    kabhii ai 3ilm-0-hunar ghar thaa tumhaaraa dillii
    ham ko bhuule ho to ghar bhuul nah jaanaa hargiz

    jalvah-i-dihlii-darbaar (Akbar Ilahabaadii)

    sar meN shauq kaa saudaa dekhaa
    dihlii ko ham ne bhii jaa dekhaa
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  16. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Qureshpor SaaHib, is tazkarah a typo or did you for some reasons mean to write it this way?

    And first and foremost, thank you for these references!
  17. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Thanks QP saahab for the above.

    All three examples seem to confirm the earlier observation that in izaafat it is always dihlii, indicating more of a Persianised preference for the city's name. Without izaafat or official names, seems like it is mostly dillii, but dihlii also used in such context.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  18. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Yes, it was a typo. Thank you for pointing out the error. I shall amend my post and I hope UM saaHib will also change my quote incorporated in his reply.
  19. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Couple of ash3aar from a marsiyah by Hali on Ghalib's passing away.

    thiiN to dillii meN us kii baateN thiiN
    le chaleN vatan ko ab kyaa sauGhaat

    us ke marne se mar ga'ii dillii
    xvaajah noshah thaa aur shahr baraat
  20. urdustan Member

    Urdu & English
    Interesting topic. Hobson Jobson discusses this and provides some valuable quotes.

    DELHI , n.p. The famous capital of the great Moghuls, in the latter years of that family; and the seat under various names of many preceding dynasties, going back into ages of which we have no distinct record. Dillī is, according to Cunningham, the old Hindu form of the name; Dihlī is that used by Mahommedans. According to Panjab Notes and Queries (ii. 117 seq.), Dilpat is traditionally the name of the Dillī of Prithvī Rāj. Dil is an old Hindi word for an eminence; and this is probably the etymology of Dilpat and Dilli. The second quotation from Correa curiously illustrates the looseness of his geography. [The name has become unpleasantly familiar in connection with the so-called 'Delhi boil,' a form of Oriental sore, similar to Biskra Button, Aleppo Evil, Lahore or Multan Sore (see Delhi Gazetteer, 15, note).]

    1205. -- (Muhammad Ghori marched) "to- wards Dehli (may God preserve its prosperity, and perpetuate its splendour!), which is among the chief (mother) cities of Hind." -- Hasan Nizāmi, in Elliot, ii. 216.
    c. 1321. -- "Hanc terram (Tana, near Bombay) regunt Sarraceni, nunc subjacentes dal dili. . . . Audiens ipse imperator dol Dali . . . misit et ordinavit ut ipse Lomelic penitus caperetur. . . ." -- Fr. Odoric. See Cathay, &c., App., pp. v. and x.
    c. 1330. -- "Dillī . . . a certain traveller relates that the brick-built walls of this great city are loftier than the walls of Hamath; it stands in a plain on a soil of mingled stones and sand. At the distance of a parasang runs a great river, not so big, however, as Euphrates." -- Abulfeda, in Gildemeister, 189 seq.
    c. 1334. -- "The wall that surrounds Dihlī has no equal. . . . The city of Dihlī has 28 gates . . ." &c. -- Ibn Batuta, iii. 147 seqq.
    c. 1375. -- The Carta Catalana of the French Library shows ciutat de Dilli and also Lo Rey Dilli, with this rubric below it: "Aci esta un soldã gran e podaros molt rich. Aquest soldã ha DCC orifans e C millia homens à cavall sot lo seu imperi. Ha encora paons sens nombre. . . ."
    1459. -- Fra Mauro's great map at Venice shows Deli cittade grandissima, and the rubrick Questa cittade nobilissima zà dominava tuto el paese del Deli over India Prima.
    1516. -- "This king of Dely confines with Tatars, and has taken many lands from the King of Cambay; and from the King of
    Dacan, his servants and captains with many of his people, took much, and afterwards in time they revolted, and set themselves up as kings." -- Barbosa, p. 100.
    1533. -- "And this kingdom to which the Badur proceeded was called the Dely; it was very great, but it was all disturbed by wars and the risings of one party against another, because the King was dead, and the sons were fighting with each other for the sovereignty." -- Correa, iii. 506.
    " "This Kingdom of Dely is the greatest that is to be seen in those parts, for one point that it holds is in Persia, and the other is in contact with the Loochoos (os Lequios) beyond China." -- Ibid. iii. 572.
    c. 1568. -- "About sixteen yeeres past this King (of Cuttack), with his Kingdome, were destroyed by the King of Pattane, which was also King of the greatest part of Bengala . . . but this tyrant enioyed his Kingdome but a small time, but was conquered by another tyrant, which was the great Mogol King of Agra, Delly, and of all Cambaia." -- Caesar Frederike in Hakl. ii. 358.
    1611. -- "On the left hand is seene the car- kasse of old Dely, called the nine castles and fiftie-two gates, now inhabited onely by Googers. . . . The city is 2c betweene Gate and Gate, begirt with a strong wall, but much ruinate. . . ." -- W. Finch, in Purchas, i. 430.
  21. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    Interestingly, at the New Delhi railway station, the signboards read "naI dillI" in Hindi and "na'I dihlI" in Urdu. ;)
  22. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    dehalii (देहली) in Sanskrit means 'threshold' (cognate to Persian dehliiz دهلیز) but doesn't refer to the city of Delhi. The Kannada term is probably borrowed from Urdu or Indo-Persian, since much of southern India was once ruled by the nizaams.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  23. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    #20: The site is called "tilpat" and not "dilpat", so I don't believe it has a connection to the name Delhi.

