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  • Writer's pictureSatish Murthy

Hindi NLU: Elegance in Giving and Taking

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

While researching Natural Language Understanding (NLU) for Hindi a while back, I came across something that I found interesting. Interesting that is, to Linguistic nerds like me!

It has to do with the evolution of language, and how Hindi has chosen really simple root words for basic actions.

Something interesting about Give and Take (देना and लेना): The root words for give and take is just de (दे) and le (ले)! Interestingly, these are the only two verbs that have such short root words. Apply conjugation, and you get a powerful set of manipulations to intent.

For example, look at all of these conjugates of take:

  • le (ले): take

  • lee (ली): took

  • lo (लो): take (instructing someone to ...)

  • loon (लूं?): should I take?

Similarly, look at the equivalent conjugates for give:

  • de (दे): give

  • dee (दी): gave

  • do (दो): give (instructing someone to ...)

  • dunn (दूँ?): should I give?

I guess it is not difficult to imagine that giving and taking is fundamental need for human communications, and hence the simple root words.

Hindi, it seems, is tuned specifically for the transactional types among us, busy with लेन-देन! Sorry, that tickled my funny bone a little bit!

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