Hindi, Urdu: laa-pataa invariable?


Senior Member
Castellano de Argentina

Yesterday, I learnt that laapataa / लापता

CATURVEDIलापताADJECTIVEmissing; disappeared, gone underground; untraceable
BAHRIलापताADJECTIVE(a) without address; ~ पत्र a letter --. (b) missing: वह कई वर्ष से ~ था he had been -- for several years; वह मिनटों में ~ हो गया he disappeared in minutes.

was actually laa - pataa / Urdu Lughat
i.e, [Arabic not] + localizable

Does this mean that, in practice, "laa-pataa" works as an invariable adjective?

Examples in songs:

"Laapataa", from the movie "Ek Tha Tiger"
maiN laa-pataa, tuu laa-pataa --> (these people should be of different genders)
hōsh-o-havaas, hai laaptaa

"Dekhte-dekhte", a qawwali
vo jo aaNkhoN se ik pal na ojhal hue
laa-pataa ho gae dekhte-dekhte --> (here, even though all the rest of the poem is in plural, laa-pataa is still singular masculine)

Or is it just that, in all of the above examples, the "agent" happens to be a male speaker?

[Note: I see a some laa-patii on the internet, for example, in the police case of a missing girl student that "laa-patii thii", but they are very few]
  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    True, but "bagair" can stand alone, "laa" can't. But you're right, I should've rephrased my sentence earlier.
    I answered your question, "If someone is without "pataa," how can "pataa" change?".
    لا, "laa" can have a stand alone meaning in Urdu. It 's the equivalent of the unknown x in English. This is in addition to it meaning "qaanuun"!:)