y:Ün:iv:es:ýXi Aaôf em:eS:g:n:

Derived intransitive verbs (antitransitives)

(adapted from Chapter Sixteen of  Hindi Structures.)

        In Hindi-Urdu it is possible to derive intransitive verbs from transitive by dropping the agent and making certain changes in the verb stem:

 1a. Transitive:   K:aðl:   dØkan:dar s:Øb:h AaY b:j:ð dØkan: K:aðl:t:a hò.
  'The shopkeeper opens his shop at 8AM.'
 1b. Derived Intransitive:     K:Øl:   dØkan: s:Øb:h AaY b:j:ð K:Øl:t:i hò.
  'The shop opens at 8AM.'

For the sake of brevity we shall refer to derived intransitives as "antitransitives".

 2a. Transitive:     D:að   Vy:a n:aòkran:i n:ð kp:_ð Ab: t:k n:hiø D:aðO ?
  'Didn't the maid wash the clothes yet? '  
 2b. Antitransitive:     D:Øl:-     Vy:a kp:_ð Ab: t:k n:hiø D:Ùl:ð ?
  'Aren't the clothes washed yet'?
 3a. Transitive:     b:n:a-     b:`I,  Aap: kÙs:i ý j:ldi hi b:n:a dðøg:ð,  n: ?
  'Carpenter, you'll make the chair soon, won't you?'
 3b. Antitransitive:    b:n:-     b:`I,  kÙs:i ý j:ldi hi b:n: j:aOg:i,  n: ?
  'Carpenter, the chair will be done soon, won't it?'  

        Antitransitives are used when the speaker is not interested in who does something, but merely in the fact that it gets done.  For example, in English, 'Has the mail come yet?' more accurately reflects what really matters to the speaker than does the fuller 'Did the mailman bring the mail yet?' even though they both describe the same event.  In Hindi this strategy of expression is even more commonly used than it is in English: used not only when we are not interested in who does something, as in the examples given above, but also when the identity of the doer has been previously established.  For example, in describing the activities of her mother a speaker uses the antitransitive forms  b:n:i and  S:Ø- hað g:y:a:

 4.  j:òs:ð b:cc:ð skÝl: s:ð AaO t:B:i c:ay: b:n:i.  ePr K:an:ð ka Eøt:z:am: S:Ø- hað g:y:a.  us:kñ b:ad ePr Amm:aú . . .
      'As soon as the kids came home from school the tea became ready and then preparations for dinner began.
      After that Mother...'       (Southworth tape H-3-121)

Since the entire passage concerns the actions of one agent the speaker feels free to vary the tone by sometimes describing these actions as if they occurred independently of the agent.
        Deliberate suppression of information can have ironic effect.  Antitransitives are often used by Hindi speakers to that end.  For example, in Mohan Rakesh's play  AaD:ð AD:Ürð a little girl is desperate for attention from her parents.  She reproaches them for not having brought her the things she needs for school:

 5.   Aaòr t:Øm:n:ð kha T:a ¡Vl:p: Aaòr m:aðz:ð Es: hFt:ð z:-r Aa j:ay:ðøg:ð,  Aa g:y:ð hòø ?
      'And you said that you would surely bring me the clip and socks this week.  Did you?'      (page 35)

Here, by purposely using the antitransitive  Aa instead of the corresponding transitive  l:a, and by dropping  t:Øm:,  the girl gives her words a sarcastic edge.
        The antitransitive is useful to the Hindi speaker for another reason.  It spares him or her from having to choose the most appropriate second person pronoun,  a choice which is not always easy or obvious (and sometimes is even dangerous) to make.  For example, in the following, by using the antitransitive, a peasant woman is able not only to avoid choosing between  t:Øm:  and  t:Ü,  but also to maintain the appearance of not having directly addressed a strange male at all:

