Urdu-Persian: k/g variation in words

Qureshpor

Senior Member
Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
In Urdu, the following words (and no doubt there will be other examples) have a gaaf in them whereas in Persian, they are written with a kaaf.

madad-gaar>>> madad-kaar
shigaaf>>> shikaaf
sher-afgan>>>sher-afkan (afgandan>>afkandan)
shiguftah>>>shikuftah (blossomed)

On the other hand there are the following (and perhaps more) words which have a kaaf in Urdu but gaaf in Persian"!

kashuudan>>>gashuudan
kushaadan>>>gushaadan

Is there a rhyme or reason behind this?


 
  • Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi

    In Urdu, the following words (and no doubt there will be other examples) have a gaaf in them whereas in Persian, they are written with a kaaf.

    madad-gaar>>> madad-kaar
    shigaaf>>> shikaaf
    sher-afgan>>>sher-afkan (afgandan>>afkandan)
    shiguftah>>>shikuftah (blossomed)

    On the other hand there are the following (and perhaps more) words which have a kaaf in Urdu but gaaf in Persian"!

    kashuudan>>>gashuudan
    kushaadan>>>gushaadan

    Is there a rhyme or reason behind this?


    Not true! The gaaf - kaaf shift can already been in Persian itself! Just look up the above words in Steingass’ and Hayyim’s Persian lexicons online and you’ll find the above words with both gaaf and kaaf!

    Even my ‘90s Aryanpour Persian dictionary presents both gaaf and kaaf for the ones I did look up. However, from Iranian Persophones I almost always hear the kaaf forms!
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Not true! The gaaf - kaaf shift can already been in Persian itself! Just look up the above words in Steingass’ and Hayyim’s Persian lexicons online and you’ll find the above words with both gaaf and kaaf!

    Even my ‘90s Aryanpour Persian dictionary presents both gaaf and kaaf for the ones I did look up. However, from Iranian Persophones I almost always hear the kaaf forms!

    Lexicons, as a matter of necessity, are likely to include archaic and antiquated usages just as Urdu dictionaries would include words which have now become almost obsolete (e.g vare/varlaa). It is understandable for Urdu to persist with the "frozen in time" Persian words and their pronunciations whereas in Persian speaking lands certain changes have taken place over a period of time which now manifest themselves in the modern spoken and written language, afgandan changing to afkandan being one such example.

    What for me is more perplexing is why we have kashuudan/kushaadan while in Iranian Persian these are gashuudan/gushaadan!
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Lexicons, as a matter of necessity, are likely to include archaic and antiquated usages just as Urdu dictionaries would include words which have now become almost obsolete (e.g vare/varlaa). It is understandable for Urdu to persist with the "frozen in time" Persian words and their pronunciations whereas in Persian speaking lands certain changes have taken place over a period of time which now manifest themselves in the modern spoken and written language, afgandan changing to afkandan being one such example.

    What for me is more perplexing is why we have kashuudan/kushaadan while in Iranian Persian these are gashuudan/gushaadan!
    I realise this Qp SaHeb, but what I wished to clarify was that the k/g shift had already taken place in Persian, perhaps evenbefore borrowing into Urdu and what would be good to know is what were the realtive frequencies of either at the time of borrowing into Urdu and from where this borrowing took place - directly from Iranian Persian or, perhaps more likely, from the dialect of Persian then prevalent in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

    This should explain why we have ended up with this k/g shift in Urdu versus Persian: "
    why we have kashuudan/kushaadan while in Iranian Persian these are gashuudan/gushaadan", as you say. So I we need to do some digging!
     
    Last edited:

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I realise this Qp SaHeb, but what I wished to clarify was that the k/g shift had already taken place in Persian, perhaps evenbefore borrowing into Urdu and what would be good to know is what were the realtive frequencies of either at the time of borrowing into Urdu and from where this borrowing took place - directly from Iranian Persian or, perhaps more likely, from the dialect of Persian then prevalent in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

    This should explain why we have ended up with this k/g shift in Urdu versus Persian: "
    why we have kashuudan/kushaadan while in Iranian Persian these are gashuudan/gushaadan", as you say. So I we need to do some digging!

    Faylasoof SaaHib, thank you. I shall look forward to your (re)search.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I recently came across an example: What I grew up calling bachkaanah (childlike, of children, ...) is pronounced by some others in Pakistan as bachgaanah. Wonder of this example fits in here. Seems like in certain (phonetic?) situations the g is replaced by the k. Would love to know how this works.
     
