It is not always a conjunct; there are some letters, too!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/02/01 10:16 -05:00, original URI:

A few times since I posted How would Harry Potter have pronounced शहिवाख़्‍ का दर्पण, anyway?, I have found myself talking with people who know Hindi (fancy that, me being in India and all!) and once in a presentation as well. Each time, I mentioned one additional point about the story that showed how a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing....

And I was encouraged to tell the story here. Thus this post...

You see, although I have a good feel for most of the letters and many of the conjuncts in Hundi, it is hardly a 100% thing.

And not all conjuncts are "easy" to glean ones just by looking at them like ন (U+09a8, BENGALI LETTER NA) + ন (U+09a8, BENGALI LETTER NA) == ন্ন (U+09a8 U+09cd U+09a8, aka NA Hasant NA).

I mean it kind of looks like a NA NA? I mean I know it is not like Bowzer is a member of শন্ন but you know what I mean, right?

And before you ask, the SHA NA NA joke is me winging it right now; I know it is not actually something yiou would pronounce that way and I did not mention that to the people I was talking to in India!

Well in any case, they aren't all that easy, let me tell you.

So anyway, I told the story about how I was frantically trying to take क (U+0915, DEVANAGARI LETTER KA) + ् (U+094d, DEVANAGARI SIGN VIRAMA) + ह (U+0939, DEVANAGARI LETTER HA) in various combinations, with and without ZWJ and ZWNJ, and could not get a KHA conjunct that looked right -- only क्ह or क्‌ह or क्‍ह.

Then I stumbled on ख (U+0916, aka DEVANAGARI LETTER KHA) instead.

There's a letter?

And yes that is much easier. :-)


By tomorrow I will be building b/d/p out of left over lowercase L and lowercase O pieces in English, which is almost as silly....

Some of the people I would explain the story to understood what was happening before it got to the punchline, and they were smiling much more quickly. Almost s widely as when I would pronounce Hindi words! :-)


This post brought to you by(U+0916, aka DEVANAGARI LETTER KHA)

John Cowan on 1 Feb 2008 3:34 PM:

The logic of Brahmic scripts does not treat bh, dh, gh, ph, th, kh as conjuncts, but as unitary letters.  This reflects the way they work in the Indic languages, where they are single consonants, not consonant clusters.

Michael S. Kaplan on 1 Feb 2008 8:47 PM:

I know, it was just the downside of being in "conjunct mode" :-)

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referenced by

2008/02/07 Taking Lufthansa's Ark across the universe in search of my own Kobayashi Maru: The Sandalwood Bunny, aka Much ado about scooter

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