Hindi, Urdu: Everyone bowed their head

Pokeflute

Senior Member
English - American
If everyone in a group has something (a head, a jacket, etc.) would you refer to it in the singular or plural?

I've encountered the following two sentences, which seem to be at odds:

उन सभी ने अपने सिर झुका लिए
un sabhi ne apne sir jhukaa liye
They all bowed their heads

दोनों ने अपनी जैकेट उतारी
donoN ne apnii jaikeT (jacket) utaarii
They both took off their jackets

Would "un sabhi ne apna sir jhukaa liyaa" or "donoN ne apnii jaikeTs/jaikeTeN utaariiN" also sound fine?
 
  • littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Both are fine. The first one could be "un sabhii ne apne-apne sir/sar jhukaa liye" for extra precision. Similarly, "apnii-apnii" in the second sentence, though the verb ending for me would be utaariiN rather than utaarii.

    One could also say "donoN ne apnii jaikiTeN utaariiN." The plural of "sir/sar" would anyway remain "sir/sar."
     

    Pokeflute

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Perfect, thank you!

    To confirm - the full sentence with "apnii-apnii" would be "un sabhii ne apnii-apnii jaikeT utaariiN" (where "jacket" is singular, but the verb is plural)?
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Perfect, thank you!

    To confirm - the full sentence with "apnii-apnii" would be "un sabhii ne apnii-apnii jaikeT utaariiN" (where "jacket" is singular, but the verb is plural)?

    Both "utaarii" and "utaariiN" would work in this case: it's up to the speaker's preference. I would use the latter.
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    Similarly, "apnii-apnii" in the second sentence, though the verb ending for me would be utaariiN rather than utaarii.

    One could also say "donoN ne apnii jaikiTeN utaariiN."
    (where "jacket" is singular, but the verb is plural)
    It might help to recognize that there are two phenomena at work here. The first is that, with this apnaa-apnaa construction, one can use either a singular or plural with essentially the same meaning. For instance:
    chaaroN bhaa'iyoN ne apnii-apnii manzileN HaaSil kiiN.​
    chaaroN bhaa'iyoN ne apnii-apnii manzil HaaSil kii.​
    Each of the four brothers accomplished his goal.​
    The former comes out slightly more naturally for me, but the second sentence sounds completely fine too.

    The second phenomenon is that (recent? multisyllabic?) English loans have a tendency to avoid the -eN/-oN/etc plural markings. It's not that they never have these endings, but sometimes they don't: sometimes the English -(e)s plural marking is loaned in directly, and sometimes, just the bare noun is used as a plural even though it completely lacks any plural marking. For example, you'll probably encounter any of these three variants:
    mere donoN kampyuuTaroN meN inTel ke prausesar haiN.​
    mere donoN kampyuuTarz meN inTel ke prausesar haiN.​
    mere donoN kampyuuTar meN inTel ke prausesar haiN.​
    Both of my computers have Intel processors.​

    It seems to me that the sentence donoN ne apnii-apnii jaikeT utaariiN also displays the same phenomenon at work: jaikeT is plural even though it lacks overt markings as such. If one tried replacing jaikeT with a "native" feminine noun, it would have the expected plural markings. For example, if you insist on using the plural verb utaariiN, it must be donoN ne apnii-apnii saaRiyaaN utaariiN and not *donoN ne apnii-apnii saaRii utaariiN. [You could of course say donoN ne apnii-apnii saaRii utaarii. That brings us back to phenomenon 1 :)]
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    It seems to me that the sentence donoN ne apnii-apnii jaikeT utaariiN also displays the same phenomenon at work: jaikeT is plural even though it lacks overt markings as such. If one tried replacing jaikeT with a "native" feminine noun, it would have the expected plural markings. For example, if you insist on using the plural verb utaariiN, it must be donoN ne apnii-apnii saaRiyaaN utaariiN and not *donoN ne apnii-apnii saaRii utaariiN. [You could of course say donoN ne apnii-apnii saaRii utaarii. That brings us back to phenomenon 1 :)]

    Brilliant, in-depth explanation of what's happening! I would not have been able to think so much of why what's happening.
     

    Pokeflute

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Wow thank you!

    I've noticed that sometimes English loans take the English plural, but didn't realize that even feminine nouns might not take the plural marker (or all nouns would not take the oblique plural marker).
     
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