April 25, 2012

Relative Clauses

This tutorial discusses relative clauses. Consider the following examples:

The boy who is standing over there is my brother. जो लड़का वहां खड़ा है वह मेरा भाई है

Whoever leaves the room last should turn off the lights. जो भी आखिरी में कमरे से निकले, उसे लाइट बंद करनी चाहिए

The book that I borrowed from you is lying on the table. जो किताब मैंने आपसे उधार ली थी मेज़ पर पढ़ी हुई है

Will you sing the song that you sang at her wedding? क्या तुम वह गाना गाओगे जो तुमने उसकी शादी में गाया था

Let’s go to the place that we went to last year. हम वहाँ जाते हैं जहां हम पिछले साल गए थे

I will follow you wherever you go. जहाँ भी तुम जाओ, वहां मैं तुम्हारे पीछे आऊंगा

Eat as much food as you feel like eating. जितना खाना खाने का मन करे, उतना ही खा लो

If someone’s wife is as good as mine is, then he will do whatever his wife wants. अगर किसी की बीवी उतनी ही अच्छी हो जितनी मेरी तो वह सुब कुछ करेगा जो उसकी बीवी चाहे

She is as beautiful as she is good. वह जितनी अच्छी है उतनी ही सुन्दर है

The girl who is sitting near the table is a friend of mine. जो लड़की मेज़ के पास बैठी हुई है वह मेरी एक दोस्त है

Whatever will be, will be. जो हो सो हो

Choose carefully for yourself whom you will marry. जिससे तुम्हें शादी करनी है उसे ध्यान से चुनो

In this game, whoever has the ball must run. इस खेल में, जिस के पास भी गेंद है उसे भागना है

Whoever is the “danner” must chase the other people. जो भी दैनर है, उसे दुसरे लोगों का पीछा करना है

The four that goes flying they call a sixer. (A reference to the game of cricket made in a movie) जो चौका उड़ते हुए जाए उसे छक्का कहते हैं

The people who are standing near the train are going to go to Delhi. जो लोग गाड़ी के पास खड़े हैं उन्हें दिल्ली जाना है

Introduction

Each of these example sentences has something in common – they each contain “relative/correlative clauses”.

Let’s discuss the first example: “The boy who is standing over there is my brother” (“जो लड़का वहां खड़ा है वह मेरा भाई है“)

Consider the following two sentences:

  1. The boy is standing over there.
  2. The boy is my brother.

Now again consider the full sentence: “The boy who is standing over there is my brother”. Notice how this sentence relates the other two sentences – “The boy [who is standing over there] is my brother”. The relative pronoun “who” was substituted for the phrase “they boy” in the relative clause “who is standing over there”, then the relative clause was inserted into the sentence.

Now consider the Hindi translation: “जो लड़का वहां खड़ा है वह मेरा भाई है

This translation is grammatically similar, but has some differences.

First of all, it contains a “relative-correlative pair” of words: the relative pronoun जो and the correlative pronoun वह; the literal sense is “The boy who is standing over there, that is my brother” (जो लड़का वहां खड़ा है वह मेरा भाई है). These words correspond to one another; they refer to the same thing in both clauses. The English sentence is different – there is no correlative pronoun, and the relative clause is a sort of parenthesis that intervenes between the subject and the verb: They boy (who is standing over there) is my brother. Such pairs of words are very common in Hindi.

Secondly, in this example, the relative pronoun precedes its referent: जो लड़का वहां खड़ा है (जो comes before लड़का). In this way, it behaves almost like an adjective: “Which boy is standing over there, that is my brother”.

Of course, it is not necessary to translate an English sentence containing a relative clause with a relative clause in Hindi. In fact, it might be more idiomatic to translate certain sentences without relative clauses. As an alternative, the first example sentence may be translated as वहां खड़ा हुआ लड़का मेरा भाई है – “The boy who is standing over there is my brother”. This translation used a participial phrase (“The boy standing over there is my brother”).

Note that the order of the relative clause and the correlative clause can be reversed, as in the following example:

Will you sing the song that you sang at her wedding? क्या तुम वह गाना गाओगे जो तुमने उसकी शादी में गाया था

The sense is “Will you sing that song, which you sang at her wedding?”.

