Category Archives: Language

Hindi: Dental Consonants: त, थ, द, ध, न

The fourth five consonants -- त, थ, द, ध, न -- are dental consonants (Wikipedia Dental consonants). Just like it sounds, the dental consonants are related to your teeth. Dental consonants represent half of the strange d's and t's, cerebral consonants are the other half. Of course, by strange, I mean strange to me. The dental consonants are articulated by placing the tip of your tongue against the back of your teeth, whereas the cerebral consonants are made with the tip of the tongue against the roof of your mouth. Comparing the dental unaspirated ta, त, with the cerebral unaspirated ṭa, ट, is that ट sounds deeper and rounder than त.


ta, /t̪/


tha, /t̪h/

त is said with no aspiration, थ is said with aspiration.


da, /d̪/


dha, /d̪h/

द is said with no aspiration, ध is said with aspiration.


na, /n/

न is the most common nasal consonant.

  Stop Nasal Approximant Fricative
  Unvoiced Voiced Unvoiced Voiced
  Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
Guttural
ka
/k/

kha
/kh/

ga
/g/

gha
/gh/

ṅa
/ŋ/
   
ha
/h,ɦ/
Palatal
ca
/c,ʧ/

cha
/chh/

ja
/ɟ,ʤ/

jha
hh/

ña
/ɲ/

ya
/j/

śa
/ɕ,ʃ/
 
Cerebral
ṭa
/ʈ/

ṭha
h/

ḍa
/ɖ/

ḍha
h/

ṇa
/ɳ/

ra
/r/

ṣa
/ʂ/
 
Dental
ta
/t̪/

tha
/t̪h/

da
/d̪/

dha
/d̪h/

na
/n/

la
/l/

sa
/s/
 
Labial
pa
/p/

pha
/ph/

ba
/b/

bha
/bh/

ma
/m/

va
/ʋ/
   

I am archiving this information about the alphabet on the Hindi page: kirkkittell.com/language/hindi. More information from Wikipedia:

Hindi: Cerebral Consonants: ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण

The third five consonants -- ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण -- are cerebral consonants (Wikipedia Cerebral consonants). Apparently, in most phonetic systems, these are known as retroflex consonants, but in this and other languages in the region they are called cerebral consonants. From my point of view, as an American, cerebral consonants require tongue placement similar to the palatal consonants. In palatal consonants, such as /j/, the flat part fo the tongue presses against the hard palate on the roof of your mouth. In cerebral consonants, from this position in articulating a palatal consonant, the tip of the tongue touches the roof of the mouth behind the point where palatal consonants are articulated. (I may be wrong -- comments are welcome.)

The cerebral and dental d's and t's take some getting used to. I grew up with one d and one t in written English and no distinction between any of the different d's and t's in spoken English. But, in Hindi, there are four each: unaspirated cerebral; aspirated cerebral; unaspirated dental; aspirated dental.


ṭa, /ʈ/


ṭha, /ʈh/

ट is said with no aspiration, ठ is said with aspiration.


ḍa, /ɖ/


ḍha, /ɖh/

ड is said with no aspiration, ढ is said with aspiration.


ṇa, /ɳ/

ण is the first common nasal consonant, i.e., you'll tend to see this one more than the previous two (ङ and ञ).

Stop Nasal Approximant Fricative
Unvoiced Voiced Unvoiced Voiced
Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
Guttural
ka
/k/

kha
/kh/

ga
/g/

gha
/gh/
ṅa
/ŋ/

ha

/h,ɦ/
Palatal
ca
/c,ʧ/

cha
/chh/

ja
/ɟ,ʤ/

jha
hh/

ña
/ɲ/

ya
/j/

śa
/ɕ,ʃ/
Cerebral
ṭa
/ʈ/

ṭha
h/

ḍa
/ɖ/

ḍha
h/

ṇa
/ɳ/

ra
/r/

ṣa
/ʂ/
Dental
ta
/t̪/

tha
/t̪h/

da
/d̪/

dha
/d̪h/

na
/n/

la
/l/

sa
/s/
Labial
pa
/p/

pha
/ph/

ba
/b/

bha
/bh/

ma
/m/

va
/ʋ/

I am archiving this information about the alphabet on the Hindi page: kirkkittell.com/language/hindi. More information from Wikipedia:

Hindi: Palatal Consonants: च, छ, ज, झ, ञ

The second five consonants -- च, छ, ज, झ, ञ -- are palatal consonants (Wikipedia Palatal consonants). Palatal consonants are articulated with the top, flat part of your tongue against the hard palate -- the middle of the roof of your mouth. This is easier to understand if you slowly say the j in jump or the ch in change. When you start to form the j or ch, feel where the contact is between your tongue and palate. (It is useful to understand where the palatal consonants are articulated to better understand where the cerebral consonants are articulated. j and ch are common sounds for an American, but the Hindi cerebral consonants are not. Cerebral consonants are formed by curling the tip of your tongue backwards against the roof of your mouth, just behind where the top of your tongue was for a palatal consonant.)

