Sindhi language

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Sindhi
سنڌي / सिन्धी
Sindhi.svg
Native toSindh, Pakistan and Kutch, India. Also immigrant communities in India, Hong Kong, Oman, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, UAE, UK, USA, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka
RegionIndian subcontinent
Native speakers25 million  (2007)[1]
Language family
Writing systemArabic, Devanagari, Khudabadi alphabet, Laṇḍā, Gurmukhi[2]
Official status
Official language in Pakistan (Sindh)
 India
Regulated bySindhi Language Authority (Pakistan),
Indian Institute of Sindhology (India)
Language codes
ISO 639-1sd
ISO 639-2snd
ISO 639-3Variously:
snd – Sindhi
lss – Lasi
sbn – Sindhi Bhil
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
 
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Sindhi
سنڌي / सिन्धी
Sindhi.svg
Native toSindh, Pakistan and Kutch, India. Also immigrant communities in India, Hong Kong, Oman, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, UAE, UK, USA, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka
RegionIndian subcontinent
Native speakers25 million  (2007)[1]
Language family
Writing systemArabic, Devanagari, Khudabadi alphabet, Laṇḍā, Gurmukhi[2]
Official status
Official language in Pakistan (Sindh)
 India
Regulated bySindhi Language Authority (Pakistan),
Indian Institute of Sindhology (India)
Language codes
ISO 639-1sd
ISO 639-2snd
ISO 639-3Variously:
snd – Sindhi
lss – Lasi
sbn – Sindhi Bhil
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Sindhi /ˈsɪndi/[3] (سنڌي / सिन्धी) is the language of the historical Sindh region, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is the official language of the province of Sindh[citation needed]. In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the federal government. Abroad there are some 2.6 million Sindhis.

Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It has influences from a local version of spoken form of Sanskrit and from Balochi spoken in the adjacent province of Balochistan.

Most Sindhi speakers are concentrated in the Sindh province and in Kutch, Gujarat, India where Sindhi is a local language. The remaining speakers in India are composed of the Hindu Sindhis who migrated from Sindh and settled in India after partition and the Sindhi diaspora worldwide.

Geographical distribution[edit]

The earliest Arabic manuscripts written during the Abbasid Era.

Sindhi is spoken in Sindh and Balochistan in Pakistan. Sindhi is taught as a first language in the Pakistani province of Sindh, including in the provincial capital Karachi. It is taught as a second language in many government schools of Karachi and Balochistan in Pakistan. It is also spoken by Sindhi tribes living in Kutch. Karachi is the largest Sindhi-speaking city with 3–4 million Sindhis. Hyderabad ranks second with 1 million Sindhi speakers, and Larkana ranks third with almost a half a million Sindhis.

Sindhi is also spoken in India, especially in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is also spoken in Ulhasnagar near Mumbai which is the largest Sindhi enclave in India.[4]

Sindhi has a vast vocabulary and a very old literary tradition. This trend has made it a favourite of many writers and consequently a vast volume of literature and poetry have been written in Sindhi.(See main articles Sindhi literature and Sindhi poetry).

History[edit]

The origin of the Sindhi language can be traced to an Old Indo-Aryan dialect, or primary Prakrit, that was spoken in the region of Sindh at the time of compilation of the Vedas (1500–1200 bce) or perhaps some centuries before that. Glimpses of that dialect can be seen to some extent in the literary language of the hymns of the Rigveda.

Like other languages of this family, Sindhi has passed through Old Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) and Middle Indo-Aryan (Pali, secondary Prakrits, and Apabhramsha) stages of growth, and it entered the New Indo-Aryan stage around the 10th century ce.[5]

The immediate predecessor of Sindhi was an Apabhramsha Prakrit named Vrachada. Arab and Persian travellers, specifically Abu-Rayhan Biruni in his book 'Tahqiq ma lil-Hind', had declared that even before the advent of Islam in Sindh (711 A.D.), the language was prevalent in the region. It was not only widely spoken but written in three different scripts – Ardhanagari, Saindhu and Malwari. Biruni has described many Sindhi words leading to the conclusion that the Sindhi language was widely spoken and rich in vocabulary in his time. Over the course of centuries, Sindhi culture absorbed Arabic and Persian words.

Sindhi became a popular literary language between the 14th and 18th centuries. This is when mystics or Sufis such as Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (as well as numerous others) narrated their theosophical poetry depicting the relationship between humans and Allah.

