Verbs are about the most important part in any language. It is one of the four Universal Absolutes in Languages (meaning it is found in all languages). Verbs are called ‘क्रियापद’ (kriyapad) in Nepali.
Nepali is a verb final language. That means, the verb will always appear in the end. Now, that verb that appears in the end will always be the main verb and hence it will give a complete meaning to the sentence. However, one note is that, unless the sentence is a conjoined sentence with two verbs of equal importance, then the final verb is considered to be the true verb)
Verbs in Nepali is divided into three primary tenses and some other forms which denote Probability, Desire, Wishes, Command etc. Anything other than that is not a true verb. Take the following sentence:
बेन्जमिन भात खाएर सुत्यो (benjamin bhat khaera sutyo)
= Benjamin ate Rice and Slept.
Now, it seems a bit obvious that ’ate’ and ’slept’ are both verbs in that sentence. Here, the word ‘खाएर’ (khaera) is somewhat equivalent to ‘ate’. Now, the interesting thing is, the word खाएर (khaera) is not a verb! Although it is derived from the verb खानु (khanu), it doesn’t function as a verb but rather as an adverb. That is one of the seemingly crazy things in learning Nepali! How can a word derived from a verb act as an adverb?
In Fact, in can. This might seem an initially crazy idea, but Verbs are about the most flexible part of Nepali. Verbs perform the biggest function in Nepali, however some words derived from verbs belong to a category which is known as ’Pseudo-Verbs’; Words that look like verbs (or its conjugations), are derived from verbs but are not real verbs. (P.S: They are also known as Verbals, but I will call them pseudo verbs because it sounds science-y… yeah…)
So, what are the pseudo-verbs which we can derive from Verbs and what are their respective Functions?
PSEUDO-VERBS THAT FUNCTIONS AS NOUNS
The ’-Nu’ Form
You probably already know about the nu form from the Lesson ‘Infinitives in Nepali’. Just in short, the nu form functions as a noun…well the section’s name should make it obvious! It is also the basic form of verb but it functions as a noun. You can head over to that lesson about infinitives to know more about the nu form!
The ’-Ai’ Form
No, not the japanese word ‘Love’. The ’Ai’ (आइ/ spelt like ‘i’ of ice) form also functions as a noun. However, it doesn’t function like the nu form. That is because, the ’nu’ form is a type of infinitive; this one isn’t. It is more like ’studies’ in the sentence ‘Focus on your studies’. Kind of like ’gerunds’.
To convert a verb into the ai form, we extract the root from the basic form of verb and then add आइ (ai) to the root. To get the root, remove ’nu’ from the list of basic verbs. For example:
पढ्नु (padhnu /to study/ )
1. Remove the ‘nu’ (नु) -> पढ् (padh)
2. Now add ‘ai’ (आइ) -> पढ् (padh) + आइ (ai) -> पढाइ (padhai)
पढाइ (padhai) = Studies (noun)
However, it is not possible to conjugate all verbs into the ’ai’ form; for example, खाआइ (kha’ai) doesn’t exist. Such verbs take only take ’i’.
Certain verbs like पढ्नु (padhnu /to study/), भन्नु (bhannu /to say/), हेर्नु (hernu /to watch/), पिट्नु (pitnu /to beat up/) etc. take up this ’ai’ form. The general rule of thumb is, if the verb is more than 2 characters long, then it will take the ’ai’ form, if not, then ‘i’ form. However, there are exceptions, particularly with the ones that ends with ’-उनु’ (-unu). Such ’-उनु’ (-unu) verbs usually take up the ‘i’ form, which replaces the ’u’:
खुवाउनु (khuwaunu) = To feed
खुवाउ (khuwau) is the root, in which we add ‘इ’ (i) ->
खुवाउ (khuwau) + इ (i)
= खुवाइ (khuwai) [Feeding] [‘ई’ replaces ‘उ’]
Since these words function as nouns, you can treat it as such when applying it to conjugations:
पढाइले मान्छेलाई ठूलो बनाउँछ (padhai le manche lai thulo banaaucha)
= Studying makes a person great.
