Hindi/Urdu: book club, conversation group

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by xjm, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    I'm trying to find a good all-purpose word for "club" that I can use, for things like a book club and a casual foreign language conversation group. A previous thread suggests anjuman in Urdu, but I can't find it in any Hindi dictionary. (Unless maybe I'm spelling it with the wrong vowels. Would a Hindi speaker recognize this word? How would I render it in Devanagari?)

    Another possibility is sabhaa, which seems to exist in both Hindi and Urdu dictionaries. Do phrases like kitaab sabhaa or fransiisii batchiit sabhaa sound idiomatic?

    I guess I could use the English loanword klab, too, but that seems to be more used for nightclubs.

    Finally, how would I say "go to the club" in the sense of "attend the club meeting," as opposed to "go to a nightclub"? I'm thinking maybe anjuman/sabhe/klab se milnaa?
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    does appear to be a good equivalent although, strictly speaking, it is more "association/society/union". Modern Persian uses "baash-gaah" but I don't know if this is used in Urdu. Here is how I would write anjuman in Devanagri अन्जुमन.

    anjuman meN Hissah lenaa or shirkat karnaa (participate).
  3. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    अंजुमन and अन्जुमन both show up on google, but not in any of the dictionaries. Although I guess if it's spelled in Devanagari out there on the web, I can already assume a Hindi speaker is going to understand it... I should have thought of that. :)

    Edit: शिरकत is another one that appears in google but not in dictionaries. I do find शरीक, though. Are these words related? Hmmm.

    Main kitaab anjuman men hissa le rahi hun -- Does this sound okay? Do I need a hypen or a ka in there?
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  4. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    In Urdu we have:

    ندوہ nadwah / محفل maHfil (with a majhuul "a") / انجمن anjuman

    ندوہ nadwah is used to mean a “club / society etc.” esp. where intellectual / academic activities take place. So should work for a book club!

    = Book Club.


    = Conversation Club

    We also have بزم bazm so we could also use this in Urdu but I think not in Hindi.

    Not sure how the other terms would work in Hindi either. Anjuman is very common though in Colloquial Hindi and so is maHfil but nadwah isn’t – it isn’t even in Urdu!

    is the plural of kitaab = pustak in Hindi. In Urdu we tend to use the plural in these kinds of contexts, hence we'd go for bazm-e-kutub / maHfil-e-kutub / nadwa-e-kutub.
    kitaab anjuman sounds like the club / assembly might be for a single book! At least that is how my Urdu ears hear it! Perhaps the Hindi पुस्तक अन्जुमन pustak anjuman sounds better! But if you wish to use kitaab then may be kitaab-anjuman. Not sure. kitaab kii anjuman would have the same problem as kitaab anjuman I present above and if you said kitaaboN kii anjuman then that sounds more like a poetic way to refer to a pile of books!
  5. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I don't think most Hindi speakers would understand "anjuman"; I for one, even though I'm a native Hindi speaker who's grown up with Hindi, was completely unaware of this word till now. "Sabha" would be the common Hindi word, and if it's a dialogue or debate you're talking about then having a regular "behais" or "samvaad" would be fine.
  6. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    The English loanword will also be very well understood; as far as I know, club doesn't have the connotation of a nightclub at all. In fact, Indians are more used to Rotary clubs, etc., than nightclubs, so the question of association with the latter does not arise.
  7. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    So would you prefer something like:
    Main kitaab-sabhaa men hissa le rahi hun
    Main kitaab-klub men hissa le rahi hun

    If I may ask, what region are you from?

    Edit 2, regarding sabhaa: If this is feminine and ends in aa... that's usually Sanskritic nouns, no? I guess I must have made a mistake when I looked it up in Urdu. (My command of Urdu script is, um, tenuous at best.) :)

    Looks like this is one of those concepts that's very different in different registers. So maybe the most widely understood Khariboli is klab, despite--or because of--its English origin.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  8. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    "kitaab sabhaa" looks fine (and yes, sabhaa is fem.), but I would much prefer "kitaabon ka klub" (even though the members would be people and not books :D). Of course, needless to say, most Indians would directly use book club! (We do a lot of code switching.)

    Except eastern India, from everywhere. Well, I've lived in north, west and south of India, to answer more precisely your question, but in the north I've not lived outside western UP's non-Urdu-speaking areas. (For example, I've only visited but not lived in Lucknow, where more heavy Urdu is used - and thus probably "anjuman" would have been understood there.)
  9. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Yes, it is Sanskrit. But it is also a very common word across the Hindi belt and is used in the name of many organisations and groups (even since the 1800s), including the name of parliament (lok sabha). I doubt you will be able to find a cross-language word here unless you use English.
  10. Todd The Bod Senior Member

    Ngo hai ni doh
    Wasn't there a big Hindi-language Bollywood hit called "Anjuman"? But I guess seeing the movie probably conveyed the meaning of the word to the populace if they weren't familiar with it before...
  11. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Precisely! The film Anjuman was made in 1986 by the Indian director Muzaffar Ali ... and was a hit!

    The word anjuman is not so alien after all! It is certainly understood over a huge area of the northern part of the Indo-Pak subcontinent and has been so for long! There is even the anjuman-e-traqqiy-e-urdu based in Delhi. I have several books from them.