    Delhi originates from "Dhillii", which was the name of the city during the Rajput era as recently analysed Apabhramsha documents indicate.

    In 1132 AD, Vibudha
    Shriidhara writes in his PaasaNaahachariu:

    हरियाणए देसे असंखगाम, गामियण जणि अणवरथ काम|
    परचक्क विहट्टणु सिरिसंघट्टणु, जो सुरव इणा परिगणियं|
    रिउ रुहिरावट्टणु बिउलु पवट्टणु, ढिल्ली नामेण जि भणियं|

    "There are countless villages in Haryana country. The villagers there work hard. They don't accept domination of others, and are experts in making the blood of their enemies flow. Indra himself praises this country. The capital of this country is Dhilli."

    This also shows that use of the name Haryana is quite ancient. So, it seems "Dhillii" was modified to "dillii" and "dehlii" because Persian doesn't have Dh, with the latter form preferred in Persianised contexts. I won't rule out Dhillii -> dillii/dehlii occurring through a natural evolution, but I don't know if there is a precedent for a Dh -> d in Indic languages. There is an interesting parallel to this in Dhol -> (Persian) dohol.
  24. urdustan Member

    Urdu & English
    Thank you for that. In Urdu I feel it is mostly "dehlii". I don't think there is Dh>>d either.
  25. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    It's wonderful you have access to Apabhramsha documents which have been recently discovered, mundiya jii. A big thank you.
  26. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    ^You're both very welcome. :)

    I forgot to mention this before. Dhillii -> dehlii not only has Dh -> d but also the insertion of a medial "h" to replace the aspiration, in the same manner as Dhol -> dohol. It's always interesting to notice patterns.

    I think the "dillii" pronunciation may have gained more currency in Urdu in the last few decades. An old Urdu grammar book I was reading mentioned that "dehlii" was the usual word amongst Urdu speakers in Pakistan and India, and "dillii" amongst Hindi speakers. From my observation, this is still largely the case.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  27. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ Thank you for the Dhillii --> dihlii insight. Very interesting.

    dillii has been around in written Urdu for some time too. As in 'dillii jo ik sheher thaa aalam meN intikhaab .." from Mir. 'dehlii' seems to be the persianized version and can be used with persian/arabic grammatical constructs like izaafat. For example, salaatiin-i-dehlii. You wouldn't find dillii in such a construct.
  28. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    From the same Miir Taqii Miir:

    مرثیے دل کے کئی کہہ کے دیئے لوگوں کو
    شہرِ دلّی میں ہے سب پاس نشانی اس کی

    marsiye dil ke ka'ii kah ke diye logoN ko
    shahr-e-dillii meN hae sab paas nishaanii us kii
  29. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    You're very welcome.

