Number – वचन (Vachan) – part 1

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Number – वचन (Vachan)

There are two Numbers in Hindi, Singular and Plural. A Noun denoting one person or thing is said to be in the Singular Number- एकवचन (ekvachan). A Noun denoting more than one person or thing is said to be in the Plural Number- बहुवचन (bahuvachan).

                             Singular
  Plural

English
Hindi
Transliteration
English
Hindi
Transliteration

Boy
लड़का
Ladka
Boys
लड़के
Ladke

Book
पुस्तक
Pustak
Books
पुस्तकें
Pustakem

Road, Passage
रास्ता
Rasta
Roads, Passages
रास्ते
Raste

River
नदी
Nadi
Rivers
नदियाँ
Nadiyam

Dog
कुत्ता
Kutta
Dogs
कुत्ते
Kutte

Cat
बिल्ली
Billi
Cats
बिल्लियाँ
Billiyam

Elephant
हाथी
Hathi
Elephants
हाथी
Hathi

The Plural is, however, frequently used as a polite and respectful form with reference to a single person also.

English
Hindi
Transliteration

Prime Minister will speak.
प्रधान मंत्री बोलेंगे।
Pradhan manthri bolenge

Mahatma Gandhi came.
महात्मा गाँधी आए थे।
Mahatma Gandhi aaye the

The King has come.
राजा आए हैं।
Raja aaye haim

Father went.
पिताजी चले गये।
Pitaji chale gaye

The Singular Number is inherent in the base-form of Noun, as in लड़का (ladka)- a boy, गाय (gaay)- a cow, आदत (aadat)- a habit, घोड़ा (ghoda)- a horse, etc.

Many Hindi Nouns have the same base-form in the Plural Number as well as in एक घर (ek ghar) – one house, दो घर (do ghar) – two houses; while others are slightly modified as in एक लड़का (ek ladka) – one boy, दो लड़के (do ladke) – two boys; एक गाय (ek gaay) – one cow, दो गाएँ (do gaaye) – two cows, and so on.

Some words are always used in plural. Such as  आँसू (ansu) – tears, प्राण (praan) –life, breath, लोग (log) – people, ओंठ (onth) – lips, दर्शन (darshan) – sight, view, and so on.

Some words are always used in the singular form such as fear- भय (bhay), compassion – करुणा (karuna), sympathy -  दया (daya), joy/bliss – आनंद (anand), etc.

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