Posted tagged ‘Arvind Kumar’

Translation 51. Arvind Kumar’s Word Power: English-Hindi

27 March 2015

Two and a half years ago, I celebrated my belated discovery of Dr Arvind Kumar’s highly acclaimed 3-volume Penguin English-Hindi / Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary.

Now Arvind Kumar (and his supporting family team) have published the first of a new series of reference works.
Arvind Kumar, Arvind Word Power. ENGLISH-HINDI. (A Dictionary with a Difference),
New Delhi, Arvind Linguistics Private, 2015. ISBN 978-81-924966-2-7 [1350 pages]

Based on the eminent lexicographer’s Thesaurus, this lengthy new work is the first of an innovative series of reference works for those interested in English, or Hindi, or both (in relation to one another). Forthcoming volumes of Arvind Word Power will deal with Hindi-English, English-English, and Hindi-Hindi versions.

In the online introduction to this new work, Kumar states:
” Meanings in English & Hindi
Synonyms in English & Hindi
Linkages to similar & opposite concepts
670,000 words
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is a tailor-made tool for all who use English and Hindi. It combines the usefulness of a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. It helps users to express their ideas, emotions and thoughts – correctly, completely and comfortably.
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is useful for those who are well-versed in English but are stuck, at times, for the correct Hindi equivalent of an English word.
It is equally useful for those who are not so well-versed in English and are often unable to understand the meaning or implication of a given English word.”

The following excerpt from the Introduction to this new volume (recently purchased) adds a further clarification for prospective readers:
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi seamlessly juxtaposes English and Hindi vocabularies and helps the user find the correct Hindi equivalent for English words [… providing] synonyms as well as links to similar and opposite concepts in both English and Hindi side by side[…].”

” The scope of Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi goes beyond any existing bilingual dictionary […] [It] is totally India-centric. Our customs, ceremonies, rites and rituals as well as philosophies, doctrines, legends and folklore are all included to provide a complete understanding of Indian culture […] [It] also includes people, incidents and happenings important to India and Indians. For example: Indian freedom movement agitation […] ”
That heading is followed by 3 lines of 20 associated terms (boycott, hunger strike, khadi, nonviolent movement, etc.) and immediately below that the same heading in Hindi accompanied by 3 lines of equivalent terms in Hindi.

There are no less than 1350 pages of such encyclopedic material to consult. The topics are in English alphabetical order. The next volume, Arvind Word Power: Hindi- English will obviously be in the usual Devanagari order. (I can’t wait!)

Having only had time to skim through this huge book, I am both impressed and excited at its wide coverage and the benefit it will bring to my research on Hindi lexicography and Hindi to English translation. I simply wished to announce its arrival and availability to fellow students and lovers of the Hindi and English languages. I may add further comments in a few months.

A pertinent financial observation.
Indian commodity prices are quite low for people from many other economies (West, East, as well as North and South – in Australasia).
Indian book prices are especially low for us. On the other hand, because of the distance involved, Airmail postage (or, more likely, Courier service) from India is fairly high. However, IMHO, the combined low Indian book price plus the Courier price – for a 2-kilogram blockbuster – still makes it an attractive proposition. 1350 pages of knowledge for about $35.

Translation 42. Learner’s Guide to Hindi Prefixes and word formation. Introduction

20 May 2013

The full 20-page study, with 800 examples (and a fuller Introduction), is available here.

Hindi word formation is a wide and complex lexical and morphological field. The following two studies will cover some aspects of word formation of special interest and potential benefit for learners of Hindi as a Second Language. They are offered in Draft form, in the hope that those more knowledgeable will send me their corrections and suggestions in order to make this amateur compilation more accurate and useful for myself and for fellow intermediate students of Hindi.
After four years of study, I remain deeply engaged in a time- and energy-sapping struggle with this fascinating but quite difficult foreign language. Some of my previous language-learning strategies have proved very useful in keeping me on a slowly productive learning curve but the extreme foreignness of Hindi script, vocabulary, morphology and grammar has presented a formidable linguistic Himalayan range to scale and here I am, still exploring the foothills. All these Handy Hindi Hints articles are therefore basically for my own benefit, but the considerable work involved makes the results potentially worth sharing with others on the same long trek.

