Urdu-Hindi: Some Place Names

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I am curious as to why some place names are pronounced differently in Urdu and Hindi. For example..

    1) Urdu: Siriinagar, Hindi: Shrinagar

    Even though there is a definite "sh" in Urdu, why is it written with a "s"?

    2) Urdu: Puunaa, Hindi: Puune

    What's the reason for this difference? Can you think of any more examples?
  2. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    A quick answer: In Hindi it is puunaa or originally in Marathi puNRe, to the best of my knowledge.
  3. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    A lot of Punekars also say Puuna. I think it is more of a situation similar to Mumbai vs Bombay than a Hindi vs Urdu case, if one looks at the history of the name change, as well as some Marathi language and identity politics in the region.

    I have wondered about the sirii vs. shrii in Sri Lanka, Srinagar myself.
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you. Another one that comes to mind is Urdu Shimla vs Hindi Simla.
  5. hindiurdu Senior Member

    Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri
    I think there's a mild sh > s tendency in (central?) HU. Left unchecked you see things like Shashi > Sasi, varsh > baras, shri > siri. Search YT for "Siri Ram Kahe Samjhayi". Due to official adoption of the Shri honorific people have started to say Shri (actually colloquially it is mostly Shiri). Similarly akaasbel(i) reverted to akaashbel(i). Shimla is correct. BTW Kashmiris usually do the half vowel thing on Srinagar so when they say it the colloquial effect often is Sir'nagar.
  6. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Yes, it is written shimla शिमला in Hindi although I have heard so much variation on the s/sh on that particular word (referring to the capsicum) from people speaking Hindi that I sometimes have to look it up to remind myself what it really is.
  7. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    According the entries in Platts, Prakrit had just about eliminated the Sh sound altogether. Take a look at one entry:

    H سري स्री srī, सिरी sirī, सिरि siri [Prk. सिरी, सिरि; S. श्री], s.f. Prosperity, happiness, success; improvement; beauty; a name of Lakshmī as goddess of prosperity, &c.; an honorific or respectful prefix

    Sanskrit had sh. Prakrits did not. With Persian came the mass reintroduction of "sh".
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    As hindiurdu has also pointed this out, I too was thinking on these lines. I don't believe this has anything to do with Persian/Arabic sh since des is still des in Urdu and so are many other words. I would say this has probably more to do with getting back to Sanskrit roots.
  9. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I can imagine that some speakers of Prakrit languages would go for shrii because of their Sanskrit background, especially because this word occurs in certain contexts where one would be expected to care more for the pronunciation. My guess is that both pronunciations have existed paralelly.

    The city name Calcutta has been also changed to Kolkata, which might be the pronunciation according to the local lanugage.
  10. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member



    Shrinagar is a re-sanskritized version of the traditional Kashmiri pronounciation Srinagar. Both have their own politico-religious significance (by the way there is another city called श्रीनगर Srinagar in Uttarakhand, and locals pronounce it Srinagar too!).
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  11. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Another source of confusion for me is Allahabad vs Illahabad, in Urdu usage. I know that the official name is Allahabad. However, I recall frequently hearing Illahabad when I was young. After all, how one reads الہ آباد as Allalhabad?
  12. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I don't think this is an Urdu/Hindi difference. I believe BP SaaHib has touched on this topic before. If I am not mistaken, in English the place name is Allahabad. In both Urdu and Hindi, it is Ilaah-aabaad. It is of course extremely possible that some (few?) Urdu and Hindi speakers may use Allahabad in their speech either because they are merely using it the way it is depicted in writing in English or they are simply unaware of the correct word.

    For those who may not be aware "ilaah" means "god" and when "al" (the) is added to it, the result based on Arabic phonetics, is "allaah" (Allah).
  13. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Hindi: dehraaduun

    Urdu: Deraa-duun
  14. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
  15. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I might be mistaken in my assumption that in Urdu it is definitely "Deraa duun" (not Duun) or "Derah duun" but there are ample exampes on the net. Here is one from the BBC.


    Looking at your Platt's reference, it appears that both dehraa/deraa/Deraa/Derah are connected in meaning.
  16. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Sorry, I should have written deraa/Derah duun and not Dera Doon. It is duun. I wasn't following our transliteration style and had just capitalized Doon as a place name. My father in law was living there before partition and grew up there. I shall ask him or one of his brothers how they say it when I get a chance.

    Edit: The Dehradoon wiki on wikipedia also explains the etymology, connecting Derah and dehraa, just in case anyone is interested.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012
  17. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  18. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    It's not a true Persian word. It was used in Indo-Persian due to the influence of Indic languages. The d/D variation is shown by Turner:

    ḍēra 5564 *ḍēra1 ʻ resting -- place ʼ. 2. *dēra -- .
    1. K. ḍera m. ʻ tent, temporary stopping place ʼ; P. ḍerā m. ʻ tent, encampment ʼ; WPah. bhal. ḍero m. ʻ lodging place, shelter ʼ; Ku. ḍero ʻ tent, shelter, house, esp. temporary lodging ʼ; N. ḍerā ʻ tent, booth ʼ; A. B. Or. Mth. H. ḍerā ʻ tent, shelter, temporary restingplace ʼ, Marw. ḍero m., G. ḍerɔ m., M. ḍerā m.
    2. B. derā ʻ a sort of tent ʼ; H. derā m. ʻ tent, house ʼ (→ S. dero m. ʻ tent ʼ).
  19. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Really interesting. Thanks.
  20. eskandar

    eskandar Moderator

    English (US)
    Sorry for this ignorant question, but is the (s)/(sh) confusion discussed earlier in this thread related to why I feel I sometimes hear "sriman" and sometimes "shriman" as a title of address in Hindi?
  21. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Yes, that's correct. shriimaan would be the standard pronunciation. However, in other cases the s/sh variation could also have do with the difference between Sanskrit and Prakrit-derived versions of the word (e.g. desh vs. des "country").

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