Urdu: hui vs. hui thi

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by ihsaan, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. ihsaan Senior Member

    Can someone please explain when I would use the first example, and when to use the latter?
    The sentences are suppose to mean something akin to "I became a student in 2003."

    1. Main 2006 meiN student hui.
    2. Main 2006 meiN student hui thi.

    I would have translated the second as "had become", but after having asked an Urdu speaker, she said she would probably prefer the second one to express the meaning that I "became" something. I´m having real difficulties discerning when to use only hui (became) vs. hui thi. It seems these verb tenses are used in a different way than in my mother tongue (Norwegian), and it is a little confusing to me. Could someone please explain the grammar behind why one is preferred over the other, or simply more correct. I would also love to see more examples that clarify this issue.
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The usual translation for "main gayaa" is (I went) and "maiN gayaa thaa" (I had gone) but this is not as clear cut as this. It all depends in the context. In one sentence, the latter could just mean " I went" and in another " I did go" (contrary to what others might think). It is probably best to illustrate this by mean of examples, but finding/thinking of appropriate examples is not always easy.

    kis se maHruumii-i-qismat kii shikaayat kiije
    ham ne chaahaa thaa kih mar jaa'eN, so vuh bhii nah hu'aa

    To whom should I complain about deprivation of good fortune
    I had wanted to die, but even that was not something possible

    I wanted to die, but even that did not become a reality

    thii xabar garm kih Ghalib ke uReN ge purze
    dekhne ham bhii ga'e the pah tamaashaa nah hu'aa

    There were rumours that Ghalib would be torn to shreds
    I too went to see but that spectacle did not take place

    I too had gone, but I did not behold that supposed sight

    maiN aur bazm-i-mai se yuuN tashnah-kaam aa'uuN
    gar maiN ne kii thii taubah, saaqii ko kyaa hu'aa thaa

    I and return with a thirsty palate? From a wine party!
    If I had given up drinking, what stopped the "saaqii"? (from doing his job and serving wine)

    maiN 2006 meN taalib-3ilm banii.....might be a better way to convey this. It still sounds a bit awkward in Urdu.

    This simply means, "I became a student in 2006".

    maiN 2006 meN taalib-3ilm banii thii (2000 meN nahiiN! us vaqt to maiN baut chhotii thii!)

    I (actually) became a student in 2006 (Not in 2000! At that time I was very young!)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  3. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    More than one way to say this but if you wish to say "I became a student in 2006" then I'd suggest " maiN do hazaar chhai (2006) meN Taalib-e-3ilm banii"

    This is how we normally put it since Taalib-e-3ilm* bannaa ( ban jaanaa) = to become a student, while Taalib-e-3ilm honaa = to be a student.

    Hopefully the following example clarifies the use of the latter: maiN is jaami3e / uuniivarsiTii meN Taalib-e-3ilm huuN = I am a student at this university.

    * Taalib-e-3ilm = student
  4. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    QP SaaHib, why do you feel this is awkward Urdu? As I indicate above, this is idiomatic Urdu!

    Of course one can also use this: maiN 2006 meN taalib-3ilm banii thii = I had become a student in 2006, although a lot of people use this to mean ""I became a student in .....
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    There is no grammatical reason. It just, to my ears at least, sounds unfamiliar. Much better than using "honaa" of course.
  6. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Sure! it could be a matter of what one is used to but for us using taalib-3ilm banii here is idiomatic and as we agree, taalib-3ilm honaa really is not on in this context.
  7. ihsaan Senior Member

    Thank you all for your replies, Qureshpor and Faylasoof.
    I was afraid that this might end up a discussion about how to express becoming a student or not, but my initial intention with this thread was merely to clarify how to use the past tense in Urdu.

    hui vs hui thi
    gai vs gai thi

    Are there not any clear cut rules? I have to admit that I´m still feeling quite confused. One of my books mentioned something about using a tense like "gai thi" in stead of just "gai" when a specific time was mentioned, and that in these cases "gai thi" would be equivalent with "gai" in meaning. Is this correct, and are there other "hard rules" that I can keep in mind. I´m feeling really frustrated with the past tense in Urdu.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  8. ihsaan Senior Member

    I´m confused as to why my friend said she preferred the second option, if it implies "actually". This is not the first time I´ve heard Pakistanis prefer the pluperfectum (banii thii) where I would have thought one would use only "banii" and where there wasn´t any intention of stating something contrary ("actually") to someone´s beliefs about XYZ.