ca, /c, ʧ/

cha, /ch, ʧh/

च is said with no aspiration, i.e., with no puff of breath when you say it. छ is the same, except said with aspiration. Think of the transliteration of च, which is just a c, as more equivalent to the English ch, i.e., not as in ceiling or cat. However, since I tend to aspirate ch, the ch in chair sounds more like छ.

ja, /ɟ,ʤ/

jha, /ɟh, ʤh/

ज is said with no aspiration, झ is said with aspiration. ज is like the j in judge.

ña, /ɲ/

ञ is a nasal consonant. You'll never see it at the start of a word. You'll never see it on its own. It seems to appear only rarely in text.

  Stop Nasal Approximant Fricative
  Unvoiced Voiced Unvoiced Voiced
  Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
Guttural ka /k/ kha /kh/ ga /g/ gha /gh/ ṅa /ŋ/     ha /h,ɦ/
Palatal

ca /c,ʧ/

cha /chh/ ja /ɟ,ʤ/ jha hh/ ña /ɲ/ ya /j/ śa /ɕ,ʃ/  
Cerebral ṭa /ʈ/ ṭha h/ ḍa /ɖ/ ḍha h/ ṇa /ɳ/

ra /r/

ṣa /ʂ/  
Dental ta /t̪/ tha /t̪h/ da /d̪/ dha /d̪h/ na /n/ la /l/ sa /s/  
Labial pa /p/ pha /ph/ ba /b/ bha /bh/ ma /m/ va /ʋ/    

I am archiving this information about the alphabet on the Hindi page: kirkkittell.com/language/hindi. More information from Wikipedia:

Hindi: Guttural Consonants: क, ख, ग, घ, ङ

When starting from the beginning in my Hindi studies, I learned an interesting concept about the arrangement of the Hindi alphabet: there is a reason the letters are in such an order. It is based on articulation of the consonants. I'm no linguist, but my understanding is that the consonants go in groups in this order: guttural; palatal; cerebral; dental; labial; approximant; fricative. Basically, but not entirely, this goes from the back of the throat (guttural) to the lips (labial). I'll lay it out in steps.

The first five consonants -- क, ख, ग, घ, ङ -- are guttural consonants (Wikipedia Guttural). Guttural consonants are articulated in the throat. The first four are easy to say for a Midwestern American -- most of them, of at least.


ka, /k/


kha, /kh/

क is said with no aspiration, i.e., with no puff of breath when you say it. That requires practice for me. When I say words like kite, I aspirate the k. ख is said with aspiration.


ga, /g/


gha, /gh/

Again, ग is said with no aspiration, घ is said with aspiration.


ṅa, /ŋ/

ङ is a nasal consonant. You'll never see it at the start of a word. You'll never see it on its own. You'll rarely see it in text.

Stop Nasal Approximant Fricative
Unvoiced Voiced Unvoiced Voiced
Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
Guttural
ka
/k/

kha
/kh/

ga
/g/

gha
/gh/

ṅa
/ŋ/

ha
/h,ɦ/
Palatal
ca
/c,ʧ/

cha
/chh/

ja
/ɟ,ʤ/

jha
hh/

ña
/ɲ/

ya
/j/

śa
/ɕ,ʃ/
Cerebral
ṭa
/ʈ/

ṭha
h/

ḍa
/ɖ/

ḍha
h/

ṇa
/ɳ/


ra
/r/


ṣa
/ʂ/
Dental
ta
/t̪/

tha
/t̪h/

da
/d̪/

dha
/d̪h/

na
/n/

la
/l/

sa
/s/
Labial
pa
/p/

pha
/ph/

ba
/b/

bha
/bh/

ma
/m/

va
/ʋ/

I am archiving this information about the alphabet on the Hindi page: kirkkittell.com/language/hindi. More information from Wikipedia:

Punjabi Alphabet: Vowels

This is a companion post to a previous post that lists the consonants of the Punjabi alphabet. Or, in other words, now I can finally provide some closure to being able to read Punjabi. (Making sense of what I read, of course, is a totally different problem.) The first three letters of the alphabet -- ੳ, ਅ, and ੲ -- are not used by themselves. Each serves as a foundation on which independent vowels are formed. Vowels take two forms: (1) independent vowels, which stand alone or can be used as the first letter in a word, are formed by adding a vowel sign to one of the three bases; and (2) dependent vowels, which are formed by adding a vowel sign to a consonant (in the second case, the vowel can not be the first letter of the word).