 6.   hira-b:hÜ ... c:aòD:ri kað b:aús: kaXt:ð dðK:kr G:ÜúG:X kñ Andr s:ð b:aðl:i, " kaòn: b:aús: kaXt:a hò ?  y:haú b:aús: n: kXðøg:ð !"
      'Hîrâ's wife, seeing Chaudharî cutting the bamboo, spoke from behind her veil, "Who's cutting the bamboo?
      You're not to cut our bamboo!"'     (literally: 'Here the bamboo will not be cut!')
      (from Chapter Four of  g:aðdan:.  See
One of the most important uses of the antitransitive, namely, the expression of incapacity, is discussed in detail in a separate set of notes.
        Antitransitive verbs are derived from the transitives by rules which are similar to those used for the derivation of transitives from intransitives (see notes):

I.  If the stem of the transitive has long  I,  U,  or Aa, the stem of the antitransitive has the corresponding short vowel:

 7a. Transitive:     p:iX-    'beat'     =>    7b. Antitransitive:     ep:X-    'get a beating'  
 8a. Transitive:     kÝX-    'grind up'     =>    8b. Antitransitive:     kÙX-    'be ground up'  
 9a. Transitive:     Cap:-    'print'     =>    9b. Antitransitive:     Cp:-    'be printed'  

II.  An  Aað in the stem is replaced by  u;  and an  O,  by  E.  If the stem of the transitive has only one syllable and ends in a vowel,  a final  l: is often found in the stem of the antitransitive.

 10a. Transitive:     K:aðl:-    'open'     =>    10b. Antitransitive:     K:Øl:-    'be opened'  
 11a. Transitive:     Cð_-    'annoy'     =>    11b. Antitransitive:     eC_-    'get riled up'  
 12a. Transitive:     D:að-    'wash'     =>    12b. Antitransitive:     D:Øl:-    'be washed'  
 13a. Transitive:     s:i-    'stitch'     =>    13b. Antitransitive:     es:l:-    'be stitched'  

     (Note: The polite imperative of  s:i  is  s:iEy:ð  or  s:iej:y:ð.)
III. A nasal vowel in the stem of the transitive is sometimes answered by a nasal short in the antitransitive; sometimes by a plain short.  Either may be used:

 14a. Transitive:     b:aúX-    'divide'     =>    14b. Antitransitive:     b:úX-  or  b:X-    'be divided'  
 15a. Transitive:     K:iøc:-    'pull'     =>    15b. Antitransitive:     eK:úc:-  or  eK:c:-    'be pulled'  
 16a. Transitive:     s:ðøk-    'heat'     =>    16b. Antitransitive:     es:úk-  or  es:k-    'be heated; bask'  

IV. There are a few transitive verbs that have short vowels to begin with.  Accordingly their antitransitives are homonymous with their transitive counterparts:

 17a. Transitive:     B:r-    'fill'     =>    17b. Antitransitive:     B:r-    'get filled'  
 18a. Transitive:     b:dl:-    'change' (trans)    =>    18b. Antitransitive:     b:dl:-    'change' (intrans)  
 19a. Transitive:     b:Øn:-    'weave'     =>    19b. Antitransitive:     b:Øn:-    'be woven'  
 20a. Transitive:     p:k_-    'catch'     =>    20b. Antitransitive:     p:k_-    'get caught'  

 21.  dðhat:i s:kp:ka g:y:a.  Rra,  khiø b:ðg:ar m:ðø n: p:k_ j:ay:.
       'The villager was startled.  He was afraid he might get caught in a corvée.'

        (from Chapter Seven of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)
V.  Exceptions:  a.  One or two disyllabic stems yield antitransitives by dropping a final Aa :

 22a. Transitive:     b:n:a-    'make'     =>    22b. Antitransitive:     b:n:-    'be made; become'  
 23a. Transitive:     m:n:a-    'celebrate'     =>    23b. Antitransitive:     m:n:-    'be celebrated'  

In most cases, however, the stem with the  Aa  is the derived one and the stem without the  Aa  is the basic one (see notes on derived transitives).