    Last edited:

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Well k/g are related in the same way as p/b (voiceless vs voiced). I have always used bach(ch)agaanah and one would expect it with a "g" just like zindah > zindagii, bandah > bandagii/bandagaan etc.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ QP saahab. Could you elaborate on the k/g and p/b (voiceless vs voiced) further. Very interesting. What's at work here? Thanks.

    Would like to hear from others on bachkaanah vs bachgaanah too.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    UrduMedium said:
    Would like to hear from others on bachkaanah vs bachgaanah too.
    As far as I know/have heard, the gaaf version is considered correct, as explained here by Faylasoof SaaHib.

    This was also discussed in a TV program and the host seemed to have said that one way to remember the correct pronunciation could be to think of it in the following manner: بچگانہ → بچگان - بچہ
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I will not comment on Urdu, but in Persian the only correct form is baččagāna (four syllables).
    As Alfaaz mentions above (بچگانہ → بچگان - بچہ), and as he reminds us, this was mentioned in this thread, post # 5. In Urdu the same term (بچگانہ bachchagaanah / baččagāna) is used.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ Feroz-u-Lughaat Jami3 lists both bahckaanaa and bachagaanah. Former as of Indic origin and the latter from Farsi. Same for Platts

    H
    بچکاناबचकानाbaćkānā (cf. baććagāna), adj. (f. -ī), Appertaining to, or fit for, children; small, diminutive (generally applied to shoes);—s.m. A pair of child's shoes;—a dancing boy (syn. bhagtiyā).

    P
    بچگانهbaćagāna, baććagāna, adj. & adv. Fit for children; appertaining to children; child-like, puerile, childish;—in a childish manner

    From my experience it has always been bachkaanaa until recently when I first heard bachagaanah.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I don't know if "bachkaanaa" is of Indic origins (because it seems bachchah is Persian) but my guess is that it is altered form of the Persian and Urdu "bachchagaanah".

    Farhang-i-Asifiyyah gives the former's meaning as:

    bachchoN ke laa'iq, chhoTaa saa Haakim, kam 3umr kaa, kam-sinn, bachche kaa juutaa, kathak kaa laRkaa, vuh zanaanah laRkaa jise kisii duusre zanaanah ne paalaa ho, vuh nauchii jise kisii naanakah (?) ne paalii ho.
     
    Last edited:

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ QP saahab. Could you elaborate on the k/g and p/b (voiceless vs voiced) further. Very interesting. What's at work here? Thanks.

    Would like to hear from others on bachkaanah vs bachgaanah too.

    These are pairs of sounds for which I am writing the voiceless first.

    For Urdu, p > b, t >d, T > D, ch > j, x > Gh, s >z, sh > Z ( as in miZgaan), f > v, k > g

    In Classical Arabic (if I am not mistaken)..

    2 (hamzah) > h, H > 3, th (as in think, theta-- our se) > th (as in there..our zaal)
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    For whatever it is worth, I ran a quick Facebook poll on bachkanaa v bacchaganah asking my links which was closer to how they say. So far bachkaanaa is leading 10 to 3. Of the 3 bachgaana/bacchaganah voters one is native Urdu speaker and other two are not.
     

    gulab jamun

    Banned
    urdu-pakistan
    It might be useful to keep in mind that the letter گ was not added to the Perso-Arabic alphabet immediately after the spread of Islam in Persia. Thus initially, Persian had to use ك to represent both the voiceless velar stop, k, and its voiced counterpart, g.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    An example of افگندن from تاریخِ بلعمی۔ زندگی نامۂ پیامبر اسلام

    نباید کہ خویش را بہ حصار اندر افگنَد۔
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    An example of افگندن from تاریخِ بلعمی۔ زندگی نامۂ پیامبر اسلام

    نباید کہ خویش را بہ حصار اندر افگنَد۔
    It is not very easy to make a distinction between different /g's/ and /k/ in the Pahlavi script (*) and as this book was written in those early days it is very possible that گ was used to conform with other words which is easy to imagine in the early days of transliteration by a scribe, I add, rather than the author himself, although you'd expect someone to do proof reading before, of course we don't know what it was like those days.

