Urdu Abbreviations

Muhammed Suleiman xtr08 at DIAL.PIPEX.COM
Sat Nov 22 02:50:51 UTC 1997

> > What does a string such as ZDMG correspond to in Urdu? Does Urdu use
> > the Arabic letter with an intrinsic short 'a' (the same way as in Indic
> > scripts the unmarked letter has an intrinsic short 'a' vowel) or does
> > it used it as a pure consonant? (In other works, in Urdu, does the
> > letter for 'k' stand for 'k' or for 'ka'?)

I am afraid to say that the English influence is so penetrating that Urdu
abbrevations of this type use transliterations of the English letter names,
For example Mohammad Ali Jinnah would be styled  _em ey jinnaa_, and the
United Nations would be referred to as _yuu en_.

The only abbreviations, as such, are used for Arabic phrases uttered by the
pious after the names of Prophets or Saints, such as /raziyallaahu anhuu/
[Urdu pronunciation of the Arabic] 'May Allah be pleased with him.' But
such devices are written merely as aides-de-memoire, and are read out in
full, never as _re-zwaad_for instance.

Abbreviations in Arabic, incidentally, were much more common in earlier
periods, but they were of the same nature as the Urdu. It is interesting to
note, however, if not entirely germane to the present discussion, that
Arabic abbrevations could use the initial letters of words or final ones.
Thus the letter @ayn was used to represent _rukuu at _, one of the divisions
of the Qur'an [literally 'a bowing', the amount suitable to recite in one
cycle of ritual prayer].

Of course, members will not need to be informed that Hindi (and its north
Indian sisters) uses the same kind of English-influenced abbrevations as
Urdu, with the sole difference that they are written in Devanagiri.

Apologies again for any digressions,

Regards to all,

Dr Muhammad Suleiman

Post scriptum : Many thanks to those who filled me in about the moras !
> Oops! ZDMG is a transliteration scheme from "Zeitschrift der
> Morgenl\"andischen Gesellschaft" and EL is from "Encyclopedia of Islam."
> In Urdu, as well as the other Perso-Arabic scripts, which are alphabetic
> in nature, consonants do not have vowel inherency like the Indic scripts
> do. So, an Arabic "k" is a pure consonant, explicitly /k/ not /ka/.
> Sorry for the ambiguity, I ought to watch my examples.
> Regards,
> Anshuman Pandey

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