Wednesday, October 19, 2011

French is Grammatically Closer to Hindi and Bengali

I have been a fool!
Consider this sentence: Je vais vous montrer où est la nourriture.
Word to word translation in English will come out as: "I will (or going to) you show where is the food."
This sounds weird because you are apt to say: “I will show you where the food is.
The indirect object pronoun in French (in this case, vous) is moved and that causes problem.

Having trained myself all these years to think in English, I was – till a few hours ago – blind to the fact that my mother tongue, Bengali, and the other language I know so well, Hindi, has identical grammatical construction. In Bengali and Hindi – and I suspect, most of the other Indian languages – the indirect object pronoun comes not after the verb but before the verb, just like in French.

So the above sentence in Bengali would go: আমি আপনাকে দেখাবো যেখানে খাদ্য/খাবার আছে/পাবেন. (the indirect object pronoun ‘you’ underlined).

In Hindi, it goes: मैं आपको दिखाता हूँ जहाँ खाना है/मिलेगा. (the indirect object pronoun ‘you’ underlined).

What's more, the 'you' used in Hindi and Bengali is the formal you. (I was aware of this, of course)

Hmmm… Need to explore more.

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