Urdu/Postpositions

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Urdu uses postpositions that follow the noun (rather than prepositions of English that precede the word). Some postpositions are compound ones. Some of them can be incorporated within the noun (usually, the pronoun) while writing, where they then act as a case marker. Some of them are listed below; those using the genitive case of the pronoun are indicated with "gen".

Postposition Pronunciation English equivalent
/nay/ (Subject case)
کو /ko/ to
کا /kaa/ ’s or of (possessed item masc. sing.)
کی /kiy/ ’s or of (possessed item fem. sing./pl.)
کے /key/ ’s or of (possessed item masc. pl.)
سے /say/ from / of / with / by
ساتھ /(kay) saath/ with (somebody)
کے لۓ /(kay) leay/ for
میں /mẽn/ in / on
پار /par/ on / in
پاس /(kay) pas/ near / the verb to have


Koo

1. May be used as as indirect object of transitive verbs
امیر کو پیغام کس نے لکہا؟
Aamir koo paygham kiss nay likha?
Who wrote message to Aamir

2. As a direct object of a verb
امیر کو ٹانگ نا کرو؟
Aamir koo taang na karoo
Don't disturb Aamir


In addition, certain indeclinables can be used to denote specific location with के / کے / keː /, equivalent to under, above, against, below etc. Standard Urdu uses many prepositions directly borrowed from Persian, and also some from Arabic; e.g., -e- (of), as in सदा-ए सर्हद / صداۓ سرحد / sadaa-e-sarhad (lit., voice of the border—the name of the Bus service from Amritsar to Lahore and back). Few other postpositions may come either before or after the noun. E.g., सिवा /sivaː/other than, बिना /binaː/ — without.

Tiwari ([1966] 2004) lists some common compound postpositions according to their roles:

  • Related to time (Temporal): के पहले /keː pɛhleː/, से पहले /seː pɛhleː/, के पूर्व /keː puːrvə/, से पूर्व /seː puːrvə/ — all for before; के उपरान्त /keː upraːnt̪/, के बाद /keː baːd̪/, के आगे / keː aːgeː/, से आगे /seː aːgeː/ — all for after; के पीछे /keː piːtʃʰeː/, के पश्चात /ke pəʃtʃaːt̪/ — all for after / back.
  • Related to place (Locative): के पहले /keː pɛhleː/, से पहले /seː pɛhleː/ — all for before; के आगे /keː aːgeː/, से आगे /seː aːgeː/ — all for in front of; के भीतर /keː bʱiːt̪ər/, के अन्दर /keː ənd̪ər/ — all for inside; के बीच /keː biːtʃ/between/among; के ऊपर /keː uːpər/above; के नीचे /keː niːtʃeː/below; के पास /keː paːs/near; के पीछे /keː piːtʃʰeː/behind.
  • Directional: के प्रति /keː prət̪i/, की ओर /kiː oːr/, की तरफ़ /kiː t̪ərəf/ — all for towards.
  • Instrumental: के द्वारा /keː d̪vaːraː/by/with; के सहारे /keː səhaːreː/, की मार्फ़त /kiː maːrfət̪/, के बल-बूते /keː bəlbuːt̪eː/ — all for with the help of.
  • Causal: के कारण /keː kaːrəɳ/, के मारे /keː maːreː/, की वजह से /kiː vədʒɛh seː/ — all for because of.
  • Dative: के लिये /keː lijeː/, के निमित्त /keː nimit̪t̪/, के हेतु /keː heːt̪u/ — all for for.

As mentioned in the table, the postpositions using के / کے /े (lit., of) indicate that the second word in the compound is a masculine possessed item, and those using की indicate that the possessed item is feminine. If nouns are used with such compound postpositions, they must come in the Oblique case. If pronouns are to be used, they must come in the Genitive case (further declined in the Oblique case like adjectives).