September 22, 2013

Subjunctive Clauses as Subjects

Clauses with subjunctive verbs can be used as the “subject” of a verb. Consider an example:

हालांकि उसने विज्ञान के क्षेत्र में कई उपलब्धियां हासिल कीं, लेकिन इस विषय को लेकर कुछ जानकारी पाए बहुत कठिन साबित हुआ – “Although he made several accomplishments in the field of science, it proved rather difficult to find any information in this regard”

In the previous example, the clause “इस विषय को लेकर कुछ जानकारी पाए” served the role of the subject of the verb हुआ. Linguists sometimes call such clauses “substantive” (i.e., they have “substance” like a thing, a noun). An alternative is to use an infinitive (which is more common), i.e. “कुछ जानकारी पाना“.

कलाकार के रूप में उनका कोई योगदान हो, ऐसा कहीं ढूंढे नहीं मिलता – “Searching anywhere for his contribution as an artist does not avail”

In the last example, the subjunctive clause “कलाकार के रूप में उनका कोई योगदान हो” is substantive and the expletive ऐसा refers to this clause (i.e. ऐसा is a placeholder for the clause). Thus, this clause, in a sense, is the subject of the verb “ढूंढे“. The clause “ऐसा कहीं ढूंढे” serves as the subject of the verb “मिलता है“. In this context, “मिलता है” means something like “to avail” (i.e. to be profitable or successful). It was translated literally to demonstrate its meaning.