Sunday, May 22, 2005

Main Hoon Na!!

Today's vocabulary lesson is inspired by a 2004 Bollywood blockbuster, Main Hoon Na.

A note about the pronunciation: Words are often transliterated with an "N" at the end, but this is a very slight nasalization that you can pretty safely get away with dropping entirely. So you can pronounce the title as "May Hoo Na," which amounts to, "I'm here, no?" Literally, it means, "I am, no?"

Let's go through some pronouns, in conjunction with some present tense forms of "Hona," the verb meaning "to be."

Main hoon: I am
Hum hain: We are [note: sometimes, especially in poetry, "hum" is used as the royal we for just one person. Also, "hum" is pronounced the way the English word "hum" is pronounced, rhyming with "bum."]
Tu hain: You are [note: this is the most informal form of "you," used only for extreme intimate relations or young children. Sometimes, mystical poets use it in poetry dedicated to God.]
Tum ho: You are [note: this is the normal form of "you." Also, "tum" is pronounced the way "oo" is pronounced in "book."]
Aap hain: You are [note: this is the plural and/or respectful form of "you"]
Woh hain: S/he is; they are

Now for the "na." Those of you who know French can liken it to "n'est-ce pas"? Sometimes it is used the way "right?" or "huh?" is used at the end of an English sentence, as a rhetorical request for validation.

Now for some added gratuitous vocabulary words that are commonly used in Bollywood, and that will help to learn the placement of words.

Paagal- a crazy person (often meaning crazy in love)
Aashiq- lover
Meri/mera/mere- mine (in the feminine, masculine, and plural forms, respectively)
Zindagi- life
Aisi/aisa/aise- like this (in the feminine, masculine, and plural forms, respectively)
Kyon- why [note: this is pronounced as "kyoo"]
Yahaan- here

Practice sentences:
Main paagal hoon, na? -> I'm crazy, huh?
Hum aashiq hain -> We are lovers; I am a lover
Tu meri zindagi hain -> You are my life. [This is the title of a song from the 1990 film Aashiqui; listen to it here]
Main aisa kyon hoon? -> Why am I like this? [This is the title of a song from the 2004 film Lakshya; listen to it here]
Woh yahaan kyon hain? -> Why is s/he here? (or "why are they here?")

That's it for now. :)

2 comments:

J. Spo said...

Dear Bollywood Goddess,

What is "mujhse," as in "mujhse kaho" in the title track "Main Hoon Na"?

Love,

Grub

alienvoord said...

I thought "hain" was third person plural and "hai" was third person singular?