September 22, 2013

The Use of Conjunctive Participles

Most explanations of conjunctive participles emphasize a sequence. For instance “मैं अपनी चाबी लेके वापस आता हूं” – “I’ll get my key and come right back”. In this sentence, there is a sequence of actions: first the person gets the key, then the person returns.

Although conjunctive participles do generally indicate a sequence, this is often incidental. Many times, the main emphasis of these participles is means or manner. They’re also used in a variety of idioms that can’t be analyzed in terms of sequences at all. Thus, it is misleading to say that these participles merely describe sequences.

मेरे पास पेचकश न होने के कारण, मैंने चाक़ू पेचकश के रूप में इस्तेमाल करके पेंच लगाया – “Since I didn’t have a screwdriver, I screwed in the screw using a knife as a screwdriver”

In the previous example, the emphasis is obviously not on a sequence but on means (i.e. how the person screwed in the screw).

मैंने ज़्यादा सवाल पूछकर उसे गुस्सा दिलाया – “I upset him by asking too many questions”

Again, in the previous example, it’s obvious that a sequence isn’t the point; the point is how the speaker upset the other person.

बच्चा अपना कम्बल पकड़के घर में घूमा – “The little boy roamed around the house holding his blanket”

In the last example, the participle expresses manner – i.e. the manner in which the boy walked around.

Conjunctive participles are used in many common idioms that can’t be understood in terms of sequences.

क्या उसने अपनी बहन को लेकर कुछ कहा – “Did he say anything about his sister?”

तुम्हें व्यायाम करना चाहिए ख़ास करके अगर तुम्हें अपना वजन कम करना है – “You should exercise, especially if you want to lose weight”

को लेकर = about/regarding

ख़ास करके = especially

Furthermore, the uses of conjunctive participles that are discussed in this note, this note, and this note are not exactly simple sequences either.

In fact, there are many other uses. The point is this: conjunctive participles have many uses, and thinking of them as simply expressing a sequence of actions is incorrect.

  • M Sewlall

    Hi David,
    Could you please explain the grammatical function of “होने” in the sentence “मेरे पास पेचकश न होने के कारण, मैंने चाक़ू पेचकश के रूप में इस्तेमाल करके पेंच लगाया”?

    • The phrase “मेरे पास पेचकश न होने के कारण” is translated “because I didn’t have a screwdriver”. It is literally translated something like “because of my not having a screwdriver”. The postposition “के कारण” means “because (of)”. It can accept an infinitive as its object, in this case होने, which is in the oblique form, just like the object of any postposition. It can be translated using an English gerund (verbal noun) – “because of my not *having*”. It’s just another (common) grammatical option in Hindi; we could also say “क्यूंकि मेरे पास पेचकश नहीं था, इस लिए…”, etc.