PSEUDO-VERBS THAT FUNCTIONS AS ADJECTIVES
The ’-eko’ form
The ’-eko’ form (-एको) is the base for making perfect (aspect) sentences; however its function is not limited to that only. The -eko form of verb functions as an adjective. Sometimes, the -eko form is used as perfectives, that is by dropping the suffixal ’cha’, ’thiyo’ or ’hunecha’ and is normally limited to conversations. That means, you sometimes drop off the ‘cha’ or ‘thiyo’ etc. while conversing, when you talk in perfective.
To convert a verb into -eko form, just add ’eko’ to the root (note that consonant + vowel = consonant with that vowel’s diacritic) :
पढ् (padh) + एको (eko)
So, what meaning does it carry?
When you say: -eko form + X (X is a noun or a pronoun)
X who/which is ’-eko form’ (-eko denotes things in the past tense)
’-eko form’ X
सुकेको माछा (sukeko machha) means ’Dried Fish’ (Fish which is dry).
Do note that, the word ’Dried’ behaves as an adjective which describes the Fish. Basically, when you translate ‘eko Form + X’, you get:
Past Form of the corresponding verb + X
सुकेको (sukeko) stems from सुक्नु (suknu) which means ‘To dry’. Since सुकेको (sukeko) corresponds to the past form of verb in English, hence, सुकेको (sukeko) means ’Dried’ and not ’Drying’ or ’Dries’.
Similarly, पकाएको खाना (pakaaeko khana) means ‘Cooked Food’ (Food which is cooked). The -eko form usually dictate things that happened in the past. So, पकाएको खाना (pakaaeko khana) doesn’t mean ‘Food which is cooking’.
The ’-ne’ Form
The ’ने’ (ne) form is actually very similar to the –eko form, but it denotes things that are done in the present or shows habitual action (present). IT can also To convert a verb into the ’-ne’ form, simply add “ने’ (ne) to the verb root. For example:
सुत्नु (sutnu /to sleep/) -> सुत् (sut) [ROOT]
सुत् (sut) + ने (ne) -> सुत्ने (sutne)
The format of the -ne form is slightly different that the -eko form. It is something like this:
X + -ne form + Y (X and Y are Nouns or Pronouns)
Which roughly means:
Y which/who (-ne form action) X
This might seem a bit complicated, but if we replace it with realistic objects, then it makes sense. For example:
भात खाने मान्छे (bhat khane manche) means ‘Person who eats Rice’. As you can see, the structure is:
X = भात (bhat /rice/)
ne form = खाने (khane) [Stems from ’khanu’ /to eat/]
Y = मान्छे (manche /person/)
[ bhat + khane + manche ] = [ bhat (Y) + khane (-ne form) + manche (X)]
So, it wasn’t that difficult to know what it means, right? Another Sentence:
भात पकाउने भाँडा (bhat pakaaune bhada)
= Utensil that cooks Rice
Note: The ’-ne’ form is used to some extent as an adverb. However, this is limited to only one verb, that too to only one form. Did you guess? The ’-ne’ form as an adverb only functions as one when it is kept before ‘हो ’ (ho) or its conjugations. When done so, it gives a meaning of ’Shall/ Should’:
यो गर्ने हो ? (yo garne ho)
= Should we do it?
However, ’-ne’ form doesn’t go with any other verb, not even with ’chha’.
