Discussion in 'Language Notes' started by kunh al-naqiibah, Apr 25, 2008.

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  1. In sum, yaa ulil-albaab, let's give Arabic its due and not urdu-ise/anglicise/americanise it when speaking Arabic. that's all.

    Doubtless, it's another thing when the arabic word has already been woven into another language e.g. 'magazine' in english - I can't go round tellin people saying it's 'makhaazin' - that would be just braying - 'Himaari' - asinine.

    word of the day: raHraHa /yuraHriHu /raHraHatan: "to equivocate/be ambiguous in speech b-l-kalaam."

    If you find an Arab who knows this word, grab them and ask them tactfully to teach Arabic. that'd be a gem of a find.

    Medni: what's wrong with the spelling of 'their speaking Arabic' ?
    I don't understand your objection.

    NJ - "fetishistic" you mean my going on about the niceties of Arabiyyah
    it turns U on?

    well I daresay I do have that effect on peopl
  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    nj, if my estimation is correct, you are dealing with an old friend who has an admirable - rather, an enviable - command of the english language.

    for the cap'n:
    i think a summarization of your argument can make it easy for us linguistically challenged folks.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2008
  3. sidi kunh,


    should a BBC newsreporter mentioning the holy book of the muslims call it 'the koran' or the qur'aan?
    is the capital of russia moscow (in english) or should it be changed to moskva?
    did more soldiers die in the bombs in bagHdaad or bag-dad?

    see, when speaking english pronounce words as they are pronounced in english not in the way they were pronounced in their original language. many urdu/panjabi words are in english usage today: e.g. people might wear khaki shorts but do we expect english speakers to say it as 'car-key' [as they do] or the aspirated khaa-kee [as in urdu and panjabi originally meaning 'dust-coloured]?

    i find your language-fixation fetishistic!
    but i am glad your on sunniport--it makes a refreshing change!
    vellcum sar ji :D

    p.s. are you reading Arabic at Uni by any chance! :)

  4. medni

    medni Active Member

  5. Ain't 'namaz' and 'roza' - farsi words? what's wrong with Sawm? do you mean they substitute the Saad with a siin?

    My intent was, it's all the more criminal if they do this in the course of their speaking arabic - just as the misri might perpetrate the same gaffe with the 's' and the 'th' or using a 't' for 'th'.

    but i ain't bothered if the word is regularly pronounced that way in their own language their welcome to use it so. Urdu/English is not Arabic...neither is Misri/levantine or jordanian despite the misplaced sentiments.

    The english words 'earth' and 'tall' are the arabic words 'arD' and 'Taala' but u won't find me telling people about plosives...I might get arrested!
  6. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    you left out the urdu speakers from the south who visit khabar of relatives on 15th sha'aban and eat khurma [no, not the dates] and kheema after the recitation of the khuraan by the khaari saab.

    and you forgot the ramzan which millions say, instead of the proper 'ramaDan' with the Daad. and what about namaz and rozah? crazy, aren't they? it is Salat [oops, Salah] and Sawm.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  7. speaking different languages is one thing. But correct pronunciation of another language is another - none more so than Arabic - which has exact standards tirelessly and sedulously stated by the nuHaah- unlike English.

    it's unspeakable that urdu/farsi/english/french pronunciations should direct pronunciation in Arabic. Owing to french influence, most Arabs can't say the 'jiim' -pronouncing it like the 's' as in pleasure. Urdu speakers come up with 'summa' for 'thumma', 'wuzu' for wuDu' and other lamentables.

    In england most dialects are non-rhotic (not pronouncing the 'r')
    and the 't' is replaced by the hamza/glottal stop
    would it be ok for them to transpose this into Arabic? hardly.


    kunh al naqiibah
  8. At the risk of sounding racist--and I am not--the following things have been observed by me in my life in general and as a teacher in particular:

    1. Scandinavians and other Northern Europeans speak the best English. (The only thing that gives them away is that often their pronounciation is too perfect, too textbook and they say the 's' which is in the middle of words such as 'socialising' an an 'ess' whereas native Brits will say it as a 'z' and never 's'. thus socialiZing not socialiSing).

    2. Orientalists speak the worst English. Even Japanese and Chinese diplomats
    have poor English.

    3. Southern Europeans also speak relatively poor English.

    In all these generalisations I exclude the wealthy who have been educated in English schools anyway!
  9. i would add that the standard of english education in pakistani government schools in particular and schools in general is AWFUL and that explains also the poor pronounciation especially the pronounciation of the zh in pleasure as 'ple-yar'. The reason I think it is an education thing is that PAKISTANIS (and Indians) educated at the elite school institutions in Pakistan (which are out of the price range of 95% of Pakistanis) such as KGS and Aitchison College speak impeccable English--better English than the Brits themselves!

    Examples of this educated perfect pronounciation are Imran Khan the cricketer (for Pakistan) and Amitabh Bachchan (the actor for India).
    Amongst the Sunni ulema (except for reverts such as Hamza) I do not know of any who have fluent English pronounciation akin to that of a native speaker (the true measure). Prof. Sahib's English has gotten much better recently.
  10. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    i did not refer to anyone in particular when i said 'mocking'; so relax, my brothers.

