Urdu-Hindi: Urdu/Hindi spelling conventions

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Dec 2, 2011.

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  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Many moons back, while in the pursuit of learning Devanagri I managed to get to a stage where I could read a WHOLE page of a book without too much strain! However it came to me as a big surprise to learn that some words were spelt differently in the two scripts. The most obvious ones were "yih/vuh" which in Devanagri were written as "yah/vah" for the singular and "ye/ve" for the plural. Another difference that took me by surprise was the fact that words with a consonant 3ain following a short vowel were represented in Devanagri with the lengthening of the vowel, e.g ba3d (after)>> baad.

    The purpose behind this thread is to invite everyone who may have an interest in this topic to come up with instances where the two conventions differ. This process, hopefully, could be beneficial for those forum members who know only Urdu or Devanagri. It could also be of interest to those forum members who might speak Urdu-Hindi but do not write it. There is of course also the possibility that even those who are familiar with both scripts may learn a thing or two from the contributions of participating members.

    I have already mentioned yih/vuh vs yah/vah and ye/ve as well as ba3d/baad. I will mention one more thing and then let others come in with their suggestions.

    shuruu3 in Devanagri is shuruu (I wonder how many people familiar with Devanagri are aware of this)

    saHiiH in Devanagri is sahii. Just to clarify this point by way of a couple of examples.

    aap kii baat saHiiH nahiiN hai. (Urdu) = aap kii baat sahii nahiiN hai. (in Devanagri)

    In the following couplet, both Urdu and Devanagri "sahii" are identical.

    tuu hai harjaa'ii to apnaa bhii yahii taur sahii
    tuu nahiiN aur sahii, aur nahiiN aur sahii

    Amanat Lakhnavi
  2. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Very interesting thread, Qureshpor. Just an aside, but perhaps of interest to some: Punjabi (in the Gurumukhi script), on many occasions, does distinguish between 'ain and alif. The first example that comes to mind is the word "ba3d," which in Gurumukhi would be written babba, aiRaa, kanna, dadda. (Sorry. Unable to reinstall Devanagari and Gurumukhi on my computer for the moment).
  3. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    You mean ਬਾਅਦ? The transliteration of this word would be baaad!! Of course, I know that the implied pronunication is baa'ad.
    Getting back to Urdu-Devanagri, I mentioned in my opening post that the short vowel+3ain in Urdu ends up being written as a long vowel in Devanagri, e,g. ba3d >> baad. I don't know if this statement is correct from a linguistic perspective. shi3r (couplet/poetry) is written as sher in Devanagri, which in turn becomes indistinguishable from sher/lion etc. I can't think of an easy everyday word where Urdu has u+3 combination apart from mu3tii (donor, as in a donor of funds etc) which, if written in Devanagri would be "motii" (as in pearl).
  4. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I'm going to guess that vajah, jagah, subah, tarah may also be spelled differently. Would you happen to know for sure? Those 'h's seem suspicious.
    You have already mentioned words such as dunyaa in another thread.
    We have also mentioned aam in another thread where the meaning is common and not mango.
    And I also suspect baadshaah is yet another such word.
    How about the particle "ki" meaning "that"?
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    Tony, vajah is actually vajh but hardly anyone pronounces it in this manner. In poetry, it would have the same "vazn" as "sharm". jagah is as per Devanagri. But I am sure you are aware that some people pronounce it as "vajeh".

    Now, subah is subH in reality (this H is not ordinarily distinguished fronm the "normal" h. But once again only careful speakers would pronounce it as subH in place of subaH. Same goes for tarH*. This H is the voiceless equivalent of the letter 3ain. In other words, just like a voiced Kh (x) becomes a Gh as in Gham, a voiced H, becomes an 3ain as in 3aam (ordinary). Talking about "3aam", other "3aam" everyday words with an 3ain are 3aadii (accustomed to), 3aadat, 3aashiq, 3ishq, 3iid, 3ajiib, 3izzat, 3aziiz, 3itr*, 3ilaaj, 3alii, 3ilm, 3umr, 3imaarat, 3imraan, 3iisaa, 3ilaaqah (region) etc.

    baadshaah is as per Devanagri.

