Urdu, Hindi: Pronunciation of "r" by the younger generation

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I don't know if it is my hearing but I have noticed a definite difference in pronunciation of the consonant "r" by what I might term the "younger generation" (say up to 40 for argument sake) on Pakistani TV channels. I have included Hindi in the title as well just in case our Hindi speaking friends have noticed same or similar phenomenon.

    Those of us who speak English (which is likely to be everyone visiting this forum) as well as our mother tongues will know that English "r" is not quite the same as our rolled r. I wonder if this is the influence of English on Urdu. I shall try to give an example or two later from Youtube.

    I would like to hear your views please.

    On a connected note, strange as it might sound, I have heard younger generation of Pakistani Punjabi children mix up "r" with "R". For example, "pakoraa" for "pakoRaa" and "puuRaa" for "puuraa"! How very odd! What's going on?
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
  2. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA


    Made me think of these threads.^

    I had actually wanted to ask about this before. I have definitely heard this before. I didn't know if this was some kind of so called "burger" accent or what but it seems to be very widespread. I've noticed that it isn't consistent. Just recently I heard someone say anguur and noted the Englishy /r/.

    The last part of your query is interesting. My children also mix up r and R but they are English dominant, so I know it's not the same issue that you have observed. But I will keep my ears open for that, too.
  3. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for your views on this matter. I have a feeling that your "burger" accent description could be the reason behind it, i.e. possibly English medium education having an effect on the Urdu pronunciation from an early age.

    Thank you for pointing to two previous related threads. I am not a hundred per cent sure that we are talking about the same matter in all of them or whether we have more than one issue at hand. Also, I am not fully acquainted with the terms tap/trill/rolled etc. All I know is that I am detecting the "r" pronunciation of Urdu words at variance with the way I think it is "normally" pronounced. As I said I shall endeavour to provide references to some audio material.

    I have noticed the r/R confusion amongst Punjabi children both in Pakistan and England. So, this phenomenon is quite a mystery to me.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
  4. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I don't believe this is a new phenomenon. It may be dialect interplay, but even in old Hindi you will find words where the distinction between r and R is blurred.

    See for instance:

    H باڙي बाड़ी bāṛī, bārī [S. वाटी, वाटिका], s.f. Enclosed piece of ground, garden, orchard, kitchen-garden. plantation, field; cotton-field; house with surrounding garden, &c.; homestead; home, dwelling:—bāṛī ćugnā, bāṛī bīnnā, To pluck the fruit of an orchard, gather the vegetables in a garden or field; to gather the cotton crop:—bāṛī karnā, To garden, &c.

    This baarii spelling can be found in some old books; even though, to most speakers, baarii will mean something quite different.

    We have already once discussed saaRii, with some members vehemently arguing the case of saarii; however, in Platts we have :

    H ساڙي साड़ी sāṛī [Prk. साडी; S. शाटी], s.f. A kind of dress worn by Hindū women, a long piece of cloth wrapped round the body and passed over the head (in some parts of India it is worn in the manner of a lungī, q.v.).

    H ساري सारी sārī, s.f. corr. of ساڙي sāṛī, q.v.

    Even the vehicle seems to have an alternate pronunciation:

    H گاڙي गाड़ी gāṛī [S. गन्त्री, rt गम्], s.f. A cart; car, carriage, coach; (for rel-gāṛī) railway-carriage, railway-train;—gāṛī-bhar, adj. & s.m. A cart-load of; a cart-load;—wide enough for a cart (to pass; e.g. gāṛī-bhar rastā):—gāṛī jotnā, To harness a horse or horses (or to yoke bullocks) to a conveyance;—to let carts, &c. on hire:—gāṛī ćalānā, To drive a cart, &c.;—to hire out carriages:—gāṛī ćhūṭnā, A train to start:—gaṛī-ḵẖāna, s.m. A carriage-house, coach-house;—a cab-stand:—gāṛī kaṭnā, A cart to be robbed;—carriage (of a train) to be cut off:—gāṛī-bān, or gāṛī-wān, s.m. A carter, carman; carriage-driver, coachman:—ḍāk-gāṛī, s.f. Mail-cart; mail-train:—māl-gāṛī, s.f. Goods' train:—musāfir-gāṛī, s.f. Passenger train.

    H گاري गारी gārī, s.f. 1˚=gālī, q.v.;—2˚ corr. of gāṛī, q.v.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Thank you, TS. You have provided examples of words which have both the r and R equivalents. What I had in mind was people who mix up r/R pronunication. That is to say pronounce a word with an r when it should be R and vice versa.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  6. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    QP SaaHib, do you have something in your mind like something along the lines of the song ''manzileN apnii jagah'' at 0:30 from the film ''Sharabi'' kashtiyaaN saaHil peh aksar Duubtii haiN pyaar kii?
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  7. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Bump...QP, wanted to know your reaction to Marrish's query on aksar.

    Another observation about the Englishy /r/ is that I have only noted it before consonants (varna, dard, etc.) or at the end of words, but never between vowels. I feel I have also heard people occasionally use this Englishy /r/ sound to begin words, too. But more so before consonants and in final positions.
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Apologies to both marrish SaaHib and you. I have been listening to some Youtube videos to pick out suitable examples but unfortunately I have been following Pakistan elections campaign and any examples from such sources would not be suitable. (I could be accused of party politics!:))

    With regard to marrish SaaHib's example "aksar" and possibly your "dard" and"varna", in singing at least the singer is forced to hold the "r" for longer and it seems as if s/he is not pronouncing it crisply. I am going to try and make a note of the "r" pronunciation which I have in mind. From the data collected it might then be possible to deduce some sort of conclusion about the location of the r within a word and its affect on the speaker.
  9. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Please listen to "Shafiq-ur-Rehman in his own voice" on Youtube, paying attention to the "r" in "Colonel" (karnal). It's of very short duration, so there is no need to provide exact times. You will find the same pronunciation of the "r" in "General" (jarnal).

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