Urdu: Pronunciation of Persian consonants

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mundiya

Senior Member
Hindi, English, Punjabi
Continued from this thread: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2906442

Why does Urdu maintain the Persian consonants x, f, zh, Gh, z, and q (the latter originally Arabic)? There are many Arabic consonants that Persian doesn't differentiate, such as the different forms of h, t, z, and s. All of the forms of /z/ are pronounced the same in Persian and subsequently Urdu, despite being represented by different characters in their scripts. Likewise, the same is true for h, t, and s. They are pronounced differently in Arabic but not in Persian or Urdu. So, just as Persian adapted and modified the Arabic consonants into the Persian sound system, instead of maintaining a distinction, why didn't Urdu have the same liberal outlook toward Persian sounds? Why was Urdu more conservative in preserving Persian sounds than Persian was in preserving Arabic sounds? Arabic has had a similar influence in Iran as Persian has had in India. So, what are the reasons?

Thank you.
 
  • Wolverine9

    Senior Member
    American English
    Those are good questions. Duration of influence could be a reason. The influence might be similar in intensity but not in duration. Arabic speakers ruled Iran for about 300 years, ending around a thousand years ago. Persian speakers ruled the area around Delhi for about 600 years, ending around 200 years ago.

    Another possible reason is religion. It is a symbol of identity for Urdu-speaking Muslims to preserve Persian sounds.

    In addition, I don't know about your experiences, but not all Urdu speakers (both educated and uneducated) maintain Persian sounds. Though there is an emphasis in Urdu for Persian sounds to be preserved, many Urdu speakers do z -> j and other sound shifts as mentioned previously by other forum members.
     

    mundiya

    Senior Member
    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    In addition, I don't know about your experiences, but not all Urdu speakers (both educated and uneducated) maintain Persian sounds. Though there is an emphasis in Urdu for Persian sounds to be preserved, many Urdu speakers do z -> j and other sound shifts as mentioned previously by other forum members.
    Yes, that's true. I agree. I should've said the Persian consonants are maintained in careful Urdu speech. Otherwise, they may not be maintained. Your other points make sense too. Thanks!
     
    Last edited:

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Those are good questions. Duration of influence could be a reason. The influence might be similar in intensity but not in duration. Arabic speakers ruled Iran for about 300 years, ending around a thousand years ago. Persian speakers ruled the area around Delhi for about 600 years, ending around 200 years ago.

    Another possible reason is religion. It is a symbol of identity for Urdu-speaking Muslims to preserve Persian sounds.

    In addition, I don't know about your experiences, but not all Urdu speakers (both educated and uneducated) maintain Persian sounds. Though there is an emphasis in Urdu for Persian sounds to be preserved, many Urdu speakers do z -> j and other sound shifts as mentioned previously by other forum members.
    Wolverine9, this remark has awakened my curiosity. Could you please share your experiences on this subject as well as try to remind me when this topic was under discussion? It almost feels as if I totally forgot that it was ever mentioned.
     
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