Hindi, Urdu: tere jaisii, terii jaisii

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Castellano de Argentina

The following are lines from the song "O Saqi Saqi" (a generic Bollywood drinking song, it doesn't really matter). [Youtube: 6wNFJIbTxNk at 1:24]

tere jaisii maa'shuuqa(h) mujhe yaar chaahie
na(h) paisaa chaahie, na(h) hii qaraar chahie

Should it be "tere jaisii" or "teri jaisii"?
If it is "tere jaisii", what would be the grammatical logic behind it?

For what it's worth, "tere jaisii" is about 3x more frequent than "teri jaisii" by a quick Google search, both in Hindi and in Urdu.

[Edit: the original song is older, "Saaki Saaki" from the 2004 Indian film 'Musafir"]
Last edited:
  • MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    OK, to narrow down the question:

    First of all, jaisaa is adjectival in this case, and it is not isolated, but forms part of and adjectival phrase meaning "like you" that os built as follows:

    [word in oblique (genitive) + jaisaa agreeing with the thing being modified]

    So, the only remaining problem is, when this phrase is addressed to a woman, what is the proper oblique (genitive) to be used.

    Now, I was quick to rule out any higher-register gender ambiguity, given the nature of the songs I usually listen to. :D
    But maybe I was wrong in that regard.
    After all, saqii is a masculine word ...

    Bottom line: if I were clearly, unequivocally addressing a woman, I think the proper construction would be:

    terii jaisii maa'shuuqa(h) mujhe chaahie


    Senior Member
    In spoken language at least, both "tere jaisii" and "terii jaisii" are fine. Let's wait for those who are experts in grammar to give you the grammatical rights and wrongs.

    Frau Moore

    Monsieur Gonzalito, my German grammar lists "ke jaisaa/ jaise/ jaisii" in which only "jaisaa" agrees with its corresponding noun while "ke" is invariable as a synonym for "kii tarah". And this makes sense when we compare it with Naim´s Introductory Urdu. Please read the first three examples of #70 and you´ll perfectly understand the difference between jaisii / kii jaisii and ke jaisii.


    Senior Member
    Monsieur Gonzalito, my German grammar lists "ke jaisaa/ jaise/ jaisii" in which only "jaisaa" agrees with its corresponding noun while "ke" is invariable as a synonym for "kii tarah".
    OP was about "tere, mere" etc. I don't think there was any ambiguity about "ke": in other words, "-re" is not invariable!


    Senior Member
    English, Hindustani
    FWIW, I would probably use the -e genitive rather than -ii genitive before jaisii (ie, tere jaisii rather than terii jaisii), though I'm not particularly opposed to the latter. (Sentence 5 of paragraph 70 in Naim seems to suggest that Naim prefers the -ii genitive.)

    I imagine the reasoning that @MonsieurGonzalito might be using to suggest that terii jaisii makes more sense than tere jaisii is analogizing it with something like itnii baRii, where you do see the double -ii. But I think these two adjective phrases might be structurally different, so there might be good reason that there's an observable difference in the surface syntax.

    If you're familiar with some X-bar theory, I might hypothesize that, for people who use tere jaisii, what's going on is that:

    (1) the gentive argument of an AdjPs headed by jaisaa is a complement (rather than an adjunct), and
    (2) genitive complements in AdjPs take an invariable -e while adjuncts in AdjPs agree with the governing noun.

    In support of (1)... It makes some philosophical sense to me that the genitive argument to be jaisaa should be treated as a complement since it's an argument that's semantically necessary (whereas the itnii in itnii baRii is not semantically necessary, so it should be an adjunct). Furthermore, if I want to add an adjunct to an AdjP headed by jaisaa (ie, if I want to add an adverb), it seems to me like I have to place it further out than the genitive:
    (1a) aapkii bahan thoRii-bahut aapke jaisii hai​
    Your sister is a bit like you.​
    (1b) *aapkii bahan aapke thoRii-bahut jaisii hai​
    Intended: same.​

    In support of (2)... Another adjective which seems to take a genitive complement is laayak (laa'iq). Here too, I personally would use the -e genitive here rather than -ii.
    (2a) wo tere laayak nahiiN thii.​
    She was not worthy of you.​

    (2b) *wo terii laayak nahiiN thii​
    Intended: same.​

    Overall, it seems not unreasonable to think that maybe gender agreement with the noun might not required for something that's structurally immediate to the adjective (ie, a complement), but would be required for anything that's structurally more distant from the adjective (like adjuncts). Cf. the use of the -ii ending in thoRii-bahut in sentence (1a).

    If anyone finds the sentences I've marked with asterisks to be acceptable, please do share! That would be interesting data to have :)
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >