y:Üen:v:es:ýXi Aaôf em:eS:g:n:

Blocking inferences with  l:aK:.

      While Hindi-Urdu has no shortage of words denoting high, even astronomically high numbers:

 1.   hz:ar   '1,000'                      K:rb:   '100,000,000,000'
       l:aK:   '100,000'                   n:il:   '10,000,000,000,000'
       krað_   '10,000,000'             p:¼a   '1,000,000,000,000,000'
       Arb:   '1,000,000,000'
 l:aK: is the one that has developed from a cardinal number into a colloquial expression meaning 'a lot, a great deal' (similar to a million in 'Thanks a million!'):

 2.  y:h t:Øm:n:ð l:aK: ,p:O ki b:at: kh di,  B:aI.  b:s: s:jj:n: v:hi,  j:að dÜs:raðø ki Aab:- kað
    Ap:n:i Aab:- s:m:J:ð.

      'What you've said is worth a million, Brother.  A true gentleman considers the honor of others his own.'

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

 3.  Ok p:rhðz: l:aK: dv:a
      'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'

      ( from b:ahri )

 4.  dðK:n:ð-s:Øn:n:ð m:ðø us:s:ð l:aK: drj:ð AcCi.
      'You're a thousand times better than she is!'

      (from Chapter Twenty-nine of   g:aðdan:. See context.)
      From this conventional sense of an indefinitely large number,  l:aK: has developed into an adverb of quantity:
 5.  em:l:n:ð v:al:ð Aat:ð t:að l:aK: em:nn:t: krn:ð p:r m:Ø¡Skl: s:ð v:h unhðø  ' hòl:að '  krn:ð b:ahr Aat:i . . .
     'If visitors came, you'd have to beg her a thousand times and then just maybe she'd come out to say, "Hello."'

      (from   ec:e_y:a Aaòr c:il:  by  s:Ø\:m: b:ðdi.  See context.)
      Like the English family of phrases no matter wh-, adverbial  l:aK: can be used (at least in colloquial speech) to block or override a line of argument or deny the validity of an implicit conclusion.  For instance,  haðri, the speaker in (6), has managed to acquire a cow and has been visited and congratulated on this by everyone in the village except his two brothers.  He is estranged from them and others warn him to be careful.  Still he is unwilling to draw the inference that his brothers are too jealous to share wholeheartedly in his joy and that it would be unwise of him to go invite them to celebrate his good fortune:

 6.  ePr Ap:n:ð B:aI l:aK: b:Ørð haðø,  hòø t:að Ap:n:ð B:aI hi.
      'Still no matter how bad my brothers are, they are still my brothers.'

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

      The clause which  l:aK: inhabits is almost always in the subjunctive (7) and (8) or the conditional (9):

 7.  v:h l:aK: ^:Øss:òl: hað;  p:r Et:n:a n:ic: kam: n:hiø kr s:kt:a.
      'No matter how hot-headed he may be, he would still never play such a dirty game as that!'

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

 8.  Ab: v:h l:aK: )ay:eÁ:¶: krð,  l:aK: g:aðb:r K:ay: Aaòr g:øg:aj:l: ep:y:ð,  l:aK: dan:-p:ØNy: Aaòr t:iT:üv:Òt: krð,  us:ka m:ra hØAa D:m:ü j:i n:hiø s:kt:a.
      'Now no matter how much penance he may do, no matter how much cow-dung and Ganges-water he may consume, no matter how many good deeds and fasts and pilgrimages he may undertake, his dharma is dead and cannot be brought back to life.

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

 9.  t:Øm:n:ð rs:id l:ð l:i haðt:i t:að m:òø l:aK: un:ki hús:i u_at:a, t:Ømhara b:al: B:i b:aúka n: kr s:kt:ð.
      'If you had gotten them to give you a receipt, then I could have made endless fun of them and they wouldn't have been able to touch a hair on your head.'

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

(to be continued)

To index of grammatical notes.

To index of  m:lhar.

Drafted and posted 2 Jun 2001 and 12 Mar 2003.