Hindi, Urdu: Hona in present perfect constructions

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bargolus

Member
Danish and English - British
I'm a bit confused about the correct use of the auxiliary verb hona in present perfect constructions.

The rule is that you create present perfect tense by using the past tense form of the verb and add hona. For example,

He has slept / वह सोया है / وہ سوتا ہے

If the subject is in 1st person, then I'm confused about the appropriate use of the auxiliary verb.

It seems for intransitive verbs like to sleep / सोना / سونا the verb hona will agree in person with the subject:

I have slept / मैं सोया हूँ / میں سویا ہوں

Whereas for transitive verbs, the verb hona will agree in person with the object:

I have eaten two apples / मैंने दो सेब खाए हैं / مینے دو سیب کھے ہیں

But what happens when you use a transitive verb without an object?

For example, do you translate "I have eaten" as mein khaayaa hun / mein ne khaaya hun / mein khaayaa hai or mein ne khaaya hai?

Do you translate "I have spoken" as mein bola hun / mein ne bola hun / mein bola hai or mein ne bola hai?
 
  • MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    My understanding is that, generally speaking, when speaking in perfective tenses:
    if no direct object is expressed, the verb is invariable in the "unmarked" masculine singular form, for example:

    laRkii ne dhyaan se sunaa
    The girl listened attentively


    So this answers your first question:
    For example, do you translate "I have eaten" as mein khaayaa hun / mein ne khaaya hun / mein khaayaa hai or mein ne khaaya hai?
    maiN ne khaayaa hai

    Regarding your second question:
    Do you translate "I have spoken" as mein bola hun / mein ne bola hun / mein bola hai or mein ne bola hai?
    bōlnā is a special verb that, generally speaking, does not take ne if used in a general, intransitive way, for example:
    (in the words of this fine poet of our times, Badshah):

    sach bolaa thaa shaahrux: ishq kamiinaa
    Shah Rukh (Khan) had spoken truly: love is wicked.


    But as soon as it is used along with a substantive indicating what you are telling, for example "to tell a lie" = jhuuTh bolnaa, then it uses the ne pattern:

    maiN ne jhuuTh bōlā hai
    I have told a lie.


    So, without further context, and in answer to you second question:
    Do you translate "I have spoken" as mein bola hun / mein ne bola hun / mein bola hai or mein ne bola hai?
    I would say,

    maiN bolaa huuN
    (but with all the limitations above described, I don't know, the way a despot would speak, "I have spoken, and that's it")


    Take my answers with a grain of salt, I don't speak Hindustani, and this subject of the "ne" usage is one of the incognoscible ones for me, along with participles, numerals, and pretty much everything else :)
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    I'm a bit confused about the correct use of the auxiliary verb hona in present perfect constructions.

    The rule is that you create present perfect tense by using the past tense form of the verb and add hona. For example,

    He has slept / वह सोया है / وہ سوتا ہے
    Not really: "he has slept" is "voh so chukaa hai". "voh soyaa hai" means "he is asleep" (lit. he is in the slept state). Similarly, the more normal translation of "I have eaten" is "maiN khaa chukaa hooN". The sentence "maiN ne khaayaa hai" needs an object, and even with the object is there, one would use this sentence only when the object in question is to be emphasised or insisted upon. For example:

    "kyaa tum ne kabhii guR khaayaa hai?" - "haaN, haaN, maiN ne guR khaayaa hai, tum ko aisaa kyoN nahiiN lagtaa bhalaa?"

    Do you translate "I have spoken" as mein bola hun / mein ne bola hun / mein bola hai or mein ne bola hai?
    "maiN bol chukaa hooN"

    bōlnā is a special verb that, generally speaking, does not take ne if used in a general, intransitive way, for example:
    (in the words of this fine poet of our times, Badshah):

    sach bolaa thaa shaahrux: ishq kamiinaa
    Shah Rukh (Khan) had spoken truly: love is wicked.


    But as soon as it is used along with a substantive indicating what you are telling, for example "to tell a lie" = jhuuTh bolnaa, then it uses the ne pattern:

    maiN ne jhuuTh bōlā hai
    I have told a lie.
    You are contradicting yourself, @MonsieurGonzalito jii: "sach" (which means "truth," not "truly") is also a substantive. And thus, "Shahrukh ne sach bolaa thaa" is a perfectly fine sentence, but "ne" can be omitted here. Again, both "Shahrukh ne jhuuTh bolaa hai" and "Shahrukh jhuuTh bolaa hai" are fine, and so on. However, if the adverb "sachhaii se" were to be there, then "Shahrukh sachhaii se bolaa (hai)" -- without the "ne" -- is more normal to hear.