    So, when would " main banii thi" mean "I became..." in the same sense as using only "banii"? Or to use another example you mentioned: you said that "main gayaa thaa" could mean that "I went" or that "I did go" - I´m still not sure when this tense would be used to mean the former rather than the latter context wise.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  9. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    There is not so much difference between ´banii thii´ and ´banii´, when used in a sentence. thii in such cases is frequently omitted when the verb form functions as a part of longer compound sentences or subsequent sentences, where the form with ´thii´ has been used once to define the form. It is to say that in the rest of the sentences, where ´thii´ does not appear, it is inferred.
  10. ihsaan Senior Member

    Thank you for you reply!

    What, however, would make you prefer one over the other in a short sentence?
    If the difference is slight, does this mean that it doesn´t really make a difference which one you choose? So, if I use "main gaii +/- thi", both would equally mean "I went" and one would not be preferred over the other? (Besides the fact that with the "thi" added at the end, it holds the additional meaning of pluperfectum as well). The reason I´m wondering is that I´m often corrected if I "forget" to add the "thi" at the end of a sentence (in a sentence with the perfectum tense, e.g. "I went"), and it makes me believe that the usage of these two are not quite equal.

    I´m sorry to trouble you all with continuos questions on this matter, but understanding this point has actually been one of the things in Urdu grammar which I´ve never been able to grasp fully, and it has been a stumbling block in learning this language. Thank you for your patience:)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  11. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ I hope you will appreciate that sometimes speakers of a language are at a loss to explain the intricacies of their language. They themselves know that "yih aam bahut miiThaa hai" but "kyoN miiThaa hai" is something they do not always have a precise answer for.

    My advice to you would be to listen to good spoken language and read some literature. You will gradually get a sense of when to use one or the other. Having said all this, let me have another go. Let's have a short dialogue.

    i: QP Saahib, aap apne beTe ko samjhaate kyoN nahiiN!? vuh har roz hamaare baaGh se aam toR kar le bhaagtaa hai!

    QP: yih to bahut burii 3aadat hai, ihsaan SaaHib! ghar meN kisii phal ko haath nahiiN lagaataa aur idhar paRos hii meN Daakah Daal rahaa hai! mujhe afsos hai kih aap ko mere bete kii shikaayat karnaa paRii. dekhiye kaise maiN us kii aaj hii xabar letaa huuN!

    do din ba3d

    i: kahiye janaab, apne laxt-i-jigar se baat chiit hui?

    QP: baat-chiit? janaab maiN ne use usii roz xuub DaaNTaa! us kii maaN ne bhii use bahut samjhaayaa. aa'indah aap ke aam us ko skuul kii tarH kaRve lageN ge!

    ek hafte ba3d

    i: pahle to xud chorii kartaa thaa, ab apne agent bhej rahaa hai! sharm nahiiN aatii aap logoN ko?

    QP: ihsaan bhaa'ii, aap to kuchh ziyaadah hii Ghusse meN haiN. aap ko kaise patah chalaa kih yih laRke mere beTe ke "agent" haiN?

    i: apnii aaNkhoN se dekhaa maiN ne! vuh diivaar kii aaR se unheN bataa rahaa thaa kih kaun-se daraxt par chaRhnaa ziyaadah aasaan hai!

    QP! yaqiin maaniye, maiN ne us din use bahut jhiRkaa thaa, ek-aadh thapaR bhii lagayaa thaa. maaN ne xaandaan kii 3izzat ke vaaste diye the.....

    i: lekin asar to kuchh nahiiN hu'aa!

