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Mellon Project

Grammatical notes on verb +  B:i to indicate concession.

       Hindi speakers can use the particle  B:i with a verb form, much as speakers of English use 'too', to indicate the inclusion of an action within a series or set of related actions:

(1) jy:aðtsn:a b:òj:l: kñ ec:*: kað m:ðz: p:r p:_i p:Øst:kaðö m:ðö XXaðl:n:ð l:g:i. v:h ec:*: em:l: B:i g:y:a .
(from Yashpal's story haðl:i n:hiø K:ðl:t:a, p. 148)
'Jyotsna began rooting around for Baijal's photo among the books lying on his table. She found it, too.'

(2) B:aðl:a... dÜD:-m:VK:n: ka vy:v:s:ay: krt:a T:a . ... kB:i-kB:i eks:an:aðö kñ haT: g:ay:ðø b:ðc: B:i dðt:a T:a.
(from Premchand's novel  g:aðdan:. See
'Bhola...dealt in milk and butter. ...sometimes he'd also sell cows to the peasants.'

       However, unlike English 'too', the particle  B:i with a verb form may also be used by Hindi speakers to concede a point without giving up their position entirely. The effect is similar to "...and even if I did...", "...even so...", or "...for that matter...". For instance, in the play  AaD:ð AD:Ürð by  m:aðhn: rakñS: the lead character sarcastically accuses her husband of intending to stay away from home for long periods of time.

(3a) . . .  t:að rha krn:a ePr t:in:t:in: edn: G:r s:ð ^:ay:b: . (Rakesh 1978:19)
'... go ahead and disappear again from the house for three days at a time!'

His angry response includes this line:

(3b) Ag:r rha B:i hÝú kB:i m:òö t:in: edn: G:r s:ð b:ahr, t:að AaeQ:r eks: v:j:h s:ð ? (Rakesh 1978:19)
'And even if I have stayed out of the house for three days at a time, why did I do that?'

By using  B:i in this way, the male lead is able to concede that he has indeed stayed away from home for three days at a stretch without losing the argument altogether.

       Other examples:

(4) Aaòr m:Øn:I Q:Ød B:i Ap:n:ð c:ar p:ð_ kXv:an:ð j:a rha hò . . . us:ð t:að fký n: p:_ðg:a . . . b:arh b:iG:ð ka b:a^: K:_a hò Aam:aðö ka . . .s:_k kð p:ð_ kX B:i g:O t:að Vy:a ! (Chandel 1993:185)
'And Munai . . . is going to have four trees of his own cut down . . . well, it makes no difference to him . . . with his twelve-bigha orchard of mango trees . . . what's it to him if his four trees by the road ARE cut down!'

Exercise on Verb +  B:i.
       The use of verb +  B:i in a question indicates that the hearer is the one expected to concede a point:

(5) " eks:i kað b:ðc: dðög:ð. "
       " Aaòr kaðI l:ð B:i l:ð ?"
       " haú, j:aX B:l:ð hi n: l:ðv:ðö,  p:r Aaòr b:hØt: s:ð em:l: j:aOúg:ð us:kñ l:ðn:ðv:al:ð . " (from V. Verma's XÜXð kaúXð: p. 70)

       '"They will sell it."
       "And would anyone buy it?"
       "Okay, even if the Jats won't buy it, still there will be no shortage of others ready to take it."

       Besides the two described above there is a third function of Verb +  B:i. As seen in (6) it can be used to include an action as an extreme within a range of hypothetical actions:

(6) g:rib:aðù ka ddü kaòn: s:m:J:t:a hò! hm: t:að m:r B:i j:at:ð hòø,   t:að kaðI dØAar p:r J:aúkn:ð n:hiø Aat:a,  knD:a dðn:a t:að b:_i b:at: hò. (from YakÙr ka kÙAaú by )ðm:c:nd. See context.)
'Who understands the pain of the poor man. When we die no-one comes so much as to look in at the door. What then to say of actually giving us a hand!'

In this meaning Verb plus B:i does not concede a point. Rather, it serves to strengthen the argument that the speaker is making.

       Formal matters: If the verb has more than one part [as in example (3)'s rha B:i hÝú], then the  B:i comes to the right of the first part of the verb. If the verb has only one part, the  B:i comes immediately after the verb [as in example (7)]:

(7) kl:a ki dáe\X s:ð y:h ^:l:t: hað s:kt:a hò,  hò B:i,  p:r m:òø kl:akar haðn:ð ka dav:a hi n:hiø krt:a.
'From the point of view of art this may be wrong; it IS wrong! But I make no claim to be an artist.'

       If the verb is a "conjunct" verb [like raz:i haðn:a in example (8) or edK:aI dðn:a in example (9)], the B:i comes to the right of the invariant (non-inflected) element of such a verb:

(8) Aaòr b:hØt: khn:ð-s:Øn:n:ð s:ð raz:i B:i hØI,   t:að Et:n:i l:mb:i-c:aò_i Pis: m:aúg:i ek b:ab:Ü s:ahb: kð es:r J:Økakr c:l:ð Aan:ð kñ es:v:a Aaòr kÙC n: s:ÜJ:a. (from Premchand's story dÜD: ka dam:: context)
'And after a great deal of begging and bargaining even if one did agree to come, she would demand such an exorbitant fee that there was nothing Babu Maheshnath could do but come away shamefaced.'

(9) s:Ün:i s:_k p:r kaðI dÞs:ra Aadm:i edK:aI n:hiø dð rha T:a . . . . rast:ð m:ðö Aat:ð-j:at:ð dað-c:ar Aadm:i edK:aI B:i edy:ð t:að wan:c:nd kað J:ðöp: hi m:al:Üm: hØI . (from Yashpal's g:v:ahi, p. 404)
'No other person was to be seen on the deserted street. ... Even if a few passers-by did appear on the road, Gyanchand only felt shame.'

       If the verb is negated there is a tendency for the B:i to immediately follow the marker of negation and to precede the verb:

(10) Ok kñ b:ad Ok p:ð_ kXv:aO dð rhð hòö l:aðg: Aaòr j:að n:hiø B:i kXv:an:a c:aht:ð, unhðö ev:v:S: eky:a j:a rha hò kXv:an:ð kñ el:y:ð . (Chandel 1993:184)
'People are having their trees cut down one after another, and those who don't even want to have them cut down, they are being forced to anyway.'

(11) us:ð l:g:a ek Ab: G:r ki hrðk c:iz: YNRi hað g:I hò Aaòr j:að n:hiø B:i hØI hò v:h B:i j:ldi hi hað j:aOg:i.
'It seemed to her as if everything in the house had gone stone cold, and whatever had not that too soon would.'

    From  rb:r b:òøR by  Aenv:t:a Abb:i.   See context.

To exercise on Verb +  B:i.
To notes on X  t:að  X and the elaboration of  B:i.
To index of grammatical notes.

To index of Mellonsite.

Reference to other work on Verb + B:i.

Drafted: June 1999.
Posted: 5 Aug 1999.
Updated: 7 Aug 1999, 18 Aug 1999, 5 Sept 1999, 17 Oct 1999, 18 Oct 1999, 12 Mar 2001, 31 Jan 2002. IE-enabled 17 Aug 2004.