    Also, "maiN ne jhuuTh bolaa hai" can also be said as "maiN jhuuTh bolaa hooN". In fact, in colloquial usage, one also hears "maiN khaana khaayaa hooN", same as "maiN ne khaanaa khaayaa hai". Again, "us ne jhooTh bolaa (hai)" is equivalent, at least colloquially, to "voh jhooTh bolaa (hai)" (but you can't use "us" in the latter or "voh" in the former). Again, "ham ne jhooTh bolaa hai" = "ham jhooTh bole haiN"; "ham ne khaanaa khaayaa hai" = "ham khaanaa khaaye haiN".
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    I think, everybody has already said what there is to say on this topic at this time, but I'll try to organise the information in a bit more learner-friendly way. I don't know OP's level of Hindi/Urdu grammar, so I'll assume as if I am speaking to a beginner.

    1) If the object has been mentioned before during the discourse/conversation then a transitive verb in a perfect tense should agree with that. So, basing on littlepond's guR example, a conversation may go like this: "kyaa tum ne kabhii daal khaaii hai?" (Have you ever eaten lentils?) - "haaN, haaN, (maiN ne) (daal) khaaii hai". Now, theoretically, in perfect tenses, a transitive verb with no implied object whatsoever should go into the "default agreement", which is masculine singular 3rd person in Hindi/Urdu. However, as littlepond pointed out, this is probably not a common occurrence. MonsieurGonzalito, our song-corpus-master, any actual example of this use?

    2) Some specific (transitive and intransitive) verbs may take both the transitive (i.e. -ne + verb agreeing with the object) and the intransitive grammar (i.e. no -ne, verb agreeing with the subject) in the perfect tenses. Some of these verbs have a slight semantic difference depending on which grammar they take, e.g. intransitive haNsnaa (to laugh). So, "kis ne pahle haNsaa hai?" - who has laughed (deliberately) before/as the first one?, vs. "kaun pahle haNsaa hai?" - who has laughed before/as the first one (unintentionally)? Note, since "haNsnaa" is intransitive, when -ne is used, the perfect tense verb is always in the "default agreement". Some other verbs don't seem to have much of a difference in meaning whichever grammar is used - bolnaa, samajhnaa, jiitnaa, etc. seem to be the examples. Then there is "laanaa" (to bring), which pretty much always takes the intransitive grammar.

    3) For some verbs, the form which looks like the present perfect tense usually carries a stative meaning - "sonaa" and "baiThnaa" are common examples. So, "maiN soyaa huuN" typically means "I am asleep". I imagine, it may probably have the present perfect meaning in the right context, but I am having trouble constructing an example.

    4) littlepond used constructions like "so chukaa huuN", "khaa chukaa huuN", etc. where the bare stem of the main verb is followed by a "light" conjugated verb - "chukaa huuN". This construction is called a "compound verb" (main verb in bare stem + a light verb), which imparts various nuances to the meaning of the main verb depending on which light verb is used. The light verb "chuknaa" provides a nuance of completion and probable unintentionality. In general, "compound verbs" are an advanced topic of Hindi/Urdu grammar. You do need to recognise them, because they are used by native speakers all the time, and you need to use them eventually to sound natural and accurate, but if you are a beginner, it is better to try to grasp the other aspects of grammar first, because they are more important to get your general thoughts across.

    5) In older and non-standard usage (especially in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and further east, as well as in many Indian cities outside the "Hindi-belt", e.g. Mumbai), all transitive verbs can potentially be used with intransitive grammar (i.e. no -ne business at all). As a learner, you should be prepared to encounter this, but unless you specifically want to adopt this speech pattern for some reason (e.g. you have friends/families from there or whatever), it is advisable to stick to the standard grammar of using -ne as "appropriate". In Delhi, for example, you'll almost never hear this non-standard usage, except among first generation immigrants from elsewhere.
     
    Last edited:

    bargolus

    Member
    Danish and English - British
    Thanks everybody that clarifies things a lot. I had not thought of soona as a stative verb before!