    We have been talking about "sanam" and "saabun" in recent threads. Someone only familiar with Devanagri is likely to think that the "s" in these words along with sanduuq, saaf, sabr, saaHib/saaHibah, saadiq, subH, sabr, saHraa (desert), siHHat (health), siHn (courtyard), saHiiH (true/correct), sirf, suraaHii (long necked flask), sifr (zero), sulH (peace), safaa'ii, sandal, suurat, suufii and the like would be the same "s" as "saaNp", "saag" etc. But this "s" is different (called svaad) although not distinguished from the "s" in saaNp in ordinary conversation.

    Devanagri ki and na are kih and nah in Urdu.

    * In these words, the "t" is not the "t" as in tel, teraa etc. It is called "toe". Some examples of this "t" are taaqat, tabii3at, taalib (seeker, as in taalib-i-3ilm [student]), taraf, tarH, tarz (style), taur, tariiqah, totaa, tuufaan, tai, tayyaarah (aeroplane) etc
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  6. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    This is interesting. Would you happen to know what the original tongue position for "toe" is in the original languages? I'm assuming that Urdu speakers still pronounce them as the dental 't' in 'tel' and 'teraa'.
  7. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    Hello! Forgive my intrusion, but I wonder if सही and صحیح share the same etymology? Platts seems to suggest sahii is of Indic origin, instead of a clipped version of Sa7ii7.:confused:
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Yes, your assumption is correct. toe is one of the four "emphatic" consonants as far as Arabic goes. t as in tel/toe, s as in saaNp/svaad, zaal as in zikr (which in Classical Arabci has the th sound as in English that)/zoe (as in zulm) and d (as in daaNt)/zvaad. toe, zoe, svaad, zvaad are Urdu names of these consonants, not Arabic. As for how one should pronounce these letters, from what I have read in Arabic books, one needs to constrict one's tongue. I am sorry I am not very good at describing such details. This might be helpful.

  9. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    These are two seperate words. The Indic (KhaRii bolii) word is sahii, as in ...

    nahiiN jaate to nah sahii, mujhe kuchh farq nahiiN paRtaa!

    If you are not going, so be it; it makes no difference to me.

    Another example...

    bahut sahii Gham-i-dunyaa, magar udaas nah ho

    There are many sorrows in the world, I accept, but do not be sad..

    H سہي सही sahī [prob. S. सत्यं; whence H. सई, q.v.], emphat. part. Yea, verily, indeed, true enough, forsooth; just so; very well, so be it, let it be; just; pray; please; (often added to the particle to, e.g. āʼo to sahī, 'Just come then,' 'come if you dare';—kholo to sahī, 'Pray open,' 'do open').
    The other is saHiiH.

    do + do = paaNch, saHiiH?

    nahiiN, Ghalat!

    A صحيح ṣaḥīḥ (v.n. fr. صحّ 'to be healthy, or sound,' &c.), adj. Healthy, sound, valid; perfect; whole, entire; substantial, real, true, genuine; pure; right, just, proper, correct, accurate, authentic, sure, certain;
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  10. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    Hi again, QP! Thanks so much for the explanation and lovely examples, but I'm a bit confused: in Hindi one would say "do + do = paaNch, sahii?", right? I mean, in Hindi सही (in the sense of "correct; right") is meant to represent sahii, not sahiih; सही and صحیح just stand for two different words, unlike the case of आम and عام, which stand for the same word. I might be completely mistaken, of course, but when I first learnt the word सही I thought it's from Arabic صحیح and found it strange that the final ح is omitted, but then I thought perhaps that's a different word altogether?
  11. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    सही and صحیح are two different words with different meanings as I have already explained. However, they are both written as सही in Devanagri.

    आम and عام are also two different words. The first one is a mango and the second means "ordinary". Once again in Devanagri, they are both written as आम. Mango in Urdu is آم .

