Learning Common Verbs in the Hindi Language
A Visit to India
The inspiration to pen down this article is drawn from the recent holiday that my family and I enjoyed in Rishikesh (Uttrakhand, India) on the banks of the mighty Ganges. One could see a number of tourists from different corners of the world moving around feeling at home in this town of the saints. Some of these visitors had a guide or interpreter to help them along, and some of them were on their own, managing with whatever Hindi they could understand and speak.
Hindi is a language that binds together the people of India. It is an added advantage for a visitor to be able to understand and speak some basic words. It facilitates assimilation of the culture.
You are about to work through some common Hindi language verbs and their usage, which will help anyone hoping to find a way on his own. While learning Hindi it is important to remember that the language recognizes two genders–masculine (puling) and feminine (striling), and two numbers, singular (ekvachan) and plural (bahuvachan). The verb being used has to be in accordance with the gender and the number of the subject.
Let us take a hypothetical situation where a person named Jolly is writing a letter to his friend James explaining what he did during his holidays in Rishikesh. Hindi translation of every sentence is in brackets just after the sentence and the corresponding verbs in both languages are underlined. The example paragraph primarily illustrates the use of the masculine gender and singular number.
Hello, and it is a pleasure writing to you. (Namaskar, Aapko patr likhna, ek sukhad ehsaas hai.) I was on a holiday to Rishikesh in India. Let me share my experience with you. (Mai aapna anubhav aapke saath bantana chahta hun.) I stayed in an Ashram in Rishikesh. (Main ek ashram mein rahan.) I gave a donation to the Ashram. (Maine ashram ko daan diya.) I walked in the streets of Rishikesh. (MaiRishikesh ki sadko par padel chala.) I bathed (Main Ganga mein nahaya.) and swam (aur taira) in the holy Ganges. One night, I slept on the river bank. (Ek raat main nadi ke kinare soya) Wherever one saw (Jahan bhi dekha) one could see only the Ganga and saints. (sirf Ganga aur sadhu dikhte. ) I ate vegetarian meals (Maine ek mahene ke liye, shakahari khana khaya) and drank herbal tea for one complete month. (aur haari chai pee,) I learned (Maine yoga sikhi) and practiced Yoga. (aur abhyas kiya).I heard the holy songs (Maine bhajan sune). The Hindus worship the cow and the Vedas. (Hindu gae ko pujte hain). I read the Vedas (Maine Veda padhe). I will go back again to Rishikesh in the coming winter. (Aane wali sardi mein main dobara Rishikesh jaaonga.) If you want (agar tum chaho) you can come along. (tum saath aa sakte ho.) I enjoyed my trip. (Mujhe maza aya)
Your true friend,
Now, let’s study the verbs, one by one, in detail:
likhana - writing: The verb as used in the paragraph is referring to a masculine subject. The feminine form of the verb would be lkhini. To illustrate, ‘I want to write a story’ would be ‘mujhe ek khani likhni hai’. The example uses the verb in the singular form; the plural for masculine subjects would be likhney and remain likhni for the plural feminine subject.
bantana - share: As used in the paragraph the verb is referring to a masculine subject. In case it is to be used for a feminine subject the verb would change its form to bantani. Bantana and bantani are both singular. Their plurals would be bantaney for a masculine plural subject and remain bantani for a feminine plural subject.
raha - stayed: Once again the verb as used in the paragraph is referring to a masculine subject. In case it is to be used for a feminine subject the verb would be rahi. To illustrate verb usage for a singular feminine subject, ‘Sheena stayed in an Ashram’ in Hindi would be ‘sheena ashram mein rahi’. The plural form for both masculine and feminine would be rahey. ‘We stayed in an Ashram’ in Hindi would be ‘hum ashram mein rahey.’
diya - gave: The verb diya is referring to a masculine subject in the paragraph. The feminine form of the verb would be di. The example is using the verb in the singular form, the plural would be diyey. The verb experiences no change with the change of gender.
