Aug 23, 2007

Of Hindi and the verbs

I have never been a good student of any language, as is evident from my posts. I am a tamilian by birth, but can carry a conversation, thats it. I am brought up in Delhi and had so many Punjabi friends but never ever tried to learn Punjabi. Now in Mumbai, and I am still struggling with Marathi. I have scored decent marks in English, Hindi and Sanskrit (my third optional language), but never have I seen those brilliant numbers. I have been more inclined towards maths and sciences.

Recently, while going over Hindi with my daughter, I was back to that nagging question for which I never tried to find any answer and never got any.
I tried to compare the 4 languages I know (including sanskrit).
I have observed that in English, we do not associate gender to the verb. So, he is coming, she is coming, bus is coming, rain is coming. Thank God for that!
In Tamil and Sanskrit, we have genders with verbs, but then there are 3 genders - masculine, feminine and neutral. So, "avan varan" (he is coming), "aval varaal" (she is coming), "bus varudu" (bus is coming). In case of inanimate objects, we have the third option.
I get stuck when it comes to Hindi. There is gender in verbs but there is no third gender. Is Bus masculine or feminine? What about Chair? "Bus aa raha hai" or "Bus aa rahi hai" (Bus is coming)? If "Baarish ho rahi hai" (its raining but with feminine verb) then why is it "Paani baras raha hai" (again its raining but with the usage of the word water and masculine verb). “Mobile baja” or “mobile baji” (Mobile rang)?
Reminds me of the hilarious issue raked up in the movie Chupke Chupke… on the difference in pronunciation of “cut”, “but” and “put” even though they all are spelt the same way!

Any Hindi teacher around? How do I correct my kids when I don’t have my basics right?


Just Like That August 23, 2007 at 3:40 PM  

My colleagues in Mumbai used to almost have heart attacks laughing at my Hindi, where I gaily mixed and made khichdi of the genders.
I don't know what I was saying wrong for me to write it here...

Funny thing is, I was much much better with my French, which also is gender specific for inanimate things, than I can ever hope to be with Hindi.

Tho' ... I can't believe YOU have a problem with Hindi. You seemed so at ease with it, and I didn't want to start giving you heart attacks too, when we met..

dame's diary August 23, 2007 at 4:42 PM  

My son and I are having a tough time as well!! Hindi is not my forte.

Usha August 23, 2007 at 4:58 PM  

hehe..I had the same problem with French and still do!Why can't they have a neutre gender

Usha August 23, 2007 at 4:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Random Vignettes August 23, 2007 at 5:27 PM  

oh dear...I thought my hindi was alright but K and his bros forbade me from speaking Hindi in Delhi..apparently they didnt want to offend the listening ears!!!
Dont worry, ur son will pick it up in school

aargee August 23, 2007 at 8:01 PM  

What I had heard from Hindi speaking people is that there is no specific rule and it comes automatically to them. They just feel what is right and wrong.. I had learnt hindi too and had stayed in Maharashtra for around 4years but I always make mistakes. But don't worry, kids pick up fast and right.

WhatsInAName August 24, 2007 at 10:25 AM  

LOL... no I seem to be easy with it but I am forever confused about the gender to be used with verbs for inanimate things. Next time we meet, maybe I will test my heart :P

You probably are in Chennai and so may be excused. But I? Having stayed in north for so long and yet in such a state :)

Yeah, I keep asking the same to noone in particular!

:) Its a fact that while Mumbai Hindi is sweet and impersonal, Delhi Hindi is more formal and pure. But I love both of them :)

hmmm.... Trust my instincts? But I have made mess of the verbs many a times trusting it lol

rbdans August 24, 2007 at 1:06 PM  

hmm... Me far from Hindi teacher, but I am not sure there is any set rule :(

Peridot August 24, 2007 at 10:09 PM  

Noone's Hindi can be as bad as mine :-S....I'm a south indian and that's my excuse.

Swati August 25, 2007 at 12:29 AM friend used to say same :D Well thats my mothor ..never faced any issues :)

WhatsInAName August 25, 2007 at 1:19 PM  

RBD: Oh I wish someone enlightened me about the rules!

Peridot: Maybe I should come up with the same excuse!

Swati: I thought atleast someone whose mother-tongue was Hindi can help me out!!! You ditched me too!

Something to Say August 27, 2007 at 2:10 AM  

Its bus aa rahi hai, train aa rahi hai, chair gir gayi. Thumb rule - if its an english word - use the feminine gender. Mobile is the rare exception here - mobile baja. Baarish ho rahi hai - coz baarish is fem, paani baras raha hai - paani is male. I'm no champ at Hindi - but I can help :)
ooo but french gets my goat too...

Lavs August 28, 2007 at 5:42 PM  

Hey, I learnt this at my hindi tuition. Darn! but forgot what i learnt. If I am not wrong, anything ending with "ni" is feminine except pani and ***. Forgot the other one. Thumb rule, rest of the words are always feminine. If I have confused you even more, pardon me. you see, hindi was my second language!!!

WhatsInAName August 31, 2007 at 3:56 PM  

STS/ Lavs
Good tips. This surely helps. Will try them and let you know if I fail :)

Sunita September 26, 2007 at 10:09 AM  

:) I recollected something I read long back at Sidin's and I had to reproduce it for you. I digged this up specially for you.

WhatsInAName September 26, 2007 at 11:34 AM  

Thanks Sunita :)
That was a hilarious post! Gave me a good laugh!

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