    ...and some try very hard to perfect their english. some try the short cut.
  11. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    sorry if i seemed to be mocking but that was not my intention at all. just making an observation.
  12. SA01

    SA01 Veteran

    Totally respect your comments brother, but you appear (perhaps) to misunderstand my specific statement. I can only speak for myself and can state that I am certainly not in the habit of mocking anyone, be it their language, culture or beliefs etc etc. Far from it. I was merely stating a point that even the most renowned and highly educated and literate people on this earth are susceptible to mis-pronunciations, albeit non-deliberately. However, thank you for pointing out that the Urdu letter 'zh' as for the sound of zh in pleasure, which comes after za...I stand corrected.... genuine mistake.

    As for the technical knowledge regarding phonetics, I have studied Cognitive Development, including Language Acquisition.........and it is because of this I state that language and subsequent pronunciation does not come easily for many no matter how hard they try. I am no expert, but this can take months, years and sometimes never. One has to continue this struggle for self-improvement nonetheless, insha'allah.

    You yourself say that you find it 'amusing to see our brothers generalize pakistanis and indians and ignore the huge diversity in both countries'. I find it intellectually stimulating (due to the nature of my profession) as it helps me gauge people's perceptions on quirks from a global and cross-cultural perspective, be they their own or others (within the realms of mutual respect obviously).

    Undoubtedly we should endeavour to respect each other for our diversity in every form, which after all creates the richness that makes this world such an intriguing place. As trustees, that is our basic duty.

    Verily, Allah SWT Knows Best.

  13. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    it is from the signs of the Lord Almighty that he made us speak different languages. i find it extremely annoying when one group mocks another for not pronouncing a language properly and this happens everywhere. making note of how people speak differently is an interesting hobby but that should not be meant to degrade others for their idiosyncrasies.

    most indians pronounce w in english as v [vie do you vant do it?] and the r is as trilled as roaring ripper; the t's and d's smack for hardness but still they mock arabs behind their backs for confusing p with b [it is bossible.]

    the rural folk in northern states of india - up, bihar - have trouble with sheen and seen/zaa and jeem; i have even heard some muftis and mawlwis (those originally from rural areas) who have slipped with sheen and seen in unguarded moments.

    as for the sound of zh in pleasure, it is certainly found in urdu - the zh which comes after za - as in muzh'dah (glad tidings). however s in pleasure and sure are not the same obviously. and the sh in sure is surely found in urdu as in beyshakk.

    strictly speaking, iqbal could not be punjabi though he was born in sialkot in punjab; he is claimed to be descended from kashmiris.

    it is amusing to see how our brothers generalize pakistanis and indians and ignore the huge diversity in both countries. please let us respect each other.

    as for ghalib being called galib, it is by those whose mother tongue is not urdu; obviously, because there is no ghayn in indian languages. the scraping wont be found even in khaa as i heard in a hindi news channel: k-h-abar, k-h-ilaf (sharp k with an assimilated h as in khel). but muslims usually utter both khaa and ghayn without much difficulty.

    another problem with subcontinent recitation is waw; it should be rounded and uttered by rounding BOTH lips; vhereas the majority in the subcontinent including many scholars utter it as v. almost all the major reciters in the subcontinent do that. [even mushtaq qadri - rahimahullah - made this mistake]. except perhaps (among the well-known) qari sadaqat ali, whose pronunciation is impeccable. [my arab friends initially refused to believe that he was pakistani after listening to his rendition of burdah]

    va, vallazina, valakin, validayn, virasat, vahy. one of my turcophile syrian friends claims that this how the majority of the turks pronounce waw.

    if the lower lip is taken in close to the upper teeth (or touching it), ve get the sound v.

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2007
  14. SA01

    SA01 Veteran

    And the majority of Pakistanis don't know/cannot pronounce the English words such as pleasure, measure, treasure!! Purely as there is no substitute in the Urdu language for the letter sounds 'sure' as highlighted in the above words.

    Awww Bless, even Professor Sahib cannot pronounce them correctly and what a fine scholar he is! Makes me smile all the same :)
  15. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    fair play, sidi. point taken.

    what about the jeem haa haa business?


    alaHazrat was 20th century too.
  16. so it is not a pakistani thing. otherwise i could point out the indians inability to say the 'zay' hence jimadari instead of zimadari, jameen instead of zameen. gaalib instead of ghalib. etc.
  17. that's not mispronunciation it is a different language--in panjabi 11 is yaaraaN not gyaara--hence yaarveeN instead of gyaarveeN. when panjabi speakers speak urdu they pronounce the words correctly despite an accent. heck the 2 greatest urdu poets of the 20th century were both panjabis--iqbal and faiz!
  18. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    and what about the classic pakistani yarweeN instead of gyarhweeN?
  19. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    similarly, the punjabi's replace the urdu letter daal with waw.


    dekh [look] is wekh
    zimmadari [responsibility] is zimmewari
  20. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    no, seriously, the majority of laymen pakistanis cannot pronounce the khaa. even some of the imam's can't manage it.

    i reckon those from karachi won't have a problem as they speak urdu but the punjabi/kashmiri [mirpuri] definitely do.

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