Urdu, Persian: Pronunciation of Qaf ق and Ghayn غ

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eskandar

Moderator
English (US)
^ Lady and Getleman, if a consensus has been reached between the two of you, is it possible to have a conclusion in lay person's language which all mortals can understand? It would be even more helpful if any sound files could be attached which contrast the real Arabic qaaf and Ghain with the Tehrani qaaf and Ghain. For example how would a Tehrani Persian speaker pronounce the following words:

qariib (near) /Ghariib (stranger)

Do the q/Gh sounds change depending on the their position in a word (intial, medial or final) and/or do they change depending on the proceding/following vowel or consonant?
In layman's terms: in Tehrani Persian, there is no difference in pronunciation between qaaf and ghayn; they are treated as exactly the same sound, just as siin and Saad. However, the pronunciation of that sound may differ depending on where it occurs in the word (for some speakers). Generally it sounds like what you hear in the links in post #26 above, but when it occurs in between two vowels (as in آقا or فغان) it may change to a sound something like the French 'R' which you can hear in the links in post #13.

You can then compare these sounds with the Arabic qaaf (ie. here) which, to avoid technical vocabulary, differs from the sound found in Persian in that one's vocal cords do not vibrate while producing this sound, whereas the vocal cords do vibrate when producing the Persian qaaf. (The result is that the Arabic sounds 'harder' to my ears). The Arabic ghayn is also different, as you can hear here. It is pronounced with the tongue further forward in the mouth than the Persian equivalent: for the Arabic sound the tongue is against the back of the roof of the mouth, where kaaf and gaaf and Khaa are also produced, whereas for the Persian sound(s) the tongue is further back, against the uvula.

Hopefully that make all of this more or less clear without resorting to linguistics jargon. (Sarkaar khaanuum sapnachaandni, shomaa ham baa towziih-e iin jaaneb movaafeqiin?)
 
  • mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    To me the initial consonant in audio file 1 (of post 26) sounds slightly different than that in audio file 2. Did anyone else notice that?
     
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    sapnachaandni

    Senior Member
    Persian (فارسی)
    Hopefully that make all of this more or less clear without resorting to linguistics jargon. (Sarkaar khaanuum sapnachaandni, shomaa ham baa towziih-e iin jaaneb movaafeqiin?)
    There is more than one way to explain. I prefer using linguistics jargon.

    (jenaab aaqaaye eskandar, baa tozihaat-e shomaa movaafeqam va hamun tor ke moshaahede farmudid, mataalebi ke man dar post-haaye #24 va 25 neveshte budam baa tozihaat-e shomaa dar post-e #29 motaabeqat daare, tanhaa baa yek baxsh az soxanaan-e shomaa movaafeq nistam: "without resorting to linguistics jargon". :) Shomaa in tor pasandidid ke masalan be-jaaye [ʁ] yaa "voiced uvular fricative" befarmaayid "French 'R'", ammaa hamishe nemishe az in shive estefaade kard, mesl-e hengaami ke bexaaym dar baare-ye "vaaj-gune-haa" (allophones) sohbat konim. dar har haal man estelaahaat-e zabaan-shenaasi (linguistics) ro tarjih midam.)
     

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    Albatte manam baraa-ye in mowzu' tarjih midam az estelaahaat-e zabaanshenaasi estefaade konam! However I was responding to aaqaa-ye Qureshpor's request that we explain the issue in "lay person's language which all mortals can understand" and therefore avoided technical jargon. :)
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    To me the initial consonant in audio file 1 (of post 26) sounds slightly different than that in audio file 2. Did anyone else notice that?
    Yes, they do differ a tad but I don't think it is of qualitative importance.
     

    Sibawayh

    Member
    French
    Hello all,

    I had noticed this difference a long time ago, but Tehrani speakers usually couldn't even understand there were two different sounds when I had asked them about it.

    I won't bring much novelty to what has already been posted, but maybe wording it differently can make it clearer for readers. Also I want to you to confirm/validate what I understood.

    In Tehrani Persian, the letters ق and غ are the same phonem. However, they will either sound like a uvular stop [ɢ] or like a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ], depending on the sounds that precede and follow it.

    The [ʁ] is the most common prononciation of the french R and the arabic غ. There are more than one way to pronounce these letters in French and Arabic, but the Parisian R and the normative tajweed غ are the same as far as I know. The Persian sound is undoubtly very close but I'm not 100% sure it is exactly the same.

    The [ɢ] doesn't exist in any regional accents in French as far as I know, nor in traditional Arabic for that matter. It sounds to me as something between Arabic ق and Persian گ (= French G), much less stressed than the unvoiced arabic ق which has a hard and muffled sound.

    I will now post what two foreign experts of the Persian language have to say about it.