In the year 1868, the Bombay Presidency assigned Narayan Jagannath Vaidya to replace the Abjad used in Sindhi, with the Khudabadi script. The script was decreed a standard script by the Bombay Presidency thus inciting anarchy in the Muslim majority region. A powerful unrest followed, after which Twelve Martial Laws were imposed by the British authorities.[6]

According to Islamic Sindhi tradition, the first translation of the Quran into Sindhi was completed in the year 883 CE / 270 AH in Mansura, Sindh. The first extensive Sindhi translation was done by Akhund Azaz Allah Muttalawi (1747–1824 CE / 1160–1240 AH).

Phonology[edit]

Sindhi has a relatively large inventory of both consonants and vowels compared to other languages. Sindhi has 46 consonant phonemes and 16 vowels. The consonant to vowel ratio is around average for world's languages at 2.8.[7] All plosives, affricates, nasals, the retroflex flap and the lateral approximant /l/ have aspirated or breathy voiced counterparts. The language also features four implosives.

Consonants[edit]

Consonants of Sindhi[citation needed]
LabialDental
Alveolar
RetroflexPost-alveolar
/Palatal
VelarGlottal
Nasalm
n
ɳ
ɳʱ
ɲŋ
Plosive/
affricate
p
b

t̪ʰ

d̪ʱ
ʈ
ʈʰ
ɖ
ɖʱ
t̠ɕ
t̠ɕʰ
d̠ʑ
d̠ʑʱ
k
ɡ
ɡʱ
Implosiveɓɗ  ʄ ~ ɠ
Fricativefszʂxɣh
Rhoticrɽ
ɽʱ
Approximantʋ
l̪ʱ
j

The retroflex consonants are apical postalveolar, as they are throughout northern India, and so could be transcribed /t̠, t̠ʰ, d̠, d̠ʱ n̠ n̠ʱ s̠ ɾ̠ ɾ̠ʱ/. The dental implosive is sometimes realized as retroflex [ɗ̠]~[ᶑ] The affricates /t̠ɕ, t̠ɕʰ, d̠ʑ, d̠ʑʱ/ are laminal post-alveolars with a relatively short release. It is not clear if /ɲ/ is similar, or truly palatal.[8] /ʋ/ is realized as labiovelar [w] or labiodental [ʋ] in free variation occurs, but is not common, except before a stop.

Vowels[edit]

The vowel phonemes of Sindhi on a vowel chart

The vowels are modal length /i e æ ɑ ɔ o u/ and short /ɪ̆ ʊ̆ ɐ̆/. (Note /æ ɑ ɐ̆/ are imprecisely transcribed as /ɛ a ə/ in the chart.) Consonants following short vowels are lengthened: [pɐ̆tˑo] 'leaf' vs. [pɑto] 'worn'.

Dialects[edit]

Dialects of Sindhi

Writing System[edit]

The folk literature of Sindhi is as old as the language itself. It has been collected and compiled from oral tradition and published in more than 40 volumes by the Sindhi Adabi Board, a government institution that was established in 1955 for the promotion of the language. Written Sindhi literature is first attested in the 8th century ce, when references to an independent, Sindhi version of the Mahabharata appear. However, the earliest well-attested written records in Sindhi belong to the 15th century ce.[9]

Before the standardisation of Sindhi orthography, numerous forms of the Devanagari and Lunda (Laṇḍā) scripts were used for trading, universally by all Sindhis. For literary and religious purposes, a modified form of Persian alphabet known as Ab-ul-Hassan Sindhi and Gurmukhi (a subset of Laṇḍā) were used. Another two scripts, the Khudabadi alphabet and Shikarpuri were attempts to reform the Landa script.[10] During British rule in the late 19th century, an Arabic-based orthography was decreed standard, after much controversy, as the Devanagari script had also been considered. However, this script has since become accepted.[11]

Medieval Sindhi devotional literature (1500–1843) comprises Sufi poetry and Advaita Vedanta poetry. Sindhi literature has flourished during the modern period (since 1843), although the language and literary style of contemporary Sindhi writings in Pakistan and India were noticeably diverging by the late 20th century; authors from the former country were borrowing extensively from Persian and Arabic vocabulary, while those from the latter were highly influenced by Hindi.[12]

Arabic script[edit]

During British rule in India, a variant of the Persian alphabet was adopted for Sindhi in the 19th century. The script is used in Pakistan today. It has a total of 52 letters, augmenting the Persian with digraphs and eighteen new letters (ڄ ٺ ٽ ٿ ڀ ٻ ڙ ڍ ڊ ڏ ڌ ڇ ڃ ڦ ڻ ڱ ڳ ڪ) for sounds particular to Sindhi and other Indo-Aryan languages. Some letters that are distinguished in Arabic or Persian are homophones in Sindhi.

