what, what [do]
The focus of this lesson is है (hai)
आपका नाम क्या है?
aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?
"What is your name? "
है (hai) is a to-be verb "is" that can be used with singular subjects for first person, second person and third person.
English uses subject-verb-object order, whereas Hindi uses subject-object-verb order. Therefore, Hindi is a verb-final language where most verbs come at the end of the sentences. So, in this case, "what is your name" takes the form "your name what is" and stays the same whether you are addressing a male or a female.
An important point to note is that in Hindi all nouns have a gender; every noun is either Masculine or Feminine and verbs change accordingly. And the possessive form का (kaa) in आपका (aapakaa) i.e. "your" changes depending on what's being owned and not on who is doing the owning. In this case the thing being owned, i.e. "name" or नाम (Naam) is of masculine gender. So it doesn't matter who is being addressed, what matters is that the word "name" i.e नाम (Naam) is masculine. Therefore the sentence structure never changes.
Let's now master how to respond to the question आपका नाम कया है? (aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?) "What is your name?" For this, all you have to remember to say are मेरा नाम ________ है। (meraa Naam ______ hai). Just add your name after नाम (Naam). So, if your name is Neha, you say, मेरा नाम नेहा है। (meraa Naam Nehaa hai.). If your name is Rahul, you say, मेरा नाम राहुल है। (meraa Naam raahuL hai.) and so on. Very easy!
है (hai) is used for first, second and third person singular.
1. First person singular
मेरा नाम महिमा है।
meraa Naam mahimaa hai.
"My name is Mahima."
2. Second person singular
आपका नाम किशन है।
aapakaa Naam kisaN hai.
"Your name is Kishan."
3. Third person singular
वह कैसा है?
vah kaiSaa hai?
"How is he?"
है (hai) remains the same for both masculine and feminine subjects. For example:
- नेहा एक लड़की है।
Nehaa ek Ladakii hai.
"Neha is a girl."
- राहुल एक लड़का है।
raahuL ek Ladakaa hai.
"Rahul is a boy."
Examples From This Dialogue
नमस्ते, आपका नाम कया है?
NamaSTe, aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?
"Hello, what is your name?"
- नमस्ते, मेरा नाम मेघा है।
NamaSTe, meraa Naam meghaa hai.
"Hello, my name is Megha."
कल मेरा जन्मदिन है|
kaL meraa jaNmaDiN hai.
"Tomorrow is my birthday"
- आपके बेटे का नाम क्या है?
aapake bete kaa Naam kyaa hai?
"What is your son's name?"
- वह पढ़ रही है।
vah padh rahii hai.
"She is reading."
Key Vocabulary & Phrases
1. नमस्ते (NamaSTe), which means "hello," is a common way of greeting in Hindi and can be used at any time of day. Other equivalent words for "hello" are नमस्कार (NamaSkaar) and प्रणाम (pranaam). They can also be used to say "goodbye."
You can also use time-specific greetings like सुप्रभात (SuprabhaaT) for "good morning,"शुभ अपराह्न (subh apraahN) for "good afternoon," शुभ सन्ध्या (subh SaNDHyaa) for "good evening" and शुभ रात्रि (subh raaTri) for "good night." However, these are not as commonly used as नमस्ते (namaste) or नमस्कार (namaskaar).
2. आपका (Aap kaa), which means "your," is a formal, honorific, possessive pronoun. आप (aap) on its own means "you" and का (kaa) means "of." Together they turn into a possessive form "your."
In Hindi, there are three levels of respect that one can show towards the other person. "You" can therefore be said in three different ways.
- Respectful and formal "you" - आप (aap); "your" – आपका (aap kaa)
- Informal "you" - तुम (Tum); "your" - तुम्हारा (Tumhaaraa)
- Intimate "you" - तु (Tuu); "your" - तेरा (Teraa)
Although तु (Tuu) is used between friends and siblings who are close to each other and therefore indicate some intimacy, it is considered rude to use it on others. So the general rule is to avoid using it.
