Hindi, Urdu: किस किस/किन किन (كس كس\كن كن)

Pathawi

Member
English - USAian
Hello, all:

I did a search of threads & was unable to find anything. My apologies if this is handled somewhere else. I am working through RS McGregor's Outline of Hindi Grammar (actually focusing on the Urdu accompaniment Urdu Study Materials), & I've come across something I can't quite work out: McGregor writes:
कौन kaun and its oblique forms are very frequently reduplicated, with a distributive connotation: e.g.
आप किन किन से बोले? āp kin kin se bole? Who did you speak to? (with what different people—honorific)
वहाँ कौन कौन थे? vahāṁ kaun kaun the? Who were there? (p 45)
In addition to these examples, the following appears in the exercises for the chapter: ये किताबें किस किस की हैं? ye kitābeṁ kis kis kī haiṁ? With the translation in the key: 'Whom do these books belong to (which different persons)?'

I'm having a hard time figuring out when one would reduplicate the singular forms (ie किस किस/كس كس) & when the plural forms (ie किन किन/كن كن)… Is it the case that the singular forms are are sort of the default for reduplication, but that one uses the plural forms to indicate greater respect?

Much thanks for any help you can provide in explaining this!
 
  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Hello, all:

    I did a search of threads & was unable to find anything. My apologies if this is handled somewhere else. I am working through RS McGregor's Outline of Hindi Grammar (actually focusing on the Urdu accompaniment Urdu Study Materials), & I've come across something I can't quite work out: McGregor writes:

    In addition to these examples, the following appears in the exercises for the chapter: ये किताबें किस किस की हैं? ye kitābeṁ kis kis kī haiṁ? With the translation in the key: 'Whom do these books belong to (which different persons)?'

    I'm having a hard time figuring out when one would reduplicate the singular forms (ie किस किस/كس كس) & when the plural forms (ie किन किन/كن كن)… Is it the case that the singular forms are are sort of the default for reduplication, but that one uses the plural forms to indicate greater respect?

    Much thanks for any help you can provide in explaining this!
    Hi Pathawi. Imagine you have a group of people in your class and there is a pile of books left on a side table. Professor McGregor (God bless his soul) asks: ye kitābeṁ kis kis kī haiṁ?

    He wants to know if a,b,c, Tom or Dick or Harry, x or y or z .... is the owner of these books. The answer could be that all of them belong to any one of the students or they belong to more than one person. In this sentence the emphasis is on individual ownership. In other words which book belongs to which person or which books belong to which person.

    If the late Professor had said... ye kitābeṁ kin kin kī haiṁ?....or ye kitābeṁ kin kin logoN kī haiṁ...the emphasis is on more than one person taken as a group. For example, these three books belong to Tom and Dick and these two belong to Harry and Rita.

    I hope this is of some help.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    If the late Professor had said... ye kitābeṁ kin kin kī haiṁ?....or ye kitābeṁ kin kin logoN kī haiṁ...the emphasis is on more than one person taken as a group. For example, these three books belong to Tom and Dick and these two belong to Harry and Rita.
    Your example can confuse the OP: he/she was already aware of the plural usage.

    Now imagine a student delivering a lecture to a bunch of professors. He cannot say "ye kitaabeN kis kis kii haiN", as he would be addressing professors with respect. He has to say "ye kitaabeN kin kin kii haiN", regardless of whether the person is taken as 1 person or a group of persons.

    "kin kin" is honorific, as simple as that (of course, also for plural usage).
     

    Pathawi

    Member
    English - USAian
    Thank you both for your help! I think I understand. If I were speaking of my peers, I could say either:

    1. ये किताबें किस किस की हैं? (يہ كتابيں كس كس كى ہيں؟) or
    2. ये किताबें किन किन (लोगों) की हैं? (يہ كتابيں كن كن لوگوں كى ہيں؟)
    Sentence 1 would emphasise individual ownership (implying that I thought that all the books might belong to either separate individuals or to one individual). Sentence 2 would suggest that I thought there might be plural ownership (that is, that some of the books were shared by multiple people). That latter concept seems a little strange for books, but maybe ये घर किन किन लोगों के हैं?

    Were I speaking to people about whom I wanted to demonstrate respect, that distinction would no longer be possible, & I could only use sentence 2. Right?

    I really appreciate your help with this.
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    A slightly different perspective (since I find the phrase "distributive connotation" a little vague...) is that reduplicating a question word is a way of requesting a list. A similar effect can often be accomplished in (some dialects of?) English by attaching the word "all" after the question word. For example, compare the following:
    aap fraans meN kahaaN gae?​
    Where did you go in France?​
    aap fraans meN kahaaN-kahaaN gae?​
    Where all did you go in France?​

    The former pair is sort of neutral about what the question-asker is expecting as a response: it could be just one place in France, or it could potentially be many places. The second pair makes clear that the question-asker knows the person they're talking to went to many places in France and is requesting a list of all of those places. Similarly:

    aap kyaa leke jaaoge?​
    What will you take with you?​
    aap kyaa-kyaa leke jaaoge?​
    What all will you take with you?​

    Again, the first pair is somewhat neutral, but the second pair makes clear that the question-asker is looking for a list of things that the person they're talking to will take with them.

    Returning again to the pairs you asked about (kis-kis, kin-kin), I think @littlepond and @Qureshpor have already explained the distinction well: when using kis-kis, you're looking for a list of people (and it could be people with whom you are familiar, but it could also be neutral in the sense that you don't know whether the people in the list would require the plural honorific). When using kin-kin, you're looking for a list of "plural entities" (where each "plural entity" can be a a group of people, as @Qureshpor describes, or just a single person for whom you'd use the plural honorific, as @littlepond describes). The one thing I wanted to add to this is that, this is not a distinction that appears only in the oblique. It also surfaces in the direct case. For example, you can say both of the following:

    kaun-kaun aayaa hai?​
    kaun-kaun aae haiN?​

    Notice the singular agreement on the first, and the plural agreement on the second. The first question requests a list of people who have come. The second requests a list of "plural entities" who have come (probably a list of individuals who require plural honorifics, but I suppose in certain contexts it could also be a list of groups of people that's being requested).
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    Addendum: This related thread was pointed out to me after I posted the above. The upshot seems to be that there's some variation in acceptability judgments for the last two Hindi-Urdu sentences in my post above (especially with regard to the plural version, it seems), and even speakers who deem both acceptable might delineate the difference between the two of them slightly differently than I did above.

    EDIT: Link fixed!
     
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    Pathawi

    Member
    English - USAian
    Addendum: This related thread was pointed out to me after I posted the above. The upshot seems to be that there's some variation in acceptability judgments for the last two Hindi-Urdu sentences in my post above (especially with regard to the plural version, it seems), and even speakers who deem both acceptable might delineate the difference between the two of them slightly differently than I did above.

    EDIT: Link fixed!
    This is a very interesting conversation. Thanks for linking!
     
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