    Has anyone ever seen a list of verbs that can take both transitive -ne and intransitive without -ne in perfect tense? I have seen bolnaa, samajhnaa, and bhulnaa mentioned and Db mentioned haNsnaa as well. What about kahnaa or puchnaa? I don't know if there are many more or if this is about it.

    So just to confirm 100% - if I use the "+ne" construction, then hona ends up agreeing with the object. So you will always say

    mein ne khaaya hai

    never

    main ne khaaya hun?
     

    amiramir

    Senior Member
    English-USA
    Thanks everybody that clarifies things a lot. I had not thought of soona as a stative verb before!

    Has anyone ever seen a list of verbs that can take both transitive -ne and intransitive without -ne in perfect tense? I have seen bolnaa, samajhnaa, and bhulnaa mentioned and Db mentioned haNsnaa as well. What about kahnaa or puchnaa? I don't know if there are many more or if this is about it.

    So just to confirm 100% - if I use the "+ne" construction, then hona ends up agreeing with the object. So you will always say

    mein ne khaaya hai

    never

    main ne khaaya hun?
    Kahnaa and puuchhna are, in my experience, always used with transitive ne, though I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. I would add ronaa to your list of verbs that can take both. I asked about nahaanaa here for your info.
     

    MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    You are contradicting yourself, @MonsieurGonzalito jii: "sach" (which means "truth," not "truly") is also a substantive. And thus, "Shahrukh ne sach bolaa thaa" is a perfectly fine sentence, but "ne" can be omitted here. Again, both "Shahrukh ne jhuuTh bolaa hai" and "Shahrukh jhuuTh bolaa hai" are fine, and so on. However, if the adverb "sachhaii se" were to be there, then "Shahrukh sachhaii se bolaa (hai)" -- without the "ne" -- is more normal to hear.
    Yes, only after I wrote it, I realized it was a very inadequate example, because "sach" can be whatever. My understanding is that it can be used as an adverb as well (which was the meaning intended for the example).

    MonsieurGonzalito, our song-corpus-master, any actual example of this use?
    As a matter of fact, I searched all the songs I know containing "ne", and could not find a simple example of a clearly feminine agent doing something intransitively in the past.
    The example "laRkii ne dhyaan se sunaa", I got it from the Snells' "Complete Hindi" book.
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    So, "maiN soyaa huuN" typically means "I am asleep". I imagine, it may probably have the present perfect meaning in the right context, but I am having trouble constructing an example.
    How about something like this?
    kyaa aap kabhii khule aasmaan ke niiche soe ho?​
    Have you ever slept under an open sky?​

    Has anyone ever seen a list of verbs that can take both transitive -ne and intransitive without -ne in perfect tense? I have seen bolnaa, samajhnaa, and bhulnaa mentioned and Db mentioned haNsnaa as well. What about kahnaa or puchnaa? I don't know if there are many more or if this is about it.
    I haven't seen an exhaustive list, but if it exists somewhere, it's not a terribly short list. Among intransitives, many that denote bodily functions allow using the ergative ne and doing so makes the action more deliberate/intentional rather than involuntary. Examples of these "bodily function" intransitives include haNsnaa, ronaa, khaaNsnaa, chhiiNknaa, bhauNknaa, dahaaRnaa, muutnaa, hagnaa, .... In fact, some such intransitives denote bodily functions that are almost always deliberate (like the vulgar ones that I've whited out), so one will probably almost always hear them with the ne rather than without!
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    So, "kis ne pahle haNsaa hai?" - who has laughed (deliberately) before/as the first one?, vs. "kaun pahle haNsaa hai?" - who has laughed before/as the first one (unintentionally)?
    Wonderful summarizing and additional information, @Dib jii, but "kis ne ... haNsaa/ronaa" is something I have never heard and sounds downright wrong to me. Have you ever heard it? For me, it has to be "kaun paihle haNsaa/royaa (hai)?" For the "kis ne" construction, you would have to introduce an object: "kis ne haNsii haNsii paihle?"

    So just to confirm 100% - if I use the "+ne" construction, then hona ends up agreeing with the object. So you will always say

    mein ne khaaya hai

    never

    main ne khaaya hun?
    Yes, always "maiN ne khaaya hai" - though the sentence like this, without an object, would work in very few contexts only. However, "maiN khaayaa hooN" also exists in variants (refer @Dib jii's point 5 and my earlier post), in which case you have to drop the "ne".

