When we add postpositions to certain pronouns, the pronoun changes forms. Do you know what is an oblique case? The change of form when we add postpositions is known as the oblique case. This is an important part of learning Nepali, so you might not want to skip this part. An example of a pronoun in oblique case is the English ’Him’, which comes from ‘he’. So:
ऊ (u) + ले (le) = उसले (usle)
Where, उस (us) is in Oblique Form.
Oblique forms in English are usually Accusative or Dative Cases but in Nepali, they depend on the particle that modifies it.
Nouns do not undergo this process; only Pronouns undergo this process. Also, the postpositions that doesn’t require obliquing are सँग (sanga) and सित (sita).
1ST PERSON OBLIQUE CASE
1st Person Perspective Pronouns consist of ‘म’ (ma) and हामी (hami), which mean ‘I’ and ‘We’ respectively. म (ma) and हामी (hami) only obliques when it is modified with a genitive marker, as you know from the lesson ‘Particle: Ko’. Just in brief, a genitive marker shows possession, composition etc., like X ko Y means ’X’s Y’.
So, how does it oblique?
म (ma) and हामी (hami) doesn’t take the normal ‘ko’ (such rebels!) but rather the genitive marker रो (ro). The trouble doesn’t end there, though. The last part of म (ma) and हामी (hami) obliques; it changes its last part to form a seemingly new word. Let’s see what happens to म (ma) when we add रो (ro):
म (ma) + रो (ro) = मेरो (mero)
So, that’s it! That word ‘मेरो’ (mero) is the obliqued form, which has a meaning of ‘My’.
There are two more forms of रो (ro): रा (ra) and री (ri). Adding these two will also yield the same results excluding the final vowel sound:
म (ma) + रा (ra) = मेरा (mera) [PLURAL]
म (ma) + री (ri) = मेरी (meri) [FEMININE]
Please do note that ‘मेरा’ (mera) doesn’t mean ’We’. Since these words are adjectives and the form of adjectives depend on the word they modify, hence ’mera’ is used with plural Objects. So, mera will be used when Y is plural, given it is in the form of X ko Y. Similarly, meri is used when Y is a feminine object.
Also, म (ma) additionally obliques with the postposition ले (le), yielding मैले (maile).
The oblique case of हामी (hami) is also very similar! You can see how it obliques in the lesson about the particle ‘Ko’. (link here)
Just in Brief:
हामी (hami) + रो (ro) = हाम्रो (hamro) [SINGULAR]
हामी (hami) + रा (ra) = हाम्रा (hamra) [PLURAL]
हामी (hami) + री (ri) = हाम्री (hamri) [FEMININE]
Basically, that end vowel sound is replaced by the genitive markers.
2ND PERSON OBLIQUE CASE
Second Person Perspective Pronouns consist of ’You’. However, there are three ways to say ‘you’ in Nepali. They are:
तँ (ta) = Denotes the least respect
तिमी (timi) = Denotes neutral/ medium respect
तपाईं (tapai) = Denotes the highest respect
तपाईं (tapai) doesn’t Oblique at all, so you are safe with that word. However, तँ (ta) and तिमी (timi) obliques with the genitive marker ‘ro’, with तँ (ta) additionally obliquing with the Postposition ले (le).
So, तँ (ta) is obliqued with रो (ro) and its various forms into:
तँ (ta) + रो (ro) = तेरो (tero)
तँ (ta) + रा (ra) = तेरा (tera)
तँ (ta) + री (ri) = तेरी (teri)
The above forms of तँ (ta) has a similar meaning of ‘Your’, although the respect denoted is nil.
तँ (ta) is also obliqued with the postposition ले (le) to yield तैँले (taile). However, तँ (ta) is not obliqued when other postpositions are added, like when we add ‘लाई’ (lai) or मा (ma), it yields तँलाई (talai) and तँमा (ta’ma) respectively.
तिमी (timi) obliques with genitive markers ’ro’ and its forms only. So, तिमी (timi) forms the following:
तिमी (timi) + रो (ro) = तिम्रो (timro)
तिमी (timi) + रा (ra) = तिम्रा (timra)
तिमी (timi) + री (ri) = तिम्री (timri)
Adding other postpositions to तिमी (timi), like ले (le) or लाई (lai) doesn’t affect the word i.e. ’timi’ doesn’t oblique in this case. So, you would say तिमीले (timi’le) or तिमीलाई (timi’lai).
