Hindi/Urdu: Dropping hona in habitual aspect for verbs

bargolus

New Member
Danish and English - British
In classroom Hindi/Urdu we are usually taught that the hona copula is compulsory in habitual aspect, otherwise the verb ends up in conditional form.

For example:

Mein ye kaam kartaa hun / में ये काम करता हूँ / میں یہ کام کرتا ہوں

'I do this work'

versus

Yedi kaam to hota to mein wo kartaa / यदि काम तो होता तो मैं वह करता / یدی کام تو ہوتا تو میں وہ کرتا

'If there were jobs, I would do them'

We are further taught that hona is usually dropped in negative sentences. For example,

Vo ye kaam nehin kar pata / वह ये काम नहीं कर पाता / وہ یہ کام نہیں کر پاتا

'He is unable to do this job'

However, I often hear speakers drop hona when using verbs in habitual aspect without negation.


So it seems to me - in colloquial Hindi/Urdu at least - that people also drop hona when they feel the context makes it clear what the tense is? Just checking my understanding here...
 
  • littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    In present tense habitual, you need "honaa", it can't be dropped. In the negative, it's optional.

    Meanwhile, your sentence "यदि काम तो होता तो मैं वह करता" is wrong: the first "to" doesn't make any sense.
     

    amiramir

    Senior Member
    English-USA
    Maybe the contexts you heard it in weren't habitual as such, but rather repetitive?

    i.e, 'umar bhar Gh(can't remember right transliteration for ग़)aalib yeh bhool kartaa rahaa'-- all his life Ghalib kept making this mistake. Just a thought.
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    In classroom Hindi/Urdu we are usually taught that the hona copula is compulsory in habitual aspect, otherwise the verb ends up in conditional form.

    For example:

    Mein ye kaam kartaa hun / में ये काम करता हूँ / میں یہ کام کرتا ہوں

    'I do this work'

    ...

    However, I often hear speakers drop hona when using verbs in habitual aspect without negation.


    So it seems to me - in colloquial Hindi/Urdu at least - that people also drop hona when they feel the context makes it clear what the tense is? Just checking my understanding here...
    To my mind, "maiN ye kaam kartaa" would be distinctly Bambaiyaa, i.e. the non-standard speech of Mumbai.
     

    bargolus

    New Member
    Danish and English - British
    I think I've identified a few instances, where you might not hear hona.

    1. Colloquial pronunciation

    Instead of saying +te hain, speakers sometimes contract the two into +tain. For example,

    Chalo, ye le chaltain / चलो, ये ल चलतैं / چلو ، یہ لے چلتیں

    "Let's go, let's take it and go"

    2. Narrative sequence

    Like in English: "This was his routine. He'd eat fruits found in the forest, then ..." - using conditional tense for the narration.

    Ye uski dincharya thi | Vo jangal mein milnevaale phal khata, phir ...

    ये उसकी दिनचर्या थी | वह जंगल में मिलने वाले फल खाता, फिर ...

    ... یہ اسکی دینچریا تھی . وہ جنگل میں ملنے والے پھل کھاتہ ، پھر

    3. Final hona in the following sentence

    Vo saat din tak mahanat karta. Phir kuch din araam karta. Aur iske bad phir se mahanat shuru karta tha.

    वह सात दिन तक मेहनत करता | फिर कुछ दिन आराम करता | और फिर से मेहनत शुरू करता था |

    . وہ سات دن تک محنت کرتا . پھر کچھ دن آرام کرتا . اور پھر سے محنت شرو کرتا تھا

    "He worked for seven days. Then he rested for a few days. Then he began working again after that."

    What do you think? Does this resonate with you?
     

    amiramir

    Senior Member
    English-USA
    What do you think? Does this resonate with you?
    Ah, yes. 2 and 3 sound very normal, esp. when there's a concatenation of actions being recited.

    As for 1, in my mind, it's less of a dropping of the copula, and more of an ellision of the main verb and hona.

    But I'm not actually a native speaker, so please do wait for someone better.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    bargolus said:
    Yedi kaam to hota to mein wo kartaa / यदि काम तो होता तो मैं वह करता / یدی کام تو ہوتا تو میں وہ کرتا

    'If there were jobs, I would do them'

    We are further taught that hona is usually dropped in negative sentences. For example,

    Vo ye kaam nehin kar pata / वह ये काम नहीं कर पाता / وہ یہ کام نہیں کر پاتا

    'He is unable to do this job'
    Note: yadi would most likely not be intelligible to Urdu speakers (expect for those familiar with Hindi) and agar would be used instead.