    Ann Lambton said in her Persian Grammar:

    "غ and ق are not differentiated by most speakers. Both are pronounced as a voiceless uvular plosive (formed by the back of the tongue coming into contact with the rearmost part of the soft palate), unless between two back vowels when they tend to be pronounced as a voiced uvular plosive."

    Gilbert Lazard said in his Grammaire du persan contemporain:

    "ق/غ is a post-velar consonant, fricative or occlusive, and generally voiced, at least in part. Between two vowels, it is usually uttered as a voiced fricative, quite close to regular French R ("grasseyé"), but sometimes as a voiced occlusive or semi-occlusive:
    EX. باقی bâqi (remaining), شغال shoqâl (jackal)
    The same goes in final position and before a voiced consonant:
    EX. باغ bâq (garden), عقد aqd (marriage contract), نقره noqre (silver)
    Before an unvoiced consonant, this consonant is pronounced, in literary language, as a voiced occlusive or semi-occlusive (but in colloquial language it is often confused with خ):
    EX. وقت vaqt (time), تقصیر taqsir (fault)
    In initial position and when it is geminate, this consonant is most of the time occlusive and partially unvoiced:
    EX. قالی qâli (carpet), بقال baqqâl (grocer), دقت deqqat (attention)
    REMARK: Historically this consonant represents either the voiced velar fricative ɣ (written as غ) or, in Arabic and Turkish loan words, the unvoiced post-velar occlusive q (written as ق). In the contemporary Farsi from Tehran, whatever the origin, it is undoubtly the same single phonem."
     
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    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    Before an unvoiced consonant, this consonant is pronounced, in literary language, as a voiced occlusive or semi-occlusive (but in colloquial language it is often confused with خ):
    EX. وقت vaqt (time), تقصیر taqsir (fault)
    Hey, I noticed this on my recent trip to Iran, but I was trying to convince myself that I had misheard. :D
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Hey, I noticed this on my recent trip to Iran, but I was trying to convince myself that I had misheard. :D
    You did n't have to go all the way to Iran to hear this. Hyderabad would have been much closer!:)
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    That I had already heard.
    Btw, look at my present location. You'll realize Iran was actually closer. :p
     

    Cilquiestsuens

    Senior Member
    French
    By the way, the wakht pronounciation for what should theoretically be waqt, is also a very regular pronunciation in Dari (Afghanistan); despite a very distinctive qaaf being the norm in Dari in other contexts (intial, intervocalic, final).
     

    chifladoporlosidiomas

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Salâm hameye,

    I have been looking for a definitive answer to how these two letters are pronounced. I've been listening to different sources and I have been hearing different pronunciations. I have read this link on this website that talks about it, but I'm not quite sure what to take from that…

    What I know:
    1. These two sounds are pronounced the same way
    2. The pronunciation is something between [ɢ~ɣ~ʁ] (with its unvoiced counterparts) and this is where the confusion comes from…

    <<Youtube links removed>>

    Would it be wrong if I always pronounced it as /ɣ/?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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    Treaty

    Senior Member
    Persian
    There is no one definite answer because Persian and Persian speakers are too diverse. Generally, there are a few options for each letter:

    qaaf as [q] or [ɢ], or (very colloquially and rarely) [x]
    gheyn as [ɢ] or (less often) [ɣ].

    You can pick any of them. It is said that Tehrani accent picks [ɢ] for both but I'm not sure of it. If you want to stick to only one phoneme, use [ɢ] for both.

    P.S. Your greeting after salam should be 'be hamegi', or 'be hame[-ye shoma]'.
     

    tarkshya

    Senior Member
    Marwari
    Mine is a slightly sideways question, but still relevant to this thread. Is there any "native" Persian word having qaf or gheyn in it? By native I mean a word whose etymology can be traced to Old Persian or beyond. My understanding is that these two letters are found only in Arabic loanwords, but I need confirmation.
     

    Treaty

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Mine is a slightly sideways question, but still relevant to this thread. Is there any "native" Persian word having qaf or gheyn in it? By native I mean a word whose etymology can be traced to Old Persian or beyond. My understanding is that these two letters are found only in Arabic loanwords, but I need confirmation.
    There are many with gheyn (though they were pronounced with [g] in middle Persian but maybe with [ɣ] in Sogdian). Some examples are: غریدن, غاز, لغزیدن, مغاک, آغاز. However, Words with qaaf are rare, and they are just variants of [k] or [ɣ], even maybe influenced by Turkish or Arabic. Examples are نقره, قو and probably قارچ.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I'm a native Iranian Persian speaker, I know غ and ق are pronounced quite distinctly from one another, in Arabic. However, in Persian, I never pronounce them differently, and I have not come across any Iranian Persian speakers, who do. That however doesn't mean there aren't any. The singers in the your video links do pronounce them the same.

