y:Üen:v:es:ýXi Aaôf em:eS:g:n:

b:n:aO n: b:n:ðH Paired verbs in the expression of incapacity

        In Hindi-Urdu there are a number of ways to express the inability to perform an action.  One of these uses what we shall refer to as "paired verbs" - the juxtaposition of a transitive and its corresponding derived intransitive (aka "antitransitive".  See notes.):

  1.  G:að_a Oðs:a p:s:r g:y:a ek ePr uYaO n: uYa.
        'The horse sprawled out in such a way that despite every effort it could not be stood up again.'

        (from Rastogi 1973, p 361)

In example (1) the form  uYaO is the oblique masculine singular default form of the past participle of  uYa 'lift; rouse', the derived transitive form of the verb  uY 'rise; get up'.  The form  uYa is the masculine singular form of the simple past of the antitransitive  uY 'be lifted; be roused'.  The phrase  uYaO n: uYa has a literal meaning something like '(even though) lifted didn't lift'.  Two more examples, from  ^:ael:b::
  2.  ESq . . .  hò . . .  v:h Aaet:S: . . .  ek l:g:aO n: l:g:ð . . .         (See context.)
        'Love ... is the fire ... that can't be (intentionally) lit ...'     (Literally: '... that (when) lit will not light.')

  3.  Vy:a b:n:ð b:at: j:haú b:at: b:n:aO n: b:n:ð ?
        'How can you get what you want if you can't say what's on your mind?'   (See context.)

        The  b:n:aO n: b:n:ð structure seems to be a short way of expressing inability in spite of effort.  Compare the more explicit expression in (4a):

  4a.  t:s:v:ir b:n:at:a hÜú;  t:s:v:ir n:hiø b:n:t:i.
        'I (try to) make a picture (of her), but I can't.'  (Literally: 'The picture doesn't make.')

        (from the song by  " Q:Øm:ar "  b:arab:úkv:i from the film  eb:radri.)
The same idea can be expressed more succinctly as:

  4b.  t:s:v:ir b:n:aO n:hiø b:n:t:i.
        If no corresponding antitransitive is available, the passive can be used:

  5.   " dðt:ð hi hað,  t:að t:in: K:aúc:ð dð dað. . . . "
        " t:in: K:aúc:ð t:að m:ðrð edy:ð n: edy:ð j:aOûg:ð !
        '"Since you're giving (anyway), why not give three bushels?"
        "(Even if I try) I can't give three bushels!"'

        (from Chapter Three of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)
       The verb  b:n: is available as a general stand-in for the more specific antitransitive.  For instance, in example (7) the form  b:n:ð stands in place of the form  uYð in (6):

  6.  b:aðJ: v:h s:r s:ð eg:ra hò ek uYay:ð n: uYð
        'A burden has fallen from my head that no matter how I try cannot be picked up (again).'

        (from a  ^:z:l: by  ^:ael:b:.  See context.)

  7.  p:daü Cað_a hò v:h us:n:ð ek uYaO n: b:n:ð.
        'He's let down the veil that can't be lifted.'

        (from a  ^:z:l: by  ^:ael:b:.  See context.)

        The availablitiy of  b:n: increases the versatility of the construction to allow its use with basic intransitives like  Aa.
  8.  us:p:ð b:n: j:aO kÙC Oðs:i ek eb:n: Aay:ð n: b:n:ð.
        'Let something be done that she can't help but come.'  (Literally: '... so that she cannot not come.'

        (from a  ^:z:l: by  ^:ael:b:.  See context.)
Example (8) involves the use of double negative to make an affirmative statement.  For discussion and more examples, see notes on V-O eb:n:a.  Notice also that the finite verb  b:n:ð in (8) has no subject.
        Example (9) illustrates the structural difference that results from use of  db:, the antitransitive counterpart to the transitive  db:a, rather than a form of  b:n:.  While in (10) the finite form  b:n:ðg:a is in the third person singular masculine default form that occurs when there is no subject available for the verb to agree with;  db:ðøg:ð, the finite form of the antitransitive that corresponds to the participle  db:aO in (9) must agree with  hm: :

  9.  hm: ( eks:i s:ð )  db:aO n:hiø db:ðùg:ð.
        'We will not give in (even if they try to make us give in).'

 10.  hm: kað eks:i s:ð db:aO n:hiø b:n:ðg:a.
        'No-one will be able to make us give in.'

The agent of the participle, which in (9) may be optionally expressed using the postposition  s:ð,  must be expressed when a form of  b:n:  is used in place of the antitransitive  db:  [as in example (10)].
        For some speakers it is possible - in a very colloquial style of language - for  b:n:  to be used personally.  In (11), for instance,  b:n:  agrees in person, gender, and number with the subject  hm: :
 11.  hm: eks:i s:ð db:aO n:hiø b:n:ðøg:ð.
        'No-one will be able to make us give in.'