chala - walked: The verb as used in the paragraph is referring to a masculine subject. In case the subject is of feminine gender the verb would change its form to chali. To illustrate, ‘Sheena walked’ in Hindi would be ‘sheena chali’. The plural form for both the genders would be chaley. ‘We walked’ would be ‘hum chaley’
nahaya - bathed: As used in the paragraph the verb is referring to a masculine subject. In case it is to be used for a feminine subject the verb would become nahai. The plural form of the verb for both the genders would be nahaye.
soya - slept: The verb as used is referring to a masculine subject. A feminine subject would take the verb as soyi. The plural verb for both the genders would be soye.
dekha - saw, dikhte- see: Verbs Dekha and Dikhte are different forms of the same verb (see). Both the verbs retain the same form for masculine and feminine genders and plural subjects. There would be no change in the use of the verb.
khaya - ate: The subject for this particular verb is a vegetarian meal which means khana in Hindi Language. The subject is masculine. In order to say ‘I ate a chappati’ in Hindi, it would be ‘maine roti khayi’. The verb for a feminine subject would be khayi.The verb would have a different form for a plural masculine subject. For example, ‘I ate mangoes’ in Hindi would be ‘maine aam khaye’. For plural feminine gender the verb would remain the same, that is, khayi. To illustrate, ‘I ate chapattis’ would be ‘maine rottian khayi.’
pee - drank: The subject for the verb is chai. The subject is considered to be feminine gender and hence the verb pee. For a masculine subject the verb used will be piya. The plural for both the genders would be one – Piye. To illustrate, the sentence ‘I had different type of juices’ in Hindi would be ‘Maine alag alag kism ke rus piye’.
sikhi- learnt: The verb sikhi is referring to yoga, which takes the feminine gender. In case the subject is one of a masculine gender the verb would become sikha. ‘I learnt a song’ in Hindi would be ‘maine gaana sikha’. The verb as used in the example paragraph is referring to a singular subject, for a plural subject the verb would be sikhe – ‘I learnt many songs’ would be ‘Maine bahut gaane sikhe’.
abhyas - practiced: The verb abhyas remains the same for both the genders and numbers.
sune - heard: The subject for the verb sune is bhajan - masculine gender. For a subject of feminine gender the verb used will be suni. To illustrate, the sentence ‘I heard voices’, in Hindi would be ‘Maine awaaze suni’.The verb has been used for a plural subject in the example paragraph. The singular would be suna for a masculine subject and remain suni for singular feminine subject. To illustrate, maine bhajan suna (only one bhajan – singular masculine) maine awaaz suni (one voice –singular feminine)
pujte - worship: The verb remains the same for all forms of a subject. For example, ‘Hindus worship Lord Shiva’ in Hindi would be ‘Hindus Bhagwan Shiv ko pujte hain’ -(Bhagwan Shiv – Singular Masculine) ; ‘Hindus worship nine deities’ would be ‘Hindus nau devio ko pujte hain’ (Nau Devio – Plural Feminine)
padhe - read: The verb as used in the paragraph is referring to a feminine plural subject. Most of the holy books are referred to as feminine gender in the Hindu culture. For a masculine singular subject the verb is padha. For example, ‘I read his face’ in Hindi would be ‘maine uska chehra padha’. The verb will become padhi for a feminine singular subject. For example, the sentence ‘I read the Gita’ in Hindi would be ‘maine Gita padhi’.
jaaonga - go: The verb as used in the paragraph is referring to a masculine singular subject. The verb would change to jaaongi for a feminine singular subject. To illustrate, in case a lady has to say ‘I will go back’ in Hindi, it would be ‘mai vaapas jaaongi.’ For a plural subject irrespective of the gender the verb to be used would be jaaengey.
Aa - come: The verb aa remains the same for all forms of the subject.
Maza - enjoyed: The verb remains the same for all forms of the subject.
Please note that the sentences in Hindi are not a verbatim translation of sentences in English and the order of the verb as used in Hindi is different from English.