Hindi/Gender

Nouns in Hindi will fall into one of two genders: masculine or feminine. Many masculine nouns end in the vowel आ or ा and many feminine nouns end in the long vowel ई or ी , but there are exceptions to this rule. Usually, feminine words borrowed from Sanskrit end in the vowel आ or ा (for example, भाषा meaning "language," is a feminine noun) and the masculine words borrowed from Sanskrit end with the vowel अ but since the last vowel of all the words in Hindi are silent if they end in an अ, so all such borrowed words end in a consonant in Hindi (for example, the masculine word कर्म which is pronounced as "karma" in Sanskrit but pronounced "karm" in Hindi; the final अ vowel is silent).

There also are many loan words from languages like Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Portuguese, English into Hindi and very often there is no predictable rule or method to determine the gender. What gender sounds better with which word is how the genders are usually assigned for the loanwords. For example, the Arabic loan word आदमी, meaning "man," is a masculine noun but yet ends with an ी vowel.

List of Some Loanwords from Different Languages and their GendersEdit

The languages out of which most loanwords are present in Hindi are Arabic, Persian, Portuguese and English.

ArabicEdit

There is no particular logic that can be established here to predict the gender of the words.

  1. अजूबा masc. (Wonder, Marvel, Miracle)
  2. अफ़वाह fem. (Rumour)
  3. अमन masc. (Peace)
  4. अमानत fem. (Property)
  5. अरब masc. (Billion)
  6. अरसा masc. (An interval of time, Period)
  7. अलविदा masc. (Goodbye)
  8. कसर fem. (Shortcoming, Shortfall, Flaw, Fault, Lack of)
  9. औलाद fem. (Child)
  10. उसूल masc. (Rule)

PersianEdit

It could be noted here (with a few exceptions) that many masculine words end in आ or ा but nothing conclusive can be said about the feminine words.

  1. अंगूर masc. (Grapes)
  2. अंदेशा masc. (Suspision)
  3. अचार masc. (Pickle)
  4. क़िला masc. (Castle)
  5. क़ैदी masc. (Prisoner)
  6. ख़बर fem. (News)
  7. कोशिश fem. (Effort, Try)
  8. कुदरत fem. (Nature)
  9. इरादा masc. (Intention)
  10. इज़्ज़त fem. (Respect)

SuffixesEdit

There are some borrowed suffixes from Persian to Hindi which when used with a word the gender of the word could be determined with surety.

-दारEdit

The Persian suffix word -दार, when added at the end of nouns, conveys the idea of possession, holding, bearing or having. The combined word either acts as a noun or an adjective. For examples, some words which form nouns after adding -दार are mentioned below. The addition of the suffix -दार makes the word a gender flexible word which means that the same word could be used to describe both feminine and masculine nouns. The gender of the following words would be assumed to be same as the subject or the object it describes.

  1. दावेदार (masc. or fem.) = दावे (claim) + दार = claimant, challenger.
  2. साझेदार (masc. or fem.) = साझे (associated)+ दार = partner, associate
  3. रिश्तेदार (masc. or fem.) = रिश्ते (relation) + दार = relative
  4. हिस्सेदार (masc. or fem.) = हिस्से (part, contribution, share)+ दार = shareholder, partaker
  5. पहरेदार (masc. or fem.) = पहरे (to guard) + दार = guard
  6. थानेदार (masc. or fem.) = थाने (jail)+ दार = jailer, policeman
-दारीEdit

The suffix -दार when changed to -दारी changes the meaning of the suffix which often is equivalent to Engish's -tion, -ship or -ness or -ing suffixes. These formed nouns are always guaranteed to be feminine.

  1. दावेदारी (fem.) = दावे (claim) + दारी = claiming/claim ("claim-ship")
  2. साझेदारी (fem.) = साझे (associated)+ दारी = partnership
  3. रिश्तेदारी (fem.) = रिश्ते (relation) + दारी = kinship
  4. हिस्सेदारी (fem.) = हिस्से (part, contribution, share)+ दारी = partnership
  5. पहरेदारी (fem.) = पहरे (to guard) + दारी = guarding
  6. थानेदारी (fem.) = थाने (jail)+ दारी = jailing (the action of looking after a jail)

EnglishEdit

The most amount of loanwords in Hindi is from English. A huge amount of English words are very often used as the default word in Hindi. The English words although not having genders when used in the English language but in Hindi just as the rest of the words, are assigned either the masculine or the feminine gender. You will soon see that it is often much easier to identify which English words are feminine words than masculine in Hindi, but luckily most English words' genders which cannot usually be predicted will be masculine. A few examples of loanwords are mentioned below:

