word pairs

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    It is possible when you have various sound forms for every letter. For one English T there are more than 4 Hindi letters [sounds] related to T. If its a hard T you pronounce it as a hard T (ट) e.g. Tiger; if its a soft T (त) then its pronounced accordingly, e.g. hmm I cannot think of an English word with a soft T - its like the T in the word "its", but not in the phrase "it is"

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    . Similarly if its a soft Th (थ) [e.g. in the word Thought] and a hard Th (ठ) you pronounce it as a hard Th - hmm stuck again for an example. Then there is Tr (त्र) which is a soft T with hard R . There are more sounds in Hindi than there are equivalent ones in English.

    Here is a good link to Hindi Varnmala

    http://www.hindilearner.com/hindi_alphabet.html

    And a virtual keyboard

    http://www.keymanweb.com/go/hin/dev_inscript
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I speak both English and Hindi equally fluently, so I think I know what you are talking about. However, it is difficult to explain to someone who has no concept of language where accentuation is irrelevant. I found this to be a major difficulty when pronouncing some words in the US. e.g. if I said Indianapolis as India-na-po-lis, most Americans would not recognise it but most Indians, Koreans and Arabs would. You have to say Indi-Nab-Oliz for an American to "hear" the word. Same for Maryland [Mare-lin] or Raleigh [Raw-lay]. It was very surprising to me.

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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Then perhaps this was a bad example since I never had that discussion with my friend Parvathi and am simply making assumptions generalized from other discussions. My friend Sharad is quite insistent that the accent is on the first syllable: that it must be pronounced SHÆ-rʌdh, rather than shʌ-RAD, which is what most Americans assume on the first attempt. And yes I know that romanization introduces imprecision. We have no letters for our common phonemes æ and ʌ, and we don't have the sound combination DH at all, much less a way to write it.

    TH is very confusing in Indian words, since for us it's almost always the phoneme Θ, whereas in an Indian language it can represent either that sound or the combination TH, which is phonemically distinct from T, unlike in English. (Which I will address in a moment.)
    Yes, just read it like Japanese, in which stress is non-phonemic and very understated. I just didn't know that was the proper way to pronounce Hindi. I've been told by other Indians that stress is both phonemic and clearly audible in their languages.
    No, not at all. We're most familiar with Indo-European languages, in which stress is important. It's a trifle in Japanese, where the length of the vowel is what matters, not the loudness. No word is required to have a long vowel. You can have two long ones adjacent, such as To-kyo, or two or more short ones, such as Na-ga-sa-ki. (And of course "word" doesn't mean quite the same thing in Japanese or Chinese as in English. Language structures vary tremendously.)
    Only in the languages we Americans hear most often. Don't make the mistake of generalizing a feature of your own language to someone else's. In informal Chinese speech, its common for only the first one or two syllables to be pronounced with the proper tone, and the rest with a neutral tone, so long as the ambiguity can be resolved from context. The syllables all have the same duration and loudness. And in formal speech, such as what you hear in movies (e.g. "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon"), they speak theatrically and every syllable has its textbook-perfect tone. Movies are wonderful for students of Chinese because the pronunciation is so precise. All syllables are equal.
    I think what you're referring to is aspiration. Hang a square of toilet paper in front of your mouth while saying "tank," and a puff of air after the T will make the paper flutter. Say "stank" and there is no puff. The first T is aspirated, the second is not. This is not phonemic in English, it's just a matter of whether a voiceless stop (P T K) begins a word or follows another consonant. We're not even conscious of the difference so we have no need for two different symbols. But in the Indic languages it is phonemic, just as in Chinese and many other languages.

    You even have aspirated voiced stops: DH BH GH. We can't even pronounce those sounds without a lot of practice. After years of trying I can say dharma, but not the name of my friend Bharat.

    Chinese has no voiced stops. They have only P T K and PH TH KH. No B D G. They use those letters in the standard Pin-Yin romanization system, but they don't represent the English sounds.
    That's because we have very few words that start with soft TH. Only the conjunction though which is really a truncation of although, the pronoun thou/thee which is obsolete, and the series the/they/them/their/this/that/these/those/then/thence/there/thither/thus which are all descended from the same Proto-Germanic root. You have to look for soft TH inside words (bother, fathom, within) or at the end (seethe, loathe).

