Hindi – Lesson 1 – Word Order and Kya



*As I am a speaker of other languages, I like to try to relate what I already understand about a foreign language to whichever new one I might be learning.  This does not confuse me, and I think it’s pretty effective for retention.  So, if there is a similarity anywhere to Japanese, Korean, or Chinese that I notice, I’ll mention it.  In that regard, you might try to do the same – find similarities between Hindi and the languages you already know.  It is a mind-trick that helps lessen the amount you THINK you have to learn and makes things seem less difficult, imo.

*Also, nouns have gender, which we will talk about later.  For now, just take note as they are marked – m = masculine, f. = feminine



आम – Aam – Mango


*Necessary Vocabulary:

आपका – Aapka – your

है – Hai – form of “hona” (होना – to be); here, the meaning “is”

क्या – Kyaa – what (interrogative)

मेरा – Mera – my

नाम – Naam – name (m.)

नमस्ते – Namaste – greeting akin to “hello”


*Supplemental Vocabulary

आदमी – Aadmii – Man (m.)

आम – Aam – Mango (m.)

जी हाँ – Jii haa – Yes

जी नहीं – Jii nahi – No

नहीं – Nahi – Not

कमल – Kamal – Lotus (m.)

कान – Kaan – Ear (m.)

नमक – Namak – Salt (m.)

पैसा – Paisa – Money (m),

तारा – Taaraa – Star (m.)

वह – Voh – That

यह – Yeh – This


तारा – Taaraa – Star



*I recommend memorizing the conversation and practicing it with a partner.

This will help you get the feel of speaking and will help you get the feel of

what speaking good sentences in Hindi is like before you can really produce them

spontaneously on your own.



A: नमस्ते. आपका नाम क्या है ?  (Namaste.  Aapka naam kyaa hai?)

B: नमस्ते. मेरा नाम Michelle है. आपका नाम क्या है ?  (Namaste.  Mera naam Michelle hai.  Aapka naam kyaa hai?)

A: मेरा नाम Pooja है.  (Mera naam Pooja hai.)


A. Hello, What is your name?

B. Hello.  My name is Michelle.  What is your name?

A. My name is Pooja.



पैसा – Paisa – Money



Point 1.1 – Word Order


The first thing to talk about is word order.  In language learning, this means where the basic components of a sentence – the subject, object, and verb – go in relation to each other.  There are other components, such as adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, etc., but those will be discussed gradually.


In English, the word order is Subject-Verb-Object (aka SVO) -> I read newspapers.  I own books.  I love dogs.  I write poems.

Hindi, however, is like Korean or Japanese.  That means the basic word order is Subject-Object-Verb (aka. SOV).


(Here is a list of other SOV languages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject%E2%80%93object%E2%80%93verb)


The sentence that will help demonstrate this best is:

Mera naam Michelle hai.

My name (S) Michelle(O) hai (V).

My name is Michelle.


This word order will hold regardless as to how many adjectives, adverbs, etc. you add.  Any sentence, when stripped to it’s core, will take the SVO shape.

In fact, there are indeed sentences that don’t have an object.  Perhaps someone holding a book asks you “What is this?”  Your reply like would be “That’s a book”, which simply would be “Book hai” – a Subject-Verb only sentence.  Generally, it seems, verbs are going almost always be the last word of your sentence.  (I’m still learning, too, this may change ^_^)



कमल – Kamal – Lotus


Point 1.2 – Questions

The first interrogative word we will learn about is kyaa क्या.  You’ve seen this word in the question Aapka naam kyaa hai? – “What is your name?”  The kyaa क्या is what makes the sentence Aapka naam hai (It is your name) a question.  Interrogatives always go directly before the verb (with one exception explained below)*.

In this instance, hai है is the verb.  Thus the kyaa क्या goes directly before it.


क्या है ?

Kyaa hai?

What is it?


There is something additional* about how kyaa क्या can be used that makes it different from any other interrogative.  ONLY kyaa क्या can do this.

If you have a sentence like “It is a mango” Aam hai.  Perhaps you want to ask if what you see is a mango.

Does Aam kyaa hai? ask what you want to ask?


This asks “What is a mango?”  To ask “Is is a mango”, you place the kyaa क्या at the beginning of the sentence – > Kyaa aam hai?