  1. अंकल (masc.) - Uncle
  2. आंटी (fem.) - Aunty
  3. अफ़सर (masc. or fem.) - Officer
  4. अपील (fem.) - Appeal
  5. अमरीका (masc.) - America
  6. अल्बम (masc.) - Album
  7. इंच (masc.) - Inch
  8. इंजन (masc.) - Engine
  9. इंजीनियर (masc. or fem.) - Engineer
  10. इंटरफ़ेस (masc.) - Interface
  11. इंटरव्यू (masc.)- Interview
  12. टीम (fem.) - Team
  13. इंडिया (masc.) - India (Gender of 'India' depends on the context. "(Country) India" it's interpreted masculine, but "(Team) India" (cricket team) is interpreted feminine)
  14. इंस्पेक्टर (masc. or fem.) - Inspector
  15. इग्ज़ाम (masc.) - Exam
  16. इमोजी (masc.) - Emoji
  17. ऐनिमे (masc.)- Anime
  18. कंक्रीट (masc.) - Concrete
  19. कंप्यूटर (masc.) - Computer
  20. कप्तान (masc.) - Captain
  21. कॉफ़ी (fem.) - Coffee
  22. कोट (masc.) - Coat
  23. कोटा (masc.) - Quota
  24. क्रिकेट (masc.) - Cricket
  25. गिलास (masc.) - Glass
  26. गे (masc.)- Gay
  27. स्किल्स (fem.) - Skills

An approximate logic which can be established is: most words which end in or have in their second-last position these following vowels: ई or ी or इ or ि, are interpreted as feminine words.

SuffixesEdit

There are certain suffixes in English which when used in words would make the English words be interpreted as feminine in Hindi.

-ityEdit

Al the English words ending -ity are always interpreted as feminine in Hindi.

  1. Serenity (fem.)
  2. Serendipity (fem.)
  3. Adaptability (fem.)
  4. Ability (fem.)
  5. Inability (fem.)
  6. Capability (fem.)
  7. Responsibility (fem.)
  8. Susceptibility (fem.)
  9. Respectability (fem.)
  10. Sentimentality (fem.)
  11. Intentionality (fem.)
  12. Toxicity (fem.)
  13. Intercommunity (fem.)
  14. Community (fem.)
  15. Liability (fem.)
-ingEdit

Almost all English gerund nouns formed by adding the continuous tense suffix -ing to them could be interpreted as both masculine and feminine words depending on the context. Usually, when the word follows after a genitive case pronoun it is used as a feminine word but when it is without a pronoun preceding it (or maybe the pronoun is after the word ending in -ing), it is almost always interpreted as masculine. This phenomenon of "confused genders" happens not just for words of foreign origin but often also with pure Hindi feminine words in certain contexts. It depends on the position of words in the sentence (word-order) and also on the nuance of the sentence (Read the reference attached to know more about this phenomenon). [1]

  1. Dancing (masc. or fem.) [In some contexts it's used as feminine but masculine in others]
  2. Being (masc.)
  3. Checking (masc. or fem.)
  4. Covering (masc.)
  5. Playing (masc.)
  6. Drinking (masc.)
  7. Jogging (masc.)
  8. Skipping (masc. or fem.)
  9. Jumping (masc. or fem.)
  10. Imitating (masc.)
  11. Painting (fem.)
  12. Sanitising (masc.)
  13. Washing (masc.)
  14. Starting (masc. or fem.)

Example:

  • Racetrack के starting पर जाओ। ('Starting' is used as a masculine word here)
    • Go to the starting of the racetrack.
  • कहानी की starting क्या थी? ('Starting' is used as a feminine word here)
    • What was the starting of the story?
  • आपकी checking होगी अभी. ('checking' is used as a feminine word here)
    • Your checking will be done now.
  • Checking हो गया तुम्हारा? ('checking' is used as a masculine word here)
    • Is your checking done?
-tionEdit

All the English nouns which are formed by the addition of the suffix -tion or just the -tion sound are almost always considered masculine in Hindi.

  1. Rotation (masc.)
  2. Plantation (masc.)
  3. Upgradation (masc.)
  4. PlayStation (masc.)
  5. Ionisation (masc.)
  6. Interpretation (masc.)
  7. Nitration (masc.)

PortugueseEdit

Some very commonly used loanwords from Portuguese are as follows:

  1. अंग्रेज़ (masc.) - Englishman
  2. अंग्रेज़ी (fem.) - English
  3. अनन्नास (masc.) - Pineapple
  4. अलमारी (masc.) - Almira
  5. अस्पताल (masc.) - Hospital
  6. इस्त्री (masc.) - Iron
  7. गिरजा (masc.) - Church
  8. गोभी (masc.) - Cabbage
  9. चाबी (fem.) - Key
  10. तौलिया (masc.) - Towel
  11. बोतल (masc.) - Bottle
  12. बालटी (masc.) - Bucket
  13. साबुन (masc.) - Soap
  14. साया (fem.) - Shadow
  15. जनवरी (masc.) - January
  16. फ़रवरी (masc.) - February
  17. मार्च (masc.) - March
  18. अप्रैल (masc.) - April
  19. मई (masc.) - March
  20. जून (masc.) - June
  21. जुलाई (masc.) - July
  22. अगस्त (masc.) - August
  23. सितम्बर (masc.) - September
  24. अक्तूबर (masc.) - October
  25. नवम्बर (masc.) - November
  26. दिसम्बर (masc.) - December

ReferencesEdit

  1. Annie Montaut On the nature of the Hindi infinitive: History as an answer to its syntactic behavior? Page. 16