PSEUDO-VERBS THAT FUNCTIONS AS ADVERBS
The -Daa Form
Now comes a bizarre part; verb forms that function as adverbs. Sounds crazy, right? Perhaps, not so. An adverb is just an adjective of a verb; adverbs describe the verb’s action with more detail. As such, adverbs are always kept before the verb they modify. Here, we will look at the -daa form. (-दा)
To convert into the –daa form, add -दा (daa) to the root of the verb. For example:
लेख्नु (lekhnu /to write/ ) -> लेख् (lekh) [ROOT]
लेख् (lekh) + दा (daa) -> लेख्दा (lekhdaa)
The -daa form denotes an incomplete action that was being done before another action. That means, the action of –daa was being done, but was left incomplete to do another task. That is, is –daa was X and the main verb was Y, then it would mean that X was being done when Y event happened. As such, it usually appears in this format:
-daa + Y (where the Y is the main verb)
It usually means:
Y happened while doing ’-daa form’.
\Or in other words\
–daa form was happening when Y started
Y happened while doing –daa form
Note that the ’-daa’ action remains incomplete when Y is being done. As such, when translating the –daa part, it gets converted into the continuative form of verb (in English). The translation form can look like this too:
Y while (-daa form) [-daa corresponds as a continuative form]
This example should make it clear:
ऊ लेख्दा रुन्छ (u lekhda runcha)
= He cries while writing.
As you can see, the ’lekhda’ corresponds to ’writing’ whereas ’runcha’ corresponds as ’cries’. Did you get it? The task ’writing’ remained incomplete, or is in the process of being completed when the main task ’cries’ happened.
Do not confuse this form with the ’-dai’ form (दै). The ’-dai’ form is the basis for making continuative form, and they are pivotal in making Continuative Form of verb. While removal of the ’-daa’ form still makes sense, removal of ’-dai’ form will render the sentence illegible. For example:
He is eating while doing dishes.
A sentence that makes sense, right? Now, remove the ’while doing dishes’ part. The resulting sentence still makes sense, right? However, when you remove the ‘is eating’ part, the sentence doesn’t make much sense right?
The ‘is eating’ part corresponds to that ’-dai’ form, because it is a VERB. However, the part ‘while doing dishes’ corresponds to ’-daa’ form, for it is an ADVERB and is describing or giving more information.
There is nothing to be confused on this matter.
The -Era Form
The era (-एर) form is very similar to -daa form, however it denotes complete action. The format is same as the -daa form, that is:
’-era’ form + X
= X happened after doing (-era form)
= X after (-era form)
To convert a verb into the -era form, just add ‘एर’ (era) to the root of the verb. For example:
खानु (khanu /to eat/) -> खा (kha) [ROOT]
खा (kha) + एर (era) -> खाएर (khaera)
So, as you saw above, the ’era’ form denotes complete action instead. When translating, the –era form is usually translated into ‘after + continuative form’. Why continuative form? Because it makes sense that way in English. For example:
He slept after (Read / reading)
Which made more sense, read or reading? Exactly! When we translate to and forth, that ‘era’ form takes the ‘after (continuative)’ form.
Take this sentence:
ऊ सुतेर उठ्यो (u sutera uthyo)
= He woke up after sleeping.
Did you get it? The ’-era’ form correspond to the ‘after sleeping’ part. After sleeping, he woke up (the main verb is to wake up). When you remove the ’after sleeping’ information, the sentence still makes sense but not so when you remove the ’woke up’ part.
The ’-na’ form
You can learn more about this in the lesson ‘Infinitives in Nepali’, where it has been discussed thoroughly.
Those are the common Pseudo Verbs you will encounter while learning Nepali. I really hope this will fill a major gap in mastering Nepali, for the language is full of these pseudo-verbs!
There are still some more, but they are not so important to learn right now. In fact, their meaning even coincide with some! However, if you want them listed, you can contact me and request for one. I will gladly add it!
Finally, if you have any queries related to this, then you can ask anytime.
A. TRANSLATE THE FOLLOWING
1. राम भात पकाएर बाहिर गयो (ram bhat pakaaera bahira gayo)
2. मासु काट्ने छुरी (masu katne churi)
B. MAKE YOUR OWN SENTENCES USING THESE WORDS
A. 1. Ram went outside after cooking rice.
A. 2. Meat cutting Knife (or Knife that cuts meat)