Relative clauses don’t have to consist only of relative pronouns; they may contain relative adverbs and relative adjectives too.

For instance, in the example sentence हम वहाँ जाते हैं जहां हम पिछले साल गए थे, the relative adverb जहां (where) is used, and it is correlated with the adverb (वहाँ). The clause order is inverted, so that the correlative clause is first.

In the example sentence जितना खाना खाने का मन करे, उतना ही खा लो, the relative adjective जितना (how much) is correlated with the adjective उतना (that much). Notice also that उतना is followed by ही; the emphatic particles ही and भी are often used to emphasize the correlative word.

For instance, the example sentence वह जितनी अच्छी है उतनी ही सुन्दर है could be written as वह जितनी अच्छी है उतनी भी सुन्दर है. This is somewhat akin to the English emphatic word “just” – “She is just as beautiful as she is good”.

Some of the more common relative / correlative pairs are as follows:

जबतब/तो

जहाँ वहां

जैसे वैसे

जैसा वैसा

जितना उतना

जो वह

Exercises

Translate the following sentences using relative clauses:

  1. The girl who is standing in the corner is my friend.
  2. He always laughs when he talks with his brother.
  3. Whoever learns Hindi will enjoy Hindi movies more. (Hint: use indirect construction मज़ा आना “enjoy”)
  4. I hope that we remain just as we are. (Hint: जैसावैसा)
  5. When the streets are crowded, it doesn’t take as much time to walk there as it does to drive there! (Hint: जबतब and उतनाजितना)
  6. Why am I the way that I am? (Hint: जैसावैसा)
  7. He teaches his children the same way that he teaches his students. (Hint: जैसेवैसे)

Answers:

  1. जो लड़की कोने में खड़ी हुई है, वह मेरी दोस्त है / कोने में खड़ी हुई लड़की मेरी दोस्त है
  2. वह हमेशा हंस देता है जब अपने भाई से बात करता है
  3. जो भी हिंदी सीखेगा उसको हिंदी मूवीस देखने में और मज़ा आएगा
  4. मुझे आशा है कि हम जैसे हैं, वैसे रहेंगे
  5. जब सड़क भरी होती हैं, तब वहां चलने में उतना समय नहीं लगता, जितना समय वहां गाड़ी से जाने में लगता है
  6. मैं जैसा हूँ, वैसा क्यों हूँ (masculine) / मैं जैसी हूँ, वैसी क्यों हूँ (feminine)
  7. वह अपने बच्चे को वैसे सिखाता है जैसे अपने छात्रों को सिखाता है

[Many more exercises coming soon!]

  • scarlet

    nice website

  • Divija Sampathi

    Hai David..Is the sentence
    The people who are standing near the train are going to go to Delhi. जो लोग गाड़ी के पास खड़े हैं उन्हें दिल्ली जाना है correct??
    It should have been ‘jo log gaadi ke paas khade hei ve dilli jaane vaale hai’…Pls clarify

    And in the sentence
    The boy who is standing over there is my brother. जो लड़का वहां खड़ा है वह मेरा भाई है

    Why dont you use ‘jo ladka vahan khada hua hai, voh mera bhai hai’? Does it make any difference..Pls lemme know..Thnq

    • The sentence is correct. Maybe “jaane wale hain” is better, though. The “jaana hai” idiom can be used to mean “going to go”, “about to go”, etc. See http://hindilanguage.info/notes/volume-6/the-many-uses-of-infinitive-plus-hona/ खड़ा and खड़ा हुआ are the same; खड़ा हुआ is just a longer form. Technically, खड़ा is an adjective. It acts like a participle, though. For any “perfect” participle, we can say, for instance, “किया” or “किया हुआ”.

  • आदित्य

    Can you give an example of a sentence with two relative clauses?

    For example: The man that you see there wants this dog that you see here. (A stupid sentence, I know, but just as an example.)

    I have no idea whether this construction would be possible in Hindi or how it would be done.

    • Certainly; you could translate your example sentence as “aap jo aadmi wahan par dekh rahe hain usko yah kutta chahiye jo aap yahan dekh rahe hain.” Yes, the sentence is a bit awkward, but it demonstrates the point. 🙂