3. आपका नाम क्या हैं? (aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?) means "What is your name?" It is a formal honorific way of asking for someone’s name. If you want to ask informally, you will have to replace आपका (aap kaa) with तुम्हारा (tumhaaraa). So, it becomes, तुम्हारा नाम कया है? (Tumhaaraa Naam kyaa hai?)
Understanding Indian Hierarchy
Indian society is hierarchical in nature where age, social standing and seniority in institutions are reflected in everyday speech by how people choose to address the other.
In the dialogue, Megha and Asha are meeting for the first time and therefore greet each other respectfully using the formal "you" - आप (aap). This is a standard way of addressing a stranger in Indian society. The less respectful "you" - तुम (Tum), is also acceptable most of the time if the person being addressed is about the same age or younger than the speaker.
People also add जी (jii) after a person's name to sound more formal and respectful. Like in the dialogue, Megha calls Asha आशा जी (asaa jii). It stays the same when used for both males and females. Therefore Rahul can be addressed as राहुल जी (raahuuL jii). "Mother" can be माता जी (maaTaa jii) and "father" can be पिता जी (piTaa jii) and so on.
|Neha: Hello, I'm Neha and am very pleased to welcome you to the first lesson of the Absolute Beginners Series in Hindi.|
|Maya: Hello, I'm Maya and we're both very excited about teaching Hindi to all you Hindi lovers out there! This is Lesson 1, Simple Greetings in Hindi, Part 1.|
|Neha: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to say simple greetings and ask "What is your name?" in Hindi|
|Maya: The conversation takes place between Asha and Megha.|
|Neha: They are meeting for the first time at a party.|
|Maya: And since they don't know each other, they will be using formal Hindi. Let's listen to their conversation.|
|आशा: नमस्ते, आपका नाम क्या है?|
|मेघा: नमस्ते, मेरा नाम मेघा है। और आपका नाम क्या है?|
|आशा: मेरा नाम आशा है।|
|मेघा: आशाजी, आपका नाम अच्छा है।|
|Neha: Now let's listen to the same conversation at a slow speed.|
|Asha: NamaSTe, aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?|
|Megha: NamaSTe, meraa Naam meghaa hai. aur aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?|
|Asha: meraa Naam aasaa hai.|
|Megha: aasaajii, aapakaa Naam acchaa hai.|
|Maya: Let's now listen to the conversation with English translation.|
|Asha: आशा: नमस्ते, आपका नाम क्या है? (NamaSTe, aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?)|
|Neha: "Hello, what is your name?"|
|मेघा: नमस्ते, मेरा नाम मेघा है। और आपका नाम क्या है? (NamaSTe, meraa Naam meghaa hai. aur aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?)|
|Maya: "Hello, my name is Megha. And what is your name?"|
|आशा: मेरा नाम आशा है। (meraa Naam aasaa hai.)|
|Neha: "My name is Asha."|
|मेघा: आशाजी, आपका नाम अच्छा है। (aasaajii, aapakaa Naam acchaa hai.)|
|Maya: "Asha, your name is nice."|
|आशा: शुक्रिया! (sukriyaa!)|
|Neha: "Thank you!"|
|POST CONVERSATION BANTER|
|Maya: So, in this conversation, Asha and Megha are meeting for the first time.|
|Neha: Which means that they greet each other formally using the respectful and formal form of "you" which is आप (aap).|
|Maya: Yes, this is a pretty standard way of addressing a stranger in Indian society. You can also add जी (ji) after a person's name to be even more respectful.|
|Neha: Like in the conversation, Megha calls Asha, आशा जी (aasaajii).|
|Maya: Can you also add जी (ji) to a guy's name? Say, call Rahul राहुल जी (rahuL jii)?|
|Neha: Of course. It's actually almost like saying Ms. or Mr. in English but it stays the same regardless of the gender.|
|Maya: And that makes things very simple!|
|Neha: Yes, in a way. But at the same time, Indian society is hierarchical in nature and everything including age, social standing, and positions at institutions are reflected in everyday speech by how we choose to address the other.|
