In Urdu there are only two genders: masculine and feminine. It is very difficult for a new user to differentiate between the two genders easily. There are some tricks to find out about them
Masculine Nouns: Nouns ending in aa are normally masculine
- دادا /Dadaa : Grandfather
- ابا/Abaa : Father
- بکرا /Bakraa : Male Goat
Feminine Nouns: Nouns ending in ii are normally feminine
- دادی/dadii : grandmother
- بچی /bachii: girl
There may be some exceptions to these rules. For e.g friend or dost could be a girlfriend or boyfriend although the other part of the sentence may disclose the gender.
It is also possible to make a noun out of a verb. All verbs are normally masculine where used as infinitives. Some endings may be used to derive a noun from them
1. ii, n, hat and waat' may be used to make a feminine noun of a verb
- مسکرانہ/muskaraana : muskrarahat
2. oo, 'pan', may be used to make a masculine noun of a given verb
Explanation[edit | edit source]
In Urdu, there are only two genders. All male human beings and male animals (or those animals and plants which are perceived to be "masculine") are masculine. All female human beings and female animals (or those animals and plants which are perceived to be "feminine") are feminine. Things, inanimate articles and abstract nouns are also either masculine or feminine according to convention, which must be learnt by heart by Urdu speakers. The ending of a word, if a vowel, usually helps in this gender classification. Words if they end in ā, are normally masculine. If a word ends in ī or in, it is normally feminine.
Urdu is a weakly inflected language; the relationship of a noun in a sentence is usually shown by postpositions [] (i.e., prepositions that follow the noun). Urdu language has three cases for nouns. The direct case [] is used for nouns not followed by any postpositions, typically for the subject case. The oblique case [] is used for any noun that is followed by a postposition. Some nouns have a separate vocative case. [] Urdu has two numbers: singular and plural — but they may not be shown distinctly in all declinations. Note that some people nasalize the case ending of the vocative plural case too. The following patterns are perceived from Tiwari ( 2004).
1. Masculine nouns ending in ā[edit | edit source]
This category includes masculine nouns ending in ā,
|لڑکا / larkā — a boy|
|Declined form||Case suffix|
|Direct||لڑکا / larkā||لڑکے / larke||-||e|
|Oblique||لڑکے / larke||لڑکوں / larkoⁿ||e||oⁿ|
|Vocative||لڑکے / larke||لڑکو / larko||e||o|
3. Feminine nouns ending in short i, long ī and iyā[edit | edit source]
This pattern includes all feminine nouns that end in short i (جاتی / jāti), long ī (بیٹی / betī) and iyā (چِڑِیا / chiriyā)
بیٹی / betī — a daughter,
چڑیا / chiriyā — a small bird
|Declined form||Case suffix|
|Direct||جاتی / jāti,
بیٹی / betī,
چڑیا / chiriyā
|جاتیاں / jātiyāⁿ,
بیٹیاں / betiyāⁿ,
چڑیاں / crṛiyāⁿ
|Oblique||جاتی / jāti,
بیٹی / betī, چڑیا / chiriyā
|جاتیؤں / jātiyoⁿ,
بیٹیؤں / betiyoⁿ,
چڑیؤں / chiriyoⁿ
|Vocative||جاتی / jāti,
بیثی / betī,
چڑیا / chiriyā
|جاتیؤ / jātiyo,
بیٹیؤ / betiyo,
چڑیؤ / chiriyo
- Except for the null case-suffix, the ending vowel long ī changes into short i before adding the case-suffix, as the case may be. This is reflected both in pronunciation and in spelling.
- Except for the null case-suffix, the semivowel y is inserted after the short i of the primary morpheme and before the case suffix for i- and ī-ending nouns. This is reflected in spelling clearly, though in pronunciation, the y may vanish to give a gliding diphthong instead.
- Except for the null case-suffix, the ending syllable yā is dropped before adding the case-suffix in iyā-ending nouns.
5. Nouns from Persian[edit | edit source]
An example of a Hindustānī (Hindī-Urdū) masculine word of Persian origin is given below. By the Hindustānī speakers, it is usually declined like any other consonant ending masculine noun.
|کاغذ / kāġaz|
|Direct||کاغذ / kāġaz||کاغذات / kāġazāt|
|Oblique||کاغذ / kāġaz||کاغذاتوں / kāġazātoⁿ|
|Vocative||کاغذ / kāġaz||کاغذاتو / kāġazāto|
Some other plural-forming suffixes include -ान / ان- / -ān and irregular plurals (especially from Arabic), etc. E.g., صاحب / sāhib ("boss or sir") → صاحبان / sāhibān, حاکم / hākim ("officer") → حکام / hukkām.