V.  There are other exceptions to rules I through IV:  b. One is a set of verbs ending in  _, many of which refer to kinds of destruction:

 24a. Transitive:     Pað_-    'burst' (trans)     =>    24b. Antitransitive:     PÝX-    'burst' (intrans)  
 25a. Transitive:     t:að_-    'break' (trans)     =>    25b. Antitransitive:     XÜX-    'break' (intrans)  
 26a. Transitive:     Pa_-    'tear' (trans)     =>    26b. Antitransitive:     PX-    'tear' (intrans)  
 27a. Transitive:     Cað_-    'leave; let go of'     =>    27b. Antitransitive:     CÜX-    'be left; get free of'  

V.  c.  Other transitive - antitransitive pairs show few regularities:

 28a. Transitive:     b:ðc:-    'sell'     =>    28b. Antitransitive:     eb:k-    'be sold'  
 29a. Transitive:     b:K:ðr-    'scatter'     =>    29b. Antitransitive:     eb:K:r-    'be strewn'  
 30a. Transitive:     G:s:ðX-    'drag'     =>    30b. Antitransitive:     eG:s:X-    'be dragged'  

VI.  Suppletion.  Suppletive pairs are those in which their is no resemblance at all in the shape of the transitive and the shape of the antitransitive.  Still, on the basis of meanings and the clause structures associated with them, they can be considered to form pairs.  For example, transitive expressions formed with  kr- may have antitransitive counterparts in  hað- :
 31a. Transitive:    Eøt:z:am: kr-     us:n:ð Eøt:z:am: n:hiø eky:a
  'Didn't he make the arrangement?'
 31b. Antitransitive:   Eøt:z:am: hað-     Eøt:z:am: n:hiø hØAa
  'Wasn't the arrangement made?'
 32a. Transitive:    S:Ø- kr-     ...ray: s:ahb: n:ð b:at:c:it: S:Ø- kr di. 
  '...Rây Sâhab began (his son's marriage) negotiations.' ( g:aðdan: )
 32b. Antitransitive:   S:Ø- hað-     Es:kñ b:ad ,dÓp:al: kñ ev:v:ah ki b:at:c:it: S:Ø- hØI. 
  'After this negotiations for Rudrapâl's marriage began.'   ( g:aðdan: )

For further examples of transitive and antitransitive pairs in  kr- and  hað-,  see
notes on noun incorporation.
      Sometimes antitransitives in  hað-  are  kað-expressions and as such allow the expression of an "experiencer" agent:

 33a. Transitive:     Eøt:z:ar kr-     Vy:a t:Øm: eks:i ka Eøt:z:ar kr rhi hað ?  
  'Are you waiting for someone?'
 33b. Antitransitive:    Eøt:z:ar hað-     Vy:a  ( t:Øm:kað )  eks:i ka Eøt:z:ar hò ?
  'Are you waiting for someone?'

      Not every transitive verb yields an antitransitive. In particular very few "reflexives" have them:  K:a (* K:l: ),  p:i (* ep:l: ),  l:ð (* el:l: ),  Q:rid (* Q:erd ), etc.  Those antitransitive reflexives that do exist are usually suppletive  kað-expressions:
 34a. Transitive:     dðK:-    'see'     =>    34b. Antitransitive:     edK:aI dð-    'be seen, be visible'  
 35a. Transitive:     s:Øn:-    'hear'     =>    35b. Antitransitive:     s:Øn:aI dð-    'be heard, be audible'  

 36.  Vy:a us: s:iX s:ð Aap:kað s#in: edK:aI dð rha hò ?
        'Can you see the screen from that seat?'

 37.  m:ðrð dadaj:i kað Ab: eb:l:kÙl: s:Øn:aI n:hiø dðt:a.
        'My grandfather has completely lost his hearing.'