    The IPA symbol for hard TH (breath, think) is Θ (Greek theta.) For soft TH (breathe, those) it is ð (an Old Norse letter still used in Icelandic).
    Consonants perhaps. But we've got twelve vowels, more than most other languages. And we have some of your consonants, specifically PH TH KH, but for us they're only allophones of P T K, not separate phonemes. We even have your flapped R in addition to our gargled Germanic R. In standard American it's the T/D in writer/rider; in most other accents it's the R in parent. (British "wearing" = American "wedding.") I'm not sure how you pronounce intervocalic R. Most Indians over here have assimilated quite a few of our sounds so they don't speak pure Indian English any more. Do you say "verrry nice" like a Californian or "veddy nice" like a Londoner?
     
  8. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    In the name Sha-ra-da, श-र-द of the three letters, Sha is the hardest sound so the "accent" will be on Sha, in see-Ma, सी-मा, the Ma sound is "harder" so the name will be accentuated there. When Americans pronounce Sharad, they transform it to Sha-Ra-Da श-र-ड or Sha-Raa-Da श-रा-ड which is a completely different sound to Indian ears. What is surprising is that even if you tell an American sometimes they cannot "hear" the difference.
    Those are relatively simple. I don't even know how to explain other sounds in Hindi like ष ऴ ण ऋ to an American

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    Just think of the difference between thought and though

    Thought, think= थ = T'ha

    Though, the = ध = D'ha

    I've been trying to think of an English word with the sound of the hard Tha ठ parallel to the hard Ta ट of Tiger but I am still stumped.

    Well I just call it like I see it, I'm not an expert.

    Okay the paper doesn't flutter for me in either case since I pronounce both tank and stank with ट or a hard Ta. The Tha which requires the paper to flutter is a completely different sound to me!
    It would seem so.
    However many Americans/westerners make Gandhi a wrongly aspirated voice stop by saying Ghandi, probably because they can say Gh [ghost] better than Dh [Dharma]

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    Gandhi = गाँधी

    Ghandi = घाँदी


    Thats still not the correct hard Tha ठ sound. Thats the D'ha ध sound in Hindi.


    Sorry that is the still a much softer T'ha than the one I am referring to. Its like the TT sound in attack but with an H at the end of it. The sound of the T is very sharp like a report and the tip of the tongue is hit against the top of the palate, very hard, just before aspirating the H sound.


    Thats still the D'ha sound.

    I guess I say "verrry nice" or वेर्री नाईस
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Those are the Θ and ð phonemes which I described in my previous post. Unfortunately we're being thwarted by the need to render sounds into written symbols, which is aggravated by the fact that we speak different native languages with much different phonetic paradigms. Two sounds which, to one of us, are allophones of the same phoneme, to the other are two different phonemes.
    Perhaps you're telling me that your language has both palatal or alveolar T as we pronounce the letter in English, French, German and Japanese, and a dental or linguo-dental T as it's pronounced in Russian, Spanish and Greek. Most languages don't have both, although Russian does. Perhaps many of the Eastern Indo-European languages have both: Baltic, Slavic, Indic, Iranic. It's almost impossible to describe this in writing without being professional linguists who can diagram the position of the tongue.
    Aha. That is a common component of the Indian English accent. The T that begins a word is supposed to be that aspirated Tha that makes the paper flutter. Most British and American anglophones don't notice your unaspirated pronunciation consciously, but it just sounds foreign to us. Spoken quickly, that T sounds a lot like a D to us, one of the many ways in which different accents of the same language cause misunderstanding. You say "pear" and I think you're saying "bear" because there's no puff.
    It's very hard for us to aspirate a voiced stop at the beginning of a word because English doesn't have that sound. It's so much easier to say Gandhi as gand-hi, which is wrong but at least we're trying. I can't imagine why anyone would try to say Ghandi.

    BTW, the H in "ghost" is silent: goast. That is not an aspirated G, which does not exist in English. If you pronounce it that way its an Indian superstrate.
    As I said, it's almost impossible to convey this information in words. Even my Indian friends have trouble demonstrating it. Our perception of language is shaped by the sounds of our own native language and it's difficult to even hear sounds or differences in sounds that we've been taught to ignore or combine.
    The American intervocalic R is the same as the R in rain. The British/Aussie intervocalic R is the Spanish/Italian/Japanese/Russian flapped R. (Not a trilled R, which is the same position of the tongue but a longer stream of air so it oscillates.) We use that sound indiscriminately for intervocalic D and T: Betting/bedding sounds like British "bearing."
     