    QP: asar? asar yih hu'aa hai kih aap ke aam chorii hu'e aur merii 3izzat aam ke miiThe ras aur aap ke kaRve ta3noN meN bah ga'ii!
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  12. Abu Talha Senior Member

    Perhaps this is relevant:
  13. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I was afraid you might come back with this remark! I guess it was just unfortunate you chose the example that you did, i.e. becoming a student. Anyway, we needed to point it out that your original sentence was not idiomatic. So I hope you got some benfit from this.

    As should be clear to you by now, I hope, that the difference between hui and hui thii much of the time is really something we don't bother with, esp. in speech. So:

    pichhlii Sadii ek 3aZiim-ush-shaan iijaad huii jise shabka-e-3aalamgiirii / shabka-e-jaahaaNgiirii / jaalbain (جالبین) kahte haiN

    pichhlii Sadii ek 3aZiim-ush-shaan iijaad huii thii jise shabka-e-3aalamgiirii / shabka-e-jaahaaNgiirii / jaalbain (جالبین) kahte haiN

    Both sentences carry pretty much the same meaning and can be rendered as:

    Last century a fantastic invention was made (which is) called the internet.

    But for the second sentence above you can also say:

    Last century a fantastic invention had been made (which is) called the internet.

    I would go for the first!
  14. ihsaan Senior Member

    @Qureshpor saahib: thank you so much for that thorough answer. I will go through it carefully and learn from it! I definitively know what you mean about it not being easy to explain every layer of meaning in a language.

    @Faylasoof saahib: I'm sorry if I came across as rude. I'm really happy for any correction I can get and I did indeed benefit; I was just afraid that my main query would drown in my clumsy sentence. :) Thank you for clarifying about the usage of these verb tenses.

    It seems that if the native Urdu speakers are not that bothered about the difference, then I will try to follow Qureshpor saahib's advice of just reading more literature and try to get the feeling of it the usage that way, but not make it such a big deal. This thread has been enlightening.
  15. ihsaan Senior Member

    :thumbsup: Indeed! I checked the site out, and it has a lot of good points. Thank you for sharing.
  16. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    There has been no loss but only gain in the discussions!:)

    I just wanted to add that the verb "honaa" is an extremely versatile verb. It means "to be" "to become", "to happen", "to exist" and more..

    kyaa hu'aa = What happened?

    jab vuh biimar hu'aa.. = When he became ill..

    ham ne chaahaa thaa kih mar jaa'eN, so vuh bhii nah hu'aa = ....even that did n't happen/take place.

    mar gayaa sadmah-i-yak junbish-i-lab se Ghalib
    naa-tavaanii se Hariif-i-dam-i-3iisii nah hu'aa

    Ghaalib has died from the shock of just one movement of his lips
    Due to frailty he could not be a fitting rival to the breath of Jesus

    dard minnat-kash-i-davaa nah hu'aa
    maiN nah achhaa hu'aa, buraa nah hu'aa

    My pain did not become indebted to medicine
    I did not get well, well it was not a bad thing

    jam3 karte ho kyoN raqiboN ko
    ik tamaashaa hu'aa, gilah nah hu'aa

    Why are you gathering together my rivals?
    This is a mere show, it is not a complaint!*

    * Ghalib is addressing his beloved. This is no way to register a complaint by gathering my rivals. This is just a spectacle on your part!

    One more example from Ghalib.

    dar-xor-i-qahr-o-Ghazab jab ko'ii ham saa nah hu'aa
    phir Ghalat kyaa hai kih ham saa ko'ii paidaa nah hu'aa

    When, worthy of wrath and torment there was no one like me
    Then is it wrong for me to say that born was no one, like me?
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  17. ihsaan Senior Member

    Thank you for elaborating, Qureshpor saahib. This forum is like a treasure chest full of gold.
  18. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    You are welcome, once again. Good to see that our humble efforts are bearing fruit for gold prospectors!
  19. mastermind1212 New Member

    The correct way of writing this sentense is "main 2006 mein student thi.""
  20. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    "maiN 2006 meN student thii" would imply "I was a student in 2006" and it does not explicitly show that this person's tenure as a student began in 2006. This is what the OP is asking for.

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