February 27, 2014

Another Use of कहां

The word “कहां” usually means “where”; there is one interesting idiomatic use of this word in Hindi. It is used to ask rhetorical questions whose expected answer is “no”. It doesn’t mean “where” in such cases.

Consider a few examples:

हम बुरे कहां हैं? – “How are we bad?”
उन्होंने गलती कहां की? – “How did he make a mistake?”
मैं उसकी तरह कहां हूं? – “I’m hardly like him!”
वह गरीब कहां है? – “He’s hardly poor!”