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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

How many vowels does Hindi and Arabi contains?

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1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Arabic has three vowels, with their long forms, plus two diphthongs: a [ɛ̈] (open e as in English bed, but centralised), i [ɪ], u [ʊ]; ā [æː], ī [iː], ū [uː]; ai (ay) [ɛ̈ɪ], au (aw) [ɛ̈ʊ]. Allophonically, after velarized consonants (see following), the vowel a is pronounced [ɑ], ā as [ɑː] (thus also after r), ai as [ɑɪ] and au as [ɑʊ].

    Vowel diacritics, which are used to mark short vowels, and other special symbols apppear only in the Qur'ān (Koran). They are also used, though with less consistancy, in other religious texts, in classical poetry, in textbooks children and foreign learners, and occasionally in complex texts to avoid ambiguity. Sometimes the diacritics are used for decorative purposes in book titles, letterheads, nameplates, etc.


    * The short open-mid front unrounded vowel (/ɛ/: as e in get) can occur as a conditioned allophone of schwa. Thus, the pronunciation of the vowel अ occurs in two forms. When this vowel is followed by word-middle /h/, or it surrounds word-middle /h/, or is followed by word-ending /h/, it changes allophonically to short /ɛ/. In all other cases it is the mid central vowel schwa. Thus, the following words शहर, रहना, कह are pronounced as /ʃɛhɛr/, /rɛhnɑː/ and /kɛh/ and not as /ʃəhər/, /rəhənɑː/ and /kəh/. It also occurs in loanwords from English, where it is sometimes accorded a new vowel symbol of ऍ (candra: पॅ). e.g., pen: पॅन.

    * The short open back rounded vowel (/ɒ/: as o in hot), does not exist in Hindi at all, other than for English loanwords. In orthography, a new symbol has been invented for it: ऑ (पॉ). If included in Hindi phonology, it brings the number of phonemic vowels to 11.

    * There are some additional vowels traditionally listed in the Hindi alphabet. They are

    o ऋ (originally in Sanskrit a vowel-like syllabic retroflex approximant), pronounced in modern Hindi as /ri/, used only in Sanskrit loanwords (पृ).

    o अं (called anusvāra), pronounced as /əŋ/. Its diacritic (the dot above) is used for a variety of purposes, consisting of vocalic nasalization, and the nasal consonants /n/, /m/, /ɳ/, /ɲ/, /ŋ/ before another consonant. This leads to alternative Hindi spellings for the some words, e.g., the word Hindi itself has two spellings: हिन्दी and हिंदी.

    o अः (called visarga), pronounced as /əh/. Used only in Sanskrit loanwords (पः).

    o The diacritic अँ (called candrabindu), not listed in the alphabet, is used interchangeably with the anusvāra to indicate nasalization of the vowel (पँ).

    * If a lone consonant needs to be written without any following vowel, it is given a halanta/virāma diacritic below (प्).

    * There is less lip-rounding than in English in the long open-mid back rounded vowel (/ɔː/: as au in caught). The vowel /ɑː/ in Hindi is more central and less back than in English, like /ä/.

    * All vowels in Hindi, short or long, can be nasalized, except ऑ. Barring exceptions, the nasalization is phonemic.

    * In Sanskrit and in some (eastern) dialects of Hindi (as well as in a few words in Standard Hindi), the vowel ऐ is pronounced as a diphthong /əi̯/ or /ai̯/ rather than /ɛː/. Similarly, the vowel औ is pronounced in some words as the diphthong /əu̯/ or /au̯/ rather than /ɔː/. Other than these, Hindi does not have true diphthongs—two vowels might occur sequentially but then they are pronounced as two syllables (a glide might come in between while speaking).

    * The vowel ऐ is used to represent the English vowel /æ/ in words like "cat" /kæt/; in these cases, many Hindi speakers pronounce it as [æː] instead of [ɛː], adding an additional vowel phoneme to the Hindi inventory.

    * In the Devanagari script used for Sanskrit, whenever a consonant in a word-ending position is without a virāma (ie, freely standing in the orthography: प as opposed to प्), the short neutral vowel schwa (/ə/) is automatically associated with it—this is of course true for the consonant when in any other position in the word. However, in Hindi, even if the word-ending consonant is written without a virāma, the associated schwa is almost never pronounced. The schwa (/ə/) may be pronounced very short only if the absence of schwa would otherwise make the pronunciation of the word very difficult — such a situation arises when there is a consonantal cluster at the end of the word. Thus, for phonological purposes, a word-ending grapheme without a halant or any other vowel-diacritic must be treated as consonant ending. The schwa in Hindi is usually dropped (syncopated) in khariboli even at certain instances in word-middle positions, where the orthography would otherwise dictate so. e.g., रुकना (to stay) is normally pronounced as /ruknɑː/, while according to the orthography, it should have been /rukənɑː/. (Tiwari, [1966] 2004). Schwa is never syncopated in the first syllable, but often syncoped in the second or the penultimate syllable — this of course reduces the number of syllables in the word. The syncopation of schwa is not phonemically contrastive.

    All in all there are 11 vowels in hindi language!

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