    (In Devanagri शेर is both lion and a couplet. In Urdu, the former is شیر and the latter شعر ).
  12. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    I must have phrased my question awkwardly, and I apologize for that. sahii سہی and sahiih صحیح are two different words with two different written forms in Urdu, all right, but how can we know that it's not a translation (instead of a transliteration) when صحیح appears as सही in a corresponding Hindi text? Do we have other examples where a word-final ح disappear in Hindi? صلاح and صبح appear as सलाह and सुबह in Hindi after all, with the final ح preserved. Or have I missed something?
  13. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    I think I follow your drift. sahii and saHiiH are two different words in Urdu with two different meanings. For these two distinct meanings Devanagri employs the same word “sahii” but of course context points to the intended meaning. I think words like shuruu3 and saHiiH are written as shuruu and sahii because for Hindi speakers and writers the final 3 and H are not “perceived” in hearing. For subH and salaaH, it is obvious that Hindi speakers do perceive the presence of an “h”. Sahii in Devanagri is NOT a translation of saHiiH! It is a mere coincidence that within the repertoire of “sahii”, Platts includes one of the meanings (true enough) to appear identical with one of the the meaning of saHiiH (true).

    My “hunch” above does fall flat however! For riiH kaa dard, I do believe in Devanagri it is written as “riih kaa dard”.
  14. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    There is a category of words which in Devanagri have two aspirates in close proximity whereas in Urdu, one of them has "dropped off":

    e.g. jhuuTh >> jhuuT
    dhokhaa >> dhokaa
    bhuukh >> bhuuk
    bhiikh >> bhiik

    One could add khambhaa >> khambaa
    paudhaa >> paudaa
    hoNTh >> hoNT

    Besides the above, the verbal nouns in Urdu are written with an "O" ending whereas in Devanagri they end in a "V".

    jhukaa'o (Urdu) >> jhukaav (Devanagri)
    banaa'o >> banaav
    lagaa'o >> lagaav etc

    gaa'e (cow and he/she/it sings) >>> gaay (cow)
    chaa'e (tea) >> chaay
    naa'o (boat) >> naav

    gaa'oN (village) >> gaaNv
    paa'oN (foot) >> paaNv
    chhaa'oN (shade) >> chhaNv

    This particular category of words was spelt the same way as Devanagri in older books.

    As has been mentioned in "kamraa vs kamrah" thread, words that end in -ah in Urdu (of Arabic and Persian origins) are written with -aa in Devanagri.

    mazah >> mazaa
    gilah >> gilaa
    qabiilah >> qabiilaa
    mu3aamalah >> maamlaa (?)

    Enough for this post for the time being!
  15. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Very very interesting. How about dabaav? Is that dabaao in Nastaliq?
  16. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    Yes it is. And "Nastaliq" is "nasta3liiq" :))). As I have indicated in another thread, "Nastaliq" is just one of the many styles of Urdu script.
  17. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    Tony, I don't know if you have any interest in Urdu or Hindi poetry, but here is a Ghazal by Altaf Hussain Hali 1837-1914 (a shaagird of Ghalib), which allows the nouns and the verbs to rhyme. I shall mark the verbal nouns in blue.

    dil ko kis tarH samajhiye kih vahii hai yih dil
    vuh ummiideN haiN nah armaaN vuh umaNgeN haiN nah chaa'o

    yaar ko yaar samajhtaa hai nah tuu Ghair ko Ghair
    tuu to achchhaa hai magar tere bure haiN bartaa'o
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2012
  18. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Another feature is that the marker of the future tense -gaa, -gii, -ge is written as an inherent part of the verb in Hindi, while in Urdu mostly not so.
    kare gaa << karegaa
  19. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you, marrish saaHib for reigniting this thread.

    The consonat "r" is represented in various ways in Devanagri, depending on its position in the word, e.g. रात, कुर्सी, पत्र. Also, the retroflex consonants as shown in the following two words ऋषि, कृष्ण are not normally indicated in the Urdu script.
  20. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Your are most welcome! I hope this thread will keep on flickering!

