Urdu: pronunciation of پہل

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gfl87

New Member
Italian
Hello everybody,

My question concern the proper pronunciation (I refer to standard Urdu as spoken by educated native speakers) of the word _پہل_.

Urdu: _پہل_ /ˈpɛhɛl/ "beginning..." vs. /ˈpɐhɐl/ (I prefer /ɐ/ over usual «/ə/») "side...": is the contrast consistent?
The "Oxford Urdu-English Dictionary" suggests _پہل_ /ˈpɛhɛl/ (in the original «/pæhæl/») for "beginning; first; previously; cotton pad"; but _پہل_ /ˈpɐhɐl/ (in the original of course «/pəhəl/») for "side; space between corners; face of a cut gem". I doubt this contrast being consistent, I suspect they're both /ˈpɛhɛl/.

بہت بہت شکریہ
Thank you very much,

Giacomo /ˈʤakomo/
 
  • gfl87

    New Member
    Italian
    Thank you, Qureshpor. So you merge them, right? Are you from the Pakistani Panjab region?

    I found a few other words where the dictionaries seem to agree in suggesting /ɐh/ in lieu of the usual /ɛh/: _جہندہ_ "leaping, jumping, tossing", _جہنم_ "hell"; _دہش_ "astonishment; astonished", _کہل_ "indolence"; _مہب_ "direction from which the wind blows".
    And it's not a peculiarity of Arabic loanwords, because such an Arabic word like _قحط_ "famine, drought; scarcity" is [ˈqɛhet̪] /ˈqɛht/. Indeed _گہک_ "customer; enthusiasm" is from Sanskrit, but it's gives with /-ɐhɐ-/.
    They don't seem everyday words.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    I unfortunately am not familiar with the transcription you have used to represent the different sounds, but I can point out that when any consonant is joined to "h" by a fatHah/zabar, many* speakers may pronounce it with what is described as فتحہ مجہول in Urdu Lughat.
    • محبوب - maHbuub and maiHbuub/mehbuub
    • مہک - mahakk and maihaik/mehek
    • محلّ - maHall and maihaill/mehel
    • مہتاب - mahtaab and maihtaab/mehtaab
    * However, other speakers may pronounce the words with a ma3ruuf fatHah. I'll send (via PM) links to audio examples of the original/proper pronunciations (the first ones in the list) being used in a few Pakistani Urdu films that come to mind, since audio/video links are not allowed in the forum.
     

    gfl87

    New Member
    Italian
    Thank you!! I listened to them (almost all of them) before I posted the question.

    PS. What is the function of the underscores around words?
    It has the function to isolate the examples. Yes, in this case it's not necessary, because the script is different... but it's customary, as a linguist. :oops:

    I unfortunately am not familiar with the transcription you have used to represent the different sounds, but I can point out that when any consonant is joined to "h" by a fatHah/zabar, many* speakers may pronounce it with what is described as فتحہ مجہول in Urdu Lughat.
    • محبوب - maHbuub and maiHbuub/mehbuub
    • مہک - mahakk and maihaik/mehek
    • محلّ - maHall and maihaill/mehel
    • مہتاب - mahtaab and maihtaab/mehtaab
    * However, other speakers may pronounce the words with a ma3ruuf fatHah. I'll send (via PM) links to audio examples of the original/proper pronunciations (the first ones in the list) being used in a few Pakistani Urdu films that come to mind, since audio/video links are not allowed in the forum.
    Cool Alfaaz, thank you very much for you're useful explanation! :):)
    That's indeed the expected part. But the words I listed seem to behave differently, according to the dictionaries.

    * However, other speakers may pronounce the words with a ma3ruuf fatHah. I'll send (via PM) links to audio examples of the original/proper pronunciations (the first ones in the list) being used in a few Pakistani Urdu films that come to mind, since audio/video links are not allowed in the forum.
    I'm not sure what you're impying by معروف فتحہ, because معروف seems to refer to long ii and long uu. Apparently, the words you mentioned in your list can get a زبر (in Hindi the -h- in -aihe- colloquially drops and the result is long -ai-: «maihel/mail»).
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you, Qureshpor. So you merge them, right? Are you from the Pakistani Panjab region?

    I found a few other words where the dictionaries seem to agree in suggesting /ɐh/ in lieu of the usual /ɛh/: _جہندہ_ "leaping, jumping, tossing", _جہنم_ "hell"; _دہش_ "astonishment; astonished", _کہل_ "indolence"; _مہب_ "direction from which the wind blows".
    And it's not a peculiarity of Arabic loanwords, because such an Arabic word like _قحط_ "famine, drought; scarcity" is [ˈqɛhet̪] /ˈqɛht/. Indeed _گہک_ "customer; enthusiasm" is from Sanskrit, but it's gives with /-ɐhɐ-/.
    They don't seem everyday words.
    You may find the following threads useful.

    Urdu: ‘فتحہ ش مجہول’

    Persian: Pronunciation of words ending in ﻩ (he)
     

    gfl87

    New Member
    Italian
    Thank you for your contributions!

    When I posted the question I was already aware of the change زبر undergoes before /h/. I think the way I formulated my question resulted misleading. I wasn't asking whether _پہل_ is pronounced «paihail» in general; I was trying to ask whether you would also pronounce _پہل_ in the sense of "side, flank; space between corners" as «paihail».
    What about _جہنم_ "hell": so far I've found it's consistently pronounced as «jahannam» (also «jaannam»). Would any native speaker also pronounce «jaihainnam»?
    I found also:
    _دہش_ «dahash» "astonishment; astonished"; _زہرا_ «zahraa» "bright, luminous, white" (versus _زہرا_ «zaihraa» "gall-bladder; bile"); _فحل_ «fahl» "learned man" _کہل_ «kahl» "middle-aged man" & _کہل_ «kahal» "indolence"; _مہب_ «mahab» "place where the wind blows from"; _مہبط_ «mahbit» "place of origin".
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    gfl87 said:
    I was trying to ask whether you would also pronounce _پہل_ in the sense of "side, flank; space between corners" as «paihail».
    Yes, the three words written پہل but with different meanings (flock of cotton, wool, etc.; beginning, initiative, etc.; side, etc.) would all be pronounced in an identical manner (pahal or paihail, depending on the speaker's pronunciation/preference).
    gfl87 said:
    What about _جہنم_ "hell": so far I've found it's consistently pronounced as «jahannam» (also «jaannam»). Would any native speaker also pronounce «jaihainnam»?
    No, because it is جَہَنَّم - the ج isn't joined to the ہ, which leads to ja-hannam.
     

    gfl87

    New Member
    Italian
    Yes, the three words written پہل but with different meanings (flock of cotton, wool, etc.; beginning, initiative, etc.; side, etc.) would all be pronounced in an identical manner (pahal or paihail, depending on the speaker's pronunciation/preference).
    Thank you! As I imagined. :)

    No, because it is جَہَنَّم - the ج isn't joined to the ہ, which leads to ja-hannam.
    Oh, ok, interesting. I checked the etymology. But I suppose that's something the average speaker is not really aware of, isn't it?
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    gfl87 said:
    Oh, ok, interesting. I checked the etymology. But I suppose that's something the average speaker is not really aware of, isn't it?
    Speakers might be more (in comparison to knowing about words of other origins) cognizant of the fact that جہنم is from Arabic due to having read it in Islamic texts/Arabic.
     
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