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Default Retroflex ټ and ډ? - 02-02-2018, 04:25 PM

I've seen a lot of English sources call ټ ('te' as in ټول i.e. "tol") and ډ ('dal' as in ګډ i.e. "gad") retroflex sounds. Retroflex means you roll your tongue back at the beginning of the sound. It's common in Indian languages, the Pashto letter ړ is somewhat retroflex, and 'r' is sometimes retroflex in English (for example, in the word "red").

However, in my dialect those letters are usually pronounced as alveolar stops, i.e. the same as the regular 't' and 'd' in English, or the ت and د in Arabic (note that we pronounce those letters as dentals in Pashto, in Arabic they're pronounced like the 't' in "tape" and 'd' in "dial"). I can think of a few place names where the ټ sounds retroflex, but other than those exceptions they're always pronounced as alveolars. This also seems to be the way they're pronounced by most Afghans I know, as well as by most of the reporters and hosts on Afghan news. I have heard people pronounce them like retroflexes, mostly Pakistanis but also some Afghans.

So I'm wondering how everyone here pronounces them. Mostly, I'm interested in knowing if the pronunciation becomes more retroflex as you go towards the Indus, as that could indicate that the pronunciation may have shifted due to to influence from Indic languages, and if there's a difference in rural vs urban pronunciations, as that could indicate that the shift is recent, and due to increased Urduization/desification in urban centers.

Also, if someone thinks it might be the other way around, (i.e. western populations were influenced by Persian), that's unlikely, as neither retroflex nor alveolar stops exist in Persian. Wikipedia claims they do, but it's wrong (Wikipedia's Muslim language articles, and apparently Western scholarship on the subject in general, are actually really bad, which is one of the reasons I created this thread).

For anyone wondering what the difference between the sounds are, here are some videos:

Voiced alveolar stop (English 'd'):
[ d ] voiced unaspirated apical alveolar stop - YouTube

Voiceless alveolar stop (English 't'):
[ t⁼ ] unvoiced unaspirated apical alveolar stop - YouTube

Voiced retroflex stop (Urdu ڈ‬):
[ ɖ ] voiced unaspirated subapical retroflex stop - YouTube

Voiceless retroflex stop (Urdu ٹ‬, this video actually uses the Pashto word ټول as an example of the sound, and it sounds nothing like how we pronounce it lol):
[ ʈ⁼ ] unvoiced unaspirated subapical retroflex stop - YouTube
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Default 02-02-2018, 09:55 PM

Everyone I know from KPK pronounces it as a retroflex consonant, even old people and villagers who aren't really influenced by Urdu. In fact, my younger brother pronounces it as an alveolar stop and we consider it a mispronounciation so we correct him when he pronounces it like that. I'm actually really surprised that you guys can pronounce it as an alevolar stop as I've met Afridis who pronounce it as retroflex and they're pretty far away from the Indus. Are you sure you're not just pronouncing it wrong due to your upbringing in America?


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majority of Hilly Rajputs are the product of these cross breeding and want to disassociate with their past. rajputs with rajwadi surnames consider themeselves superior but those native kings who look darker gets mocked as "gola" (mix breed, son of rakhile) so they actually invite light skinned rajputs and kshatriya tribes from Jammu region such as jamwals to sleep with their women so that their wives can give birth to pure white looking Native Child.

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Default 02-12-2018, 04:52 PM

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Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
Everyone I know from KPK pronounces it as a retroflex consonant, even old people and villagers who aren't really influenced by Urdu. In fact, my younger brother pronounces it as an alveolar stop and we consider it a mispronounciation so we correct him when he pronounces it like that.
How retroflex do you pronounce it? Do you pronounce ټول the way it was pronounced in the video I posted, for example?

There are degrees of retroflexion, and I don't think I've ever heard someone speaking Pashto with as exaggerated a retroflex as the one in that video.

So your family considers non-retroflex pronunciation completely wrong? I think most Afghans don't pronounce them as retroflexes, or use a light retroflex and the alveolar sounds as allophones (i.e. they're used interchangeably). I don't think I've ever heard a heavy retroflex stop from an Afghan. The ones who most clearly pronounce them as retroflexes are Kandaharis/Southern Pashto speakers I think, but even they will generally go back and forth from pronouncing them as retroflexes to alveolars in the same sentence. I've listened to some Pakistanis speaking Pashto in videos, and they seem to do the same thing too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
I'm actually really surprised that you guys can pronounce it as an alevolar stop as I've met Afridis who pronounce it as retroflex and they're pretty far away from the Indus. Are you sure you're not just pronouncing it wrong due to your upbringing in America?
My Pashto pronunciation is native as far as I know. I actually did ask my dad and other elders about this though, and they told me that those letters are pronounced like the English 't' and 'd', not the Urdu letters. They also said my pronunciation of those letters is correct (and I pronounced them as clear alveolars), and when I explained to them the way it was taught in English books, they laughed and said it sounds like Urdu. They also told me that they had noticed that Americans who try to speak Pashto always pronounce those letters very heavy and incorrectly, which I presume is because they're being taught to say them as Indic-style retroflexes.

Here's an example of an Afghan newscaster who clearly doesn't pronounce the stops as retroflexes:

SHAMSHAD TV Pashto news / د شمشاد خبري ټولګه - YouTube

Most of the time he's clearly saying them as alveolars. In a few cases it's a little unclear if the sound is retroflex or alveolar, but one thing I've noticed is that some of our vowels can make a letter resemble a retroflex slightly without it actually being one. It's hard to describe this, but you can clearly hear it in the difference between ټول and ټينګ. The difference between an alveloar and retroflex stop is much clearer in the second word (teeng) than it is in the first (tol).
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