    Yes, that is true. But "dehlii" has been the preferred form in official/governmental Urdu writing.

    It's interesting that he used an izaafat with "dillii". Looks like an exception to the rule.

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  30. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    No, it is not an exception to the rule. Any place name can have an izaafat.

    ai aab-i-rod-i-gaNgaa vuh din haiN yaad tujh ko
    utraa tere kinaare jab kaarvaaN hamaaraa

    Allamah Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)
  31. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    ^ Also, not looking to far away, the one you quoted in your post No. 2:

    bulbul-i-dillii ne baaNdhaa is chaman meN aashiyaaN
    ham-navaa haiN sab 3anaadil baaGh-i-hastii ke jahaaN

  32. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It would be beneficial to have an etymological insight, perhaps from Dib Jii and fdb SaaHib. I have often wondered if Dhol and duhul are connected.

    I don't believe this is quite true. The use of "dillii" in both speech and writing is very old. You will find "dillii" in the speech of Urdu speakers much more frequent than dehlii. You will hear so and so is a "dillii vaalaa" or they are "dillii vaale" etc.
  33. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi

    That is what fdb saahab has already said (on a thread in which you posted). :)

    That may be true in some places now, but maybe not 50 years ago. Also I believe the statement only applied to native Urdu speakers. Among those in India, "dehlii" is used more frequently in my estimation. This is supported by official Urdu writing predominantly using "dehllii". UM saahab has provided a similar observation for those of Delhi origin in Karachi.

  34. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    I see. So, in the example from UM saahab: salaatiin-i-dehlii can also be salaatiin-i-dillii, but people choose not to use the latter construct.
  35. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    # Post 33 Not that it is of any significance to me, the frequency of dehlii vs dillii uttered and written by native Urdu speakers and the so called "official writings" (vs Hindi speakers use of dillii only) would need to be determined by some academic study. Neither our personal perceptions nor "unscientific" surveys can replace this study.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  36. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Well, as dehlii and dillii are names of a place (used by Urdu speakers, the frequency of usage of either yet to be determined:)), the choice in an izaafat construction is a matter of personal taste.
  37. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    This is not true. Some Hindi speakers do use "dehlii" (also in writing), but "dillii" is much more common in all forms of speech and writing. I guess we will need to await a study to confirm this too. :)
  38. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    My mistake. I thought you had said Hindi speakers use dillii only.
  39. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Just to clarify I put "dehliwalas" in quotes and specified that I am referring to a specific group (aka Punjabi Suadagaran-e-Dehli).

    This group by no means represents all the dilliwalas let alone all native Urdu speakers.

  40. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    The rule is not to use common nouns or adjectives other than originally Persian in an izafat construction but proper names and especially names of cities are exempt. mahaaraajaa-e-kaanpuur etc. is a commonplace. It would be very stupid to use the Persian form of a proper name just to fit it into this form.

    walii-e-raampuur (Ghalib) etc etc.
  41. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Also see post 30 please.
  42. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Right, it is almost a copy/paste. You are right, I should have read the thread deeper into time. Anyway I am very happy that I added my post so that people can see that there are two (and more I hope) independent opinions which are scientifical and they agree! You told us about the Ganges and I about some cities. Personal names are also good e.g. janaab-e-mundiya or Hazarat-e-Durgaa Devi.
  43. nawaab Member

    Any chance the city name is derived from dil (heart) or is it folk etymology?
  44. desi4life Senior Member

    No, it's folk etymology because the city's name predates the arrival of Persian speakers to the city, which rules out a Persian origin for the name.
  45. desi4life Senior Member

    I've decided to enter this discussion. He is calling the two different readings of the inscription unscientific. What's undebatable is the part I've highlighted in bold. The toponym Ḍhillī is attested from documents predating the Delhi Sultanate. Other than the uncertain reading by Cunningham, there is no evidence for the toponym Dihlī in any document until the time of the Sultanate. Therefore, the evidence for early attestation is clearly in favor of Ḍhillī. Besides, the title of the paper is "An early attestation of the toponym Ḍhillī" not "An early attestation of the toponym Dihlī". In addition, while you are quoting this 1989 paper, you are ignoring the more recent paper from 2010, which only mentions Ḍhillī and is titled "On Jaina Apabhraṃśa praśastis". It is important because a lot can happen in 21 years to make the possibility of Dihlī even more unlikely.

