Urdu: Where are you going?

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by ihsaan, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. ihsaan Senior Member

    How do I say: "Where are you going?" in a polite way (with aap) to a man or a woman. The context is someone leaving e.g. the home, and the person left behind asks where this person intends to go.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  2. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    aap kahaa jaa rahe ho?
  3. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Actually based on the inquery the best form would be:

    aap kahaan jaa rahe hai(n) (for man)

    aap kahaan jaa rahi hai(n) (for a woman)

    aap kahaan jaa rahe/rahi HO is acceptable in many dialects colloquially, I use that form myself, but it is not the most polite form/text book correct.


    I have a question:

    What do you think of:

    Aap kidher jaa rahe/rahi ho/hain?

    I hear this often, but I don't know if it marks some kind of accent or if it is also textbook acceptable. Any input?
  4. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    I think I vaguely remember a thread where "kahaaN" and "kidhar" were discussed and it was concluded that they were interchangeable.
  5. ihsaan Senior Member

    Again - thank you for the thorough answers!
  6. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    Just to explain icfatima's comment, the use of the verb forms of Tum with the subject Aap in a semi-formal situation is quite common in colloquial language, but will not be prescribed in grammar books.
  7. ihsaan Senior Member

    So, it is actually grammatically "wrong"?
  8. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    I don't have an authentic source at hand, but I am almost sure that it won't be considered as an official feature of the language. :)

    However, I will assert that it is quite indispensable in day to day communication (in the present era).
  9. ihsaan Senior Member

    I see. Thank you for clarifying!
  10. achax New Member

    India Hindi and English
    IcFatima is correct. In fact to use Aap kahan ja rahe ho may pass in some parts of India, esp In Delhi, Haryana and places with Panjabi influence but it marks one out as not fully educated and would be frowned upon in UP.

    It is always better to use the correct Aap kahan ja rahe hain or Aap kahan ja raheen hain as IcFatima suggests.
  11. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    I will expect a boy at school to speak, Aap kahaan jaa rahe ho to his senior.
  12. achax New Member

    India Hindi and English
    Strange that you should say this Illuminatus, because when I went to school we were specifically taught NOT to speak this way.
  13. achax New Member

    India Hindi and English
    In elaboration of my last post, we were taught either to say "tum kahan ja rahe ho" or "aap kahan ja rahe hain". We also used "tu kahan ja raha hai" with friends. Schools typically discourage this use of tu but that made it more popular and, in any case, it is grammatically correct.

    Encouraging non native speakers to say "Aap kahan jahan rahe ho" is akin to advising a non-English speaking person to say "Where's you going" rather than "Where are you going" I have heard the "where's you goin' " used in many English speakin' countries but I would hardly advise someone to use that kind of language.
  14. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    Nowhere have I advised Non-natives to use this form over the standard form. However, being a native speaker, I will certainly take it upon me to inform them that this form exists and is used quite extensively, at least nowadays. The fact that it may not confirm to old grammar rules doesn't mean that we simply disregard it, especially when it's use is quite widespread.

    To avoid confusion, I will formally suggest that learners of the Hindi language refrain from using this form.
  15. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I would not teach a low level learner to use the aap + ho construction, and would probably not indicate its existance in a classroom setting outside of PK/India. However I would make them aware of its use if they were studying in Pakistan/India. At a higher level, if the student were studying in a region where the use of that construction is common, I would say it is perfectly fine to use for high level non-native speakers. I think it is a matter of personal pedagogical philosophy and depends on the teaching context and what the students will be using the language for.
  16. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    I have just learnt a very important lesson here. All my life I've said "aap + ho" not realising that it could seem disrespectful. My next door neighbour who is Pakistani (mother tongue Urdu) told me this today too! He said when Urdu is taught in Pakistan, they get to a level where they teach you "aadaab" of the language (formal and informal language). But he told me its very common with "you Gujarati people" to speak Urdu "disrespectfully" - without realising of course!

    "us kaa betaa" - informal
    "un kaa betaa" - formal, respectful

    "aap yahaa betho" - informal
    "aap yahaa bethiye" - formal, respectful

    To be honest, I wouldn't say I speak Urdu perfectly, but then again, it's definitely not a foreign language to me either. I speak it flowingly but I make blunders like these all the time..

    I might start a new thread on this actually.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  17. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    In Pakistani Punjab it is common to hear aap + ho among well educated people. People's ears are very keen to markers of class and education, but aap ho sounds friendly, unpretentious, and welcoming. However, for educated muhajirs from "pure" Urdu speaking backgrounds, it is considered to be a marker of lack of refinement.

    My SIL's (jaithani---not a relative but married into the khaandaan) family is Punjabi origin, educated, monied, etc. and they say aap + ho. My MIL is from Lucknow originally, and she instructs my SIL not to use that and says it grates on her ears to hear my SIL speak with her own mother. I use it because I learned Urdu mainly around Punjabi speakers, and seem to be surrounded by them, so it is natural and acceptable in my social milieu and fits in with the Punjabi lahja (style). So, it depends on ethnic/regional origin on whether it is okay or not. In India, I think it it is the same thing, in some regions it is acceptable even for well educated people in informal situations (Rajasthan, Punjabified Delhi, etc.), but for other areas it is a marker of lower class/lack of refinement. I think in some social contexts with people who commonly used aap+ho with friends, in daily life, aap+hai(n) sounds a bit stiff and too formal. So for a high level non-native speaker like myself, it is perfectly natural for me to adjust to my speaking context so as not to sound like a school book.

    On your commands, in Punjab, aap +baitho is fine, but with many U.P. type people in Pakistan and also when attempting to be formal, Pakistanis would say:

    aap baithe(n) rather than aap baithiye.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  18. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
  19. huhmzah

    huhmzah Senior Member

    Ithaca, NY
    Urdu - English
    If you want to be really polite -- another way of asking someone where they are going in Urdu is: آپ کہاں / کدھر تشریف لے جا رہے / رہی ہیں؟
    "âp kahâN (kidhar) tashriif le jâ rahe/rahi haiN?"

    تشریف لانا (tashriif lânâ) -- "to come" and تشریف لے جانا (tashriif le jânâ) -- "to go" [and also used to mean "to arrive"] are good verbs to remember since they are used quite often in polite conversation instead of "ana" and "jana".

    For instance, instead of saying (آیئے - aiye) for "come in" -- it's much more common for people to say: تشریف لایئے (tashriif lâiye) when talking to strangers or people that they are polite/formal with.
  20. ihsaan Senior Member

    Excellent. Thank you. The more polite, the better.
  21. Athanasios Member

    English - US, Jamaican
    These are nice phrases!

    Are these levels of formality restricted to Urdu? Can I use them in Hindi? Would Hindi-phones be familiar/comfortable with the phrases, or would it sound odd/pretentious?
  22. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    Here is at least one example of a highly educated Lakhnavi, namely Iftikhar Arif using the "aap...ho" form! Please see on Youtube "Jashn-e-Iftikhar Arif" part III at 1:04:32 when he says...

    " aap dunyaa ko Khuub-suurat dekhnaa chaahte ho...aap dunyaa ko tabdiil karnaa chaah rahe ho..".

  23. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Aap meri saas se baat karo, janaab.
  24. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    muHtaramah Fatima SaaHibah. sab se pahle to aap aur aap ke tamaam ahl-i-Khaanah ko 3iid mubaarak.

    us ke ba'd aap kii saas saaHibah kaa Hukm sar aaNkhoN pih. mujhe un kii baat se rattii-bhar iKhtilaaf nahiiN. balkih mujhe to "aap----ho" se ghin aatii hai! maiN ne faqat ek paRhe-likhe Lakhnavii adiib kii zabaan kii misaal aap ke saamne rakhii hai taa kih aap yih jaan leN kih Urdu zabaan meN daaKhil hone vaalii har Khaamii kaa ilzaam Punjab vaaloN ke sar nahiiN thopnaa chaahiye.
  25. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    This I found truly amazing! Thanks for the find, QP saahib. IA is arguably one of the top Urdu-daans of Pakistan.

    So I guess 'aap ... ho' is somewhat acceptable usage, then?
  26. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    It is important to define what one chooses as the determinant of acceptability, when dealing with new phenomena in the language usage, depending on the circumstances and the language usage of the interlocutors.

    In informal contexts it is sometimes useful to use this form, especially when you don't want to create a linguistic barrier between you and the other party.

