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The Gender of Arabic Nouns (2): Vocabulary and Examples Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in Grammar, morphology, Vocabulary

In series one of this post, it was pointed out that the gender الجِنْس of noun in Arabic is not as straightforward as often thought of. You learned about different types of masculine المُذَكَّر and feminine المُؤَنَّث nouns as well as the feminine markers عَلَامَات التَّأْنِيْث. Today, you will learn about some irregularities of masculine and feminine forms. Also, you will be provided with sufficient contextual examples of these forms.

In series one of this post, it was pointed out that the gender الجِنْس of noun in Arabic is not as straightforward as often thought of. You learned about different types of masculine المُذَكَّر and feminine المُؤَنَّث nouns as well as the feminine markers عَلَامَات التَّأْنِيْث. Today, you will learn about some irregularities of masculine and feminine forms. Also, you will be provided with sufficient contextual examples of these forms.

الاِسْم / الصِّفَة فِي جُمْلَة

Noun in a Sentence

عَلَامَة التَّأنِيْث

Feminine Marker

نَوْع المُؤَنَّث

Type of Feminine

السِّكِرْتِيْرَة فِي المَكْتَب.

The secretary is in the office.

            ة real حَقِيْقِي

هُدَى تَدْرُس التَّارِيْخ الإِسْلامِي.

Huda studies Islamic History.

            ى real حَقِيْقِي

غَيْدَاء تَعْمَل فِي جَامَعَة قَطَر.

Ghaidaa works at Qatar University

            اء

            ـة

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

صَدِيْقِي طَلْحَة مُهَنْدِس مِعْمَارِي.

My friend Talha is a civil engineer.

            ـة marked لَفْظِي

(masculine)

عَائِشَة فُضْلَى النِّسَاء.

Aisha is the most righteous woman.

            ـة

            ـى

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

وَصَلَتِ الطَّائِرة فِي مَوْعِدَها.

The plane arrived on time.

            ة unreal مَجَازِي

عَيْنُ خَالِد حَمْرَاء.

Khalid’s eye is red.

            ـ*

            اء

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

الشَّمْس اليَوْم حَارِقة.

The sun today is burning.

            ـ*

            ـة

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

صَحْرَاء جَزِيْرَة العَرب شَاسَعة.

The Arabian Peninsula desert is enormous.

            اء

            ة

            ـة

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

هَيْفَاء مُحَامِيَة نَاجِحَة.

Haifa is a successful lawyer.

            اء

            ـة

            ـة

real حَقِيْقِي

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

حَمْزَة هُو مُدِيْر هَذِه المُؤَسَّسَة.

Hamzah is the director of this corporation.

            ة

 

            ـة

marked لَفْظِي

(masculine)

unreal مَجَازِي

القَاهِرَة الَجَدِيْدَة جَمِيْلَة.

The new Cairo is beautiful.

            ة

            ة

            ـة

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

هَضَبَة الجُوْلَان لا تَزَال مُحْتَلَّة.

Golan Heights is still occupied.

            ـة

            ـة

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

بُشْرَى مُذِيْعَة فِي قَنَاة الجَزِيْرة.

Bushra is a newscaster on Aljazeera channel.

            ى

            ـة

            ة

            ة

real حَقِيْقِي

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

أُسَامَة بن زَيْد صَاحِبِي جَلِيل.

Osama bin Zaid is a great companion (of the prophet).

            ـة marked لَفْظِي

(masculine)

زَيْنَب طَالِبَة مُتَفَوِّقَة.

Zainab is an outstanding student.

            ـ*

            ـة

            ـة

real حَقِيْقِي

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

نَوَال رَبَّة بَيْت فَاشِلَة.

Nawal is an unsuccessful housewife.

            ـ*

            ـة

            ـة

real حَقِيْقِي

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

هَذِهِ الغُرْفَة وَاسَعَة ونَظِيْفَة.

This room is spacious and clean.

            ـة

            ـة

            ـة

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

unreal مَجَازِي

الخَلِيْفَة عُمَر قَوِي.

Omar the Caliph is powerful.

            ـة marked لَفْظِي

(masculine)

حَسْنَاء اِمْرَأة جَذَّابَة.

Hasnaa is an attractive woman.

            اء

            ة

            ـة

real حَقِيْقِي

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

هَذِهِ الثَّلَّاجَة صَغِيْرَة.

This refrigerator is small.

            ـة

            ة

real حَقِيْقِي

real حَقِيْقِي

هَذِه الفَرَس سَرِيْعَة.

This horse is fast.

            ـ*

            ـة

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

سَلْوَى كَاتِبَة مَشْهُورَة.

Salwa is a well-known writer.

            ى

            ـة

            ة

real حَقِيْقِي

real حَقِيْقِي

unreal مَجَازِي

(ـ* )

 the nouns with this mark don’t have a feminine marker, but they are still feminine. Their femininity can be known from what they refer to or from the context of the sentence. For example, in هَذِهِ الفَرَس سَرِيْعَة, the noun الفَرَس is preceded by a feminine demonstrative pronoun, i.e. هَذِهِ, and followed by a feminine adjective, i.e. سَرِيْعَة. In عَيْنُ خَالِد حَمْرَاء, the noun عَيْن is feminine, and this is further indicated by the context, that the feminine adjective that follows it , حَمْرَاء.

Some Irregular Forms:

(1) Apart from nouns that are weighed as فَعُول and فَعِيْل as pointed out in the previous post, there are nouns that are simultaneously masculine or feminine. That is, we can use them as masculine or as feminine. Here is a sample list:

سُوْق ‘market’ سِكِّيْن ‘knife’ طَرِيْق ‘way, path’
لِسَان ‘tongue’ ذِرَاع ‘arm’ ثَدِي ‘boob, breast’
خَمْر ‘wine’ إِصْبِع ‘finger’ سِلَاح ‘weapon’

So, contextually, we say:

هَذَا سُوْق كَبِيْر. or

هَذِهِ سُوق كَبِيْرَة.

This is a big market.

اِشْتَرَيْتُ سِكِّيْنًا جِدِيْد. or

اِشْتَرِيْتُ سِكِّيْنًا جَدِيْدَة.

I bought a new knife.

تِلْكَ الطَّرِيْق طَوِيْل. or

تِلْكَ الطَّرِيْق طَوِيْلَة.

This way is long.

 

(2) The feminine forms of certain masculine forms maybe a completely different word, as in these examples:

Masculine noun Feminine noun
أَسَد ‘lion’ لَبْوَة ‘lioness’
حِمَار ‘donkey’ أَتَان ‘female donkey’
جَمَل ‘camel’ نَاقَة ‘female camel’

(3) With some nouns, one way to distinguish between the masculine and the feminine is by using the word ذَكَر ‘male’ for masculine and أُنْثّى ‘female’ for feminine, as in this list:

Masculine noun Feminine noun
نَمْلَة ذَكَر ‘male ant’ نَمْلَة أُنْثَى ‘female ant’
فَرَس ذَكَر ‘male horse’ فَرَس أُنْثَى ‘female horse’
ثَعْلَب ذَكَر ‘male fox’ ثَعْلَب أُنْثَى ‘female fox’

(4) Some feminine nouns are not conjugatable; therefore, they don’t have a masculine form, as in this list:

غُرْفَة ‘room’ سَيَّارَة ‘car’ حُجْرَة ‘room’
قَرْيَة ‘village’ مَدِيْنَة ‘city’ شَقَّة ‘apartment’

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About the Author: Ibnulyemen اِبْنُ اليَمَن

Marhaban! I am from Yemen. I am a language teacher. I teach English and Arabic. In this blog, I will be leading you through Arabic language learning in a sequential fashion. I will focus on Modern Standard Arabic. To learn more, you can also visit my website Ibnulyemen Arabic or my facebook page.


Comments:

  1. Taj-ud-din Sheikh:

    Excellent compilation of masculine and feminine nouns, verbs and adjectives with examples of usage in sentences.

    • Ibnulyemen:

      @Taj-ud-din Sheikh شكرًا يا شيخ تَاجُ الدِّيْن … وتَحِيَّة إلى جَنْوب أفرِيقِيا.