One of the special difficulties for speakers of English (and many other languages) is that Hindi vocabulary does not offer any of the usual convenient and comforting ‘toeholds’ or mnemonics which are available to us in our attempts to speed up comprehension of the foreign languages we are most likely to learn: the European Romance Languages. A large quantity of words passed down from Latin are still easily and instantly comprehensible to us in these languages.

This applies most particularly to those words and word families containing familiar prefixes and suffixes, like con-, dis-, mis-, pre-, pro-, un- etc.
-ate, -ary, -ful, -ive, -ous, -sion, -tion, etc.

As a simple example of the practical value of this shared knowledge, take the word constitution with its prefix, con- and suffix, -tion. In many countries of Europe, and beyond, the corresponding term is instantly identified (especially in its written form):
constitution (French), constitución, costituzione, constituição, constitució and constituție, etc. Equal similarities apply to most other words containing the affixes con- and -tion and, indeed, to many other cognate Latin (and other) prefixes and suffixes.

This is a valuable learning advantage that the second language learner probably takes for granted while wrestling with the many very real problems of the foreign language.

In learning Hindi, however, NONE of these basic similarities exist and as a consequence, most native Hindi words have to be individually committed to memory. This is such a huge task that the only way to make satisfactory progress is to find shortcuts.

One obvious strategy is to systematise one’s lexical acquisitions by studying the morphology of Hindi word formation in order to build up an appreciation of Hindi word families by memorising common prefixes, suffixes and other frequently used word-compounding elements like those I shall be introducing in this academically unorthodox but (I hope) learner-friendly study.

This article and the following one will deal with detailed analyses of these two types of word formation in Hindi.

1. Words which consist of the addition of a particle (prefix) or an existing word to an existing word or ‘word base’ to form semantically related words.

2. Other selected word formations which consist of a suffix, or compounding word or element appended to an existing word. These words and compounds will be the subject of my next article.

(See Reference List for publishing details.)

In my study of the lexicon of written and spoken media Hindi, I have been especially aided by the authors of two excellent bilingual romanised dictionaries:

Hardev Bahri, Rajjpal Advanced Learner’s Hindi-English Dictionary, 2 vols., Delhi, Rajpal Publishing, 2011. (In Vol. 2, there are Appendices on Prefixes (upsarg) on pp. 1767-1771 and on Suffixes (pratyay) on pp. 1772-1778.)

Allied’s Hindi-English Dictionary, edited by Henk Wagenaar and Sangeeta S. Parikh
(New Delhi, Allied Publishers, 1996.)

For some months I have also had the luxury of referring to the bilingual Hindi and English Thesaurus by Arvind Kumar (both the online version and the printed one) and in the last three months, I have also benefitted from the recent research and romanised renderings offered in Dr. Badrinaath Kapoor’s Advanced Hindi-English Dictionary (New Delhi, Prabhaat Prakaashan, 2007).

Of the Hindi grammars I have consulted, the most thorough treatment of prefixes and suffixes is in Professor Yamuna Kachru’s magisterial study, Hindi (John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2006, Chapter 8, ‘Word Formation’, pp 111-129. This very densely packed chapter also deals with other characteristic forms of lexical compounding in Hindi which learners need to know.

Also invaluable in my initial Hindi studies and as a constant reference point was R.S.McGregor’s enduring classic analysis, Outline of Hindi Grammar, OUP, 3rd. ed., 1995. His treatment of word formation affixes (pp 207-215) is a useful starting point on these topics.

I am also grateful to my tutor, Indramohan Singh, for timely answers to a series of last-minute queries.


Selected Hindi Prefixes and Other Initial Compounding Elements

(Definitions in inverted commas are from Yamuna Kachru.)

1. Negatives, antonyms, opposition

a-, “not, without”
an-, ana-, “not, without”
duh- : + dur-, dush- “bad, difficult”
ku-, “bad, deficient”
nih-, nir-, nis-, nish-, “without”
par- other
prati- 1. against
vi-. 1. “different, opposite”
[vi-2, : See’Section 5.]

