So you got the conjugated verbs in your hand. But you don’t know what to do with it. Sweat no more! Here are the basics.
You know that Nepali is a subject + object + verb language. But another thing to note is that that the verb comes last and it always agree with the subject (and its status). This makes things very complicated to learns of Nepali. While there are only 5 forms of verbs in English, There are more than 25 types in Nepali (if you count all, numbers can reach or even exceed 30). So juggling 30 (or more) different types of conjugated verbs can be very tricky, right?
Just imagine the verb as a bar code. The same bar code will be applied to the same product, but another bar code is used in another product. The product is the subject and bar code is the verb. In the end, they are just bar codes and products right? But each product has their own unique barcode, and you cannot use another bar code on the same product.
FIRST PERSON (I/ We)
म (ma/ I) is a 1st person subject. It refers to ourselves, I. If you remember your English grammar classes correctly, they did say that ‘I’ will agree with the verb form ‘eat’ (or any V1 form of verb) and not with anything else? Same here. If you want ‘I’ to agree with its verb, then conjugate for ‘ma’ and not for anything else. So, for ‘म’(ma), you will say ‘म भात खान्छु’ (Ma bhat khanchu/ I eat rice) because the conjugated subject-agreeing verb ‘खान्छु’ (khanchu) agrees only with ‘Ma’ and not with anything else! Also, you don’t speak with respect to yourself.
Note: ‘khanchu’ is present tense
Taking other examples:
म मासु कट्छु (ma masu katchu) = I cut meat.
म सुत्छु (ma sutchu) = I sleep.
मैले मासु काटे (maile masu kaate) = I cut meat.
म सुते (ma sute) = I slept.
म मासु काट्नेछु (ma masu katnechu) = I will cut meat.
म सुत्नेछु (ma sutnechu) = I will sleep.
So what can we conclude from the pattern (of the verb)?
That was 1st Person Singular. What about 1st Person plural?
The 1st person plural pronoun is ‘हामी’ (hami/ we). Now, the form that agrees with hami is the ‘chau’ form right? So, if you want to say ‘We eat rice’, then we use the verb form that agrees with we, that is (in this case) खान्छौँ (khanchau). I hope you have been noticing the nasalization in the end of ‘chau’ denoted by the small ‘chandrabindhu’ mark (ँ). Therefore the sentence will be ‘हामी भात खान्छौँ’ (hami bhat khanchau/ we eat rice).
The past tense of खान्छौँ (khanchau) is खायौँ (khayau) while the future tense of the same is खानेछौँ (khanechau). Therefore, ‘Hami’ will take on the verbs in the following way:
Past Tense Sentence: हामी भात खायौँ (hami bhat khayau/ We ate rice)
Present Tense Sentence: हामी भात खान्छौँ (hami bhat khanchau/ we eat rice)
Future Tense Sentence: हामी भात खानेछौँ (hami bhat khanechau/ we will eat rice)
SECOND PERSON (you)
Moving forward to Second Person (you), there are 3 types of ‘you’ in nepali. They are divided according to the level of Respect they give. Starting with तँ (ta) as being rude or least respectful, then तिमी (timi) which is pretty much neutral and तपाईं (tapai) which is the most respectful.
Most people speak in ‘ta’ which speaking with their close friends or with junior people. People NEVER use ‘ta’ while speaking with strangers, seniors etc. because it is VERY VERY RUDE. But for friends, it is completely acceptable.
Some people speak with ‘timi’ for (almost) everyone (excludes seniors). ‘Timi’ is considered to be polite or sometimes neutral. It denotes some respect, and is used if you don’t want to sound rude. You can use this for friends (if you are a guy, then you better use timi for your female friends) although they may be like ‘What?’.
Finally, ‘tapai’. This is the highest form of ‘you’ in Nepali. YOU MUST USE THIS while talking with seniors, strangers, customers etc. Senior people will think of it as an insult if you don’t speak in ‘tapai’. ‘Tapai’ gives honour and respect.
Summary: ‘Ta’ for kids, friends etc. ‘Timi’ if neutral. ‘Tapai’ for seniors.
Now you know the uses. Now learn how to place conjugated verbs on them.
तपाईंले भात खान्छस् (tapai bhat khanchas)
What is wrong with the sentence? I’ll tell you. It sounds plain wrong. Utterly wrong. The verb form for ‘tapai’ is ’-nuhuncha’, (in this case: khanuhuncha). But the one used above is for ‘ta’. IN simple words, these conflict and sounds wrong. IN simple words, an incorrect sentence.
So what is the correct sentence?
It is “तपाईं भात खानुहुन्छ” (tapai bhat khanuhuncha). You CANNOT use any other forms of verb, or else people will start to laugh. Note: This sentence has the highest honour you can show for a second person (the person addressed). So what about others?
For timi, you say “तिमी भात खान्छौ” (timi bhat khanchau) while for ta, it will be “तँ भात खान्छस्” (ta bhat khanchas). The same sentence (You eat rice) has three different forms in Nepali.