    Although I acknowledge the widespread career of this linguistic-mental construct, I'm all against its propagation in the media. The fact that this eminent personality in the Urdu world happened to use it, doesn't mean much for me, as long as he hasn't waged to put it on paper.
  27. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Good comment, marrish saahib. I doubt IA is putting this in writing anytime soon, unless portraying a character who needs to speak this way. But this does legitimize to some extent this usage in spoken language. The event, Jashn-e-Iftikhar Arif doesn't sound totally informal, after all.
  28. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I'm sure he is not going to eternalize it on paper, because he hardly writes prose, as far as I know. I agree totally that the said event is not an informal function and I would expect that he might provide more clarity on this point when contacted.
    Its usage in the spoken variety of language is legitimized by the mere fact of its usage, but I would call this variety of language several Urdu names I hope it doesn't deserve.
  29. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I suspect he used this form when referring to someone who was not clean and neatly clad. In subsequent sentences he uses ''to us ne kyaa karnaa hai''...
  30. BP. Senior Member

    It is quite possible he might have learnt these construct much later in life.
  31. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I don't think we need to find any excuses for janaab-i-Iftikhar SaaHib nor for anyone else. He is human after all. The point that I wished to make to Icfatima was that one ought not to generalise that such and such a feature of a language can be attributed to one community unless one has conducted some research. marrish SaaHib has mentioned another grammatical "flaw", namely "us ne kyaa karnaa hai", the blame for which is also placed squarely on the Punjabis. One should remember that what is wrong is wrong whoever the speakers are. ahl-i-zabaan are just as guilty of incorrect usage as anyone else. If they use zer for a zabar, then it is OK but it seems to be an unforgivable crime if someone else does it. If Faiz or Faraz made the same error, one would hear, "Oh, well he is a Punjabi/Pathan....".

    Iftikhar Arif was an adult (25yrs?) when he left his Lakhnavii environment. I, as a Punjabi would never ever say "aap ho" unless someone puts a gun to my head or my mental faculties have deserted me and I have lost control over that part of my brain where this kind of information is stored!
  32. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Marrish SaaHib, as to your earlier request ( this thread):
    I’ve finally had the chance of listening to all three videos (parts II, III and IV) about 1 hour each!

    I shall firstly echo what you say above that Iftikhar Arif (IA) SaaHib's use of such a wrong construct in no way means we need to follow. I also agree with others here that these are simply wrong! The sentences in question are:

    " aap dunyaa ko xuub-Suurat dekhnaa chaahte ho...aap dunyaa ko tabdiil karnaa chaah rahe ho".

    Why did he utter these in a public forum and on a formal occasion will best be answered by IA Sb himself. It is unlikely we shall meet anytime soon so in the meantime I shall hazard a few guesses:

    a) By using a colloquial and grammatically incorrect sentence he may be using it in the context of the persons he had in mind that he was talking about.
    b) Endearing himself to the audience by giving the impression of using a commoner’s language.
    c) He has genuinely got into the habit of using such sentences because of his (frequent) contacts with a certain company he is keeping that uses such forms and now he no longer winces but may have even accepted these irregular forms!

    IA did a double MA from Lucknow (sociology and then philosophy). By the time he left in 1965 his Urdu was indeed puxtah! However, since then he has lived amongst a very mixed company of Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, (Pashto? and Baluchi?) speakers in the UK and Pakistan, and I assume Hindi speakers in the UK and India. So we are now talking about more than 4 decades away from where he grew up and in a very mixed company. I’m sure he now has many influences that guide his spoken language though his speech is basically standard Urdu. So at the end of the day this “slip” may count for nothing given at least reasons (a) and (b) above. The last, (c), is more serious but I somehow doubt it.

    Anyway, I agree he shouldn’t be promoting and shouldn’t be seen to be promoting such irregular forms of expressions in public.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  33. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Iftikhar SaaHib is such a nice human being that I am willing to overlook any kind of error that he has made. I would personally go along with explanation a) where in his mind he is actually almost quoting a scenario, in inverted commas.
  34. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    In the book entitled, "The Modern Hindustani Scholar or The Pucca Munshi" by Munshi Thakardass Pahwa" published in 1919 on page 194 the author says..

    "Note- Occasionally in Delhi it is given the declension of the second person, plural, but this is not so elegant. For instance they say, "aap kahaaN jaa,oge" instead of "aap kahaaN jaa,eNge" for "Where will you go, Sir".

    The author, from what I can gather was himself from Jhelum, Punjab. If this form was known in the Punjab in his time, he would not have singled out Delhi. At least this is how I understand it.
  35. eskandar

    eskandar Moderator

    English (US)
    Not to drag this conversation back to the main topic :)p) but I would like to ask: is تشریف لے جانا also used as a command, ie. تشریف لے جائیے ? Perhaps when giving directions, for example?
  36. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ I would n't say about giving directions necessarily (and I would n't rule it out) but if I wanted someone to leave and still wished to be ultra polite, I would say..

    x SaaHib/ah, ab bihtar yahii hai kih aap yahaaN se tashriif le jaa'ie!

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