Dependent Vowels

Vowel sign Transliteration Name Joined with ਮ
(invisible) a ਮੁਕਤਾ muk-tā
ā ਕਾੱਨਾ kaṃ-nā ਮਾ
ਿ i ਸਿਹਾਰੀ si-hā-rī ਮਿ
ī ਬਿਹਾਰੀ bi-hā-rī ਮੀ
u ਔਂਕੜ auṃ-kaṛ ਮੁ
ū ਦੁਲੈਂਕੜੇ du-laiṃ-ka-ṛe ਮੂ
e ਲਾਂਵ lāṃv ਮੇ
ai ਦੁਲਾਂਵਾਂ du-lāṃ-vāṃ ਮੈ
o ਹੋੜਾ ho-ṛā ਮੋ
au ਕਨੌੜਾ ka-nau-ṛā ਮੌ

Independent Vowels

Base + Vowel Sign Independent Vowel Transliteration
ੳ + ੁ u
ੳ + ੂ ū
ੳ + ੋ o
ਅ + (invisible) a
ਅ + ਾ ā
ਅ + ੈ ai
ਅ + ੌ au
ੲ + ਿ i
ੲ + ੀ ī
ੲ + ੇ e

100 Most Commonly Used Hindi Words

OK. I've trudged through the 100 most common Hindi words and incorporated suggestions and corrections. Now, I've posted the changes to the online list. Have a look: most commonly used Hindi words. If you would like to help me develop it, please let me know. The list comes from the Hindi Google Group, and I am modifying it to fit my aims. Good luck, and have fun.

Hindi: Errata, Words 1 to 100

In the course of stumbling through the top 100 most commonly used words in Hindi, I got some helpful advice regarding my mistakes and omissions. Now it's time to finally put that advice into play and update the first ten posts of ten words each...

1 to 10

8. अपने ap-ne (adjective) ours (plural form of अपना)

11 to 20

11. होता ho-taa (verb) happening - singular masculine imperfective aspect of होना

14. हुए hu-e (verb) becoming - plural masculine perfective aspect of होना

19. रहा ra-haa (auxiliary verb) masculine singular form of continuous aspect auxiliary verb

21 to 30

25. अपनी ap-nii (adjective) her own; hers - feminine form of अपना

26. होती ho-tii (verb) happening - singular feminine imperfective aspect of होना

31 to 40

32. रहे ra-he (auxiliary verb) masculine plural form of continuous aspect auxiliary verb

35. रही ra-hii (auxiliary verb) feminine singular form of continuous aspect auxiliary verb

36. होने ho-ne (verb) oblique infinitive form of होना

38. हुई hu-ii (verb) becoming - singular feminine perfective aspect of होना

41 to 50

OK

51 to 60

51. गये ga-ye (verb) plural perfective aspect of जाना, to go

53. आदि a-di (noun) et cetera

58. उन्होंने un-hon-ne (pronoun) oblique case of they

61 to 70

65. उनकी un-kii (adjective) theirs; his - formal

71 to 80

OK

81 to 90

OK

91 to 100

92. उनका un-a-kaa (adjective) theirs; his - formal

96. इसका is-a-kaa (adjective) his - informal

Vinay, Pradeep, thank you again for all of your help.

And now, on to something more practical: not just words, but sentences.

Punjabi Alphabet

Key

lettertransliteration of letter

name of lettertransliteration of letter name

  • Generally, h denotes aspiration.
  • For ਤ, ਥ, ਦ, and ਧ, t and d denote dental consonants, i.e., the tongue is placed behind the front teeth. ਟ, ਠ, ਡ, and ਢ, while and denote retroflex consonants, i.e., the tongue is placed further back in the mouth with its tip against the palate.
  • The first three letters, ੳ, ਅ, and ੲ, are not used on their own. They are used in combination with dependent vowels to form independent vowels, e.g., ਉ is u, ਆ is ā, and ਈ is ī, however by themselves they represent nothing.
  • Alphabetical order is left to right, down to the next row then left to right, etc.

Punjabi Alphabet

...

ਊੜਾūṛ-ā

...

ਐੜਾaiṛ-ā

...

