Hindi/Urdu: gender in first person plural differences

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by tonyspeed, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Some Cultural and Grammatical Aspects of Gender in Hindi and Urdu / Carlo Coppola 1972

    states that in Urdu the sentence "ham har roz baazaar jaatii haiN" would be considered correct in Hindi but somewhat inellegant in Urdu which would prefer "ham har roz baazaar jaate haiN" even if the ham included only females.

    Do you think that this is still the case? Do you know of this distinction?
  2. BP. Senior Member

    I'm not aware of one general grammatical rule in this matter given the extent and variability of these languages, but I can tell you about how a small representation i.e. my family uses it: in the first and second person, even a single person, male or female, would use the second while using ham and aap. However the third person also describes the gender. That said, I've heard the first too, esp. when people don't know other people or when we're talking less casually. Honestly, I'm not the best representative out of the the sample set and I'm guilty of using the second form universally, so make no conclusions yet.
  3. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    Yes, I've heard a few times the first construction in Hindi, even though it sounds to me a bit odd (but delightful).
  4. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    So BP sahib and GB sahib, you are confirming that "ham har roz baazaar jaatii haiN" is a bit odd sounding to your ears, even if the group speaking is a group of females?
    The thing about this that strikes me as interesting is that GB sahib, you say your language is Hindi. So maybe the boundary is not so clear as Copolla suggests.
  5. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    It does sound odd, because regardless of gender I'm used to "jaate"; that has always seemed to me the correct Hindi. But, I have heard "jaati", so it is found: I don't have an idea if it is a characteristic of speakers from a particular region or is it a rural-urban difference or anything else. "Jaate" is the commonly spoken thing, however, for a women's group too. Yes, in Hindi, which is my mother tongue.
  6. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    I remember reading about this grammatical detail in an old "Teach Yourself Urdu" book by Thomas Grahame Bailey. I must confess, it came to me as a surprise to read that the first person masculine and feminine plural in Urdu is "ham jaate haiN" and "ham ga'e" etc. A good guide would be to find any examples from reputable writers of verse and prose. I would suggest that both the "normal" version and the common gender version would be equally correct. It would be interesting to hear the views and experiences of Koozagar and Faylasoof SaaHibaan too.
  7. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    You may be right. As such in Hindi also both types of statements are used. Ladies can also use "hum ja rahe hain". But they can also say, "Hum ja rahi hain" - the later may be considered more appropriate and would also sound more "educated"...
  8. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    Interestingly, a south Indian would almost always say "jaate hain," gender being an issue for them in Hindi.
  9. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    Right. And then Bengalis may say, "Hum jaataa hain" :) Bengalis also confuse genders in Hindi a lot...
  10. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Well QP SaaHib, the first person masculine and feminine plural in Urdu is indeed "ham jaate haiN" and "ham ga'e" etc. and that is how we say it.

    Then there is of course a peculiarity of lakhnavi tahziib where the same expression is used
    when referring to even the first person masculine and feminine "singular" as the use of maiN and consequently maiN jaataa / jaatii hooN etc. was virtually non-existent!

    Here is Ghalib:

    گرچہ ہے طرزِ تغافل پردہ دارِ رازِ عشق
    پر ہم ایسے کھوئے جاتے ہیں کہ وہ پا جائے ہے

    The second line starts: par ham ayse kho'e jaate haiN ...

    I haven't any example of a female writer as yet with a similar ham jaate haiN construction!

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