    (*) - There are differences between /g - گ/ as the letter ending a word e.g. setaarag/star and /g - گ/ in the middle of a word, I have found examples of these difference which I can point you to, however I need to find the post so watch this space.
     
    Last edited:

    farzan

    Senior Member
    Standard Iranian Persian
    madad-gaar>>> madad-kaar
    shigaaf>>> shikaaf
    sher-afgan>>>sher-afkan (afgandan>>afkandan)
    shiguftah>>>shikuftah (blossomed)


    kashuudan>>>gashuudan
    kushaadan>>>gushaadan

    Is there a rhyme or reason behind this?
    Hi, Qureshpor.

    There may be many factors involved. I doubt you could look with certainty at just one rule or method and decide that it alone must govern all the alterations.

    Also, افكندن and افگندن both make their appearances in texts and are valid variations in Persian, though افكندن is indeed more common and easier to pronounce.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Reply to post 19

    aaqaa-ye-PersoLatin. When the Persian language began to be written in the Arabic alphabet, there were living beings pronouncing kaaf and gaaf sounds which resulted in the "invention" of the letter gaaf having kaaf as its starting point, So, there was no need to read any other script such as Pahlavi.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Reply to post 20. Both افکندن and افگندن are equally easy to pronounce!

    In Urdu, پادشاہ has become بادشاہ and you would agree that neither are difficult to pronounce when the letter پ exists in Urdy, unlike Arabic. However, پاد has a rather obscene meaning in Urdu and that is probably why it faded into باد! I would not like to go into detail but it may be worth checking in Platts dictionary to see what I mean.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    In Urdu, پادشاہ has become بادشاہ and you would agree that neither are difficult to pronounce when the letter پ exists in Urdy, unlike Arabic. However, پاد has a rather obscene meaning in Urdu and that is probably why it faded into باد! I would not like to go into detail but it may be worth checking in Platts dictionary to see what I mean.
    That's understandable.

    There are few examples of this in Persian too, e.g. you'd expect to see کار/kâr to be shortened to کر/kar but this hasn't happened because کر/kar means deaf, as you well know, so instead we have گر/gar, so you never see مسکر/copper smith or کوزه کر/pot maker. We could also argue that گند in افگند means ‘rotten’ so maybe for that reason it was changed.

    Correct me if I am wrong, I have noticed that the first generation Asians in the UK, also most people in the subcontinent, have a tendency to weaken the pronunciation of some letters, when speaking in English which is when I notice it, examples: t -> d, p -> b, k -> g, is that a known fact or just in my imagination?
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    aaqaa-ye-PersoLatin. When the Persian language began to be written in the Arabic alphabet, there were living beings pronouncing kaaf and gaaf sounds which resulted in the "invention" of the letter gaaf having kaaf as its starting point, So, there was no need to read any other script such as Pahlavi.
    This is the whole point, of course Persians could pronounce both k and g but the Pahlavi script which is what the scholars/scribes used before Arabic, does not make a clear distinction between the two letters, mainly because Aramaic from which the script was sourced, didn't have g/گ. So when they started to transliterate Pahlavi text into Arabic they found they needed some extra letters like گ, چ etc. Now when you you come across fekand/فکند in Pahlavi text, you will see f?nd where /?/ can represent /g/ or /k/, of course people, as you say rightly, knew their گ's from ک's but more importantly they also knew the pronunciation of the words with those letters in them, so for f?nd /?/ was replaced with ک and when they came across ?ôŝt they replaced /?/ with /g/ to give gôŝt/گوشت (meat) and so on and so forth.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Reply to post 23

    PersoLatin, can you please provide some examples of British Asian pronunciation you have in mind.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It might be useful to keep in mind that the letter گ was not added to the Perso-Arabic alphabet immediately after the spread of Islam in Persia. Thus initially, Persian had to use ك to represent both the voiceless velar stop, k, and its voiced counterpart, g.
    Thank you gulab jamun Sahib. Whenever گ came into existence in the Persian script, words such as افگندن are written with a گ in the grammar and prosody books of scholars. This is also how they are written in books printed in India and Pakistsn of renowned poets and prose writers going back more than a millenium and as late as 1938 (Iqbal).
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    A few more examples of گار suffix words in Urdu:

    پروردگار، خدمتگار، گنہگار، آفرید گار، کردگار، روزگار
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    PersoLatin, can you please provide some examples of British Asian pronunciation you have in mind.
    I will have to listen out for more examples but one that comes to mind is: باکستا ن for پاکستا ن
     
