y:Üen:v:es:ýXi Aaôf em:eS:g:n:

Conceding a point with  s:hi

          In colloquial Hindi-Urdu the particle  s:hi is used after  hi,  n:, and  t:að to express two or three kinds of concession and after  t:að with an imperative in order to cajole or insist.  These related uses are examined and exemplified here.  The problem of where  s:hi comes from is also briefly discussed.
          A:  Concession along a scale of desirability.  Use of  hi s:hi and / or  n: s:hi creates an implicit scale on which the speaker places the option he or she accepts below the option that would have been preferred.  In (1) the speaker concedes that his wife's gifts to her sisters-in-law were not top of the line:

 1.  Ap:n:i dðh p:r g:hn:ð kñ n:am: kcc:a D:ag:a B:i n: T:a,  dðv:raen:y:aðø kñ el:O dað-dað c:ar-c:ar
    g:hn:ð b:n:v:a edy:ð.  s:aðn:ð kñ n: s:hi
,  c:aúdi kñ t:að hòø.
      'There wasn't even a bit of string on her body that you could call an ornament, yet she had three
      or four pieces of jewelry made for her younger sisters-in-law. Okay, (I'll grant you,) they're made
      of silver, not gold.'

      (from Chapter Three of  )ðm:c:nd's  g:aðdan:. See context.)
In (2) the speaker concedes that he can no longer expect friendship from the person he's addressing:

 2.  m:òø Ab: t:k Aap:kað em:*: s:m:J:t:a Aay:a T:a;  m:g:r Ab: Aap: l:_n:ð hi p:r t:òy:ar hòø,  t:að
    l:_aI hi s:hi.

      'Up till now I've considered you a friend; but now you are bent on fighting with me.  So
       let there be a fight.'       (from Chapter Sixteen of  g:aðdan:. See
In (3) - whose proper interpretation requires some acquaintance with the themes and conventions of the classic Urdu ghazal - the poet expresses his willingness to accept rejection, if only to demonstrate thereby the depth of his passion:

 3.  g:r n:hiø v:s:l: t:að hs:rt: hi s:hi
      'If I can't be united (with the one I love), okay, I'll take on (the duty of) longing (for him / her).'

      (from a  ^:z:l:  by  ^:ael:b:. See context.)
      From these three examples, we can see that, first of all, use of  s:hi implies (or creates) a scale of desirability between two options (gold and silver; friendship and enmity, union and longing).  Second, the phrase  n: s:hi follows the more desirable of these options, while  hi s:hi follows the less desirable.  And, third, the speaker accepts (wistfully, willingly, or defiantly) the less desirable one.

      It is possible to use both  n: s:hi  and  hi s:hi  simultaneously:
 4.  n: s:hi ESq,  m:Øs:ib:t: hi s:hi
        'Okay, if I can't have (the joy of) love, then I'll take pain (if it is your pleasure to inflict pain on me).'

      (from  ^:ael:b:. See context.)
 5.  ePr B:i m:ØJ:ð rh-rhkr ^:Øss:a Aa rha T:a ek m:òø g:aðri n: s:hi,  eb:l:kÙl: kal:i s:hi . . .
        'Still, again and again I felt angry that I was, okay, not light, but actually, completely dark...'

      (Thanks to Terry Varma for this example from  kaðl:t:ar.)
      The implicit scale of desirability created by  s:hi is the source of the humor in  ^:ael:b:'s cheeky sher:
 6.  m:ðrð haðn:ð m:ðø hò Vy:a ,s:v:aI ?
,  v:h m:j:el:s: n:hiø,  eQ:l:v:t: hi s:hi
       'Why should you be embarrassed by my presence?
        All right, if not in public (I'll settle for meeting) in private!'       (See

For discussion of another construction, whose use creates an implicit scale of likelihood or plausibility, see notes on  Aaòr t:að Aaòr .
      B.  Rhetorical concession.  As with other expressions of concession,  s:hi may be employed as a rhetorical device, as a tactic in arguing or negotiating.  In (7), for instance, speaker B uses  s:hi  in conceding that, indeed, her husband had to put up with a lot of social and family opposition when he married her, but then goes on to remind him that she, too, made a sacrifice:

 7.   " l:_aI t:ðrð karn: hØI. "
        " AcCa,  m:ðrð hi karn: s:hi.  m:òøn:ð B:i t:að t:Ømharð el:O Ap:n:a G:r-b:ar Cað_ edy:a. "
      A: "I had to struggle because of you."
      B: "Yes, you did struggle because of me.  But I also had to give up my home and family for you."

      (from Chapter Thirty-five of  )ðm:c:nd's  g:aðdan:. See context.)
      Concessive  s:hi may be used to conciliate or persuade an addressee:
  8.  Aaòr kÙC n: s:hi,  t:m:aS:a t:að rhðg:a.
      '(C'mon,) if nothing else, it will be great fun (to see what happens)!'

