Hindi Grammar: Learning Parts of Speech

Getting Started

One of my favorite starters in a language class is to ask students to imagine a world without any language or any form of expression. The objective is to remind the students and myself about how important language is. In every language, grammar plays a very important role. It organizes the language. It gives the rules of the language. Grammar in Hindi is known as vyakran. In this article, we learn the different parts of speech in the Hindi language. The meanings of the Hindi words are given in English in parentheses right after the Hindi word. Where applicable, the Hindi script is also given.

Shabdo ke Prakar (Parts of Speech)

Parts of speech in Hindi grammar correspond with that of English. In Hindi, too, there are eight parts of speech. The eight parts of speech are sangya (noun), sarvnam (pronoun), vesheshan (adjective), kriya (verb), kriya visheshan (adverb), sambandhbhodak (preposition), yojak (conjunction), and ghotak (interjection). Let us analyze the parts of speech one by one.

1. Sangya (Noun)

Nouns are known as sangya (संज्ञा) in Hindi. Just like nouns in English, sangya also name people, places, things and ideas. For example:

  • Kamla (कमला) – name of a lady
  • Delhi (दिल्ली) – the capital city of India
  • Mithas (मिठास) – sweetness
  • Ganit (गणित) – mathematics

The following sentences contain examples of sangya (nouns):

  • Kamla ek bahut sundar aurat hai. (कमलाएकबहुतसुन्दरऔरतहै) – Kamla is a beautiful lady.
  • Dilli Bharat ki uttar disha mein hai. (दिल्लीभारतकीउत्तरदिशामेहै) – Delhi is in the northern part of India.

2. Sarvnam (Pronoun)

Pronouns are known as sarvnam (सर्वनाम) in Hindi. Like in English, sarvnam are words used in place of nouns. For example:

  • veh (वह) – he or she (This Hindi pronoun is used for third person subject pronouns of singular numbers for both the genders.)
  • voh (वो) – they
  • hum (हम) – we
  • tum (तुम ) – you
  • main (मैं) – I
  • thumhara (तुम्हारा ) – your, yours

The following sentences contain examples of sarvnam (pronouns):

  • Hum log aaj kam kar rahe hai. (हम लोग आज काम कर रहे है) – We are working today.
  • Main tumhare pitaji ko janta hun. (मैं तुम्हारे पिताजी को जानता हुँ) – I am known to your father.

3. Vesheshan (Adjective)

Adjectives are known as vesheshan (विशेक्षण) in Hindi. Just like adjectives in English, vesheshan also give additional information about the sangya (noun) or the sarvnam (pronoun). For example:

  • chatur (चत्तुर) – clever
  • kala (काला) – black
  • lamba (लम्बा) – tall
  • chotta (छोटा) – small, young

The following sentences contain examples of vesheshan (adjectives):

  • Kamla ek chatur ladki hai. (कमलाएकचतुरलड़कीहै) – Kamla is a clever girl.
  • Rajesh lamba ladka hai. राजेशलम्बालड़काहै) – Rajesh is a tall boy.

4. Kriya (Verb)

The verb, specifically the action verb, is known as kriya (क्रिया) in the Hindi language. For example:

  • khata hai (खाताहै) – eats
  • peeta hai (पीता है) – drinks
  • jata hai (जाता है) – goes
  • khel ( खेल ) – play

Note that the verbs given in the example are for singular masculine subjects. For feminine gender and singular number, the verbs are conjugated as khati hai (खातीहै), peeti hai (पीतीहै), and jati hai (जाती है). The plurals of the verbs for both the genders are khate hai (खातेहै), jate hai (जातेहै), and peete hai (पीतेहै).

The following sentences contain examples of kriya (verbs):

  • Rajesh aam bahut khata hai. (राजेशआमबहुत खाताहै) Rajesh eats a lot of mangoes.
  • Sameer har din school jata hai. (समीरहरदिनस्कूलजाताहै) Sameer goes to school everyday.

