Page 1 of 2

About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-23, 20:56
by salaam123
Hello, I have an ok knowledge of urdu grammar, but there is one thing that puzzles me and it would be great if someone would be so kind, to give an explanation, how the genders work in urdu. I know that the gender comes according to the possessed and not the possessor(like meri ma, my(im a male) mother). What about in other kind of sentences?

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-23, 22:22
by linguoboy
Gender in Urdu works the same as in most Indo-European languages which have grammatical gender: all nouns are inherently gendered and this triggers agreement with adjectives and pronouns. That is, if a noun is feminine, any inflectable adjectives (not all Urdu adjectives inflect) modifying it take a feminine ending; if it's masculine, they take a masculine ending.

Possessive adjectives work like any other adjectives in this respect--and like possessive adjectives in other, related languages. In French, you say ma mère "my mother" regardless of your gender because mère is feminine and take the feminine adjective ma "my".

Where Urdu is a bit different from most European languages is that the possessive particle kā/ke/kī acts just like any other adjective. So it's śiśu kī mā̃ "the baby's mother" regardless of the gender of the baby (or the fact that śiśu is a grammatically masculine noun) because mā̃ is feminine and takes feminine agreement.

The other place it's a bit different is in the verbs. Many verbal forms are historically derived from participles. Participles behave like both verbs and adjectives. Like adjectives, they were inflected for gender and number. So now the verbal forms derived from them do, to. For example, mā̃ dauṛ rahī hai "mother is running" shows feminine agreement, since mā̃ is feminine, but you and I would say mãĩ dauṛ rahā hū̃ because we both identify as males.

Again, this has parallels in European languages. In Old French, for instance, you would have said il est esté bon "He has been good" but ele est estée bonne "She has been good". Later esté and estée came to be pronounced the same (except in some Walloon dialects) and the distinction was lost. But that never happened in Urdu.

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-24, 14:09
by salaam123
thank you Sir for your reply, I will meditate on this.

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-24, 14:46
by salaam123
what about and why(as a male speaker):

Mujhe urdu ati hai

or

Mujhe urdu ata hai

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-24, 17:11
by salaam123
I will add that I know the word "urdu" is a feminine one.

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-24, 22:27
by Saim
salaam123 wrote:I will add that I know the word "urdu" is a feminine one.


Then that’s your answer. In Urdu there are “experiential” constructions where the verb agrees with what is being experienced whereas the experiencer (the “real” subject) is in the oblique (“mujhe” مجھے).

Mujhe bhuuk lagii hai.
مجھے بھوک لگی ہے۔
I am hungry. (said by someone of any gender)

Lagii (لگی) is a feminine conjugation.

Mujhe ehsaas huaa hai kih...
مجھے احساس ہوا ہے کہ
I’ve got the feeling that... (said by someone of any gender)

Huaa (ہوا) is marked masculine.

Bhuuk (بھوک) is a feminine noun, ehsaas (احساس) is masculine. In this type of construction the verb agrees with the noun regardless of the gender of the person experiencing it.

“Mujhe urdu aati hai” (مجھے اردو آتی ہے) follows the same pattern, as do other expressions having to do with knowledge such as “maalum” معلوم (mujhe maalum thaa مجھے معلوم تھا).

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-25, 15:52
by salaam123
thank you, very good explanation. What about "main kaam karta hun?" Does the gender come here according to the doer or according to "kaam"?

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-25, 21:59
by Saim
salaam123 wrote:thank you, very good explanation. What about "main kaam karta hun?" Does the gender come here according to the doer or according to "kaam"?


According to the doer, in this case “main” میں is the subject both logically and grammatically.

The only other thing to note is that Urdu has split ergativity, which means that there are different forms of agreement for transitive and intransitive verbs, but only in the past tense.

main kaam kartaa hoo
میں کام کرتا ہوں
I work (male)

main kaam kartii hoon
میں کام کرتی ہوں
I work (female)

main ne kaam kiyaa
میں نے کام کیا
I worked (regardless of gender, kaam کام is masculine)

So keep in mind that when you see the postposition “ne” نے the verb agrees with the object.