جھڄجپثٺٽٿتڀٻبا
ɟʱʄɟpst̪ʰtɓb*
ڙرذڍڊڏڌدخحڇچڃ
ɽrðɖʱɖɗdxħcɲ
قڦفغعظطضصشسزڙھ
kfɣʐʈzʂʃszɽʱ
يهوڻنملڱگھڳگکڪ
*h*ɳnmlŋɡʱɠɡk

Devanagari script[edit]

In India, the Devanagari script is also used to write Sindhi. A modern version was introduced by the government of India in 1948; however, it did not gain full acceptance, so both the Sindhi-Arabic and Devanagari scripts are used. In India a person may write a Sindhi language paper for a Civil Services Examination in either script [1]. Diacritical bars below the letter are used to mark implosive consonants, and dots called nukta are used to form other additional consonants.

əaɪiʊeɛoɔ
ख़ग़
kxɡɠɣɡʱŋ
ज़
cɟʄzɟʱɲ
ड़ढ़
ʈʈʰɖɗɽɖʱɽʱɳ
tdn
फ़ॿ
pfbɓm
jrlʋ
ʃʂsh

Vocabulary[edit]

Historically, the Sindh region suffered frequent invasions. Arabs under Mohammad bin Qasim conquered parts of Sindh and the region was Islamized gradually under the Sultanate of Delhi and later under the Mughal Empire until the British conquest in 1843. Hence, the Sindhi language borrowed many Arabic and Persian words. In spite of this, the basic vocabulary and grammatical structure of Sindhi has remained mostly unchanged.[13]

In addition, Sindhi has borrowed from English and Hindustani. Today, Sindhi in Pakistan is heavily influenced by Urdu, with more borrowed Perso-Arabic elements, while Sindhi in India is influenced by Hindi, with more borrowed tatsam Sanskrit elements.[14][15]

Example extract[edit]

The following extract is from the Sindhi Wikipedia about the Sindhi language and is written in the 52-letter Sindhi-Arabic script, Devanagari and transliterated to Latin.

Sindhi-Arabic script: سنڌي ٻولي انڊو يورپي خاندان سان تعلق رکندڙ آريائي ٻولي آھي، جنھن تي ڪجھه دراوڙي اھڃاڻ پڻ موجود ‏آهن. هن وقت سنڌي ٻولي سنڌ جي مک ٻولي ۽ دفتري زبان آھي.

Devanagari script: सिन्धी ॿोली इण्डो यूरपी ख़ान्दान सां ताल्लुक़ु रखन्दड़ आर्याई ॿोली आहे, जिंहन ते कुझ द्राविड़ी उहुञाण पण मौजूद आहिनि. हिन वक़्तु सिन्धी ॿोली सिन्ध जी मुख बोली ऐं दफ़्तरी ज़बान आहे.

Transliteration (IAST): sindhī b̤olī iṇḍo yūrapī ḵẖāndāna sā̃ taʿlluqu rakhandaṛ āryāī b̤olī āhe, jinhã te kujha drāviṛī uhuñāṇa paṇa maujūda āhini. hina vaqtu sindhī b̤olī sindha jī mukha b̤olī ãĩ daftarī zabānā āhe.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ "Script". Sindhilanguage.com. 
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ The Sindhu World
  5. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Sindhi alphabets, pronunciation and language". Omniglot.com. 
  7. ^ Nihalani, Paroo. (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association (Sindhi). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  8. ^ The IPA Handbook uses the symbols c, cʰ, ɟ, ɟʱ, but makes it clear this is simply tradition and that these are neither palatal nor stops, but "laminal post-alveolars with a relatively short release". Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:83) confirm a transcription of [t̠ɕ, t̠ɕʰ, d̠ʑ, d̠ʑʱ] and further remarks that "/ʄ/ is often a slightly creaky voiced palatal approximant" (caption of table 3.19).
  9. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ Khubchandani (2003:633)
  11. ^ Cole (2001:648)
  12. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ Cole (2001:652–653)
  15. ^ Khubchandani (2003:624–625)

Sources[edit]

For further reading:

External links[edit]