September 4, 2013

Imperfect Participle + चला आना/जाना

In Hindi there is an idiom that involves an imperfect participle followed by a form of the verb चला आना or चला जाना. It is similar to the idiom discussed in this note.

It is similar to other continuity idioms, but it emphasizes iteration, something that is done repeatedly or incessantly.

In this idiom, चला जाना may appear in a continuous, past, or habitual form. However, चला आना typically only appears in a continuous form (e.g. चला आ रहा है).

With चला आना, this idiom indicates an action that started in the past and continued to the present (just like “has been doing” in English). It is equivalent to the “imperfect participle + आना” idiom.

With चला जाना, this idiom often indicates an action that is performed repeatedly, iteratively, incessantly, etc. Since चला जाना means “to go (away)”, this idiom is similar to English expressions like “to go on and on”, “to go on doing”,  “to keep on doing”, etc.

Note that this idiom is generally used with actions that are finite and can be repeated, and not with actions that represent processes, etc. However, it can be used to indicate continuous actions rather than iterated actions.

मैं वही बात सालों से बताता चला आ रहा हूं – “I’ve been saying that very thing for years”

वह हार न मानते हुए कड़ी मेहनत करती चली गयी – “Without giving up, she kept on working very hard”

आज वह दिनभर अपने प्रयोगशाला में विभिन्न प्रयोग करता चला जा रहा था – “He kept conducting various experiments in his laboratory all day long”

गरीब होने के बावजूद वह दान करता चला जाता है – “Despite being poor, he keeps making donations”

लोगों का मनोबल लगातार गिरता चला गया – “The people’s morale was continually falling”

Note that there is an expression that is similar but has a different meaning:

मैं बताती चलूं कि आप लोग कैसे भाग ले सकते हैं – “As I conclude, let me tell you how you may participate”

The previous example has “imperfect participle + चलना“, not “imperfect participle + चला जाना“. It isn’t a special verb form; the participle is simply expressing contemporaneous action, i.e. it literally means “let me go while telling you”.

  • Kateryna Kon

    Hi David, very nice article! In the end of the example ‘आज वह दिनभर अपने प्रयोगशाला में विभिन्न प्रयोग करता जा रहा था ‘ do you mean ‘करता चला जा रहा था’ ?

    • Thanks, Kateryna! Yes, indeed, that was a mistake. Thanks for paying careful attention!