    Indeed, it's a remarkable feature of this wandering Devanagari consonant "r". But, according to my source, the latter one is described as a vowel, not as a consonant. I am sure it doesn't exist in Urdu, nor in Prakrit. This one is a purely Sanskrit peculiarity, and visible in Hindi in the Sanskrit borrowings. I'm curious whether it's pronounced differently in Hindi these days than the consonant.
  21. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Yes, I am aware of this and rishi and krishNRa were meant to show two retroflex consonats and not "r". "r" is there in raat, kursii and patra. I shall leave your other queries to the experts.
  22. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    My apologies! I got things mixed up.
    Regarding SH and NR, my opinion is that these sounds don't make part of Urdu as well; who knows maybe they did before?

    I'm grateful to the experts in advance for bothering to answer my query regarding the pronunciation of 'r'.
  23. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    SH and NR have fallen off the edge, somewhere along the timeline. I don't know if they exist in the Prakrits (e.g KhaRii-bolii).

    You know that the retroflex consonants in Urdu are represented with a little "toe" on top. Before some genius like me :))) came up with the "toe", four dots were in use for the same thing! In Shahmukhi, the NR is often depicted with a toe on a nuun. Same can be done by planting a toe on a shiin, if necessary.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  24. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    That genius got a huge following, and his/her invention got canonized subsequently. I wish your suggestions/opinions/inventions go on to be recognized and widely acclaimed, too :))). And here is another example of the evolution of retroflex SH: bhaaShaa ---> bhaak(h)aa.

    Regarding Punjabi NR, I encountered two dots placed vertically, which could avoid misunderstandings in the occurrences in the medial and initial forms. It may, though, get confused with the humble te. Still different way of writing employs a little circle and I think with that there is no ambiguity left. Which one you prefer?

    I find planting a toe on top of shiin a brilliant solution (if necessary, as you remarked).

    On the other hand, the Pashto solution for 'retroflexiveness' is a nice one.
  25. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
  26. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I shall try to elaborate on this later, filwaqt mujhe roTii khaanaa hai!
  27. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I don't know how to place some examples, since there is no Unicode representation for these solutions, I'm afraid. I saw it in some hand-written editions of Punjabi short stories (sorry, I can't provide any reference for two vertical dots above). The small circle is like a sukuun on top of the base for nuun. This you may consult under http://www.gurbanifiles.org/shahmukhi/Shahmukhi SGGS, combined.pdf, for example.

    In Pashto a small circle is glued under the letter to express 'retroflexiveness', also in the case of NR, which is used and written.

    Nowadays, I have a feeling only
    ڻ is recognized by Unicode, but is hardly ever used in Punjabi script. So a dental nuun is mostly written, and this adds to the ambiguity. A pity! I think it's a topic for a separate thread. Unfortunately, my access to Shakhmukhi literature is nihil at the moment.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  28. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you. I shall look at the link in detail, time permitting. If I were given a little time and a few cups of tea, I could re-design "Shahmukhi" that would reflect Punjabi sounds accurately! (You can see that I am not a very demanding person!)
  29. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Your welcome. I wish I had more time and resources to consult Punjabi written sources from the pre-computer era to see how the writers, having tea and time in abundance, had dealt with it.

    ڻ with a little toe, admitted, seems nice and consequent, but tell me, please, how would you distinguish it from ٹ in the medial position?
  30. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    yih bhii ko'ii puuchhne kii baat hai, bhaa'ii? dekhiye janaab, aap ne is 3alaamat se nuqtah jo giraa diyaa hai to aise savaal aap ke zihn meN uTheN ge nahiiN to aur kyaa ho gaa?
  31. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Just a rhetorical question. Phir to jahaaN tak maiN samjhaa, aap kii raa'e meN nuqte ko rakh kar toe ki nishanii usii ke uupar likhnaa chaahiye? This would solve the problem! Have you had some tea?
  32. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Yes! Yes!
  33. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Here one more instance of a different spelling convention (courtesy of Gabbar S.):

    Urdu: سنگھ singh
    Hindi: सिंह siNh
  34. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    Yes, but in Urdu we use the do-chashmii he but I concede that you would have had difficulty with the Google Transliteration.