        In general all verbs expressing jobs or tasks have antitransitive counterparts:

 38a. Transitive:     m:aúj:-    'scour'     =>    38b. Antitransitive:     m:új:-  'be scoured, come clean'  
 39a. Transitive:     s:iøc:-    'water (fields)'     =>    39b. Antitransitive:     es:úc:-  'be watered'  
 40a. Transitive:     p:is:-    'grind (into flour)'     =>    40b. Antitransitive:     ep:s:-  'be ground (into flour)'  
 41a. Transitive:     b:aúD:-    'tie up (luggage)'     =>    41b. Antitransitive:     b:úD:-  'get tied up'  

There are other transitive-antitransitive pairs which are suppletive (and which, unlike the X  kr- versus X  hað- pairs, do not play a role in the expression of incapacity.  See notes on use of antitransitives to express incapacity):

 42a. Transitive:     l:a-    'bring'     =>    42b. Antitransitive:     Aa-    'come; be brought'  
 43a. Transitive:     B:ðj:-    'send'     =>    43b. Antitransitive:     j:a-    'go; be sent'  
 44a. Transitive:     Ral:-    'pour; put in'     =>    44b. Antitransitive:     p:_-    'fall; be put in'  

  45a.     Vy:a t:Øm:n:ð n:m:k Ral:a hò ?
  'Have you put in the salt?'  
    =>     45b.     Vy:a n:m:k p:_a hò ?
  'Has the salt gone in?'  

      As must be clear from this last example an antitransitive can sometimes be indistinguishable from an underived intransitive. It is only from context and from knowledge of the speaker's intentions that one can be sure that he means 'Has the salt been added?' and not 'Has the salt fallen?' It follows from this that there is nothing in principle to prevent the derivation of antitransitives from transitives which are themselves derived from intransitives. For example, in (46) the verb in the second clause is not the basic intransitive  eg:r- 'fall' but the antitransitive  eg:r- 'be knocked down' derived from the transitive  eg:ra- 'make fall, knock down' which in turn is derived from basic  eg:r- 'fall':
 46.  m:z:dÜraðø n:ð pl:ðXfam:ü eg:ran:ð ki kaðeS:S: ki p:r v:h n:hiø eg:ra.
      'The workers attempted to knock down the platform but it wouldn't come down.'

Another example:

 47.  ez:ndg:i m:aòt: kað Q:Üb: m:n:at:i hò p:r m:aòt: n:hiø m:an:t:i.
      'Life tries to bring Death around but Death doesn't listen.'

It is even possible to derive an antitransitive from the derived transitive form of an ingesto-reflexive.  In (48)  K:aOg:i  may be regarded not as a form of basic  K:a- 'eat' but as a form of the antitransitive  K:a- 'be fed' derived from  eK:l:a- 'feed'.
 48.  B:I,  b:cc:i t:Øm:s:ð K:an:a n:hiø K:aOg:i.
        'You won't be able to feed the child her food.'

      Transitives with corresponding antitransitives occur as co-ordinated pairs in a number of idiomatic expressions which are discussed in other places:

 49.  b:aðJ: v:h s:r s:ð eg:ra hò ek uYaO n: uYð.
        'A burden has fallen from my head and cannot be lifted.'

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

 50.  b:n:ðb:n:aO b:øg:l:ð s:st:ð dam:aðø m:ðø em:l: g:O.
        'Ready made bungalows were available at low prices.'

        (from Chapter Thirty-one of   g:aðdan:. See context.)

 51.  eb:radri hihm:ðøt:arðg:i t:að hm:t:rðøg:ð.
       ' Only the caste(-brotherhood) will be able to save us.'
        (Literally: 'Only (if) the caste(-brotherhood) will save us, will we be saved.')

        (based on Chapter Eleven of   g:aðdan:. See notes.)
      When the antitransitive is used in the expression of incapacity, the agent noun phrase is often retained, as a postpositional phrase in  s:ð:
 52.  m:òø Et:n:a m:aðXa-t:aj:a T:a ek us:s:ð s:úB:l:t:a n:hiø T:a.
      '(As a baby) I was so big and "healthy" that he was unable to keep hold of me.'

      (from monolog by  s:l:im: Q:an:. See context.)
See discussion of the passive of incapacity.

Exercise 1.

Exercise 2.

To index of grammatical notes.

To index of m:lhar.

Keyed in by ev:v:ðk Ag:rv:al: Aug 2001.
Posted 1-2 Sept 2001. Revamped 12-14 Oct 2001. Linked 26 Oct 2001. Augmented 1 July 2002.