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Possibly because they know a country by the name of "Ghana".
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Hindu supremacist.

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  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    But no one pronounces the H in Ghana. They just say "gana." I've been trying to learn how the name of Ghana is pronounced in Twi, the country's primary language, and I've had no luck. Next time I meet a Ghanaian I'll ask him, and there are plenty of them here in the Washington region; I think they're all security guards.

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    Trying to pronounce "Ghana" like a Ghanaian isn't necessarily going to provide any clue about how to pronounce "Ghandi" like an Indian, assuming for the sake of the argument that such a word/name exists, or is at least realistic enough to be pronounceable. When we transliterate a foreign language into the Roman alphabet, there's no assumption that the Latin letters will represent the same sounds that they do in any other transliterated language. In fact since our alphabet only has 26 letters it's likely that they won't! In Romanized Farsi, for example, GH is nothing like the Hindi GH. It's an uvular fricative, vaguely similar to the German/Swedish/Parisian R but a little further back in the throat, more like the R of Rio de Janeiro Portuguese. I assume they got that phoneme from medieval Arabic; it's common in the Semitic languages.

    So sure, people spell Ghandi the wrong way, but whether it's that way or the correct way, they never pronounce the H. They all just say "GAN-dee." Like Buddha, dharma and Bhopal, nobody pronounces the H in America.
     
  13. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

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    Fragle wrote
    A theoretical knowledge without actually feeling a langusge is no good.

    I assure you that in Sanskrit/ Devanagri, a word is written in one way, that is if written correctaly. When you transliterate them into some romanised version, problems crop up. Devanagri has a much larger symbol set than any romance script.

    But you can misspell a word too. It happens with us too.

    My daughter's name is शैलजा and it should have spelled shailaja, but it got as shailja, शैल्जा. It might not mean much to you, but l in first is FULL, in second it is HALF, as we say. If you pronounce shailaja, you might be saying shay- la- jaa, and till eternity I could not correct it. Suppose I speak शैल्जा, I have a hunch you would write it down as shell-jaa.

    Now take Pallav. Prnounce it like Pu [ u as in bUt], ll as in puLL. av as Uv as in Up. Pulluv for you. LL ensuures it is pU. Single would mean pal

    Your word "pair", as in Bharat, are not real for us.

    Bharat.

    When spoken and wtitten as Bhaarat, it means India. As Bharat, it a proper male name, female being Bhaarati, of Bhaarat. Bhaarat itself is after Bharat.

    Bhaarat भारत, Bharat भरत. Now phonetics. When rendered in Devanagri or any other Indian script, these words will sound different AS they are rendered differently.

    r sound can be rendered in 4 different ways, dependening on how you speak it.

    parvati for you. We will not pronounce wrongly, but correctly as paar-vati.

    PS: what beats me is this. Why do you people write and say Ganges when it is Ganga?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Ganges is the anglicised form of Ganga, just as Indus is the anglicised form of Sindhu. In English maps, the names are given in the anglicised form, even in India.

    Ever wonder why the country is called India?

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  15. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

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    That romantic fool Nehru thought the world at large would not understand what Bharat means. Could see nothing beyond the cunt of Lady M!!

    So in constitution it is India that is Bharat!!.


    Needs an amendment.

    PS: We need not cling to anglicised versions.
     
  16. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

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    But dropping H from Buddha means Budda [?], froma dharma means darma {?} from Bhopal means Bopal{?}. We will never understand what those terms are.

    If you spell Ghana, then I shall read it as Ghana, not Gana.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    She pronounces Parvathi with the TH sound of think, both.
    The Ancient Greeks were the first Europeans to explore and write about the river. They had to render the name into a form that adheres to the rigid grammatical rules of Greek, so it took on the inflection -ES.
    Not anglicized, hellenized.
    Also not an anglicization. As the Indo-Iranian sub-branch of the Eastern Indo-European languages further separated into the Indic and Iranic groups, phonetic shifts were rampant, especially when the Muslim conquest laid an Arabic superstrate over Persian/Farsi. Sanskrit Sindhu became Persian Hindu. When the Ancient Greeks got hold of it, they lost the H. However, we retained the Persian name for the people and religion (Hindu), the region (Hindustan) and the language (Hindustani, linguists' technically accurate but politically incorrect name for Hindi/Urdu). These are all historical accidents. In the Middle Ages, when European scholars began to study the cultures of Asia, the Persian Empire was dominant over much of India. E.g. the Taj Mahal, built by a Persian king, literally "Crown Place" ("Palace") in Farsi.
    Hellenized or Persianized, please.