2. Positive

su-, good
sat-, sad-, true
dharm (COMPOUND)

3. Number, quantity, size

alp (COMPOUND), small
adh-, and ardh-, half
bahu- ( C ) multi-, poly-
ek-, one
du- (do-), two-
dvi-, two, twin
tri-, three-

4. References to place, position, order and time (similar to some English prepositions and prefixes)

(The brief introductory glosses in inverted commas given below are from Professor Yamuna Kachru, pp. 112- 113 and 124-125.)

aa-, “to, toward, up to”
abhi-, “toward, intensity”
adhi-, “additional, above”
[adho-, lower]
aNtah, aNtar, “inter”
anu-, “after”
ap-. “away, off, down”
ati-, “excessive”
av-, “away, diminution”
door-, far, distant
[nav-, new(ly), neo-]

pari-, “around, whole”
[poorv-, (time): former, previous
(place): east(ern)]
pra-, 1. before, pre-, forward
[pra-, 2. excellent. supreme. See Section 5.]
[punah and punar-, [re-]

up(a)-, up(i)-, “subordinate”
ut, ud-, un-, “upward”
[sah-, with, co-]
[baa-, containing, with]
saN-, with, together
[san- / sam-, same, equal]

5. Intensity or degree

[poorn-, full(y)]
pra- 2. “forward, excess”
[vi- 2. completely]
[saarv-, sarv-, all-]

6. Similar COMPOUND elements indicating scale, rank and intensity

madhya-, ( C), medium, middle-
madhyam, ( C), medium
mukhya- . chief, main
raaj-, royal
vishva ( C), universal, world

7. Personal

aatma- ( C), self-
sva(a)-, self, own
praan- ( C), life-
yog ( C), combination, joining, yoga
mano-, mental, psycho-

8. Selected productive compounding words

8.1 Elements

agni ( C), fire
bhoo, ( C) and bhoomi ( C), land, soil
jal ( C ), water
vaayu ( C) air

8.2 People

jan ( C ), people
lok ( C), people
jeev ( C), & jeevan ( C)
jaat ( C) & jaati ( C)
arth, ( C), money; meaning
raashtra, (C ) nation

8.3 Action Compounds

kaarya ( C), work, action
kriyaa ( C) action
krit-, done

All these are examined and illustrated in detail as a vocabulary-building exercise on my Hindi web page. Approximately 800 examples and translations are given as well as glosses for the ‘base word’ to which the prefix or other element is added.

Translation 37. Arvind and Kusum Kumar’s magnum opus: the Bilingual Hindi and English Thesaurus

22 September 2012

Although a visit to the Arvind Lexicon website will instantly reward students, dictionary enthusiasts and lexicographers with the fascinating and inspiring story of the lifelong achievement of Arvind and Kusum Kumar (with the later assistance of their son, Sumeet, and daughter, Meeta Lall), it is my great pleasure to share the thrill of my very recent discovery of this extraordinary product of determined devotion and scholarship. The Kumar’s bilingual Hindi and English Thesaurus and Dictionary (and its recent online version) is the fruit of 39 years of patient pioneering work.

Arvind discovers Peter Roget’s Thesaurus and hopes to see a Hindi version.
1973 (December)
Since there is still no Hindi version, Arvind tells his wife, Kusum, that he must make one. Together they begin the labour.
23 years later, the Samantar Kosh (Parallel Dictionary) is published.

Backed by the database and programming skills of their son Dr Sumeet Kumar, Arvind and Kusum redouble their efforts to produce a bilingual version, a Hindi and English Thesaurus, which is finally published in 2007, in 3 volumes by Penguin: The Penguin English-Hindi/Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary.

Since then, they have formed a family business (Arvind Linguistics with Meeta Lall as CEO) to update and market their printed works and have more recently added an online version, in two formats: a generous free sample, which anyone may access by registering and, for more advanced students, writers, journalists, scholars – and bloggers- a full version at a reasonable annual subscription. It is very practical and endlessly fascinating and I shall benefit greatly from its use.

Google reveals many reviews of Arvind’s work (some also linked from the website) but the most recent references to this inspiring undertaking are:
The award of the Shalaka Samman prize last year in Delhi and a very recent article in The Hindu by Swati Daftuar, ‘An Endless Road of Words’ (8 September 2012).