(If you are familiar with Chinese, this is exactly like how “ma” changes a

sentence into a question just by adding it to the end of a statement.)


Keep this difference in mind.  

1. X kyaa hai?  What is X?


2. Kyaa X hai?  Is it X?


One additional usage of kyaa क्या is at the end of a sentence.  Tagging the end of a statement with kyaa क्या will turn it into a question, as well, though this is more colloquial.  When this happens, the meaning of #2 – Kyaa X hai?, but with more of a sense of seeking confirmation (as far as I can tell).

This is ESPECIALLY helpful for beginners like me who sometimes forget to say it at the start of the question! *^_^*

Ex. Aam hai kyaa?

आम है क्या?

Is it a mango?

So Aam hai kyaa? & Kyaa aam hai?  = same


Aam hai kyaa? & Kyaa aam hai?  Aam kyaa hai? 


1.3 -This and That – यह and वह


Yeh andVoh can be used directly as the pronouns they are – e.g. Yeh kyaa hai? (What is this?), Voh kyaa hai? (What is that?)

You can even use the pronouns in the construction Kyaa X hai? – e.g. Kyaa yeh hai? (Is it this?), Kyaa voh hai? (Is it that?)

Keep in mind that, in a statement, where the yeh यह/voh वह  goes depends on it’s role as a subject or an object.  In this example – Yeh mera aam hai (This is my mango) – Yeh यह  is the subject, and mera aam is the object.

We’ll discuss yeh यह and voh वह more later in terms of their roles as demonstrative adjectives (adjectives that tell the location of an object and how many there are).


Point 1.4 – Yes, No, and Not – जी हाँ, जी नहीं, and नहीं


Jii haa (Yes) and Jii nahi (No) behave in the exact same way as they do in English – to confirm or deny, to express agreement or disagreement, etc.  The Jii जी is occasionally left off, making it हाँ Haa and नहीं Nahi respectively.  From my own observation, this tends to vary more depending on with whom you are speaking (respect, seniority, intimacy, etc.).  The Jii जी is more formal and respectful.

Nahi नहीं is an adverb.  To say something “is not” is Nahi hai नहीं है.  Nahi नहीं will ALWAYS go directly in front of the verb.  That means if both an interrogative (e.g. kyaa क्या) and nahi नहीं, nahi नहीं is the one that will be closest to the verb.



यह नमक नहीं है. (Yeh namak nahi hai. This is not salt.)


यह तारा है. (Yeh taaraa hai.  This is a star.)



Exercise 1.1


क्या है? (Kyaa hai?)


     आदमी है. (Aadmii hai.)


a.) क्या है? (Kyaa hai?) 



b.) क्या है? (Kyaa hai?) 



c.) क्या है? (Kyaa hai?)



d.) क्या है? (Kyaa hai?)



e.) क्या है? (Kyaa hai?) 



f.) क्या है? (Kyaa hai?)



Exercise 1.2



 क्या यह नमक है? (Kyaa yeh namak hai?)


जी हाँ,यह नमक है. (Jii haa, yeh namak hai.)


a.) क्या यह आदमी है? (Kyaa yeh aadmii hai?)







b.) क्या वह तारा है? (Kyaa voh taara hai?)



c.) क्या यह कमल है? (Kyaa yeh kamal hai?)



d.) क्या वह आम है? (Kyaa voh aam hai?)



e.) क्या यह पैसा है? (Kyaa yeh paisa hai?)



f.) क्या वह कान है? (Kyaa voh kaan hai?)


Exercise 1.3


 क्या वह तारा है? (Kyaa voh taara hai?)


जी नहीं, वह तारा नहीं है. कान है.

(Jii nahi, voh taara nahi hai. Kaan hai.)


a.)  क्या यह कान है? (Kyaa yeh kaan hai?)



b.) क्या वह आम है? (Kyaa voh aam hai?)



c.) क्या यह कमल है? (Kyaa yeh kamal hai?)



d.) क्या वह आदमी है? (Kyaa voh aadmii hai?)



e.) क्या यह पैसा है? (Kyaa yeh paisa hai?)



f.) क्या वह नमक है? (Kyaa voh namak hai?)


I know this was a lot, but take it at your own pace – I sure am!  Please leave a comment below, or any questions, suggestions, etc.



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