November 7, 2013

को and Object Complements

The postposition को marks an object in an object-complement construction:

आखिर कौन अज्ञानता को ज्ञान से अच्छी समझेगा – “After all, who would consider ignorance better than knowledge?”

माँ की बहन को मौसी कहते हैं – “They call (one’s) mother’s sister ‘mausi'”

  • Matthew Chang

    Is the को marking obligatory, and if so, does the object complement necessarily agree with the object being referred to? I was watching a Hindi movie in which “Sanjay” reveals to “Rajiv” that he has had an affair with Rajiv’s wife. Sanjay said, “मैंने तुम्हारी बीवी को नंगा देखा. In this case, the adjective नंगा and the देखा that agrees with it are both singular masculine even though बीवी is feminine. However, in your sentence आखिर कौन अज्ञानता को ज्ञान से अच्छी समझेगा, अच्छी is used for the feminine अज्ञानता. In both sentences, को is used.

    And is not को marking sometimes optional for adjectival conjunct verbs and object complements?
    मैंने गाड़ी खड़ी की
    मैंने गाड़ी को खड़ा किया (मैंने गाड़ी को खड़ी की maybe?)

    • The को is always used with object-complement constructions, AFAIK. A verb in ergative alignment agrees with its object; if the object is marked with को then it is considered masculine for the sake of verb agreement. However, the adjective complement will agree with the gender of the object. Thus, the correct sentence is “मैंने तुम्हारी बीवी को नंगी देखा”. I assume that the speaker just made an error. Adjectival conjunct verbs often use को, since they are similar to object-complement constructions grammatically.