Finally I have found the sentence that I am so prominently promoting in my first „Learn Nepali Online“ Video. After 4 years now I finally managed to find the sentence in the infamous language book. I am so proud of myself!
Look here on page 217 of the „Basic course in spoken Nepali“ you will find this:
So I was always right. I honestly thought at some point I had just imagined that I read that sentence there. But now my honor is saved.
I am still amazed by this sentence today. And I want to retract my statement from that video, that is putting the language book down a bit. Yes, it is not the most structured book – but then again not everybody apparently needs that level of structure that I need when studying grammar.
And without that sentence I would have never seen so many people smile as I did during my first stay in Rampur Shanticowk, Chitwan, Nepal.
Here is a transcript-summary of the video:
For the first video I wanted to start with the first sentence I ever learned, when I was in Nepal for the first time. I was 19 and stayed in a village in the south of Nepal doing some kind of volunteer work.
In Kathmandu I had bought a book „Basic course in spoken Nepali“. And it is really not a good book: Not sufficient for those who only want to learn some phrases while travelling. And not sufficient for those who want to go further.
And in this book I found this sentence.
म तिमीलाइ यति माया गर्छु, तिमी भने मलार्इ वास्तै गर्दैनाै
[ma timiilaaii yati maayaa garchu timii bhane malaaii waastai gardainau]
I love you soooo much, but you don’t care about me.
What happened was:
10 years ago in the village I even actually had a crush on someone. And then I found this sentence in the language book. And I was surprised, because it was in the early lessons [wrong, wrong – I apologize, I am wrong – it is at the very end of the book]. And I was surprised to find that sentence in a language book: „Why would you teach that sentence to someone?“ It seemed a bit unexpected in a language book. So that is how the sentence stuck in my mind. And I learned it just by heart, not knowing what the individual words meant. I did not understand the grammar at all. And then I would walk through the village every day and keep saying this sentence just too anybody.
म तिमीलाइ यति माया गर्छु, तिमी भने मलार्इ वास्तै गर्दैन
For the explanation, let’s start with the pronouns:
म [ma] – 1. Person Singular „I“
तिमी [timii] – 2. Person Singular / 2. Level of Formality „You“
Nepali has four levels of formalities for the 2. Person singular.
- त [ta] – „you“ – 1. level of formality – used for kids, animals / and if you want to be simply rude / also can be used between lovers and really close friends actually as an expression of intimacy
- तिमी [timii] – „you“ – 2. level of formality – used for kids, or someone younger (or anyone else who is supposed to give you respect and would in return adress you with तपार्इ [tapaaii]; mutually between friends and lovers.
- तपार्इ [tapaaii] – „you“ – 3rd level of formality – used to express respect, sometimes used mutually (both people adress each other with tapaaii e.g. coworkers), but also in a tapaaii / timii relationship
- हजुर [hajur] – „you“ – 4th level of formality – used to express very high respect e.g. a political leader, a teacher (maybe), the king in old times, the village head, a really rich person
So the first part of the sentence is
म तिमीलाइ यति माया गर्छु …
In the video I give an explanation about objects which is not entirely correct. Here I will give the corrected explanation:
It is true that in English there is no difference between the subject of a sentence and the direct object of a sentence. It is only determined by the position of the words in the sentence. But the thing is that तिमी in the Nepali sentence actually is not the direct object. Direct Objects in Nepali do not receive a specific signifier! तिमीलाइ is a indirect object – which is signified through the postposition -लार्इ. For a good explanation about the usage of direct objects in Nepali please study this LINK. The actual direct object in the above sentence is माया [maaya] – the love. तिमीलाइ should be translated as ‘to you’।
यति [yati] – so much
So literally translated the sentence in English would be:
„I do love to you so much“ but the thing is that „to do love“ in Nepali actually is idiomatic and means only „to love“ in English. Therefore the literal translation makes very little sense.
The second part of the sentence is a „contradicting clause“
… तिमी भने मलार्इ वास्तै गर्दैनाै
The pronouns here are simply switched from the first part of the sentence.
भने [bhane] it the word which implies the contradiction in this case. It is best translated as „however“. But भने is used in many other constructions where its meaning is completely different. Most prominently in the open conditional clause, where it means „if“.
With वास्तै गर्दैनाै we have another verb construction with गर्नु (like above माया गर्छु ). वास्तै गर्दैनाै [waastai gardainau] means „(you) don’t care“.
And also again we have the same situation, where you would assume malaaii to be the direct object, but waastai actually being it.