The pronunciation of Gurbani is not always easy for some, especially when Gurmukhi is not your first language. One of the profound difficulties experienced amongst many individuals is the inability to articulate particular sounds of Gurmukhi accurately. I have found that this is predominantly due to particular sounds in the Gurmukhi alphabet not existing in the Indo-European languages.
I began a small project at the European Yoga Festival in France, where I was assisting some individuals, particularly from France, Germany and Russia with the correct pronunciation of Gurbani. It became apparent that the two sounds which were proving to be most difficult to pronounce across all languages were the /t/ and /d/ sounds. As one will come to learn, there are in fact four separate /t/ and /d/ sounds in Gurmukhi, which all carry their own distinct phonemes.
With the partial understanding of German and French I had, I decided to create a pronunciation guide in English, French and German, where the sounds of Gurmukhi were correlated with words from the Indo-European languages. Words were carefully selected, which carried similar or completely accurate sounds to the Gurmukhi letters to facilitate this pronunciation process.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank two individuals, who selflessly contributed to this particular project; Guru Mantra Singh, who contributed to the German Pronunciation Guide and Dharam Kaur, who contributed to the French Pronunciation Guide. Both individuals are former students of Miri Piri Academy.
I hope to work on other projects in creating further pronunciation guides in other languages to facilitate the accurate pronunciation of Gurmukhi.
Blessings and Kindest Regards