3RD PERSON OBLIQUE CASE
3rd Person Pronouns consist of ऊ (u) and उहाँ (uha). These two words have identical meaning but is surprisingly gender neutral. That doesn’t mean they mean ‘IT’ but rather it can sometimes mean ’He’ and sometimes ’She’, depending on the situation. ऊ (u) and उहाँ (uha) collectively has a meaning of ’He/ She’. The differentiation in gender is done by the verb. So, what is the difference between the two? The amount of respect they denote! ऊ (u) denotes Medium/ Neutral Respect whereas उहाँ (uha) denotes High respect.
उहाँ (uha) doesn’t oblique. In fact, all words that denote High Respect do not oblique.
The oblique form ऊ (u) is उस (us). When we add postpositions, it is added to this form; उस (us).
For example, if we add ले (le) and लाई (lai), it forms उसले (us’le) and उसलाई (us’lai) respectively.
Please do note that, the end ‘स’ (sa) of ‘उस’ (us) doesn’t get turned into a halant form when we add postpositions! Many people write ‘उस्ले’ or उस्लाई … that is wrong!
OBLIQUE CASE IN RELATIVE AND INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS
Relative Pronouns are words which introduce a relative clause. It is just like the word ’Who’ in the sentence: That man who ate food yesterday was me. In Nepali, जो (jo), जे (je) and जुन (jun).
जे (je) means ’What’ which is used when introducing Gender-Neutral Singular Objects only. जो (jo) which means ’Who’ is used when introducing Human Animates. जुन (jun) has a meaning similar to ’That’.
Only जो (jo) has an oblique form, which is ‘जस’ (jas). When we add postpositions, it is obliqued into जस (jas).
जो (jo) + ले (le) = जसले (jas’le)
Now, Interrogative Pronouns are question words like ’What’ in ’What is this?’. You can check out the Lesson ’Question Structure’ for the list of Interrogative Pronouns. Now, ‘को’ (ko) which means ’Who’ is obliqued into कस (kas) when we add various postpositions. You can see its forms in that lesson, and an example is:
को (ko) + ले (le) = कसले (kas’le)
OBLIQUE CASE IN DETERMINERS
Determiners, like यो (yo) and त्यो (tyo) which mean ’This’ and ’That’ respectively undergo change too. Among all the determiners, these two stand unique. In Determiners, I will include Reflexive Pronouns too, to save space. (I know, I know…I want less categories okay)
The Oblique Forms of यो (yo) and त्यो (tyo) are यस (yas) and त्यस (tyas) respectively. When we add postpositions to यो (yo) and त्यो (tyo), they are always obliqued to this form, irrespective of whatever postposition you add. So:
यो (yo) + ले (le) = यसले (yas’le)
त्यो (tyo) + मा (ma) = त्यसमा (tyas’ma)
In short, these two are always obliqued.
Now, the most important reflexive pronoun in Nepali is आफू (aafu) which means ’Self’. आफू (aafu) is obliqued only when we add the genitive marker नो (no). So, when we add those two, we get:
आफु (aafu) +नो (no) = आफ्नो (aafno) [SINGULAR]
आफु (aafu) +ना (na) = आफ्ना (aafna) [PLURAL]
आफु (aafu) + नी (ni) = आफ्नी (aafni) [FEMININE]
That’s all about the Oblique Case in Nepali! It is pretty easy right?
USE THE RIGHT OBLIQUE CASE IN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES:
1. _______ भात खायो ( _______ bhat khayo /he ate rice/ )
2. _______ _____ खेलौना मलाई दियो ( ____ ____ khelauna malai diyo/ He gave me his toy/ )
3. ______ _____ हातमा लेखेँ [_____ ______ haat ma lekhe /I wrote on your (least respect) hand/ ]
1. उसले (us’le)
2. उसले (us’le), उसको (us’ko)
3. मैले (maile), तेरो (tero)