Urdu: length of the /e/ in پہ

MonsieurGonzalito

Senior Member
Castellano de Argentina
Friends,

The /e/ sound in پہ is perceived by the Urdu speakers as "shorter" on in any way different from the sound in, for example, بے ?

More in general, is it fair to assume that the final -ہ in words with -ah, -eh, -ih (I don't know any with -oh, -uh) is Urdu's way to kind of circumvent the rule (ortographic and mental) of not ending a word with a short vowel?

Related threads discussing the subject (but I don't find anything conclusive):
Urdu-Hindi: Lengthening of a,i and u
Hindi/Urdu - taazaa khabar/xabar
Urdu/Hindi: Final short vowel perception.

Thanks in advance for anu help.
 
  • MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    Let me narrow down the question to its first part (as the lenght in other cases migth be somewhat of a contentious issue).

    Is the /e/ sound in پہ ("on") different from the one in بے (Persian "without")?

    [EDIT]: Or the -e sound in پہ is more like the /ɛ/ sound near "h"?
     
    Last edited:

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    In a previous thread (I can't find it...), I seem to recall someone (maybe Qureshpor jii...?) telling us that they perceived the vowel in پِہ to be both shorter than the one in بے and higher than the one in پَہَر. They probably didn't use quite those words/examples and I may just be completely misremembering. If I were to translate what I remember this person saying into IPA, I think this means that they perceived the vowel in پِہ is a short [e], as opposed to both the long [eː] of بے and the short [ɛ] of پَہَر.

    I personally don't hear a difference between the vowel in پِہ and the vowel in in بے. I do hear a difference between the vowel in پِہ and the vowel in in پَہَر

    Let me add one further note, which is that پہ is treated as a "flexible" monosyllable in Urdu poetics. Given that most Urdu phonologists don't seem to posit a short /e/ phoneme in Urdu, my guess is that Urduphones who are baHr-u'l-3uluums when it comes to poetry (such as Qureshpor jii!) might perceive a difference between the vowels of پِہ and بے because of their knowledge of Urdu poetics, while less-literate Urduphones would be unlikely to perceive any difference. But I'm just guessing.
     
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