Pronouncing "v"

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

User avatar
Upasaka Sumana
Posts: 891
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

Pronouncing "v"

Postby Upasaka Sumana » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:34 pm

Why do some people pronounce "vipassana" as [wipassana], "bhagavato" as [bhagawato], "avijja" as [awijja], etc...?
Which is the correct pronunciation of "v" — [v] or [w]?
Or if both are correct, is it then a regional difference, i.e. Sri Lankans pronouncing it as [v] while Thais as [w]?

Thanks!
Do not think lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me." A drop at a time is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil.
Do not think lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." A drop at a time is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

—Gotama Buddha, Dhammapada 121-122

User avatar
Kare
Posts: 708
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: Pronouncing "v"

Postby Kare » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:59 pm

Stefan wrote:Why do some people pronounce "vipassana" as [wipassana], "bhagavato" as [bhagawato], "avijja" as [awijja], etc...?
Which is the correct pronunciation of "v" — [v] or [w]?
Or if both are correct, is it then a regional difference, i.e. Sri Lankans pronouncing it as [v] while Thais as [w]?

Thanks!


The correct pronunciation is probably the labio-dental [v] (although it has been discussed - according to Warder some think that the old pronunciation in the days when Pali was a spoken language, may have been the bilabial [w]). In the Thai language there is no [v]. The letter in the Thai alphabet that stands for the [v] in the Pali words, is pronounced as [w]. So the [w]-pronunciation heard today is probably influenced by the Thai.
Mettāya,
Kåre

User avatar
Upasaka Sumana
Posts: 891
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

Re: Pronouncing "v"

Postby Upasaka Sumana » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:32 pm

Thank you, Kåre!
Do not think lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me." A drop at a time is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil.
Do not think lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." A drop at a time is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

—Gotama Buddha, Dhammapada 121-122

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 12152
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Pronouncing "v"

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:26 pm

Thai simply doesn't have a "v" sound, just as English doesn't have a number of sounds found in languages such as Thai, the various Chinese dialects, and even European languages such as Dutch (e.g. Van Gogh). Therefore, you don't find Thai pronouncing it as "v", just as you don't find many English speakers pronouncing Van Gogh correctly (it makes me feel like I'm making a rude noise!).

In my opinion, the "right" pronunciation is the pronunciation of the group one is chanting with. It would be silly to turn up to to a Thai Wat and create dissonance by loudly chanting a different pronunciation...

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
retrofuturist
Posts: 15729
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Pronouncing "v"

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:41 pm

Greetings,

From what I can gather the "v" isn't particularly common amongst Sri Lankans either... it's pronounced like more of a "w".

So much so that when writing certain Dhamma related words in English / Roman Script, they may even replace the "v" with a "w"!

Metta,
Retro. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

User avatar
ancientbuddhism
Posts: 742
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: Pronouncing "v"

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:11 pm

In the Tahi, true ‘v’ is replaced with . Also, the Thai rigor of pāḷi chanting insists on their particular ephony of retroflex consonents such as ṭ & ṇ, of which is rather hard to render any transliteration.

When I was chanting with the Lao saṅgha it was difficult to follow after training with the Thai, as they chant pāḷi according to the custom of Lao language. Lao does not use ‘r’ or ‘ch’ giving brahmacariya the euphony boomasara.

And as retro has mentioned, the Sri Lanka saṅgha does not seem to care. Although a Sri Lankan abbot I stayed with mentioned that there were some variations in the pāḷi texts where the 'v' is found replaced by 'b'.
Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.

Alice replied rather shyly, ‘I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’”

—LEWIS CARROLL

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves


Return to “Pali”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine