April 20, 2012

Iterative Constructions

Hindi has an idiom for expressing repeated, iterated, regular, or habitual actions called the “iterative construction”. This idiom may be used interchangeably with the habitual verb forms. However, the iterative construction emphasizes the iteration.

Form of The Iterative Construction in Hindi

The basic form of the iterative construction is as follows:

[Perfect participle of the main verb in invariable masculine singular direct form] + [inflected form of करना]


प्रियंका रोज़ अपनी बहिन से बात किया करती है – “Priyanka talks with her sister every day”

Note that although the subject प्रियंका (Priyanka) is feminine, the perfect participle किया is nonetheless masculine since it is invariable. However, the form of करना is inflected: करती है.

This sentence could have been written using the present habitual verb form, as in प्रियंका रोज़ अपनी बहिन से बात करती है (without किया). However, it would lack the emphasis of habitual action.

तुम्हें हिंदी बोलने की कोशिश किया करनी चाहिए – “You should keep trying to speak Hindi”

हम हर एक दिन वहां जाया करते थे – “We used to go there every day”

Note the use of the special perfect participle जाया instead of गया. जाया is used in Hindi instead of गया in certain circumstances, such as in iterative constructions.

यहाँ बहुत बारिश हुआ करती है – “It rains a lot here”

हम हर एक दिन उन लोगों को मिला करेंगे – “We will meet them every day”

Note that this is the only habitual construct in Hindi that may be used in the future tense.

मैं रोज़ हिंदी पढ़ा करूँगा – “I will study Hindi daily”

अच्छे छात्र अपनी किताबें पढ़ना नहीं भुला करते हैं – “Good students do not forget to read their books”

The negative particle precedes the entire verb.

रोज़ काफी पानी पी लिया करो – “Drink enough water each day”

Note the use of this idiom with compound verbs as in the previous example.