    Yes, only after I wrote it, I realized it was a very inadequate example, because "sach" can be whatever. My understanding is that it can be used as an adverb as well (which was the meaning intended for the example).
    No, it's always a noun; I can't think of it being an adverb. Even in a sentence like "sach bolo/kaho/bataao", it means "speak/say/tell the truth". Adverbs are "sach-sach" or "sachchaaii se" (sometimes the adjective "sachchaa" can also be used as an adverb).

    How about something like this?
    kyaa aap kabhii khule aasmaan ke niiche soe ho?​
    Have you ever slept under an open sky?​
    There's a difference, though. "maiN soyaa hooN" means "maiN soyaa huaa hooN" - the "huaa" is simply elided. Hence, that's stative. The sentence "kyaa aap kabhii khule aasmaan ke niiche soe ho?" cannot be substituted with "kyaa aap kabhii khule aasmaan ke niiche soe hue ho?" If you were to put "hue" here, you would have to remove "kabhii" and hence ask about the present state (thus changing the query itself): "kyaa aap khule aasmaan ke niiche soe hue ho?", which now, of course, can become "kyaa aap khule aasmaan ke niiche soe ho?", eliding the "hue".
     

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    There's a difference, though. "maiN soyaa hooN" means "maiN soyaa huaa hooN" - the "huaa" is simply elided. Hence, that's stative. The sentence "kyaa aap kabhii khule aasmaan ke niiche soe ho?" cannot be substituted with "kyaa aap kabhii khule aasmaan ke niiche soe hue ho?" If you were to put "hue" here, you would have to remove "kabhii" and hence ask about the present state (thus changing the query itself): "kyaa aap khule aasmaan ke niiche soe hue ho?", which now, of course, can become "kyaa aap khule aasmaan ke niiche soe ho?", eliding the "hue".
    Yep, I agree with all of this! I just wanted to make the point that in the appropriate context, Hindi-Urdu's perfective participle + honaa construction with a verb like sonaa can still sometimes carry "have experienced" present-perfect-type semantics. In fact, I realized after writing my above post that an even better example might be the affirmative response to the same question:

    A: kyaa aap kabhii khule aasmaan ke niiche soe ho?
    B: haaN, soyaa huuN.

    No kabhii shows up in B's response, but the context nonetheless makes perfectly clear that a "have experienced" meaning is implied by B's use of this construction. In any case, you're absolutely right that one cannot insert a huaa/hue/huii in this situation, and that doing so changes the semantics. I'm now reminded of Dib's astute observation about an "(emerging) aspectual distinction" between these two forms.

    Wonderful summarizing and additional information, @Dib jii, but "kis ne ... haNsaa/ronaa" is something I have never heard and sounds downright wrong to me. Have you ever heard it? For me, it has to be "kaun paihle haNsaa/royaa (hai)?" For the "kis ne" construction, you would have to introduce an object: "kis ne haNsii haNsii paihle?"
    I think I also prefer the kaun rather than the kisne in the haNsnaa sentence (at least, without further context), but I think @Dib's observation still holds water: people do sometimes use the ne with perfective participles of certain intransitive verbs like haNsnaa and ronaa (whereas, in contrast, this essentially never happens with intransitives like jaanaa). If you google something like "उसने हँसा" or "उसने रोया" you'll see a few examples of this sort (though you have to be careful to sift out the non-examples):
    wo ekdam khilkhilaa paRii thii jaise das saaloN se usne haNsaa hii nahiiN.​
    maanaa ki usne royaa hai lekin bin roe hamne bahut kucch khoyaa hai​
    aisaa lag rahaa thaa maano aaj usne royaa ho, uskii aaNkheN suujii huii lag rahii thiiN.​
    There are also bound to be examples where the ne and the participle are further removed from each other in the sentence, but those are harder to search for. In any case, there's a clear contrast if you compare against searching for "उसने गया" --- here, at least in the first couple of pages of results, the sentences I see aren't using gayaa as the perfective participle of jaanaa at all (mostly, gayaa seems to be referring to the Gaya zila in Bihar).
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Completely agree, @aevynn jii, with your first part: wonderful example you have there.

    As for the "kis ne haNsaa/royaaa" - well, since you say so and have even found examples on Google, maybe it exists then, but I personally have never heard them and until now would have find them grammatically incorrect as well as not in usage. I wonder if there's a certain region or community where such speech might exist?
     
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