ਈੜੀīṛ-ī

s

ਸੱਸਾsas-sā

h

ਹਾਹਾhā-hā

k

ਕੱਕਾkak-kā

kh

ਖੱਖਾkhakh-khā

g

ਗੱਗਾgag-gā

gh

ਘੱਗਾghag-gā

ਙੰਙਾṅaṃ-ṅā

c

ਚੱਚਾcac-cā

chh

ਛੱਛਾchach-chā

j

ਜੱਜਾjaj-jā

jh

ਝੱਜਾjhaj-jā

ñ

ਞੰਞਾñaṃ-ñā

ਟੈਂਕਾṭain-kā

ṭh

ਠੱਠਾṭath-ṭā

d

ਡੱਡਾdad-dā

dh

ਢੱਡਾdhad-dā

ਣਾਣਾṇā-ṇā

t

ਤੱਤਾtat-tā

th

ਥੱਥਾthath-thā

d

ਦੱਦਾdad-dā

dh

ਧੱਦਾdhad-dā

n

ਨੱਨਾ

nan-nā

p

ਪੱਪਾpap-pā

ph

ਫੱਫਾphaph-phā

b

ਬੱਬਾbab-bā

bh

ਭੱਬਾbhab-bā

m

ਮੱਮਾmam-mā

y

ਯੱਯਾyay-yā

r

ਰਾਰਾrar-rā

l

ਲੱਲਾlal-lā

v

ਵੱਵਾvav-vā

ੜṛ

ੜਾੜਾṛā-ṛā

ਸ਼ś

ਸ਼ੱਸ਼ਾśaś-śā

ਖ਼kh

ਖ਼ੱਖ਼ਾkhakh-khā

ਗ਼ġ

ਗ਼ੱਗ਼ਾġā

ਜ਼z

ਜ਼ੱਜ਼ਾzaz-zā

ਫ਼f

ਫ਼ੱਫ਼ਾfaf-fā

Commonly used Hindi words #91 to 100: व्यक्ति, उनका, लिये, इसलिए, तीन, इसका, ऐसी, विशेष, बड़ी, अथवा

Words ranked number 91 to 100 in the list of most commonly used Hindi words (courtesy of Hindi Google Group and Resource Center for Indian Language Technology Solutions):

91. व्यक्ति vyak-ti (f. noun) a person; a particular person

92. उनका un-a-kā (adjective) theirs; his - formal

93. लिये li-ye (verb) took; received; accepted. This is the masculine plural, perfective aspect of लेना, "to take."

94. इसलिए is-a-li-e (adverb) so; therefore

95. तीन tīn (adjective) three

96. इसका is-a-kā (adjective) his - informal

97. ऐसी ai-sī (f. adjective) of this sort

98. विशेष vi-śheṣ (adjective) 1. particular, special, distinctive. 2. excellent.

99. बड़ी ba-ṛī (f. adjective) big, large; great

100. अथवा ath-a-vā (conjunction) or

The following resources were helpful for this set of words:

Now that I've made it to 100 -- except, of course, for the lingering blanks -- I am going to shift focus for some time. First, the spreadsheet of most common Hindi words needs to be completed; from 41 to 60, the definitions are included, but for the others I didn't include the information in the spreadsheet. Second, the previous posts need to have styles and errors fixed. Thanks to Pradeep and Vinay, I learned about things I was missing or had translated incorrectly. Now I will go back and fix the errors.

The next step is to put some of this new knowledge to use, to find sentences containing this set of 100 words and help to give them more context and meaning. The idea to start over and study Hindi from the most common words down originated from a video interview of Tim Ferriss that I watched some weeks ago. He attacked Japanese in the same way, first learning the words he was mostly likely to see -- a list of the most commonly used words in the language -- and building his knowledge around that. It made sense to me. Ultimately, it might not be the best way, for for self study, preparing myself for what I was most likely to see seems like a good idea. Now to go and apply the knowledge practically, then we'll see if this is right.

Commonly used Hindi words #81 to 90: दूसरे, हाथ, भाषा, मेरे, मैंने, तुम, बीच, वाली, बड़े, प्रति

Words ranked number 81 to 90 in the list of the most common Hindi words (courtesy of Hindi Google Group and Resource Center for Indian Language Technology Solutions):

81. दूसरे dū-sa-re (adverb) another; secondly

82. हाथ hāth (m. noun) hand (as in giving a hand)

83. भाषा bhā-ṣā (f. noun) language; speech

84. मेरे me-re (pl. adjective) my

85. मैंने maiṃ-ne (pronoun) I - This is the first person singular ergative case of मैं. ने denotes ergative case.

86. तुम tum (pronoun) you (informal)

87. बीच bīc (m. noun) middle. बीच के is the preposition between.

88. वाली vā-lī (f. suffix) 1. (added to noun) a person employed in the preceding noun. 2. (added to adjective) adds emphasis to preceding adjective. 3. (added to noun, adjective, or noun phrase) gives adjectival properties to preceding word. 4. (added to verb) gives agentive meaning to preceding verb. Feminine form of वाला. http://www.geekofalltrades.net/2007/02/grammarwallah.html has a good explanation of how the word works.

89. बड़े ba-ɽe (pl. m. adjective) big, large; great; elder

90. प्रति pra-ti 1. (f. noun) copy of an original. 2. (f. noun) section, group (of a larger whole). 3. (prefix) again, back again, re-. 4. (preposition) towards, against, anti-. 5. (preposition) each, every; per. 6. (preposition) similar to.

Pradeep also says that रति is used on the cover of letters in place of to.