    Last edited:

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I will have to listen out for more examples but one that come to mind is: باکستا ن for پاکستا ن
    Never in a month of Sundays! No one from the Subcontinent will pronounce a b for a p. p consonant is not foreign to the sound system of Indian languages. Arabic lacks a p sound but British Asians are no Arabs. No one will say the opening line of the Pakistani anthem as:

    باک سرزمین شاد باد for پاک سرزمین شاد باد!
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Never in a month of Sundays! No one from the Subcontinent will pronounce a b for a p. p consonant is not foreign to the sound system of Indian languages. Arabic lacks a p sound but British Asians are no Arabs. No one will say the opening line of the Pakistani anthem as:

    باک سرزمین شاد باد for پاک سرزمین شاد باد!
    I never contested that /p/ is part of the alphabet, this is what I said:
    Correct me if I am wrong, I have noticed that the first generation Asians in the UK, also most people in the subcontinent, have a tendency to weaken the pronunciation of some letters, when speaking in English which is when I notice it, examples: t -> d, p -> b, k -> g, is that a known fact or just in my imagination?

    You have corrected me and that's fine & I'd asked for that exact thing, but implying that I said 'p' was not part of the alphabet or it is like Arabic, is bad form.

    Anyway I will find a sound clip and send to you, to my ears the /p/ sound is very week therefore like a /b/, but you hear /p/ and that's the end of that.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I never contested that /p/ is not part of the alphabet, this is what I said:


    You have corrected me and that's fine & I'd asked for that exact thing, but implying that I said 'p' was not part of the alphabet or it is like Arabic, is bad for..
    PersoLatin, once again, the implication you are suggesting was never meant in a month of Sundays !:)
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    In Urdu, the following words (and no doubt there will be other examples) have a gaaf in them whereas in Persian, they are written with a kaaf.

    madad-gaar>>> madad-kaar
    shigaaf>>> shikaaf
    sher-afgan>>>sher-afkan (afgandan>>afkandan)
    shiguftah>>>shikuftah (blossomed)

    On the other hand there are the following (and perhaps more) words which have a kaaf in Urdu but gaaf in Persian"!

    kashuudan>>>gashuudan
    kushaadan>>>gushaadan

    Is there a rhyme or reason behind this?
    In the attached Nuzhat-ul-Quluub, a book on geography in Persian, on page 193 one finds شگافیست and شگاف. I wonder why?
    نزهة القلوب- حمدالله مستوفي قزويني.pdf
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    šikāf and šigāf can both be found. The important thing is to remember that k and g are hardly ever distinguished in pre-modern texts: they write ك for both. Modern editors take their pick.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    šikāf and šigāf can both be found. The important thing is to remember that k and g are hardly ever distinguished in pre-modern texts: they write ك for both. Modern editors take their pick.
    Thank you fdb. My main question, as per the opening post, is why in the subcontinent a number of Persian verbs are written with a g whereas they are written with a k in the modern Iranian world. Same goes for nouns such as madad-gaar, gunah-gaar which I believe are with a k amongst Iranians. In Early Persian contests, k/g may not be distinguished but how was it determined to write with g in the subcontinent and with a k in Iran?

    On the other hand we have kashuudan, kushaadan in the subcontinet yet they are gashuudan and gushaadan in Iran. Rather strange state of affairs!
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    My main question, as per the opening post, is why in the subcontinent a number of Persian verbs are written with a g whereas they are written with a k in the modern Iranian world. Same goes for nouns such as madad-gaar, gunah-gaar which I believe are with a k amongst Iranians. In Early Persian contests, k/g may not be distinguished but how was it determined to write with g in the subcontinent and with a k in Iran?

    On the other hand we have kashuudan, kushaadan in the subcontinet yet they are gashuudan and gushaadan in Iran. Rather strange state of affairs!
    That's not too complicated, the scripts did not distinguish between g/k but people in their speech did so eventually these g/k's were brought into line with the way people spoke, when گ was adopted.
     
    Last edited:

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    That's not too complicated, the scripts did not distinguish between g/k but people in their speech did so eventually these g/k's were brought into line with the way people spoke, when گ was adopted.
    Thank you @PersoLatin. My question was directed at fdb because of his scholarly inputs in the various language forums. Hopefully, we'll have the benefit of his insight.
     
    Top