    The only reason I can think of, for the difference you mention, may well be due to the position of each of those letters, in a word, perhaps between groups 1 & 2 in the list below, although I really can't replicate that difference for myself.
    ۱ قوم − غوغا or قمار − غبار
    ۲ تقلید − ترغیب
    ۳ اتفاق − ابلاغ
    غ and ق are (should be) pronounced the same, in every case, above.

    My advice is: use the pronunciation of غ in غوغا, (as you already have a sound sample for it) and replicate that whenever you come across غ or ق, regardless of where they are in a word.
     
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    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    Words with غ sound in Persian are interestingly similar to Dutch words:

    غاز (Ghaz) - Gans (Goose)
    غریو (Gheriv) - Geroep (Clamor)
    غژ (Ghezh) - Gesuis (Whiz)
    غک (Ghek) - Gek (ludicrous)
    غل (Ghel) - Gerol (Roll)

    Of course most of Persian words with ɣ sound are actually Sogdian form of Iranian words with x sound.
     
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    I heard that ق and غ in Dari and Tajik Persian, have different pronunciation. In most of Iran also include Kerman and Yazd, as I am from that areas and based of my knowledge, there is no differ. Only in Yazd both ق and غ has a emphasis on that word. For example تغار or اقرار. Most common problem of children in Iran is how to pass the dictation lesson. We see this problem in.... س and ص.... or.... ط and ت......or.....ظ and ز and ذ.
    Is that true, children in the school as Arab people know how to write the words with correct spelling?
    Thanks for your information in advanced
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Bahrain), Persian
    Yes, they are differentiated as /ɣ/ and /q/, as in Arabic.

    /q/: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Voiceless_uvular_plosive.ogg

    /ɣ/: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Voiced_velar_fricative.ogg

    In most of southern Iran (Fars, Kerman, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Yazd) and in Kurdish and Balochi, they are traditionally differentiated. So چاق would be /tʃaq/ and داغ would be /daɣ/. (Actually, in parts of Fars and in Hormozgan, we would pronounce ق as /k/, and sometimes غ as /x/, but in our "formal" accent they are still differentiated as /q/ and /ɣ/, like in Arabic/Afghani/Tajik).

    If you're not noticing this in speakers from these areas, I guess it's due to influence from Standard Iranian Persian, and the media which is all in Tehrani, especially in younger generations. Or maybe some people imitate a more standard dialect, while at home speaking their native dialect. Maybe if you go to more rural areas you can hear it.
     
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    Yes, they are differentiated as /ɣ/ and /q/, as in Arabic.

    /q/: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Voiceless_uvular_plosive.ogg

    /ɣ/: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Voiced_velar_fricative.ogg

    In most of southern Iran (Fars, Kerman, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Yazd) and in Kurdish and Balochi, they are traditionally differentiated. So چاق would be /tʃaq/ and داغ would be /daɣ/. (Actually, in parts of Fars and in Hormozgan, we would pronounce ق as /k/, and sometimes غ as /x/, but in our "formal" accent they are still differentiated as /q/ and /ɣ/, like in Arabic/Afghani/Tajik).

    If you're not noticing this in speakers from these areas, I guess it's due to influence from Standard Iranian Persian, and the media which is all in Tehrani, especially in younger generations. Or maybe some people imitate a more standard dialect, while at home speaking their native dialect. Maybe if you go to more rural areas you can hear it.
    Thanks!
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Bahrain), Persian
    OK, so I've gathered that initial and final غ-ق is pronounced [ɢ] while intervocalic is [ɣ]. But I keep finding exceptions to these "rules".

    Thankfully this website (forvo.com) has audio files of native speakers pronouncing words.

    Now listen to these four Iranian pronunciations of قورباغه:

    قورباغه pronunciation: How to pronounce قورباغه in Persian

    The first and third say: [ɢurbaɢe]

    But the second and fourth say: [ɢurbaɣe] !

    Here is one of لاغر, clearly [laɢær]:

    لاغر pronunciation: How to pronounce لاغر in Persian, Kurdish

    But these two or چاقو are clearly [tʃaɣu]:

    چاقو pronunciation: How to pronounce چاقو in Persian, Urdu

    These for باقی are [baɣi]:

    باقی pronunciation: How to pronounce باقی in Persian, Urdu, Kurdish
    باقی مانده pronunciation: How to pronounce باقی مانده in Persian

    Both of these for آقا are [aɢa]:

    آقا pronunciation: How to pronounce آقا in Persian, Urdu

    And then this one for آغاز, which you would expect to be the same as آقا, but its actually [aɣaz]!