    Interestingly, my father never pronounced this word as "Singh" but "सिंह". I don't know how to transliterate this.:)
  35. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    Ah, र v/s ऋ issue is a pet issue of mine, and so is the श v/s ष one. I'm already rubbing my hands in glee!

    Like last time, there will be technical phonetic descriptors for sounds, but they will be in addition to commonly used symbols. I would suggest to all forum members that they try to become familiar with the IPA, if they haven't already. It helps a lot when discussing these issues in a technical vein (and even otherwise).

    Let me first talk about the श and ष, classified in Sanskrit phonology as तालव्य and मूर्धन्य respectively.

    The Sanskrit phonemic inventory had four fricative sounds (श, ष, स, ह), the voiceless postalveolar fricative (ʃ), the voiceless retroflex fricative (ʂ), the voiceless alveolar fricative (s) and the voiceless glottal fricative (h).

    Hindi carries forward more or less the same inventory, except that the retroflex fricative, ष, has more or less merged with the postalveolar one, श, such that both are now pronounced like the sh in the English word ship. I say more or less because virtually no speaker, at least in the regions I have grown up in and stay in now (Rajasthan, MP, Maharashtra) differentiates b/w these sounds. Yet I do hear claims from people that they do so and that they are aware of the difference. For the most part, they are simply imagining it. The most blatant proof of the fact that the difference is not phonemic in Hindi is that kids learn where to use which by referring to them as शलजम वाला श and षटकोण वाला ष (पेट-कटा ष), something that should otherwise have been unnecessarily in a (almost) phonetic script like Devanagari. This is similar to remembering which words have te ت and which words have toe ط in Urdu. There is NO difference in sound, at least nowadays. It's an orthographic convention that is being carried forward. A few people do maintain the distinction in a few words, but as a whole, we can safely say that the two have merged. Amen.

    Depending on where you draw the line between Hindi/Hindustani/Urdu, you can also say that the sounds ف and ز, the voiceless labio-dental fricative (f) and the voiced alveolar fricative (z) have entered into the phonetic inventories of a lot of Hindi speakers now, and many make the distinction very clearly. Depending on where they have grown up, you can also expect some speakers to also speak غ ,خ and ق, the voiceless velar fricative (x), voiced velar (sometimes uvular) fricative (ɣ) and the voiceless uvular stop (q) respectively. This is especially true of people raised in Muslim families, Urdu speaking areas and trained actors and singers. When I speak, I always maintain
    the first set of distinctions, while I choose to maintain the second set depending on my listener.

    Will post about the र v/s ऋ issue in a while.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  36. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    The previous post was getting long, so the second issue—र v/s ऋ—will be dealt with here.

    Incidentally, I've already written a detailed explanation of this on my blog Linguistrix. You may either check it out there itself (there are further inputs in the comments). I am also posting it here.

    Anyhow, rants aside, this post is about a particular letter of Hindi that has often been a point of contention and a source of a debate. That letter is ऋ. As in the word ऋषभ or कृषि or आकृति. You may have observed that most speakers of Hindi pronounce ऋ as essentially रि [rɪ] thus pronouncing the words I mentioned as रिषभ, क्रिषि and आक्रिति respectively while speakers of Marathi and Gujarati pronounce it as रु [rʊ] thus saying रुषभ, क्रुषि and आक्रुती. It is a completely different matter that most Hindi speakers do not pronounce ष in the first place. They use the same sound for ष and श, roughly the voiceless post-alveolar fricative, which also explains why most of us spent a lot of sweat and blood in memorizing when a word had श and when it had ष—there were no phonetic clues to differentiate between what was essentially a spelling distinction.