|Maya: In fact, in Hindi, there are three different levels of respect one can show to the other person.|
|Neha: But in this lesson we'll cover only the formal and respectful form of address.|
|Maya: Which can never go wrong in any situation.|
|Neha: Let's now get started with the new words that were used in the conversation.|
|Maya: Sure, we'll first say the words at natural speed, then a bit slower so that you can distinctly hear every syllable in the word.|
|Neha: So first we have, नमस्ते (NamaSTe). न-म-स्ते (Na-ma-STe). नमस्ते (NamaSTe), which means "hello."|
|Maya: The next one is आपका (aapakaa), which means, "your." आपका (aapakaa), आ-प-का (aa-pa-kaa), आपका (aapakaa).|
|Neha: Then we have नाम (Naam), which means "name," and almost sounds like it as well. नाम (Naam), ना-म (Naa-m), नाम (Naam).|
|Maya: Next is क्या (kyaa), which means, "what." क्या (kyaa), क्या (kyaa), क्या (kyaa).|
|Neha: Another one is है (hai), which denotes the to-be verb "is." So, we have है (hai), है (hai), है (hai).|
|Maya: And next we have मेरा (meraa), which means, "my." मेरा (meraa), मे-रा (me-raa), मेरा (meraa).|
|Neha: Next is अच्छा (acchaa), one of my favorite words! It means "nice." अच्छा (acchaa), अ-च्छा (a-cchaa), अच्छा (acchaa).|
|Maya: And finally we have शुक्रिया (sukriyaa), which means, "thank you.". शुक्रिया (sukriyaa), शु-क्रि-या (su-kri-yaa), शुक्रिया (sukriyaa).|
|VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE|
|Neha: So let's talk about some of these new words. नमस्ते (NamaSTe), which means "hello," is a common way of greeting in Hindi.|
|Maya: Some of you who are into yoga might have already encountered this word.|
|Neha: It can be used at any time of the day as well. And not only can you use नमस्ते (NamaSTe) to say "hello" but you can also use it to say "goodbye"! Quite a useful word..|
|Maya: Absolutely. In addition to नमस्ते (NamaSTe), Hindi also has नमस्कार (NamaSkaar) and प्रणाम (pranaam) which mean the same thing.|
|Neha: And like नमस्ते (NamaSTe), they can be used at any time of the day and also to say "goodbye."|
|Maya: How about other ways of greeting, like when you want to say good morning, or good evening, or good night?|
|Neha: Well, Indians do have those time-specific greetings, but they're not as commonly used as नमस्ते (NamaSTe) or नमस्कार (NamaSkaar). In fact, even प्रणाम (pranaam) is not as common as the other two. You use it mostly towards elders and superiors and not really to your friends or juniors.|
|Maya: Shall we talk a little more about these different ways of addressing others in Hindi?|
|Neha: Sure, so, there are three different levels of respect that one can show towards the other person .|
|Maya: And the most formal and respectful form is…|
|Neha: आप (aap).|
|Maya: The informal "you" is…|
|Neha: तुम (Tum).|
|Maya: And the rude "you" is…|
|Neha: तू (Tuu).|
|Maya: Well, तू (Tuu) is rude but sometimes, it's also an intimate form of address.|
|Neha: You will often hear it being used between close friends and siblings. However, to a stranger, it is without a doubt, rude. So the general rule is to avoid using it.|
|Maya: That's right. Let's use the formal "you,", i.e. आप (aap) in a sentence.|
|Neha: Okay. So, in the dialogue, Asha and Megha both ask each others' names by saying, - आपका नाम क्या है? (aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?)|
|Maya: Do you all recognize the new words we introduced earlier? Here नाम (Naam) means "name,", क्या (kyaa) means "what," and है (hai) means "is."|
|Neha: And आप (aap) is the honorific form of "you", while का (kaa) means "of." And together they turn into a possessive form, "your." Therefore, आपका (aapakaa) means, "your."|
|Maya: So, "What is your name?" in Hindi is…|
|Neha: आपका नाम क्या है? (aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?)|
