Active, Passive and Impersonal Voice

I baked a cake, so the cake was baked by me.Do you know active and passive voices from those grammar lessons of English? Active voice gives priority to the Subject whereas Passive voice gives priority to the Object. We have something like that in Nepali too. 

So, in Nepali, we recognize three types of Voices. Voice (like active voice) is called ‘वाच्य’ (baachya) in Nepali. So apart from just Active and Passive Voice, we have an extra Voice called ‘Impersonal Voice’ which gives priority to the verb.

So, the three types of Voices are:

कर्तृवाच्य (kartribaachya) =  Active Voice

कर्मवाच्य (karmabaachya) = Passive Voice

भाववाच्य (bhaavbaachya) = Impersonal Voice 

In spoken Nepali, most sentences made are in Active Voice. Personally, this lesson shouldn’t be a big priority in learning Nepali, so keep this one on a low tone, okay?

_____________

ACTIVE VOICE

कर्तृवाच्य (kartribaachya) means ’Active Voice’. The word stems from कर्ता (karta) which means ‘the Doer of an Action’. The conjugation of the verb depends on the Subject in this kind of sentences. This kind of sentence is your ’normal’ kind of sentences. The type of verb used can be transitive or intransitive. While transitive sentences take the particle le (exceptions noted in lesson about le), transitive sentences never take ‘le’.

Just in brief, a transitive sentence takes a direct object but an intransitive sentence never has a direct object. A direct object is an object thats takes the effect of the action done by the subject.

Some example of sentences in Active Voice:

म भात खान्छु (ma bhat khanchu)

= I eat rice.

तिमी गीत गाउँछौ (timi git gauchau)

= You sing songs.

___

PASSIVE VOICE

कर्मवाच्य (karmabaachya) means Passive Voice. The word stems from कर्म (karma) which means ’Receiver of the action’. The conjugation of the verb depends on the Object of the sentence. The type of verb used can only be Transitive in Nature. That means, intransitive verbs are NOT used in passive voice. In such type of sentences, the Subject takes the particle ‘द्वारा’ (dwara) whereas the verb gets turned into non-active form. The non-active form of verb is made by adding ‘इ’ () to the root of the verb.

Steps in converting active (voice) verbs into non-active verbs:

Take an active verb (let’s take रोक्नु (roknu /to stop/) and खानु (khanu /to eat/):

First, extract the root by removing the ’nu’. So we get:

रोक् (rok) and खा (kha)

Now, add इ (i) to the roots:

रोकि (roki) and खाइ (khai )

So, we conjugate verbs using these roots. A note is that, if a half consonant is pairing with a vowel, then it leads to the half-consonant to take the vowel sound ( rok + i = roki ) and if the ending of the root is a vowel (like पकाउ /pakau/ of पकाउनु /pakaunu\to cook\ /), then the vowel is replaced by इ (पकाइ /pakai/)

Some sentences in passive voice:

मद्वारा केटा पिटियो (ma dwara keta pitiyo)

= A boy was beaten by me.

बाघद्वारा तिमी लखेटियौ  (bagh dwara timi lakhetiyau)

= A tiger was tussled by you.

___

IMPERSONAL VOICE

Passive voice without transitivity, भाववाच्य (bhaavbaachya) focuses on the verb. The conjugation itself is not affected by the subject for the verb itself is of importance. The conjugation always in 3rd Person Singular without any gender inflection in it. The verb is always intransitive. The subject takes ’dwara‘ (द्वारा) whereas the verb is conjugated using non-active verbs. A note is that, ‘म’ (ma) which means ‘I’ gets turned into ‘आफु’ (aafu) which means ‘self’. Ma also doesn’t take ’dwara’.

Some sentences in impersonal voice:

आफु बसिन्छ (afu basincha

= Sitting is done by me.

भाइद्वारा गाइन्छ (bhai dwara gaaincha)

= Songs are sung by (my) younger brother.

_______________________________

CONVERTING BETWEEN VOICES

No, you do not use Voice Synthesis software to convert between grammatical voices. Rather, you follow certain guidelines to do so. Of course, if you really want to change YOUR voice, you can opt for surgery or wait for puberty to strike again.

=======

From Active into Passive Voice

Criteria: The verb must be transitive.

Steps:

1. Add ’dwara’ (द्वारा)  or ’bata’ (बाट) to the subject. 

2. Convert the verb from active-verb into non-active verb. The non-active verb must agree with the object’s plurality, gender and the respect-denoted previously.

3. If there is an indirect object, or a word that is modified by लाई (lai), we need to remove it.

4. The tense, positivity, meaning etc. in the original verb must not be altered. If the tense in the active verb is in आज्ञार्थ (aagyartha) or इच्छार्थ (icchartha) (Singular), we add ‘योस्’ (yos) to the Root whereas if the active verb is in आज्ञार्थ or इच्छार्थ (plural), we add ‘यून्’ (yun)

Example:

रामले मलाई बोलायो (Ram le ma lai bolayo)                     [ACTIVE]

=> Ram called me.

Conversion: रामले +द्वारा  लाई बोलायो +बोलाइएँ(Ram le +dwara ma lai bolayo  +bolaaie)

Result:  रामद्वारा म बोलाइएँ (ram dwara ma bolaaie)        [PASSIVE]

=> I was called by Ram.

Another Example:

तिमीले कविता लेख्थ्यौ (timi le kabita lekhthyau)                                       [ACTIVE]

=> You used to write poems.

Conversion: तिमीले +द्वारा कविता लेख्थ्यौ  +लेखिन्थ्यौ (timi le +dwara kabita lekhthau +lekhinthyau)

Result: तिमीद्वारा कविता लेखिन्थ्यौ (timi dwara kabita lekhinthau[PASSIVE]

= Poems used to be written by you.

______________

From Active into Impersonal Voice 

Criteria: The verb must be Intransitive

Steps:

1. Add ’dwara’ (द्वारा)  or ’bata’ (बाट) to the subject. The subject can be removed, the verb is the main part of the sentence.

2. म (ma) is turned into आफू (afu). When this happens, dwara or bata is not added.

3. The verb is converted from active-verb into non-active verb

4. The verb always remains in 3rd Person Singular Tense, which has no inflection to gender, plurality or honour-denotion. However, the tense, positivity and meaning must remain the same between conversions (like past tense must remain past tense, negative conjugation must remain negative). If the tense is in आज्ञार्थ (aagyartha) or इच्छार्थ (icchartha), we must add योस् (yos).

Example:

राम हिँड्यो (ram hidyo)                                     [ACTIVE]

= Ram walked.

Conversion: राम +द्वारा हिड्ँयो +हिँडियो  (ram dwara hidyo +hidiyo)

Result:  रामद्वारा हिँडियो (Ram dwara hidiyo)   [IMPERSONAL]

= Walking was done by Ram.

—–

Another Example:

म उठे (ma uthe)                                            [ACTIVE]

= I woke up.

Conversion: म +आफु उठे +उठियो (ma +aafu uthe +uthiyo)

Result: आफु उठियो (aafu uthiyo)                    [IMPERSONAL]

= Waking up was done by me.

______________

From Passive or Impersonal into Active Voice

1. Remove द्वारा (dwara) or बाट (baata) from the Subject. If there is no subject, then a subject must be added.

2. If ‘le’ is obligatory to add to the subject, it should be added. 

3. If there is an indirect object, then ‘lai’ must be added.

4. The verb is converted from non-active form into active form.

5. The NOW-active form of verb must agree with the subject. 

6. in case when म (ma) was turned into आफू (afu), it is converted back into म (ma).

Example:

किताबहरु पढिए (kitab haru padhiye)                           [PASSIVE]

= The books were read.

Conversion: +मैले किताबहरु पढिए +पढेँ (+maile kitab haru padhiye padhe)

Result: मैले किताबहरु पढेँ  (maile kitab haru padhe)    [ACTIVE]

= I read the books.

____________________

When you convert from Passive or Impersonal Voice into Active voice, the lack of information about the subject can make the conversion a bit flexible. So, (example) when we convert किताबहरु पढिए (kitab haru padhiye), since there is no info. about the subject, we can assign one of our own. However, the subject must still agree with the verb in this case. 

So, किताबहरु पढिए (kitab haru padhi’e) can be converted into:

उसले किताबहरु पढ्यो (usle kitab haru padhyo)

= He read the books. 

OR 

तिमीले किताबहरु पढ्यौ (timi le kitab haru padhyau)

= You read the books.

However, if the subject information is known, given etc. then we must convert it into that.

Leave a Comment