Compound Word Formation in Hindi

Topics: Word, Compound, Word formation Pages: 16 (3051 words) Published: March 9, 2013
Sanskrit, one of the most ancient spoken and written languages in the world and one of the earliest members of the Indo-European language family, is the primary source of Hindi. Hindi, like Sanskrit, is written in the Dev Naagari script, which is common to several other Indian languages as well. Much of the vocabulary of Hindi comes from Sanskrit. Hindi is spoken as a mother tongue by about 40 percent of the Indian population, mainly in the area known as the Hindi belt. In addition to being the official language of the Indian Union, it is also the official language of the Union Territory of Delhi and the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Hindi has more than ten variations.
This paper aims at exploring the different types of compound words in the Hindi language with ample number of examples for better illustration.

In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme (less precisely, a word) that consists of more than one stem. Compounding is the word formation that creates compound lexemes. Compounding or Word-compounding refers to the faculty and device of language to form new words by combining or putting together old words. The meanings of the words interrelate in such a way that a new meaning comes out which is very different from the meanings of the words in isolation. Compounding is a highly productive word-formation technique in Hindi to form new words from the existing ones. It is also a common phenomenon in Greek, German, Indonesean, Finnish, etc.


A compond is a word which consists of two or more independent words. When two or more words in a language are joined to create a new word, it is known as compounding. For example, dal-cini (cinnamon) < ‘pulses’ + ‘sugar.’ Generally two significant factors are involved in creating compounds. Firstly, the words that are juxtaposed to form a compound already occupy an independent status in the language. Secondly, after being coined as a compound, the constituent elements of the compound lose their basic meaning and acquire a new reference. The latter statement does not mean that there is semantic bleaching of the constituents but that it is not always true that the construction is semantically transparent. It is the ‘new reference’ that is important and not meaning of the individual constituents. This is particularly true if the two constituents belong to the same grammatical category, as in case of dal-cini. The words in a compound retain a meaning similar to their meaning as isolated words, but with certain restrictions. For example in Hindi, not every man is a milkman (doodhwala, where doodh means milk and wala is the suffix added to denote a male person).

Compounding in Hindi is known as samaas which means combination or concilation. The words that combine are known as pada or ansh. The entire word that is formed after combining two words is known as samastpada. The first word is called purvapada or purvansh while the second word is called uttarpada or uttaransh and the resolution of the compound word into its constituent parts to understand its meaning is known as samas-viggrah. For example, in the word yudhhbhumi, yuddh (war) is purvapada while bhumi (land) is uttarpada and the resolution of this word is yuddha ke liye bhumi (land for the war).

Types of Compound Words in Hindi:

There are all in all six types of compound words in Hindi. They are:

* Tatpurush Samaas (Determinative Compound):

In the Tatpurush Samaas, only one constituent operates as a head which is the uttarpad. From the point of view of the artha (meaning), the purvapada provides the uttarpad with a vishisht (special) characteristic. In this samaas, the vibhakti symbol...
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