    But I digress. Let’s get back to the slippery ऋ business. Quite a few Marathi speakers believe that their pronunciation is more superior or more-correct, so to speak, compared to the Hindi counterpart. This is of course hokum—a community can choose whatever pronunciation it wants for ऋ. But out of academic interest, I tried to investigate the situation.
    Let’s try to look at what ऋ really is. ऋ is usually called a syllabic consonant, meaning that it acts as the nucleus of a syllable. To understand it better, look at the word button (click here and listen to the pronunciation). You’d notice that there is no audible vowel sound after [t]. This doesn’t work if you pronounce it with an Indian accent, so check out the pronunciation I have given the link to. Despite there being no vowel sound after [t], you get the feeling that the word has two syllables. That’s because the [n] sound here acts like a syllabic consonant, that is, it is the nucleus of the second syllable [tn]. We usually associate syllables with vowels, so it seems weird to see a consonant making a syllable, but it’s perfectly normal—syllables are usually interpreted based on peaks of sonority, and sufficiently sonorous sounds like [m, n, r, l] can also act as syllable nuclei. Look at the pronunciation of the word bottle, for instance. Here [l] is acting like a syllabic consonant.
    Let’s put this into perspective. ऋ is supposed to be a syllabic consonant, so it won’t have a vowel with it and, going by the definition, that rules out both variants [rʊ, rɪ]. As a community, speakers of Marathi have chosen one way of representing this sound, while Hindi speakers have chosen another.

    What does ऋ sound like? I have never heard Vedic Sanskrit spoken by a native speaker, but thankfully, we have modern languages that routinely use syllabic consonants. Czech has a tongue twister Strč prst skrz krk that has no vowels—just four syllables with r in a syllabic role. Click here for the pronunciation of this sentence by a native speaker. Here’s another video of a guy explaining the tongue twister.

    What’s the bottom line? That it’s perfectly OK to call ऋ either रु or रि; neither pronunciation probably matches the pronunciation of ऋ in Vedic Sanskrit anyhow. It does’t matter either way. And there is really no point in calling one pronunciation superior to the other.
  37. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
  38. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I shall have to read this post at least once again to get my head round it. However, thank you once again for your hard work. I have a number of questions about a few of the vowels and consonants represented by Devanagri but I shall post them in seperate threads. Hopefully you and others would pour out your words of wisdom!
  39. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    Being able to pronounce these sounds is an important aspect of their voice training. I have heard even Shaan pronouncing the ghain in ghuroor.
  40. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    My main problem with the ri vs ru scenario is that we create standards so there will not be confusion.
    In standard Hindi, the pronunciation is ri. In standard Gujurati and Marathi and many South Indian Languages, the standard pronunciation is ru. Therefore, it seems common sense
    to me to pronounce it as RI when speaking Hindi and to pronounce it as RU when speaking other langauges! There is no need to impose one's mother-tongue pronunciation on Hindi.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  41. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    I doubt it is there in Mandarin. Do you have any source?

    The syllabic r is definitely there is a few Slavic languages, including Czech, whose example I've given in my post.

    Mandarin does have some instances of what have been called syllabic fricatives, though.
  42. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    It is from Wikipedia - how accurate it is will therefore be debatable:

    "R-colored vowel
    In phonetics, vocalic r refers to the phenomenon of a rhotic segment such as [r] or [ɹ] occurring as the syllable nucleus. This is a feature of a number of Slavic languages such as Czech, Macedonian and Serbo-Croatian, as well as some western Bulgarian and eastern Slovene (Stirian) dialects. It also appears in languages like English and Mandarin Chinese, where it occurs as an r-colored vowel, a vowel whose distinctive feature is a low third formant."

    Here is a post I found on the way currently it is supposed to be pronounced in Sanskrit (though still not the original probably):

    "‘ऋ’ का दोषपूर्ण उच्चारण
    ऐसा लगता है कि ‘ऋ’ की सही ध्वनि से अधिकांश लोग अपरिचित हैं। ‘ऋ’ न तो ‘रु’ है और न ही ‘रि’, जैसा कई लोग समझते हैं। दरअसल ‘ऋ’ का सही उच्चारण ‘र्’ (आधा ‘र’) होता है। जैसे कि ऋतु का उच्चारण होगा र्+तु (Rtu), न कि रितु