    The Urdu and Hindi sentence (woh yeh kaam nah kar paataa.) could also convey: He would not have been able to do this work.

    The English sentence (He is unable to do this job.) could also be translated as:
    woh yeh kaam/mulaazamat/naukarii nahiiN kar paa rahaa. or woh yeh kaam/mulaazamat/naukarii nahiiN kar saktaa. etc.

    (depending on what the exact context/intended meaning might be)
    bargolus said:
    I think I've identified a few instances, where you might not hear hona.

    1. Colloquial pronunciation

    Instead of saying +te hain, speakers sometimes contract the two into +tain. For example,

    Chalo, ye le chaltain / चलो, ये ल चलतैं / چلو ، یہ لے چلتیں

    "Let's go, let's take it and go"
    Some speakers might not pronounce the h while speaking quickly - chalte 'eN. However, that does seem to indicate that honaa is being dropped...?!

    The English translation could also be (depending on context): Well/very well then, we'll take this (along). → chalo doesn't necessarily have to be imperative.
    bargolus said:
    Like in English: "This was his routine. He'd eat fruits found in the forest, then ..." - using conditional tense for the narration.

    Ye uski dincharya thi | Vo jangal mein milnevaale phal khata, phir ...

    ... یہ اسکی دینچریا تھی . وہ جنگل میں ملنے والے پھل کھاتہ ، پھر
    That is correct.
    • وہ جنگل میں ملنے والے پھل کھاتا - woh jaNgal meN milne vaale phal khaataa - He would eat fruits found in the forest/jungle.
      • وہ جنگل میں ملنے والے پھل کھاتا تھا - woh jaNgal meN milne vaale phal khaataa thaa.
      • وہ جنگل میں ملنے والے پھل کھایا کرتا تھا - woh jaNgal meN milne vaale phal khaayaa kartaa thaa.
        • He used to eat fruits found in the forest/jungle.
    Note: As mentioned for yadii above, most Urdu speakers would probably not be familiar with "dincharya". معمول - ma3muul would be used instead. یہ اس کا معمول تھا - yeh us kaa ma3muul thaa.
    bargolus said:
    3. Final hona in the following sentence

    Vo saat din tak mahanat karta. Phir kuch din araam karta. Aur iske bad phir se mahanat shuru karta tha.
    ...
    . وہ سات دن تک محنت کرتا . پھر کچھ دن آرام کرتا . اور پھر سے محنت شرو کرتا تھا
    A few corrections (transliteration/pronunciation, Urdu spelling, and English translation):
    • محنت → miHnat
    • shuru3 → شروع
    • kar detaa would be better instead of kartaa thaa
    • English translation of the Urdu sentence: He would work for seven days. Then, he would rest for a few days. Then, he would start working again after that.
    bargolus said:
    "He worked for seven days. Then he rested for a few days. Then he began working again after that."
    For comparison, here is an Urdu translation of the English sentence:

    اس نے سات دن کام کیا۔ پھر (اس نے) کچھ دن آرام کیا۔ اس کے بعد پھر کام شروع کر دیا
    us ne saat din kaam kiyaa. phir (us ne) kuchh din aaraam kiyaa. us ke ba3d phir kaam shuru3 kar diyaa.
     
    Last edited:

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    I think I've identified a few instances, where you might not hear hona.

    1. Colloquial pronunciation

    Instead of saying +te hain, speakers sometimes contract the two into +tain. For example,

    Chalo, ye le chaltain / चलो, ये ल चलतैं / چلو ، یہ لے چلتیں

    Never heard such a sentence! That doesn't sound Hindi.

    2. Narrative sequence

    Like in English: "This was his routine. He'd eat fruits found in the forest, then ..." - using conditional tense for the narration.

    Ye uski dincharya thi | Vo jangal mein milnevaale phal khata, phir ...

    ये उसकी दिनचर्या थी | वह जंगल में मिलने वाले फल खाता, फिर ...

    ... یہ اسکی دینچریا تھی . وہ جنگل میں ملنے والے پھل کھاتہ ، پھر

    But then that's not the habitual present tense!

    3. Final hona in the following sentence

    Vo saat din tak mahanat karta. Phir kuch din araam karta. Aur iske bad phir se mahanat shuru karta tha.