    "If Cunningham's reading, Dihali, is correct..." makes it clear that it's a hypothetical. There is no other evidence for it. I'm not saying he is necessarily wrong, but this is the same Cunningham who made the following claim (see post 20):

    "Dillī is, according to Cunningham, the old Hindu form of the name; Dihlī is that used by Mahommedans."

    You are supposing the city had a Persian name before Persian speakers ever controlled the city. That doesn't make any sense. Remember, Ḍhillī was already attested before the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate. If the origin of the name were Dehlīz, then one would expect to find this word for the city's name in early Persian documents. However, the earliest quotation provided in Hobson Jobson (see post 20 again) from 1205 indicates the name as Dehlī not Dehlīz. I don't believe Dehlīz was ever used for the city's name. This suggests Dehlī is not the corrupted form of Dehlīz as you are asserting. Instead, Dehlī is the Persianized form of the native name for the city. I think any rational person would agree with that. It also explains why Dehlī (Persianized word) is more common in Urdu than in Hindi.

    I agree with you in doubting "loose" as an etymology. However, Ḍhillī as the original name doesn't necessarily mean a connection to the word "loose". See Turner here. Of particular importance are possible connections to the following words. Note the alternation of the initial consonant h~~d, which suggests if the etymology is to be found here that Ḍhillī and Dillī may have both been original variant pronunciations of the city's name.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
  46. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    True, but I have heard ruud-e-gang also.
  47. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    The last discussion got shut down precisely because things like this were said. I disagree with you but am reluctant to engage if this is how it's going to go.
  48. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    As a general principle, I usually don’t respond to personal questions or comments such as this, but since you’re jumping to conclusions I will clarify that I’ve studied linguistics, though it's not my profession. Getting back to the topic, I pretty much agree with desi4life’s remarks about the etymology of Delhi, and I will leave it at that.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  49. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    First, I have not noticed an actual divergence in Urdu vs Hindi speakers when it comes to saying dilli or dehlii. What I have seen is that older people from West UP and Delhi say dehlii while people from Haryana tend to say dilli. There are other such names too. Mehraulii become Merrolii and Shaah Daaraa > Shahaadraa > Shaddraa. All three are examples of the classic Haryana/Punjab tendency to de-aspirate and geminate. They do this with many, many words. Some will make people here wince. dehaatii > de'aattii. kahaanii > k'aaṇṇii.

    Second, as far as I know (correct me if I am wrong - with facts, not emotions), there are no reliable references to Delhi that actually predate the invasions of Ghazni (1000 - 1020 AD). Meanwhile, we also know that Jayapal Janjua ruled from Laghman to Sirhind (literally on the border of Haryana) from 964 - 1001 AD. He was a neighbor of Sebuktegin (Mahmud's father) and of Mahmud after him. The contention that there was no Persian influence in the region at that time sounds impossible when the dynasty ruling about 4 districts from Delhi (and only two from UP) is called Kabul Shahi and includes a chunk of Eastern Afghanistan. Also, didn't Prithviraj Chauhan himself rename Lal Kot to Qila Rai Pithora? Vibudh Shridhar was 1120-1170 approximately. Note that Amir Khusro was already born in UP - to the east of Delhi - by 1253, ie within a hundred years of the author of these Prashastis. BTW I specifically referenced elements of the 2010 paper (On Jaina Apabhramsa Prashastis). Also, look at his citation of Anangapal - जहिं असिवर तोडिय रिउ कवालु, णरणाहु पसिद्धउ अणंगवालु । वलभर कम्पाविउ णायरायु, माणिणियण मणसंजनीय ।। - Aṇangvaalu. He has turned a dental into a retroflex. Just saying.

    More to come :)
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  50. desi4life Senior Member

    Interchange between dental and retroflex N is commonplace between Sanskrit, the Prakrits, and the modern languages.
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