Urdu: kyaa jagah vs kaunsii jagah

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Chhaatr, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Chhaatr Senior Member

    My queries have to do with the following lines from a famous song from the Bollywood film Umrao Jaan:

    Yeh kyaa jagah hai dostoN yeh kaun saa dayaar hai
    Hadd-e-niGHah tak jahaaN Ghubaar hii Ghubaar hai

    1. How is this "kyaa jagah" different from "kaun sii jagah"?

    2. Is this a "kyaa jagah" and not "kaun sii jagah" because of "Hadd-e-niGHah tak jahaaN Ghubaar hii Ghubaar hai"?, or

    3. Is it a "kyaa jagah" because of the use of "kaun saa" immediately after it?

  2. Alfaaz Senior Member

    The following could depend on one's interpretation of the poetry:
    Firstly, punctuation could be added to make the answers to your questions a bit clearer! (Since you are learning to read and write Urdu, you can practice here - the lyrics are written in Urdu script.)

    یہ کیا جگہ ہے دوستو ؟ یہ کونسا دیار ہے ؟
    (حدِّ نگاہ تک جہاں غبار ہی غبار ہے)

    A few corrections: The plural form of دوست dost used here is دوستو dosto, not دوستوں dostoN. The pronunciation of دیار is diyaar. The word is nigaah (with a گ gaaf and not a غ Ghaiyn): نگاہ .
    کیا جگہ kyaa jagah - what place
    • yeh kyaa jagah hai dosto? - What (a) place is this friends?
      • yeh kyaa a'jeeb jagah hai dosto? - What a weird place is this friends?!
    کیسی جگہ kaisi jagah - what kind of place
    • yeh kaisi jagah hai dosto? - What kind of place is this friends?
    کونسی جگہ kaun sii jagah - which place
    • yeh kaun sii jagah hai dosto? Which place is this friends?
    It seems any of the three phrases would impart a similar meaning in this case...what would you say?
    A place and region/houses where as far as the eye can see there is impurity upon impurity, full of vexation, etc.
    2. No. "kaun si jagah" could also be used with the phrase, which shouldn't have any effect on whether it is kyaa or kaun sii.
    3. It could be that the poet/lyricist didn't want repetition...
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  3. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    There is not much else that can be added to Alfaaz SaaHib's excellent detailed reply. Just a couple of remarks.

    "dosto" is the plural vocative (ai dost >> (ai) dosto). By vocative I mean when someone is being addressed directly. On the other hand "dostoN" is the plural oblique case.

    mere dost se puuchh lo, agar merii baat par yaqiin nahiiN.

    mere dostoN se puuchh lo agar merii baat par yaqiin nahiiN.

    Regarding "kyaa jagah?". In speech, there would be a certain intonation involved. The meaning would be "What kind of place is this, my friends where as far as the eye can see, there is nothing but dust (it is in ruins!)?.
  4. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    You must also remember, Chhatr, when, for example one is vexed with a person, one says "kyaa aadmii ho tum yaar!" "kaun sii jagah" would be banal; "kyaa jagah" imparts intensity to the question: the person knows which place is this, but the question goes beyond that: it wants to ask, like "kyaa aadmii ho tum yaar", "kyaa jagah hai yeh, yaar" - what the hell of a place is this.
  5. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica

    This is also pronounced as dostoN by some Hindi speakers. Dosto is the prescriptive way.
  6. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Well, both the shi3r and the thread are in Urdu. And in Urdu, "dostoN" in the context of the couplet would simply be wrong. Chhaatr is a learner of Urdu and I am sure he would n't mind being informed that as far as Urdu is concerned, his transcription of this word is incorrect. I am also pretty sure Asha Bhosle has not sung it as "dostoN" and if she has, she has not followed what the poet Shahryaar has written.

    I would suggest that "dostoN" would be wrong in Hindi too, whatever some people may be pronouncing.
  7. Chhaatr Senior Member

    I welcome these corrections. I have checked again and found it is indeed "dosto".

    Thanks everyone!

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