The wisdom of our ancestors

"Stone-throwing festival hurts 50".

Every year, the festival is held in August or September in Chhindwada district of southern Madhya Pradesh, in which villagers of Saargaon and Pandhurhna form two groups and hurl stones at each other. ...
'We do not know when this festival started. It must be centuries old,' said Raghav Singh, a resident of Pandhurna.

Note also, fellow linguistics nerds, the two spellings of "Chhindwa(r|d)a", and tremble before what I assume is another example of the confusifying power of The Flap. Or maybe it's the confusifying power of being hit on the head with festival rocks.

Popularity factor: 10


Alveolar or retroflex, you think?

I was more intrigued by the "chh"; had forgotten about the four-way consonantal distinction! (±voiced, ±aspiration...Yikes!)


Making matters worse, most of these people are fresh from last week's Glass House Festival.


There's always been a lottery!


Interesting. The r version is the official spelling and gets 100 times as many Google hits, but the d version gets enough hits to make it clear it's not just a typo.


Ashamed of my laziness, I did a little more research and found what seem to be at least three villages named "Chhindwada", one of which is inside a Tahsil/Tehsil named "Chhindwara" which is in turn inside the district of Chhindwara. Perhaps this event took place in one of the villages but the writer/translator got their administrative levels mixed up.

The presence of a name hierarchy going Chhindwara -> Chhindwara -> Chhindwada is pretty intriguing, though... I wonder if the two spellings really do represent different words. Maybe the "d" is something dental? I have to admit I don't know that much about Hindi or its romanisation.


p.s. according to Wikipedia (famous last words) the retroflex flap is mostly found in loanwords, so if we are talking about a flap, my money's on alveolar!


my money's on alveolar

Aaaand... they're off! Retroflex gets out of the gate well, alveolar starts slow but that's how he runs, the jockey told me he wasn't going to push until the halfway mark, retroflex at the quarter, retroflex pulling ahead, halfway and he's several lengths ahead... but here comes alveolar, and look at him go! Oh, baby, he's only a length behind as they enter the final stretch... retroflex by a nose, retroflex charging hard, but they're even now, here comes the finish line... and it's alveolar by a whisker! What a race!


I did a little looking around myself, in the hope of finding the devanāgarī spelling... eventually I found this page. On the corresponding Hindi page, once I managed to work out the encoding, it's spelt छिंदवाड़ा (I think). If this were Sanskrit, I'd transliterate that chiṃdavā[something]ā, where [something] is with a dot below (that is, "ड" (, the retroflex voiced stop) with a dot below ("ḍ" obviously has a dot below already)). I don't know how that's supposed to be pronounced. (Note that c corresponds to ch in the modern romanization.) I find a very few hits for छिंदवाड़ा, and very few for छिंदवारा chiṃdavārā.

In retrospect it would probably have been smarter to start at www.geonames.de, which turns up in the results for छिंदवाड़ा, which it transliterates Čʰiṁdvāṛā.

Does Hindi contrast alveolar and retroflex flaps (or other consonants, for that matter) then?


It's this little sucker, ड़, right?

Wikipedia the Wise says

The khutma (dot placed below the consonants) indicates Urdu (from Arabic, and Persian) and English sounds that are not present in Sanskrit.

The sounds f, z, rd, and rdh are found only in loanwords. The first two are as in English. The latter two are retroflex taps, and never begin a word.

Since ḍ is retroflex to begin with...Chhindwarda?



That's certainly a solution I think everyone can get behind. Both r AND d are represented.

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