|Maya: Let's now move to the grammar section.|
|Maya: In this lesson, we'll cover the use of the to-be verb है (hai).|
|Neha: Well, basically, है (hai) means "is." Compared to English that uses the subject-verb-object order, Hindi uses subject-object-verb order.|
|Maya: This is quite an important point to remember.-- Hindi is a verb-final language.|
|Neha: So, the verb है (hai) comes at the end of a sentence.|
|Maya: And whether you're addressing a male or a female, the question "What is your name?" which is…|
|Neha: आपका नाम क्या है? (aapakaa Naam kyaa hai?)|
|Maya: Remains the same.|
|Neha: Of course, being able to ask the question isn't enough. You'll want to be able to respond as well.|
|Maya: It's very simple. All you have to say is मेरा नाम ______ है (meraa Naam _____ hai)," and just add your name after नाम (Naam).|
|Neha: So, if your name is Neha, you say, मेरा नाम नेहा है (meraa Naam Nehaa hai.)|
|Maya: What would you say if your name is Rahul?|
|Neha: मेरा नाम राहुल है (meraa Naam rahuL hai). Very easy, right?|
|Maya: Yes, very easy because it doesn't change according to the subject's gender like many other sentences in Hindi do.|
|Neha: Yes, that's another important thing we'll cover in later lessons. But just remember that in Hindi all nouns have genders. They are either Masculine or Feminine and verbs change accordingly.|
|Maya: And the possessive forms आपका (aapakaa) i.e. "your," and मेरा (meraa) i.e. "my," change depending on what's being owned and not on who is doing the owning. In this case the thing being owned, i.e. "name" or नाम (Naam), is of masculine gender.|
|Neha: If all that we said right now sounds complicated, don't worry about it for now. All you need to know is that the sentence structure for "What is your name?" and "My name is ...." never change.|
|Maya: No matter what your gender is. Just like in English!|
|Neha: Even है (hai) remains the same for both masculine and feminine subjects.|
|Neha: For example, नेहा एक लड़की है (Nehaa ek Ladakii hai) is…|
|Maya: "Neha is a girl," and…|
|Neha: राहुल एक लड़का है (rahuL ek Ladakaa hai) is…|
|Maya: "Rahul is a boy."|
|Neha: You can also use है (hai) without changing it for first person, second person, and third person singular subjects. For example, for first person singular, मेरा नाम महिमा है (meraa Naam mahimaa hai) is…|
|Maya: "My name is Mahima," and for second person singular,|
|Neha: आपका नाम किशन है (aapakaa Naam kisaN hai) is…|
|Maya: "Your name is Kishan."|
|Neha: And for third person singular, वह कैसा है (vah kaiSaa hai) is…|
|Maya: "How is he?"|
|Neha: है (hai) means "is," so obviously it works only for singular subjects.|
|Maya: Yes, but it changes into a nasal sounding हैं (hain) when used for plural subjects. हैं (hain) therefore becomes the to be verb "are."|
|Maya: Not to complicate things further, but sometimes, you can also use the nasal हैं (hain) to show respect towards the subject even if is singular. For example, in Hindi, "This is my mother" is…|
|Neha: यह मेरी माताजी हैं (yah merii maaTaajii hain).|
|Maya: "This is my father" is…|
|Neha: यह मेरे पिताजी हैं (yah mere piTaajii hain).|
|Maya: Did you also notice how we used जी (jii) with माता (maaTaa) and पिता (piTaa)? Do you remember what जी (jii) does? Well, माता (maaTaa) means "mother," and पिता (piTaa) means "father," and by adding जी (jii), we showed them more respect. So the form is, [subject that you want to show respect] plus + जी (jii).|
|Neha: So listeners, how would you call Mina respectfully?|
|Maya: मीना जी (miiNaa jii).|
|Neha: Right. Okay, that's all for this lesson. In the lesson notes, you can find more examples and explanations of today's topic so be sure to read them!|
|Maya: Thank you all for listening. Until next time!|
|Neha: शुक्रिया और फिर मिलेंगे (sukriyaa aur phir miLenge)!|