    वह सात दिन तक मेहनत करता | फिर कुछ दिन आराम करता | और फिर से मेहनत शुरू करता था |

    . وہ سات دن تک محنت کرتا . پھر کچھ دن آرام کرتا . اور پھر سے محنت شرو کرتا تھا

    "He worked for seven days. Then he rested for a few days. Then he began working again after that."

    "thaa" can be dropped; and anyway, this is again not the habitual present tense, where it cannot be dropped in positive meaning.

    What do you think? Does this resonate with you?
     

    bargolus

    New Member
    Danish and English - British
    I think I've identified a few instances, where you might not hear hona.

    1. Colloquial pronunciation

    Instead of saying +te hain, speakers sometimes contract the two into +tain. For example,

    Chalo, ye le chaltain / चलो, ये ल चलतैं / چلو ، یہ لے چلتیں

    Never heard such a sentence! That doesn't sound Hindi.
    Thanks so much for your help!!

    If you look up the video "चोर के घर मे चोरी | With English Subtitles | Funny Story Of Thief | Moral Story | Hindi Kahaniya" on youtube, then around 4:47-4:50, you'll hear one of the characters say

    Chalo, yahan se le chaltain | चलो, यहाँ से ले चलतैं |

    It's just a contraction of the hai, so you don't pronounce the "h". That's what native speakers in Delhi at least tell me it is. But you might know better what it is!

    3. Final hona in the following sentence

    Vo saat din tak mahanat karta. Phir kuch din araam karta. Aur iske bad phir se mahanat shuru karta tha.

    वह सात दिन तक मेहनत करता | फिर कुछ दिन आराम करता | और फिर से मेहनत शुरू करता था |

    . وہ سات دن تک محنت کرتا . پھر کچھ دن آرام کرتا . اور پھر سے محنت شرو کرتا تھا

    "He worked for seven days. Then he rested for a few days. Then he began working again after that."

    "thaa" can be dropped; and anyway, this is again not the habitual present tense, where it cannot be dropped in positive meaning.
    Yes, I meant either habitual present or habitual past. So you think this only holds for habitual past, not for habitual present?
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Thanks so much for your help!!

    If you look up the video "चोर के घर मे चोरी | With English Subtitles | Funny Story Of Thief | Moral Story | Hindi Kahaniya" on youtube, then around 4:47-4:50, you'll hear one of the characters say

    Chalo, yahan se le chaltain | चलो, यहाँ से ले चलतैं |

    It's just a contraction of the hai, so you don't pronounce the "h". That's what native speakers in Delhi at least tell me it is. But you might know better what it is!
    There's a complete "haiN" in your example. The "h" of Hindi speakers is certainly "lighter" than some other language speakers, that's all. In a sentence like "kahaaN jaa rahaa hai", it would sound almost like "kaaN jaa raa ai" to a non-native, but the "h" is there. (Your YouTube example has a very full "h" though, nothing like "kaaN jaa raa ai".) I have never heard any native Hindi speaker would say something like चलतैं, regardless of whether that person is from Delhi, western UP, eastern UP/Bihar, Rajastan or wherever else.


    Yes, I meant either habitual present or habitual past. So you think this only holds for habitual past, not for habitual present?
    Well, you can't drop it in habitual present tense unless it's negative, as I said earlier. Other tenses or moods are a different matter, altogether. In fact, dropping "honaa" makes habitual present immediately into habitual past, so you have to drop it then if it's a very smoothly flowing narrative ("thaa" impedes the flow).

    "woh har din aam ke peR ke neeche baiThtaa hai": He sits everyday under a mango tree
    "woh har din aam ke peR ke neeche baiThtaa": He used to sit everyday under a mango tree
     

    Frau Moore

    Member
    Deutsch
    I found this sentence in a textbook edited by Sheela Verma who taught Hindi at the Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin what hopefully makes her a reliable source:

    "jab-jab India Association film dikhaatii tab-tab use dekhne maiN kaimpas (campus) jaatii"

    One might expect a "routine imperfective" translation like "whenever India Association would show a film I would go to the campus to watch it".

    But the sentence is translated as

    " Whenever India Association shows film I will go to the campus to watch it".

    What´s your opinion, native speakers? Do you agree with this translation or not?
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    The translation is bad. Your first one, "whenever India Association would show a film I would go to the campus to watch it", is the only possible meaning.
     
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