Learning Hindi

Hindi Challenges 5: Word Order

When we first start learning Hindi, the word order appears backwards to us because the verb (the doing word) appears near the beginning of English sentences whereas, in Hindi, it’s at the end.

A phrase like “I went home” translates to मैं घर गया and translating that word-for-word to English looks like “I home went.” The biggest difference there is the position of the verb; it’s at the end of the sentence. But don’t worry, there’s a simple formula for sentences in Hindi.

English is a Subject Verb Object “SVO” language.

Hindi is a Subject Object Verb “SOV” language.

See these examples of word order between Hindi and English

I (S) am going (V) to the market (O).
मैं (S) बाज़ार (O) जा रहा हूँ (V)।

I (S) ate (V) a samosa (O).
मैंने (S) एक समोसा (O) खा लिया (V)।

I (S) will go (V) home (O).
मैं (S) घर (O) जाऊँगा (V)।

Just remember SOV, and you’ve got the basic structure of Hindi sentences.

Prepositions & postpositions in Hindi

The other offender which causes us to think that Hindi sentence order is backwards is the use of English prepositions (with, from, at, by) because in Hindi they are instead postpositions.

Prepositions come before a noun, postpositions come after a noun. For example:

John was with (PP) her (N).
जॉन उसके (N) साथ (PP) था।

At (PP) home (N).
घर (N) पर (PP)।

I’m going from Delhi to Mumbai.
मैं दिल्ली (N) से (PP) मुंबई जा रहा हूं।

I am going by (PP) train (N).
मैं ट्रेन (N) से (PP) जा रहा हूँ।

Knowing and identifying this little difference helps explain a lot when it comes to understanding word order in Hindi going forwards.

Note: Hindi does not have the word “the.” This is one reason why sometimes Hindi sentences are shorter than the English equivalent.

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By Karl Rock

Karl Rock, is a Hindi speaking Kiwi ex-pat who take viewers behind the scenes of incredible India and its neighbours. He has visited every state and union territory in India, and its culturally similar neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh, and aims to make others fall in love with India and the subcontinent.

3 replies on “Hindi Challenges 5: Word Order”

Love You Karl bringing Pakistan and India together Hindi is a great language would love to learn ❤️🇵🇰

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