New Hindi Grammar

John Peterson jpeterso at UNI-OSNABRUECK.DE
Thu Sep 23 08:35:14 UTC 2004

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Title: A Grammar of Hindi
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Indo-European Linguistics 02

Publication Year: 2004
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Author: Annie Montaut, INALCO/CNRS

Paperback: ISBN: INALCO/CNRS Pages: 332 Price: 72


Hindi, the official language of India, is an Indo-Aryan language
widely spoken in North India between Punjab, Bengal and Maharashtra,
with more than 400 million speakers in the world. The grammar is
aimed at giving a functional description of the language in a
typological perspective, using diachronical explanation as well as
areal contact, whenever it provides a better understanding of
synchronic facts. Modern Standard Hindi is a verb final language very
weakly flexional inherited from Sanskrit, a typically flexional
language with relatively free word order.

The first section consists in a brief phonological outline, including
a description of the writing system and stress.

The second section deals with morphology, typical of head final
languages (postpositions, postponed auxiliaries) with strong
agglutinative tendancy (specially in the verb phrase) although a few
remnants of casual flexions and a two gender opposition are still
preserved. Parts of speech are clearly distinct although
verbo-nominal compounds raise a number of problems in this respect.
The development and grammaticalization of postposition or
postpositive locutions, verb series, causative and factitive
alternations, aspectual, aktionsart and modal auxiliaries are
analysed, as well as derivational morphology, both prefixing and
suffixing (although mainly productive in technical neology).
Reduplication and synonymous pairs also form an important device in
developing the lexicon.

The analysis of the simple clause (third section) shows the high
sensitivity of  morpho-syntactic structures to semantic roles
(specific case marking for the main argument of subjective
predicates, of possessive predicates) and to aspect (ergative marking
for agents of accomplished processes). The latter appears to form a
paradigm with the other types of predications of localization,
exhibiting clear analogies with the formation of Indo-European
perfect in its early stages. Given the fact that such notions as
subject and object fail to adequately account for a large number of
elementary statements, the various types of clauses are better
described within a frame of case-marking (taking into account
semantic and discursive parameters) than of purely syntactical

The complex sentence (section four) shows the prevalence of the
typically Indo-aryan system of correlation on subordination in the
restricted meaning, as well as of non finite verbal forms, a
typically Dravidian device.

The last section is devoted to a presentation, within a historical
and typological frame, of the most representative features of the
various dialects of Hindi, showing the continuity between Standard
Hindi with its Western dialects and the Eastern dialects closer to
Magadhean languages such as Bengali.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Language Description; Typology
Subject Language(s): Hindi Language Code: HND

Written In: English
(Language Code: ENG)

See this book announcement on our website:

John Peterson
FB 7, Sprachwissenschaft
Universität Osnabrück
D-49069 Osnabrück
Telephone: (+49) (0)541-969 4252
Telefax: (+49) (0)541-969 4256

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