The difference between these three sentence is the respect it conveys. ‘Ta’ sends the least respect here, ‘Timi’ sends ‘okay’ respect which ‘tapai’ gives the highest respect there. And all these, if translated, loses their respect. A sad story for me.
Sentence: You are tall.
Ta: तँ अग्लो छस् (ta aglo chas)
Timi: तिमी अग्लो छौ (timi aglo chau)
Tapai: तपाईं अग्लो हुनुहुन्छ (tapai aglo hunuhuncha)
Sentence: You ate my cake!
Ta: तैले मेरो केक खाइस् (taile mero kek khaais)
Timi: तिमीले मेरो केक खायौ (timile mero kek khayau)
Tapai: तपाईंले मेरो केक खानुभयो (tapaile mero kek khanubhayo)
3rd Person and Objects (he/she/it)
He/She/It are all 3rd Person. Nepali doesn’t have a differentiation of he and she, rather, the verb’s form shows the gender. He/she is collectively ‘ऊ’ (u). He and it have the same conjugation while she has a different. You can also replace he/she with a name. (Like you can write ‘Alex runs a marathon’ as ‘He runs a marathon’). Also, there is no it, rather the object’s name is used instead, OR a determiner is used.
This is gender speech. Nothing complicated, it is applicable only in 3rd Person. The thing is, if we are referring a girl, we speak using feminine conjugation, even if you are a boy. This is because the verb agrees not with the speaker, but with the subject. Since the subject is a girl here, we use feminine conjugation. Simple Right?
Okay, let’s imagine ‘eatas’ as the feminine version of ‘eat’. Now, eatas will agree only with a feminine subject, and you have to say ‘Mary eatas rice’ no matter what, even if you are guy. Now did you get it?
Sentence: He/ she/ it eats rice. (NOTE: Object = Dog)
He: ऊ भात खान्छ (u bhat khancha)
She: ऊ भात खान्छे (u bhat khanche)
Object (it): कुकुर भात खान्छ (kukur bhat khancha)
So, for the object and ‘he’, the conjugation remains the same while for ‘she’, the conjugation is a bit different. You can also replace the ‘u’ in ‘he’ with a boy’s name, and the ‘u’ in ‘she’ with a girl’s name, then it will make sense.
Also, some adjectives are inflected (they also have to agree with the subject). Some common variations are (male version left/ female version right): Moto (Fat)/ Moti, ramro (good/ pretty)/ ramri, aglo (tall)/ agli, sano (small)/ sani, thulo (big)/ thuli, pudko (short -height-)/ pudki, dhilo (slow)/ dhili. You use the male version for male and inanimate or gender neutral objects while you use the female version for, well, female subjects.
You can also do the same thing with 3rd person plurals, using the conjugation provided in the previous lessons. Also, the ‘respected’ form of ‘u’ is ‘uha’.
Sentence: He/She is stupid.
He: ऊ मुर्ख छ (u murkha cha)
She ऊ मुर्ख छे (u murkha che)
Sentence: He/She is tall.
He: ऊ अग्लो छ (u aglo cha)
She: ऊ अग्ली छे (u agli che)
Sentence: A car runs slow.
It: गाडी ढिलो हिँड्छ (gadi dhilo hidcha)
Sentence: The book is new.
It: किताब नयाँ छ (kitab naya cha)
So this are the basics. Confused? Don’t be afraid to question!
- Verbs conjugations agree with the subject, not the speaker.
- One type of verb conjugation cannot be used in the other, and the conjugated verbs always agree with the subject’s status, condition etc.
- 3rd Person Verb Conjugation is used with Things and Objects too.
A. FILL IN THE BLANKS WITH THE CORRECT VERB FORM:
1. Ram bhat _____. [Ram eats rice] (khancha/ khanche)
2. Tyo dhunga chat bata ______. [That stone had fallen from the roof] (khaseko thiyo/ khaseko thie)
3. Ma Bansbari gaera ama lai ____. [After going to Bansbari, I will visit my Mother] (bhetnecha/ bhetnechu)
4. Ghar bata manche ____. [A person came out from the house] (niskyo/ niske)
5. Tapai ghar _____. [You will go home] (januhunecha/ janechau)
B. IS THE SENTENCE CORRECT OR NOT? (translation not provided)
1. हरी र राम राम्रो साथीहरु हुन् (Hari ra Ram ramro sathiharu hun)
2. म भात खान्छ (ma bhat khancha)
3. त्यो कुकुर रात भरी भुके (tyo kukur raat bhari bhuke)
4. तिमी कस्तो राम्रो छ (timi kasto ramro cha)
5. तँ भात खानुहुन्छ ? (ta bhat khanuhuncha)
6. हामी घर जादै थियौ (hami ghar jadai thiyau)
7. तँ भोली जान्छस्? (ta bholi janchas?)
A.2. Khaseko thiyo
B. 7. Yes