5. Kriya Vesheshan (Adverb)

Kriya vesheshan (क्रियाविशेक्षण) in Hindi does the same work as that is done by adverbs in English. These words give additional information about the verb, adjectives, and other adverbs in a sentence. For example:

  • dheere (धीरे) – slowly
  • jaldi (जल्दी) – fast

The following sentences contain examples of kriya vesheshan (adverbs):

  • Sunita dheere chalti hai. (सुनीता धीरेचलती है) – Sunita walks slowly.
  • Bache jaldi kaam khatm karne ki koshish kar rahe the. (बच्चे जल्दीकामख्त्मकरनेकीकोशिशकररहेथे) The children were trying to finish their work fast.

6. Sambhandbodhak Shabd (Preposition)

Prepositions are known sambhandbodhak shabd (सम्बन्धबोधक) in Hindi. Just as prepositions in English describe the relationship between nouns, verbs, and adjectives, sambhandbodhak shabd are words that also tell about the relationships of sangya (nouns) and sarvnam (pronouns) with the other words of the sentence. For example:

  • bheetar – inside
  • bahar – outside
  • paas – near

The following sentences contain examples of sambhandbodhak shabd (prepositions):

  • Reena ghar ke bheetar hai. (रीनाघरकेभीतरहै) Reena is inside the house.
  • Bache bahar bagiche mein hai. (बच्चेबाहरबगीचेमेंहै) The children are outside in the the garden.

7. Yojak (Conjunction)

Conjunctions are known yojak (योजक) in Hindi. Like in English, these words do the job of joining two sentences or parts of sentences. For example:

  • aur (और) – and
  • kinto (किन्तु) – but
  • kyuki (क्योंकि) – because

The following sentences contain examples of yojak (conjunctions):

  • Ram aur Sri bhai hai. (रामऔरश्रीभाईहै) Ram and Laxman are brothers.
  • Sri ko paise nahi dena kyunki veh udhar vapis nahi karta. (श्रीकोपैसेनहींदेना क्योंकि वहउधारवापिसनहींकरता) Do not give money to Sri because he does not return the loan.

8. Ghotak (Interjection)

Interjections are known as ghotak (घोतक) in Hindi. Similar to in English, these are exclamatory words. For example:

  • arey! (अरे!) – oh!
  • wah! (वाह!) – wow!
  • kash! (काश!) – I wish!

The following sentences contain examples of ghotak (interjections):

  • Arey!, yeh to baht sundar hai. (अरे!, यहतोबहुतसुन्दरहै) Oh!, this is beautiful.
  • Wah!, kitna aacha mausam hai. (वाह!, कितनाअच्छामौसमहै) Wow!, the weather is so pleasant.

Vikari (Changeable) and Avikari (Nonchangeable)

All of the above mentioned parts of speech can further be grouped in two categories:

  1. Vikari (विकारी)
  2. Avikari (अविकारी)

Vikari: The word vikar means change. The words that can be changed in form are known as vikari. Sangya (noun), sarvnam (pronoun), visheshan (adjective), and kriya (verb) are in this category for the simple reason that their form can be changed. To form the feminine gender or the plural of these words, the original word is changed. Hence, these categories of words are called vikari shabd. Different forms of the same word can be formed in case of vikari shabd. For example, ladka (लड़का) is a masculine gender singular noun; the feminine gender of ladka (लड़का) is ladki (लड़की) and the plural number is ladke (लड़के). The word ladka is changed to form the feminine gender and the plural forms.

Avikari: The prefix a- prefixed to a word in Hindi makes the opposite of the word. Avikari category words include those parts of speech which cannot be changed or which have only one form. Kriya visheshan (adverb), sambhodhak (preposition), yojak (conjunction), and ghotak (interjection) are avikari words. For example, the adverb jaldi (जल्दी), and the preposition aur (और) have only one form and are hence known as avikari shabd. These words cannot be used in any other form.

A practice exercise is available for download at Practice Exercise – Parts of Speech in Hindi.

References: Sachitra Hindi Vyakran (सचित्रहिन्दीव्याकर) and Manak Vyavharik Hindi Vyakran Tha Rachna (मानकव्यवहारिकहिन्दीव्याकरतथारचना)