INDOLOGY FAQ. Re. Varanasi

Benjamin Slade ingeardagum at YAHOO.CO.UK
Fri Feb 19 22:28:42 UTC 2010

All of the speakers I'm familiar with who produce "f", produce it as a labiodental fricative (as in English). Many Nepali speakers don't produce "f" at all (but rather "ph"), but those who do again seem to produce it as a labiodental.

If it is the case that "ph" for some speakers is becoming a bilabial fricative, this would indeed be distinct from "hypercorrection".


From: Christian K. Wedemeyer <wedemeyer at UCHICAGO.EDU>
Sent: Thu, 18 February, 2010 10:41:53
Subject: Re: INDOLOGY FAQ. Re. Varanasi

On Feb 17, 2010, at 2:15 PM, Benjamin Slade wrote:

> The pronunciation of "f" for "ph" is a wide-spread phenomenon among (some) speakers of Indo-Aryan languages; e.g. Hindu/Urdu _phal_ "fruit" is sometimes rendered by native Hindi speakers as _fal_, _phir_ "then" as _fir_, _phul_ "flower" rendered as _ful_ (Hindi films like to play with the resulting homophony with the English borrowing _ful_ "fool"...).As far as I can tell, these are all hypercorrections:

(I'm not a linguist, so excuse any clumsiness:)

But, are these labiodental fricatives, like the English f, or bilabial (as, for instance, in Japanese)? I would suspect the bilabial version (which is what I have heard, I believe, in Northern India and Nepal), which is similar in articulation to a voiceless aspirated labial. In that case, rather than "hypercorrection," might this perhaps be due to a more general, systemic phonetic change (possibly stimulated by contact with Perso-Arabic speakers)? Or is this not a useful distinction?

(Sorry, I'm with Allen...gotta get some more coffee...)

Christian K. Wedemeyer
Assistant Professor of the History of Religions
University of Chicago Divinity School
1025 E 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.
This email is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If the reader of this email message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender and destroy/delete all copies of the transmittal. Thank you


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list