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As I’ve said before, Hindi is sometimes called a “khichdri bhasha,” (खिचड़ी भाषा, both words are feminine nouns) which basically means that it is a “mixed language” consisting of words, phrases and even sometimes grammatical structures from a variety of different languages. “Khichdri” (खिचड़ी, fem. noun) is a popular dish of ghee or clarified butter, cooked lentils, rice and spices that is simultaneously a “comfort food” as well as a dish often recommended for those suffering from digestive problems or other ailments; as it pertains to a language, “khichdi” (खिचड़ी) basically means that the language in question is composed of different elements, just as the dish is. Knowing the origin of words and phrases in Hindi can be a fascinating way to track this language and its speakers’ contact with various “visitors” and permanent settlers who traveled to North India throughout the centuries. Some of the languages that can be detected within Hindi words, phrases and grammatical structures are the following: Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Portuguese, Sanskrit, Prakrit and, of course, English.
But, in this blog, I want to talk about a very particular South Asian language that has touched Hindi, especially as it is spoken in and around the Indian capital city of New Delhi, in an indelible way. That’s right, I’m talking about Punjabi (पंजाबी, fem. noun, as are all languages). The title of this blog, “हिंदी की खिचड़ी में पंजाबी सुआद” (Hindi ki khichri me Punjabi suaad, or svaad in Hindi) meaning “(A) Punjabi flavor in Hindi khichri,” should’ve given you a clue as to what this blog would be about 🙂 This language is part of the Indo-Aryan language group, just as Hindi is, and it is commonly spoken in both the Indian and Pakistani parts of Punjab (where it often written in Urdu or nastaliq script). There are a lot of stereotypes, some of them not favorable, about Punjabis and some “Shuddh Hindivale” (शुद्ध हिंदी वाले, or proponents of shuddh/शुद्ध or pure, i.e. Sanksritized, Hindi) would argue that Punjabis have “corrupted” Sanskritized Hindi by injecting it with their own particular flavor. But, in this blog, we’ll try to forget all of that and talk about all the ways in which this fascinating language has positively influenced its sister, Hindi.
If you find yourself in New Delhi (commonly just referred to as Delhi or, in Hindi and Punjabi, दिल्ली), you may hear quite a bit of Punjabi or Punjabi-inflected Hindi because of the large number of Punjabis who live there. They will most likely appreciate it if you know a few words and phrases in Punjabi as well as in Hindi or at least appreciate the striking resemblance between the two languages:
Da/de/di (दा/दे/दी): the Punjabi equivalents of ka/ke/ki (का/के/की or possessive particles in Hindi; there is a separate form for feminine plural in Punjabi, but you most likely will not need to know that). Here are some examples of this:
*If you’re going to talk about Hinglish, which is a combination of Hindi and English, you can’t forget “Pinglish,” a combination of Punjabi and English; here’s a good example of it in an actual Punjabi song title: “Family दी Member” (from the Punjabi film, अँग्रेज/Angrej).
Pind (पिंड): a very important word, if not essential! It means a village.
*variations: village-like or of the village (पेंडू/pendoo), villager (पिंड वाला/pind vaalaa). Be careful how you use these terms, however, as they can carry a pejorative connotation of someone who is unsophisticated and simple (in a bad way).
Ainvayi (ऐंवयी): in Hindi, this would be translated as “yunh hi,” (यों ही) which has many meanings, including “just in this way, casually, simply, cursorily, by chance”; this is a notoriously difficult phrase to translate, so I will illustrate its possible meanings with a few examples:
Q: Why are you reading outside? A: I don’t know, just because/just like that.
You become/get angry just like that (you have a quick temper).
(From renowned Hindi author, Rajendra Yadav’s, सारा आकाश/Saaraa Aakaash/The Whole Sky). I remained seated, just (simply) silently staring at the bulb as if I were thinking about something serious, oblivious to the world.
Ik (इक): his can mean “a” in Punjabi but, in Hindi, can have the meanings of both “a” and can be a variation of एक (ek) or the number one. This is a useful word to know both for Punjabi and Hindi because it is often used in song lyrics to add a more melodious tone to the words.
Some Postpositions and Other Useful Words:
*Other question words: what, की/ki or, in Hindi, क्या/kyaa, किथ्थे/kiththe or, in Hindi, कहाँ/kahaan, when, कदोण/kadoṇ or, in Hindi, कब/kab and why, किणु/kiṇu or, in Hindi, क्यों/kyoon
I thought it would be fun to feature a Punjabi song for a change, as the Hindi and Punjabi music and film industries feed into each other quite a lot. Listen to this song with a piece of paper and pen/pencil at hand so that you can note down any words that seem familiar from your knowledge of Hindi. This song is called “कुरता/kurtaa” (hey, there’s one!) from the aforementioned film अँग्रेज/Angrej and features actor and singer Amrinder Gill, who is incredibly popular amongst those in the know 😉 As a plus, one of the costars of this film is the पिंड/pind: