Two interesting words...

Discussion in 'Language Notes' started by naqshbandijamaati, Jun 1, 2006.

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  1. Excellent post AH. Although the palang of Urdu and Farsi are probably just homonyms as you said, the meanings of many words are changed depending on the language.

    The word for God is another interesting one: Deus, Dei(ty), Theos, Deo...yet in Arabic it is Allah! I wonder if the Farsi word, khoda can be philologically linked to the latin deus since it is, as you pointed out, an Indo European language.
  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    it is not necessary that the words come from the same root. they are homonyms, but it is not necessary that they might have evolved from the same word.

    urdu follows a persian grammar, has a huge arabic vocabulary, includes common sanskrit and certain turkish words. so palang of farsi may not be the palang of hindi. [which is derived from sanskrit; and punjabi being an indian language is certainly an offspring of sanskrit]

    just like english - it is a germanic language with a predominantly latin/french vocabulary. [that was after the so-called frenchification of english] if you read chaucer, you may not understand most of it. plus english like urdu is an embrace-and-extend kind of a language. unlike french snobs, english liberally borrowed words from the entire world as and when required - it still does.

    if you study a few homonyms in english, you will see that some of them arrive from different roots. take these words: pediatrics, pedicure, pedant. one might be misled into thinking that all three come from the same root ped whereas it is not.

    pediatrics comes from the greek paidos, meaning child and hence the branch of medicine that specializes in treating children.

    pedicure comes from the latin pedis for foot; hence treating the foot.

    pedant comes from italian pedante, which itself borrowed from late latin.

    interestingly, persian and indian languages are closer to english and other european languages than arabic or other middle-eastern ones. this is because persian, indian and european languages belong to the same family indo-european, whereas arabic belongs to the afro-asiatic family.

    if you look at paada in sanskrit meaning foot, or paa in persian - and hence paanv/payr in hindi/urdu - for foot resemble pedis from latin.

    squashed history: urdu as any other language evolved as a spoken tongue that was a result of interaction between two cultures. sanskrit being the language of the natives and predominantly persian, the language of the invaders, the muslims. it was known as a camp-language, spoken by the foot soldiers who interacted with the common natives. infact, the name itself is apparently derived from the turkish word 'horde' meaning 'legion' all along persian was the language of the muslim elite and sanskrit that of hindu elite.

    the sufis began to compose rhymes in this fledgeling language as early as the time of khwaja gharib nawaz, but it was still in oral form. some historians say that it took the written form in the south - or deccan.

    this language was earlier known as hindustani. anyway, it did not have its own script - muslims adopted the arabic script and called it urdu; hindus adopted the sanskrit/devanagari script and called it hindi. during further communal differences, muslim elite, well versed with persian and arabic flooded the language with persian/arabic vocabulary [many thanks to them] and to keep their imtiyaz or distinction the hindu elite pumped sanskrit in it, rather unsuccessfully.

    but in the end, urdu won and lost just as hindi lost and won. pure hindi is unsustainable, unpronounceable and difficult to be prevalent. there was a time when they tried to promote uchch hindi or pure hindi on national television (news, that is) and many people made fun of it and parodied the effort. so it was softened and leaned back towards urdu. hindi in today's world - news, movies, common speech is actually urdu. but they still call it hindi (or modern hindi.)

    hotey hai jiske boli meethi zaban hamari, as dagh said. by speaking this sweet language our mouth turns sweet - here meethi or sweet is used only once but works two times. zaban is used as both language and mouth but the word appears only once. boli is used in two meanings: language and 'to speak.'
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  3. :s1:

    Here is an example of the same word which changes its meaning depending on the language it is used in. I'm sure there is a technical word for that but I don't know it.
    The word in question is paida or payda . It is a Farsi word which means find. It is normally used as part of a compound verb -payda kardan i.e. to find.

    The interesting thing is that when we use the same word in Urdu (and Punjabi) the meaning now changes to 'born'. e.g. Payda hona - to be born.

    Isn't that interesting? This is what makes translation such a tricky business!

    Another word is palang. It is an old Persian word. In Farsi it means tiger. Yet in Urdu/Punjabi it means a type of bed made of rope! I wonder how the meaning became changed?

    Ahmad Faraz, the great Urdu poet of this age, has used this word in this

    Isn't language, especially Farsi/Urdu marvellous?!

    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2006

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