    But having said all this, I can imagine why some prefer to use the word sabhaa instead. For them it might be "pure(er)", I guess. Then let us also drop kitaab and stick to pustak!
  12. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    A film title simply remains just that: most Indian film-watchers won't be able to tell you the meaning of "Pakeezah" inspite of the famous Kamaal Amrohi film. It has nothing to do with "purer"; "kitaab" is more understood than "pustak" and "sabhaa" much more than "anjuman". In fact, every Indian, including all Hindi speakers, will understand "sabhaa". (The original question was about Hindi speakers.)
  13. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    It does depend which part of the country one comes from which determines whether you do understand these words or not. I have family and Hindiphone friends in both Eastern UP and Bihar and they have no problem with words such as these.
  14. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    (Oh dear, I didn't start one of these discussions, did I? :eek:)

    Some data from google: I get one hit for किताब अंजुमन, 9 hits for किताब सभा, 81 for किताब क्लब, and 1500 for बुक क्लब. (No hits for any constructions with का or a plural.) So in Devanagari at least, the English loan seems to be most popular (or at least among internet users, who are likely bilingual in English anyway).

    As an anglophone I generally try to avoid English words where I can, because otherwise I just find myself taking English words and dressing them in Indian clothes. :D But sometimes I guess it's a reasonable choice!
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  15. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I agree with you. If we are going to use "Book Club" in "Hindi" then it might be better to stick to English and forget about Hindi! After all the various contributions from friends, my suggestion would be "kitaab-klab" on the same pattern as "sabzii-maNDii"[vegetable market].
  16. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    No you didn't!

    One of the main functions of the forum is to provide a platform for a frank exchange of opinions. The fact that we all may not agree with each other is not just OK but is to be expected. In fact it often appears to be the case!

    Another purpose of the forum is to explore possible answers where some / most terms proposed may not even be accepted / recognised as standard usage. This tells us something.

    Googling محفل مكالمہ (
    =maHfil-e-mukaalimah) gives zero hit (!) while searching with each of these terms alone gives many hits. Interestingly, مكالمہ gives mostly Arabic sites even though the word is used in Urdu and found in Urdu lexicons. This too tells us something.

    Conversely, अन्जुमन is not found in Hindi dictionaries, as you mention above, though one gets very many hits on the net. The word no longer has official support despite its fairly wide usage in parts of India.
    Once again this tells us something.

    You didn't try पुस्तक क्लब? Less hits than बुक क्लब but perhaps enough to warrant it serious consideration!
  17. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    Well, since more people probably understand किताब than पुस्तक, I wanted to stick with that. (किताब is the word I learned in my first semester Hindi class, and I didn't encounter पुस्तक until the third year.) But googling पुस्तक क्लब now I am startled that there are so many results compared to the others! Definitely illuminating.

    Edit: I wonder if I am getting hits from languages like Marathi and Nepali, that might have पुस्तक but not किताब?
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  18. flyinfishjoe Senior Member

    American English
    I would be very surprised if a Hindi-speaker did not understand the word pustak! To be honest though, pustak klab sounds very odd to my ears. It appears that many of the websites coming up in the search results with pustak klab are in fact, products of Google Translate (which experience shows has a tendency to come up with bizarre translations). Kitāb klab sounds better, even though I haven't seen it used before. Buk klab would also be a good choice.
  19. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    My problem with "Buk klab" is that this is wholesale use of the original English. Where is the "other language" element in it? If we can not come up with a suitable alternative for "club", then at least we should use a local word for "book".
  20. flyinfishjoe Senior Member

    American English
    You're right, I normally think it's good to try to avoid overuse of English. Maybe it's just me, but in this case using English loanwords sounds better, at least a lot more so than pustak klab! Just a personal opinion. By the way, at least in Hindi, club is not a new loanword. It has been used for a very long time and is even included in many dictionaries.
  21. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    In a survey done in the 70s in Haryana, by age 12, over 70 percent of school children surveyed understood pustak.
  22. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I find it difficult to understand how the remaining 30% have failed to grasp a simple word when they have had seven years (from the age of 5-12) to learn it! Any survey results for "kitaab"?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  23. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    64% by age 6. 90% by age 8.
  24. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Originally Posted by QURESHPOR [​IMG]
    I find it difficult to understand how the remaining 30% have failed to grasp a simple word when they have had seven years (from the age of 5-12) to learn it! Any survey results for "kitaab"?

    In that case 'kitaab-klab" it is!
  25. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I would still go for "book club" or "pustak club" for Hindi speakers (I am not talking about Urdu speakers). "Pustak" has a literary connotation; we are not talking about kids, we are talking about people who're going to read books.
    In addition, the strongest argument is simply that a book is a pustakam (and not "kitab") in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, etc. Thus any person whose second or third language is Hindi, and crores of them in India, will identify with "pustak" but will look at you with a blank face if you tell him "kitab".
    That survey if done in any of the south Indian states would've been a lot more interesting. Overall, the national average of Hindi speakers (as first or secondary language) would thus tilt towards, strongly towards, "pustak". Or use "book club"!
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  26. ainch New Member


    Hello my friend, we have both किताब and पुस्तक in Nepali. किताब is vernacular and किताप seems rustic, while पुस्तक is bookish and technical but widely used as a marker of refinement
  27. littlepond Senior Member

    In Hindi, for a book club, I would like to propose "bahii xaanaa": it closely resembles the much-used "bahii-khaataa" (account book). "bahii", meaning book, is not very widely used outside the "account book" sense, but it would be a nice new compound, I believe, and by taking one Sanskrit-origin word and one Urdu word, there should not be any controversy, either.

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