    بی آغاز pronunciation: How to pronounce بی آغاز in Persian

    So how do we explain all of this? It seems intervocalic pronunciation can be either, depending on the speaker. Or is there some convoluted rule for some of these words?
     
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    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Bahrain), Persian
    Yes, they are differentiated as /ɣ/ and /q/, as in Arabic.

    If you're not noticing this in speakers from these areas, I guess it's due to influence from Standard Iranian Persian,
    Let me expand on this a bit more for those that say they dont hear a غ - ق distinction in Iranian dialects:

    When people from different provinces converse with eachother nowadays, they just emulate a Tehrani accent, either partially or completely, especially if they are youths or if they have spent time outside their region. So you are not likely to hear the ق غ distinction even from people whose dialect has it.

    Before media like TV, radio etc were widespread and centralized, this probably wasn't the case.

    I remember when my grandparents would speak Persian (rather than our local dialect) to Iranians from different provinces, they spoke a version that was rather different from mainstream Iranian Persian of today, and rather closer to Classical Persian:

    - final -e of nouns pronounced -a (e.g. hāmela, baranda)
    - negator ne- for present tense pronounced na-
    - diphthong ow/aw preserved (e.g. chetowr, showhar)
    - fathe pronunciation of certain verbs like رسیدن = rasidan, کشیدن = kashidan
    - ق and غ distinguished

    This is also how they would read classical poetry, etc.

    Probably, in the age before modern mass communication/media and centralization (I mean mainly the 1st half of the 20th century), Persian was taught in schools with the features of the local dialect, so if the local dialect had the features I listed above, that's how it was taught.

    Nowadays Persian is taught in the mainstream accent, and the media is in Tehrani, so if you speak Persian to a youth from almost any region, and they are aware that you're not from their region, they will emulate a Tehrani accent as much as they can. And the dialects themselves are being affected; I notice that some youths from my region have stopped differentiating ق from غ in certain common words, so they say /vāɣean/ rather than /vāqean/ for واقعا, and /moɣeye/ instead of /mowqaye/ for موقعِ, even when talking with family.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Very interesting Derakhshan. May I ask what dialect of Persian your parents spoke?
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Bahrain), Persian
    It's rather a different but closely related language (Larestani). But neighboring varieties such as rural Fars dialects and Bandari also have the features I mentioned.
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Bahrain), Persian
    If you want to hear distinguishing of ق and غ in Iranian Persian. It was clearly evident in Qasem Soleimani's speech (he was originally from Kerman):
    [Check Youtube the video entitled: خاطرات جالب حاج قاسم سليماني ]

    For example he pronounces غیرت /ɣeyræt/, غرق /ɣærq/, but قطعات /qætæʔat/.

    If you are familiar with the غ - ق distinction, then you will hear it very clearly.
     
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    Haji Firouz

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Hello!

    For quite some time, I was under the impression that غ and ق are pronounced the same, but as I came across:
    تغییر دادن /tagh'yir daadan/ TO ALTER, TO CHANGE;
    Notice the apostrophe in the phonetical transcript?
    This corresponds to a glottal stop, right?

    I would mimic this in my own language by pausing a bit between two syllables. As I know, the glottal stop follows the letter "ein" (ع), but until today I didn't realise it is also added after "ghein" (غ).

    So am I right to say the difference between تغییر (means "change", "replacement"?) and تقییر (if such word existed) is that the former has a glottal stop and the latter, does not?

    Is the stop before or after "ghein"?

    Later edit: Ok, I went to Forvo: the pronunciation dictionary. All the words in the world pronounced by native speakers and searched for تغییر to hear it pronounced by natives, I didn't hear any pause... does this mean تغییر and تقییر (if the latter existed) are pronounced the same? Makes me wonder about the use of the apostrophe in the transcript...

    Thank you,

    Confused.
     
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    Haji Firouz

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    There is no glottal stop in تغییر.
    Ok, thank you. That apostrophe make me create a whole hypothesis... Any idea what the apostrophe could mean in the phonetical transcript, though?

    And I suppose there is no rule for choosing between غ or ق , given that they are essentially pronounced the same?
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Bahrain), Persian
    I can't think of any reason for it.

    There is no real way of choosing in standard Iranian Persian, you just need to memorise which words have a ق or غ.

    In other Persian varieties, they are two different-sounding letters.

    If you speak one of those, or Arabic for that matter, you'll be able to choose based on sound.
     

    truce

    Senior Member
    Persian
    In Iranian Persian both "ق" and "غ" are pronounced the same.
    Example:
    قریب ===> near
    غریب ===> alien, strange, jarring
     

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    Moderator's note: I've merged several threads on the same subject into one larger thread. Please use the search function to find existing threads before starting a new one.
     
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