y:Üen:v:es:ýXi Aaôf em:eS:g:n:

rha n:hiø j:at:a :
Passive of incapacity

      In Hindi-Urdu the inability or unwillingness to perform an action may be expressed by using the passive with negation:

 1.  m:arð b:as: kñp:an:i )  ep:y:a n:hiø j:at:a.
      'The water smells too bad to drink.'       (Lit: 'The water cannot be drunk because of the smell.')

      (from  )ðm:c:nd's  YakÙr ka kÙAaú. See context.)
This is the one use of the passive in colloquial Hindi-Urdu which freely permits the expression of the agent. The accompanying postposition is  s:ð:
 3.  dada hi ka kl:ðj:a hò ek y:h s:b: s:ht:ð hòø.  us:s:ð t:að Ok edn: n: s:ha j:ay:.
      'It is only Dada who puts up with all this. He wouldn't be able to put up with it for a single day.'

      (from Chapter Thirty-five of  g:aðdan:. See context.)
       The passive of incapacity can be used with intransitive as well as transitive verbs. Since in such cases there is no grammatical subject for the verb to agree with it must assume the masculine singular default form:

 4.  Aaòr Ab: us:s:ð daò_a B:i t:að n:hiø j:at:a. v:h harkr v:hiø b:òY g:y:a . . .
      'And now he couldn't run (any further). He gave up and sat down right there.'

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

 5.  m:ØJ:s:ð K:_a n:hiø hØAa j:a rha hò.
      'I am unable to get to my feet.'

      (from Chapter Nineteen of  g:aðdan:. See context.)
Certain ones of these intransitive passives have become conventionalized in the colloquial language, especially ( n:)  rha j:an:a (5) 'to be (un)able to restrain oneself' and ( n:)  s:ha j:an:a (6) 'to be (un)able to stand it':

 6.  us:n:ð En:ki y:h hal:t: dðK:i,  t:að us:s:ð n: rha g:y:a. b:aðl:i --  t:Øm: Vy:a Ab:ki j:a_a y:aðø hi kaX daðg:ð ?  v:h Ac:kan: p:hn:t:ð t:Ømhðø S:m:ü B:i n:hiø Aat:i ?
      'When she saw what state he was in she couldn't restrain herself: "This is how you're going to get through the winter this time around? You're not ashamed to be wearing that achkan?"'

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

 7.  As:ty: s:Øn:kr m:ØJ:s:ð s:ha n:hiø j:at:a !
      'I can't stand hearing something that is not true!.'

      (from Chapter Fifteen of  g:aðdan:. See context.)
The locution n: rha j:an:a often occurs with V- O eb:n:a in a construction (parallel to the V-nakute naranai / ikenai of colloquial Japanese) as a double negative in the meaning of 'have to V' or 'must':

 8.  eb:n:a us:s:ð em:l:ð m:ØJ:s:ð rha n:hiø j:at:a.
      'I simply have to see her!'    (lit: 'I cannot bear not seeing her.')

For more on this see notes on V- O eb:n:a.
       Not surprisingly (given its name), the passive of incapacity often occurs with some form of  s:kn:a 'to be able':
 9.  hús:ð eb:n:a t:að ej:y:a n:hiø j:a s:kt:a.
      'Man cannot live without laughter.'

      (from Chapter Twenty-one of  g:aðdan:. See context.)
       While most instances of the passive of incapacity occur negated, it also shows up in questions, especially those that expect a negative answer, and in if-clauses:

10.  t:ØJ:ð s:b: j:g:h ka p:t:a hò ek khaú-khaú j:ay:a j:a s:kt:a hò b:ahr ?
      (a mother speaking to a small child:) 'Do you know all the places a person can go to in the outside world?'

      (from m:aðhn: rakðS: 's  AaD:ð AD:Ürð: p. 86)
11.  us:ki s:as: hm:ðø g:el:y:aú dðg:i,  t:að us:s:ð s:Øn:a j:ay:g:a ?
      'If her mother-in-law starts bad-mouthing us, will she bear to hear it?'

      (from Chapter Twelve of  g:aðdan:. See context.)
12.  Aap:s:ð Ag:r y:h s:b: b:y:an: eky:a j:a s:kð t:að hm: B:i s:Øn:ðø .
      'If you can bear to describe it. we'd like to hear it, too.'

13.  edll:i Et:n:i dÝr T:i ek v:haú b:_i m:ØeSkl: s:ð p:hØúc:a j:a s:kt:a T:a.
       'Delhi was so far away that it was only with difficulty that one could get there.'

14.   " haðri s:ð khað,  Ab: b:òY kñ ram:-ram: krðö. "
" kht:a t:að hÜú,  l:ðekn: j:b: un:s:ð b:òYa j:ay:. "
       ' (Bhola:) "Tell Hori that now he should sit back and spend his time in prayer."

        (Gobar:) "I do tell him that. But when has he been willing to sit back and relax? " '

      (from Chapter Twenty of  g:aðdan:. See context.)
These notes (without the illustrations from  g:aðdan: and elsewhere) are based on Section 17A of Hindi Structures, pp. 153-4.

 To exercise on the passive of incapacity.

 To note on daò_a j:at:a hò and use of passive to indicate action by unspecified subjects.

 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.  b:n:aO n: b:n:ð H  Paired verbs and 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.

Drafted 27 Jan 2001. Posted 27-28 Jan 2001. Reformatted and augmented 24 Sep 2001. Augmented 1 July 2002. Cross-referenced 22 Aug 2004.