[Thanks to  s:df m:ØøS:i at the University of Texas for discussion of exx (9), (10), and (11).]
        The present participle (again in the masculine singular oblique default form) is an option to the use of the past passive participle in these constructions in  b:n:, especially when  b:n:  itself is in the present tense:

 12.  Oðs:i dS:a m:ðø kÙC krt:ð-D:rt:ð B:i t:að n:hiø b:n:t:a.
        'In such a condition there is nothing you can do or anything.'

        (from Chapter Ten of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

 13.  m:ØJ:s:ð t:að kÙC kht:ð n:hiø b:n:t:a.
        'I can't say anything (even though I try).'

        (from Chapter Twelve of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

        While the use of V-O n: b:n:- and of co-ordinated paired verbs (of the  uYaO n: uYð type) is almost always negative (ie, to express inability), the construction is occasionally found in "near-negative" contexts:  if-clauses (14), indefinite relative clauses (15), and rhetorical questions (16):

 14.  g:aðb:r n:ð kha "  n:hiø kaka,  B:g:v:an:Î n:ð c:aha Aaòr En:s:ð rht:ð b:n:a t:að s:al: dað s:al: m:ðø Aadm:i hað j:ay:úg:ð. "
        " haú,  j:b: En:s:ð rht:ð b:n:ð. "
        'Gobar said, "No, Uncle. God-willing, if he can stay (with the job), in a year or two he'll become a man."
        "Yes, if he can stick with it."

        (from Chapter Twenty of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

 15.  m:òøn:ð t:Ømharð-j:òs:ð b:ðddü Aadm:i kB:i n: dðK:a T:a.  eb:lkÙl: p:tT:r hað.  Q:òr,  Aaj: s:t:a l:að,  ej:t:n:a s:t:at:ð b:n:ð;  m:òø B:i kB:i s:m:J:Üúg:i.
        'I have never seen such an unsympathetic, unfeeling man as you! You've a heart of stone! Well, today torment me as much as you can. I'll get even with you someday.'

        (from Chapter Seven of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

        If the  b:n:  in the V-O n: b:n:- construction occurs in compound verb form it takes vector  p:_  rather than  j:a :

 16.  s:b:--s:b: dðK:t:ð rh g:O ,  eks:i kñ eky:ð kÙC n: b:n: p:_a.
        'Everyone looked on helplessly.  Nobody succeeded in doing a thing!'

        (from Section Three of Chapter Two of  c:ndÓkant:a  by  dðv:kin:nd K:t*:i. )

        Beside the use of V-O n: b:n:- and of co-ordinated paired verbs (of the  uYaO n: uYð type), there are other options which may be more idiosyncratic, such as the pairing of  Aa 'come' with  b:Øl:a 'call, invite' as in (17):

 17.  v:h m:ðrð b:Øl:aO n: AaO,  t:ðrð b:Øl:aO Vy:a AaOûg:ð ?
        'They didn't come on my invitation. Do you think they will come on yours?'

        (example supplied by  s:df m:ØøS:i )


 Other sections dealing with negation:

        1.  V-n:ðv:al:a  to express disapproval, disbelief, defiance or denial.
        2.  m:j:al: hò !  Warning and warding off.
        3.  m:ar K:aO eb:n:a n:hiø m:an:t:a H  Without V-ing.
        4.  rha n:hiø j:at:a H  Passive of incapacity
        5.  j:an:ð ka n:am: n:hiø l:ðt:a H  Empahtic negation.

To index of grammatical notes.

To index of  m:lhar.

        *                 *                 *        

        The  b:n:aO n: b:n:ð-construction resembles a construction type found in Southeast Asia and in Chinese: the "serial verb construction" (SVC), defined and explored by Eric Schiller. In a typical SVC there is a concatenation of two verbs, a transitive followed by an intransitive. The direct object of the first is the subject of the second:

 18.     wo3.men     ju3     bu4     qi3     shi2.tou     lai2  
  we     lift     not     rise     stone     come  

             '(Despite our efforts) we couldn't lift up the stone.'

              [(18) thanks to Hsin-hsin Liang   (pronounced  eS:n:1-eS:n:1  ly:a{2)]

 19.     khäw     kòt     pùm     mây     long  
  he     press     button     not     descend  

             '(Despite his efforts) he couldn't push down the button.'

              [(19) thanks to Kingkarn Thepkanjana]

While the SVC occurs frequently in Mandarin and other forms of Chinese as well as in Thai and other languages of southeast Asia, it is rather infrequent in Hindi-Urdu.

Keyed in 20-23 Oct 2001. Corrected 25, 27 & 30 Oct 2001. Augmented and linked 28 Oct 2001. Proofed 6-8 Nov 2001. Augmented 25 Jan and 17 April 2002 and again on 10 Jul 2004. Cross-referenced 22 Aug 2004.

Thanks to  t:hs:in: es:¸iqi,  raj:ðS: kÙm:ar,  s:m:ix:a b:aj:p:aI,  As:m:a es:¸iqi,  s:df m:ØøS:i,  Prof.  rm:akant: A¡gn:hað*:i, and other members of the Delhi University Linguistics Club for advising on grammaticality and suggesting variations on the examples from  ^:ael:b:.