March 15, 2014

Oblique Participle Complements

In Hindi, when a participle complements a verb in Hindi as in the following example, it is in the oblique case:

मैंने उसे झील के पास चलते हुए देखा – “I saw him walking near the lake”
आपने उसे तबला बजते हुए सुना होगा – “You must have heard him playing the tabla”

The participle is in the oblique case because it is grammatically an adverb. It can be used with perfect participles too:

मैंने उसे बिस्तर पर पड़े हुए देखा – “I saw him lying on the bed”

However, in different situations, a participle might agree with the word it complements:

बहुत लोगों ने उम्मीद जताई कि इस उत्पाद का नया संस्करण इस वर्ष के पहले आधे के अंत तक दुकानों में उपलब्ध हो जाएगा, लेकिन फ़िलहाल ऐसा होता हुआ नज़र नहीं आ रहा – “Many people expressed hope that the new version of this product would be available by the end of the first half of this year, but, for the time being, we don’t see this happening [i.e. it doesn’t seem like this is going to happen]”

Because of the grammar of the “नज़र आना” idiom, the participle agrees with the subject, ऐसा, which defaults to the masculine gender.

यह फ़िल्म चलेगी, ऐसा होता हुआ नज़र नहीं आ रहा – “It doesn’t seem like this film is going to be a success”
  • Divija Sampathi

    Hai David..could you pls explain this sentence, यह फ़िल्म चलेगी, ऐसा होता हुआ नज़र नहीं आ रहा ?? What is the use of “यह फ़िल्म चलेगी” here??

    • “यह फ़िल्म चलेगी” means “this film will be a success”, literally “this film will go”. “नज़र आना” means “to see”, literally “to come into view”. It is an indirect verb construction, so we say “X ko Y nazar aana” to mean “for X to see Y”, i.e. “for Y to come into X’s view”. See this article: “ऐसा होता हुआ” means “this happening”. So “ऐसा होता हुआ नज़र नहीं आ रहा” means “(we) don’t see this happening”. Remember, tense and aspect don’t always coincide in Hindi and English. We would say “we don’t see this happening” in English, but the Hindi idiom requires the continuous aspect here, so we use “आ रहा”. Remember that Hindi speakers often omit the final “hai” if the sentence is negated (has “nahin”). This “nazar” idiom is very common. People will say “nazar nahin aa raha” to mean “I can’t see (it)”, etc.

  • Divija Sampathi

    Hi..What is the meaning of फ़िलहाल ? And you mentioned a sentence as आपने उसे तबला बजते हुए सुना होगा ..Shouldn’t it be ‘bajaate’ instead of ‘बजते’??

    • फ़िलहाल means “meanwhile”, “for the time being”, “as for now”, etc. Yes, there is a typographical error; I intended to write “bajaate hue”, of course.