Topic 17:    यह क्या है ? What is this?

Context: Tim and Rita are getting ready to go out and Rita asks Tim to look and see if her phone is in her bag, and for some reason he spreads out the things from the bag on the table and then says what he can see before asking Rita a question.


टिम - पैसा है। कंघी है । चश्मा है। पेन है। चाबी है।

टिम - ठीक है...अरे, यह क्या है ?

रीता - वह किताब है।

टिम - ये क्या हैं ?

रीता - वे ख़त हैं।

टिम - एक मिनट, अच्छा, फ़ोन है।


Tim - There is money. There is a comb. There is pen. There is a key.

Tim - Okay... Hey. What is this?

Rita - That is a book.

Tim - What are these?

Rita - Those are letters.

Tim - One minute, okay, there is a phone.

Notes: Hindi word order and simple statements

The normal word order in Hindi is that the verb comes at the end of the sentence. So to make a general statement like ‘there is tea’ all you say is: चाय है।  There is tea. (literally, ‘tea is’). You don’t need an equivalent word to the English ‘there’ in Hindi sentences like this, you just put the noun immediately before the verb.
When pointing out things in Hindi, just like English, Hindi distinguishes between things which are nearer the speaker, ‘this is/these are’ and those which are nearer to the listener ‘that is/those are’. Memorise these words as pairs the pronouns and the verbs that go with them as follows.

यह है

This is

वह है

That is

ये हैं

These are

वे हैं

Those are

Note that Hindi speakers pronounce the words for ‘this’ and ‘that’ in formal speech as they are spelled, but in informal speech they normally sound more like ये  and वो. Yet another pronunciation sounds a little more like ये and वे with the said clearly. However, the convention is that these words are written as in their formal pronunciation even if people say them differently.

Hindi does not have words for the English definite and indefinite articles, ‘a’ and ‘the’. However, sometimes एक ‘one’ can be used to convey a similar sense to ‘a’ in some contexts.


पैसा nm. money
ठीक adv. okay, alright
अरे int. hey!
वह pr. that
ये pr. these
वे pr. those
फ़ोन nm. phone
चाबी nf. key
मिनट nm. minute
ख़त nm. letter
चश्मा nm. glasses (this is the everyday word for glasses, the other word ऐनक is more like saying 'spectacles')