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    Many of our ethnonyms are taken from third languages, rather than the original names of the inhabitants or anglicizations.
    • Bohemia was the Roman name for the region where the Bohumil, a Celtic tribe, lived before the Slavic people moved in who call the place Čechy.
    • Hungary was the Roman name for the land of the Huns more than a thousand years ago, but the Magyars now live there and call it Magyarorszag.
    • Greece is the Latin name Graecia for the country that calls itself Hellas.
    • Albania is the Latin name for Shqiperia.
    • Armenian is the Roman name for the Hayer people.
    • The Romans named the barbarians of the north Germani, some vague reference to being members of related tribes, even though they referred to themselves as thiuda, "the people." The adjective thiudisk evolved into the German word deutsch. Perversely enough, our own version of the same word, "Dutch," is what we call the people of Nederland.
    • Finn is the Old Norse name for the Suomi people. The closely related Lapps call themselves the Saami.
    • China is a romanization of the name of the Qin Dynasty (spelled Ch'in in the old Wade-Giles transcription system), which happened to be in power when the Europeans became interested in Zhong Guo, "the country at the center (of the world)."
    This list could probably be two pages long, and most of the non-native names are not anglicizations.

    And don't get me started on the American Indians: most of our names for the tribes are some other tribe's name for them! Of course there's a good excuse for this: like the Thiudisk, many Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic (the three phases of the "Stone Age") tribes all around the world simply called themselves "the people" in their own language.
    Blame the Persians and/or the Greeks.
    We write them correctly, but in most cases we cannot pronounce them correctly. To begin a word with the sound combination BH is literally impossible for an adult who never mastered it as a child. Our brain stem never grew the synapses to control our speech organs in the movement necessary to make that sound. We can say BUD-HA because we can separate the H from the D. I know that's not right, but it would probably at least be recognizable to an Indian. But we can't do that with a word like dharma or Bhopal where it's at the beginning of the word.
    As I said, don't be tempted to assume that GH in Twi is pronounced the same way as GH in Hindi. GH in Farsi is most certainly not at all like GH in Hindi.
     
  18. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Actually I leave it up to the person whose name it is. In Hindi the name is Parvati but South Indians generally pronounce their names with the T'ha rather than the T'a sound. So names which end in T'a in Hindi - Lalita, Parvati, Malati, Saraswati - are sounded as T'ha in South Indian dialects - Lalitha, Parvathi, Malathi, Saraswathi. Remember, we have hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects. You can tell in general, a lot about a person simply by their name.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    She never told me where she was from, and since she was my manager I didn't pry into personal issues. It seems like most of my Indian friends are from the south and speak Dravidian languages rather than Indo-European, most often Tamil or Telugu.
     
  20. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

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    By Fraggle
    Even Bud-ha is WRONG, as this h is part of a single letter बु

    By rcscwc
    As I said, don't be tempted to assume that GH in Twi is pronounced the same way as GH in Hindi. GH in Farsi is most certainly not at all like GH in Hindi.

    I don't know Twi. I don't know what Ghanians say about it. But when I hear gana, I write gana, गाना. When I see Ghana, I pronounce it Ghana, घाना. For me they are different words written and spoken differently. Simple.

    Fraggle, Devanagri has 52 symbols. To cater to Farsi sounds, there are extensions too. z is witten as ज़. a dot under j sound symbol, ज. There are six such extensions.

    PS: But many from west make bloomers like Ghandi, Bhudda etc.

    Urdu/Farsi sounds, not in older Hindi but in modern Hindi. Devanagri extensions are employed.
    फ़ ज़, क़, ड़, ग़, ढ़, ख़
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I think you meant "bloopers." Bloomers were a style of ladies' underwear in the 19th and early 20th century.

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  22. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

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    For Sanskrit/ Devanagari transliteration, there are no standardized rules. At least a dozen sets are floating around. Yet there are some free softwares developed by Indian experts, which transliterate correctly from romanced symbols, without diacritics too, into Devanagari. Diacritics are in fact not required at all.

    Available at www.baraha.com

    You problem basically is because roman script does not have enough distinct symbols to represent all the sounds in English. Pitman's ith and thee are th, are, inter alia, source of confusion and your word pairs. Phonetic scripts avoid such problems. Do you think roman script needs a major reform?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010

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