[INDOLOGY] vidhya?

Hock, Hans Henrich hhhock at illinois.edu
Wed Aug 14 20:28:18 UTC 2013

In the Dravidian South the spellings th, dh are quite common to indicate dental, rather than retroflex pronunciation. Since Dravidian languages do not have aspirates natively (with possibly some minor exceptions in some numerals), English th [θ], which is dental, would be rendered as dental [t], while post-dental Engl. t was identified as retroflex [ṭ] and hence could be used to spell the retroflex voiceless stop. The pattern evidently was extended to the voiced stops in order to make the same distinction. (The use of th, dh to indicate dental stops is not employed systematically; so a fair amount of spelling variation occurs.)


Hans Henrich Hock

On 14 Aug 2013, at 15:18, Sven Sellmer wrote:

Dear Colleagues!
Just a minor query. A student of mine noticed that in India, the word vidyā not infrequently is spelled "vidhya" (in Roman transcription). Does anyone have an idea what may be the reason for this strange spelling? Is it restricted to certain areas?
Best wishes,
Sven Sellmer
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