Tips & Notes – Family
This lesson introduces significant grammar rules and norms used in the Hindi language.
The Oblique Case
If Hindi were a government, the oblique case would be its ministry of finance. This is an extremely important concept of the language, which comes into play as soon as a postposition is used, or an object is used in most sentence formats other than the ones you have learnt up till now.
As mentioned before, the oblique case is a case. This means that when a word is said to be in the oblique case, its ending differs from the normal form (called the nominative case). A word’s oblique case depends on its gender and number (again) and ending (terminal vowel/consonant).
|ा (आ)||masc.||े (ए)||-|
|े (ए)||masc. pl.||ों (ओं)||-|
|ि (इ)/ ी (ई)||masc. pl.||ियों (इयों)||-|
|anything else||masc. pl.||-||ों (ओं)|
|ियाँ (इयाँ)||fem. pl.||ियों (इयों)||-|
|ें (एँ)||fem. pl.||ों (ओं)||-|
(Repl. - Replaced with, Add. - Addition of, masc. - masculine, fem. - feminine, pl. - plural; dashes in both Repl. and Add. columns represent no change)
(Obl. - Oblique Case)
You may have noticed how only the masculine words show changes in the oblique case when singular. You may also have noticed how they always change into their plural forms but should not be considered plural. Then how are masculine words and their oblique case variants differentiated between? Answer – through context.
Example: केले में – In the banana
Whenever a doer or receiver of a verb takes the oblique case, all the descriptive words attached to it take the oblique case as well (since all those words together are considered the subject/object).
Example: मेरे केले में – In my banana
Here, the subject is मेरा केला (my banana), and hence, both मेरा and केला take the oblique case.
का/की also influence the preceding entity to take the oblique case.
Example: मेरे बच्चे की चाय – My child’s tea
- मेरे बच्चे का नाम पीटर है – My child’s name is Peter
- मेरे केलों में - In my bananas
- मेरे घर में तेरे घर का पानी है – There is your house’s water in my house (घर – m. house)
Third Form of You – आप
|Pronoun||Suffix (m.)||Suffix (f.)||Aux. Verb होना|
|आप (you)||ते te||ती tī||हैं hain (are)|
|हम (we)||ते te||ती tī||हैं hain (are)|
|ये/वे (they)||ते te||ती tī||हैं hain (are)|
(The conjugations of ये/वे and हम are the same as those for आप)
(Possessive pronouns are pluralised using the regular rule; plural feminine objects show no change.)
(The oblique case form of all plural possessive pronouns show no change as an exception)
Full List of Possessive Pronouns
|sing.||m. obj.||f. obj.||m. pl. obj.||pl. Pronoun||m. obj.||f. obj.||m. pl. obj.|
|मैं (I)||मेरा||मेरी||मेरे||हम (we)||हमारा||हमारी||हमारे|
|तुम (you)||तुम्हारा||तुम्हारी||तुम्हारे||तुम (you all)||तुम्हारा||तुम्हारी||तुम्हारे|
|आप (you)||आपका||आपकी||आपके||आप (you all)||आपका||आपकी||आपके|
|वह (he/she/it)||उसका||उसकी||उसके||वे (they)||उनका||उनकी||उनके|
|यह (he/she/it)||इसका||इसकी||इसके||ये (they)||इनका||इनकी||इनके|
Formality and Respect
In formal situations and for respected people (including all elders), plural versions are used in every context. For example, with पिता (father): मेरे पिता भारत में हैं - My father is in India; उसके पिता अमेरिका से नहीं हैं - His father is not from America.
Possession with अपना/अपनी/अपने
In Hindi, sentences like “I eat my apple” seem too redundant (मैं मेरा सेब खाता हूँ). So, a class of three different words are used to replace possessive pronouns when their (pro)noun has been mentioned before.
अपना is used for masculine singular objects, अपनी for female singular or plural objects, and अपने for masculine plural objects. Example:
- मैं अपना सेब खाता हूँ। – I eat my apple.
- तुम अपनी किताब पढ़ती हो। - You read your book.
- उसके बच्चे अपने केले खाते हैं। - His children eat their bananas.
Sometimes, these words can also be used when their noun or pronoun is obvious from the context. For example, when a kid comes up to you, you might ask them “अपना नाम बताओ” – Tell me your name (बताओ – imperative form of tell), where it is obvious that अपना means your (Notice that me is not required in such a sentence).
These words also take up the oblique case. For example, वह अपने घर से आती है – She comes from her home (आना - to come; अपना घर changes to अपने घर because of से - from).
Thank you for putting together this Tips & Notes article. For me, it would have helped if references to the Objective, Dative, Accusative cases were made. As it was, I had to look up the Oblique Case definition/description somewhere else to figure out how it may relate/differ to/from other English language cases...
I searched around the internet, and it says the oblique case is used for nouns in objects of verbs or prepositions. So, is it like a combination of the accusative/dative cases?
Also, the part that says, "Whenever a doer or receiver of a verb takes the oblique case..." Why would the doer take the oblique case? Wouldn't that be the subject? I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this case. m(__)m