    (Ritu)। अगर आप अभी ऋ नहीं बोल पा रहे हैं, तो थोड़े-से अभ्यास से बोलने लगेंगे। ठीक इसी तरह हम लोग प्राय: ‘ृ’ भी सही नहीं बोलते हैं; जैसे कि कृष्ण में, तृष्णा में आदि। ‘ृ’ का उच्चारण ‘ऋ’ से ही जुड़ा हुआ है। उदाहरण के तौर पर कृष्ण बोलने का सही तरीक़ा है क्+र्+ष्ण (Krshna), न कि क्रिष्ण (Krishna)। अब आप लोगों को ‘क्र’ और ‘कृ’ में शंका हो सकती है। इसलिये समझें, क्र=क्+र (Kra) और कृ=क्+र् (Kr)। चकरा गए न, वाक़ई थोड़ा मुश्किल तो शरू-शुरू में मेरे लिए भी था।"
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  43. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    سنگھ is written indeed with the do-chashmii he; thank you for understanding. Actually I was sure there was a do-chashmi he when I typed this word (without Google's support, to be frank) but surprisingly enough, it doesn't show correctly. Now I see that if you type it correctly and paste it here in the post by default font (arial), then it displays like in the previous post. I had to change the font, and, yes! It's correct now.

    But the point is about different spelling convention between the Urdu and Hindi scripts, anyway.

    As to the pronunciation (let's agree pronunciation does not always go paired with the spelling convention), the word [singh] is never pronounced as such in Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi.

    In Hindi it's precisely what is written (I have written the transliteration with the Hindi one in the previous post, with N representing a nasalization of the preceding vowel, see Sanskrit siṃha) OR

    its pronunciation follows the pattern of Punjabi:

    In Punjabi it's never pronounced as it's written as Punjabi doesn't know an aspirated g. The aspiration employed in script expresses the tonal value in speech, but by no means an aspiration! So it's siNg, with a rising tone; the N here stands for a nasal sound ŋ;

    In Urdu, the script does neither do justice to the pronunciation, as the pronunciation varies from the option 1 and 2 (same like Hindi), though maybe without the rising tone, let's say (same like Hindi).
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  44. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu

    Thanks for the expertly answer, it's much appreciated. I'm sure, though that it merits a separate thread, together with other sounds which have, according to you, fallen out of use, or assimilated to easier-perceived sounds.
  45. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I presume your arguments apply equally to the lengthened vowel ॠ? Can you please provide some examples of words where this is used.
  46. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    And Illuminatus SaaHib, whilst you are at it :))) could you please enlighten us about ॡ and its longer counterpart. Thanks.
  47. Madheshi New Member

    Eastern Bhojpuri
    Amazing thread, just the one i was always thinking about since i learnt some urdu writing.., Well to me Urdu appears to preserve whatever persian has, while hindi feels it should promote sanskrit version of the words. Someone in this thread says that श ष स are indistinguishable, but thats wrong. People who constructed "devanagiri" system were pretty much expert linguists of those times. The present phonetic classification was to some degree already being followed 1000 years ago in languages close to devanagiri script following languages. If common people aren't able to differentiate between those 3 "sa" then its their fault (or tongue), but i can pronounce as well as hear the difference. Urdu/English have no equivalents of ष, ण . at least. While "Qh", "za" "zha" etc are not natural to devanagiri.
  48. Madheshi New Member

    Eastern Bhojpuri
    Pronunciation of many hindi words is very strange to proper bhojpuri speakers. As to my best knowledge "devanagiri" is all about "What u hear is what u write", which means ideally there is no "silent" letter in devanagiri as in English, While in Urdu u need to pronounce even the sounds that aren't actually written in the nastaliq sentence (surely it tedious to write all the vowels properly).
    if u know devanagiri and nastaliq, could u tell me ur views on this :
    कहना should be pronounced as "kehna" or "ka-ha-na" ?
    if "kehna" is कहना , then how should "kahna" be written ?
    is the "bihari" pronunciation correct ? or are everybody else incorrect ?
  49. Madheshi New Member

    Eastern Bhojpuri
    How would u differentiate "sangh" & "singh" written in urdu ?
  50. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I would write it with a 'zer' diacritical symbol under the 'siin' letter for singh and with a 'zabar' diacritical symbol above the letter 'siin' for 'sangh'. However, the word 'sangh' does not exist in Urdu.
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