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2019-12-30, 16:15
by salaam123
thanks for reply

"Yeh 30 sala purani chaye ki dukan hai"

so from this sentence, I can see that "dukan" is feminine, but does "purani"'s gender come according to "sal" , "chaye" or "dukan" ?

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-01-06, 18:15
by salaam123
is his correct?

this is a modified sentence from Urdupod 101 intermediate book:

Apnay aap per ghussa na hun

or should it be(my correction)

apnay aap per ghussa na ho

Don't be angry at yourself

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-04-04, 14:00
by Saim
salaam123 wrote:thanks for reply

"Yeh 30 sala purani chaye ki dukan hai"

so from this sentence, I can see that "dukan" is feminine, but does "purani"'s gender come according to "sal" , "chaye" or "dukan" ?


This is a thirty-year old tea shop.

Here پرانی puraanii agrees with دکان dukaan, although چای caaii is also feminine.

salaam123 wrote:is his correct?

this is a modified sentence from Urdupod 101 intermediate book:

Apnay aap per ghussa na hun

or should it be(my correction)

apnay aap per ghussa na ho

Don't be angry at yourself


Yes, the imperative conjugation of hona ہونا is ho ہو for tum تم. It could also be hõ ہوں for aap آپ (this is morphologically the subjunctive form but it is probably the most common way to express imperative meaning with "aap", although in Punjab it's also common to just use the "tum" forms alongside "aap").

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-06-04, 15:36
by salaam123
thanks for reply. I have another question:

یہ قرات پورے دن چلتی ہے

yeh qiraat puray din chalti hay(my romanization)

this recital goes on the whole day

so "chalti" is feminine because of qiraat and puray is masculine because of din? Am I correct?

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-06-04, 15:56
by eskandar
Yes, you've understood correctly.

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-06-05, 16:17
by salaam123
wow, so happy about that, thanks!

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-06-07, 14:27
by salaam123
وہ سڑکيں جہاں پريڈ پاس کرتی ہے انہيں پھولوں اور جھنڈوں سے مزين کيا جات اہے۔

voh sarken jahan parade pass karti hai, unhein pholon aur chandon se muzaiyan kiya jata hai

so in this instance, "pass karti hai" is feminine because of "parade" is the doer, subject?

But the end "kiya jata hai" is masculine because of sarak or muzaiyan?

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-07-11, 18:53
by Ber
salaam123 wrote:so in this instance, "pass karti hai" is feminine because of "parade" is the doer, subject?

Yes.

But the end "kiya jata hai" is masculine because of sarak or muzaiyan?

Because of مزين. By the way sadak is feminine, so it would have been "ki jati hai(n)".

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-07-11, 20:14
by salaam123
thank you for reply. This gender thing in urdu has been very difficult for me to understand, thank you for help.

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-07-14, 11:51
by salaam123
about the previous answer, as the gender comes according to مزين , what would be the grammatical reason for it?

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-07-15, 16:53
by Ber
salaam123 wrote:thank you for reply. This gender thing in urdu has been very difficult for me to understand, thank you for help.

It's actually not very complicated. The verb "usually" agrees with the subject, as in English, except that English agrees only with number since it doesn't have gender. In passive the verb agrees with the patient, again just as in English. The only big difference is with the ergative form (with the نے postposition), where the verb agrees with the object, unless the object is "blocked" by the کو postposition (or any replacement form, as in انہيں), in which case the verb remains neutral, ie. uses masculine singular.

salaam123 wrote:about the previous answer, as the gender comes according to مزين , what would be the grammatical reason for it?

Because مزين is the patient in "انہيں [...] مزين کيا جات اہے".

Re: About gender usage in urdu

Posted: 2020-07-20, 15:01
by salaam123
Thank you very much for explanation. I will read this thread now over and over until I understand.