ए, ऐ, and एै
So my understanding earlier was that ए = é as in hey, and ऐ = e as in pen, but it seems to me like there are sometimes exceptions. For example for ऐनक or पैसा I hear the é sound. I'm also aware of a एै symbol sometimes used at the beginning of words. Could a mother tongue Hindi speaker shed light on this?
PS. If you're curious why I care, it's because my name is Evan and I'm trying to figure out how to transliterate. I've been told एैविन is the best bet.
EDIT: Okay, एै doesn't actually exist. Sorry about that.
ऐनक and पैसा are indeed pronounced with a vowel close if not identical to that of "pen", as you initially thought. एै looks cool but is most certainly a typo: it's basically a vowel carrying a vowel diacritic, and hence meaningless in Hindi. A few more, similar chimaeric forms will be अी, इा, and एो. :D
Looking at the transliteration of your name you were suggested, is "Evan" pronounced with an "i" vowel after the "v"? I thought "Evan" sounded like "ee-vun" or "e-vun" but the "वि" of "एैविन" has me confused.
Thanks for the help. I agree that एै doesn't appear to exist. I'm not sure where I imagined that.
So 'Evan' is actually pronounced like 'Evin' in speech (at least where I'm from) with 'e' as in 'pen' and 'in as in pin'. I don't mind if the a is also pronounced like the 'e' in pen, but I think Hindi speakers would pronounce एवन or ऐवन like 'A1', which I'd prefer to avoid. Thoughts?
Thanks for clarifying the vowel sounds. The best approximation of your name then is एविन.
It's true that ए is a long vowel and doesn't capture the short "e" sound of "pen", but since the short vowel doesn't exist in Hindi, we have to go with the sound closest to it. This happens with a lot of other foreign words as well. The very word "pen" is transliterated as पेन (which by itself is pronounced with a long vowel and hence sounds close to "pain"), but no-one with a basic knowledge of English would pronounce the "पे" with a long vowel, given the context. The same goes for पेट्रोल, एजेंट, and अमेरिका where the bold letters are pronounced with a short vowel so as to sound close to the original pronunciation.
It seems I disagree with everyone here (!) and would say to write ऐविन.
As we know, Devanagari is not a "phonetic" system. The symbols represent meaningful classes of sound, i.e. phonemes. The trick is to map the English sound to what Devanagari writers have chosen to represent the sound, most closely. Everyday Devanagari does not use different symbols to represent "e" in pen and "a" in pan. This appears to be because both are considered allophones, i.e. natively, there is no meaningful difference between these vowels. The convention has been to represent both English vowels with the one Devanagari letter, ऐ. Hence, see at this link how both pen and pan are transliterated: पैन. http://hindi-english.org/index.php?input=pain&trans=Translate&direction=AU
(I am not a native speaker of Hindi, but I have a lot of experience going back and forth between these languages. And I noticed that native speakers chiming in potential don't know how "Evan" is pronounced—so despite their expertise in their own sounds system, there is a potential to get this mixed up.)
Like you, I'm not a native speaker, but switch between the two a lot. I actually think most of these transliterations would work; none will be exact. Whilst my preference is in my comment above, I don't think there's a perfect solution for any transliteration, take my name as a reverse example - Vijay\विजय. The "Vi" should be pronounced exactly the same as in common English names like Victor or Victoria, a simple, almost exact transliteration you'd think but most native English speakers pronounce it as "Veejay".
Although typing that, I've just noticed that the Hindi spelling of my name gives weight to your translation regards pronounciaton of "वि" in Evan.
Thank you both for the input. I think ultimately there is no perfect fit, and any way I write it there will be some ambiguity on pronunciation. I think I'll settle for एविन, because even though it risks being pronounced like eh-veen, I'd prefer that to 'A1' (which an Indian friend actually though एवन was meant to transliterate, hence this thread).
I am a mother tongue hindi speaker, and I haven't heard of a hindi symbol like (the first letter you uses in your hindi name)
I'm not a native speaker, but a heritage one so take this with a pinch of salt, but I'd say एवन is a much closer fit. The ि matra (vowel mark) makes me read that as "eheevan". Like pokhriyyalvishnu, I've not seen ऐै do you mean ऍ ?
On further investigation it seems like एै doesn't exist. I'm not sure where I'd seen it.
So this is very pedantic, but for some reason in daily speech 'Evan' ends up sounding more like 'Evin' (e as in pen, i as in pin). So I was wondering if the ि perhaps captured that. Actually pronouncing the 'a' sound comes across as strange to my ears now.
I would like to clarify one thing in case you are curious about the pronunciations. ऐनक or पैसा are not enunciated the same way. While in words with े like लेख or ऐनक the sound comes like é, in words with ै like पैसा the sounds is like in 'pan' not like that of 'pen'.
Your name probably would be read in India as इवान by most people (including me). And एैविन written like Avin. :D
By the way, the first vowels in लेख and ऐनक aren't pronounced in the same manner either - I'm sure you know this, just pointing it out so it doesn't confuse any learner. The " े" of ऐ is a part of the vowel, which itself sounds close to the "e" of "pen". It's not like the " े" of लेख (beyond appearance) because here it is a diacritic corresponding to the vowel ए, which kind of sounds like the "a" in "late", especially in American English.