      (from Chapter Six of  )ðm:c:nd's  g:aðdan:. See context.)
       As a colloquial rhetorical device,  s:hi typically occurs in conversational exchanges.  However, even inside a single turn a speaker may introduce a clause set off with  s:hi as a foil in order to strengthen a point.  In (9), for example, the speaker could have simply made an observation about the social difficulties occasioned by letting a daughter go unmarried.  Instead he dramatizes his point by creating a contrast between that and its opposite, failing to marry a son.  This contrast is sharpened by use of the phrase  n: s:hi :
 9.  l:_kñ ka by:ah n: hØAa,  n: s:hi.  l:_ki ka by:ah n: hØAa,  t:að s:ari eb:radri m:ðø hús:i haðg:i.
      'Don't marry a son and it's okay.  Don't marry a daughter and the whole caste laughs at you.'

      (from Chapter Four of  )ðm:c:nd's  g:aðdan:. See context.)
      C.  Dismissive concession.  If the one who concedes a point is sufficiently defiant about it,  s:hi may take on sarcastic force: 'Let it be!' (ie, 'I don't care!', 'So what!'):

10. " t:að us: kaðYri ka ekray:a haðg:a kaðI p:c:as: ,p:O m:hin:a ! "
      " us:ka ekray:a Ok p:òs:a s:hi. "
      Dhaniyâ: '... So I suppose that house's rent is 50 rupees a month!'
      Horî:       'Let it be one paisa per month!'  (ie, 'It doesn't matter one bit what the rent is!')

      (from Chapter Twenty-four of  )ðm:c:nd's  g:aðdan:. See context.)
This kind of aggressive concession may be taken as an attack on the interlocutor's thought processes: 'Sure, I'll concede your point, since it has nothing to do with the argument at hand!'

      D.  Hedges and reservations:  Using  s:hi or  t:að s:hi with the subjunctive may concede the logic of the interlocutor's argument at the same time that it questions the validity of its premise:

11. " Ab: y:ð ,p:O c:Øk j:aOûg:ð t:að . . . "
      " t:að B:i kÙC n: kÙC hað hi j:aOg:a.  AB:i v:h v:]t: AaO t:að s:hi.
      A: 'And when this money runs out, then...?'
      B: 'Then we'll manage one way or another.  But first let that time come!'

      (Thanks to Terry Varma for this example.)

The speaker may use  t:að s:hi with the subjunctive to concede that his own premise may not be valid.  The equivalent in English is 'provided that...' or 'just let...'

12.  m:òø us:ki Q:b:r l:Üúg:a.  v:h y:haú AaO t:að s:hi !
        'I'll fix his wagon. Just let him come here!'

      E.  Cajoling:  s:hi can be used with  t:að in imperatives to create a tone of insistence or entreaty:
13.  j:akr dðK:að t:að s:hi !
        'Go and have a look, would you!'

      (from  eS:x:aT:iü ehndi Aúg:rðz:i S:bdkaðS: by  hrdðv: b:ahri )
Terry Varma observes that with an imperative the same  t:að s:hi may function to reassure:
14.  AaAað t:að s:hi !
        'Come on! (There's nothing to be afraid of.)'

        F.  Sources of  s:hi:   Analysis of the semantic and discoursal functions of  s:hi is complicated by the existence of another word with the same pronunciation and a similar meaning:

15.  m:al:Üm: n:hiø khaú t:k s:hi hò . . .
        'I don't know how much truth there is in it.'

      (from Chapter Thirty-one of  )ðm:c:nd's  g:aðdan:. See context.)
This  s:hi, meaning 'true, correct; healthy, sound; whole, entire' is from Arabic [and in Urdu has a spelling different from the  s:hi of exx (1-14)]:
16.  s:hi B:av: b:t:aAað !
        'Tell me the true price!' (line often used in bargaining)

17.  hm: s:hi-s:l:am:t: p:hØúc: g:O.
        'We arrived safe and sound.'

Conjectured sources for the  s:hi of exx (1-14) include the Hindi-Urdu verb  s:h- 'bear, tolerate'  ( m:an:k ehndi kaðS: ),  the Sanskrit participle  es:¹ 'ready; accomplished; perfect'  ( m:an:k ehndi kaðS: ), and  a survival (of the subjunctive form?) of the verb  As:-  'be' (Fallon's Urdu dictionary).  In his dictionary of Hindi R.S. McGregor seems to assume that all instances of  s:hi come from the Arabic  s:hih.  My own theory is that the  s:hi of exx (1-14) is the combination of the demonstrative pronoun  s:að  'that (one)' and the particle  hi as in:
18.  s:að t:að hò hi !       => ?       hò t:að s:hi !
        'Well, I agree. That is the way it is!'

To exercise on  s:hi.
To index of grammatical notes.

To index of  m:lhar.

Drafted and keyed in 23-26 Nov 2001. Posted 26 Nov 2001. Augmented (with examples sent by Terry Varma) 3-5 Dec 2001.