How to tell GENDER in Urdu & Hindi !

Moderator: vijayjohn

User avatar
Posts: 379
Joined: 2007-12-18, 12:28
Real Name: Hamza A. Mahmood
Gender: male
Location: Brooklyn
Country: US United States (United States)

How to tell GENDER in Urdu & Hindi !

Postby huhmzah » 2008-01-10, 15:00


I thought I'd give you guys some pointers on how to recognize gender in Urdu nouns. Most of these rules apply to Hindi as well, however since a lot of them are dependent on reading the Urdu script (features that don't carry over into the Hindi script), it might be a little tougher in Hindi. Moreover, I haven't included rules on Hindi Neologisms and Sanskrit borrowings since I'm unclear about those myself (perhaps a Hindi-expert can guide us on those). I'm using regular letters here instead of IPA so everyone can follow. In vowels "e" is the schwa sound (the upside down 'e' /ə/), é is a as in "late", while "ê" is e as in "let"/

Urdu has TWO genders: the Masculine is called مذكر "Muzekker" and the Feminine is called مونث "Mones" or "Muennis". There is no neutral, however there are several words which can take either gender.


(a) All Male names
ex: Feroz (fêroz), Shehzad (šêzad), Umer (Umer), Ali (elî), Elyas (ilyas), Ahmed (êmed) etc.
AND ALL nouns referring to Profession or dispositions, when refering to a male, IRRESPECTIVE of the endings:
ex: Danişmend- دانشمند (expert),Vezîr- وزير (parliamentarian), Maulvî مولوى
(cleric) Aşik- عاشق(lover), مسافر, (traveler), Bağîباغى (traitor) etc.

(b) Nouns ending with a consonant followed by an Alif
ex: Lerka - لڑكا (boy), Ferda - فردا (tomorrow), Sitara-ستارا (Star), Kutta كتا (dog), Hîra-هيرا (Gem).

(c) Nouns ending with a "ha" (ه) (pronounced -a) (i.e. all Farsi words ending with -é)
Becca-بچه (child), Qissa-قصه (tale), Perda-پرده (viel), Agra-آگره (as in the city where the Taj Mahal is), Derya دريه (river) etc.

(d) Nouns ending with -an (nasalized N, as "n" in the French name "Chopin":
Ex: Kû'an-كنواں (well), Karevan- كارواں (Caravan), Pakistan-پاكستاں (Pakistan), Firozan-فروزاں (Turquoise),Vijdan-وجداں (existence) etc.

(e) Nouns ending with "û" and "o"
Ex: Alû- آلو (potato), Bhalû بهالو (teddy bear), Pêhlû-پہلو (aspect), Jadû- جادو (magic) etc.
Important exceptions: Arzû-آرزو (desire, need), Xušbû خشبو (fragrance)

(f) Nouns ending with the suffix "-penn":
Pagelpenn - پاگلپن (state of insanity),Epnapenn - اپناپن (feeling of belong), Becpenn بچپن (childhood)

(g) Most nouns (borrowed from Arabic) which begin with the prefix "M-" of locality:
Ex: Mekann مكان (House), Meqam مقام (locality),Meşrik مشرق (East), Megrib مغرب (West)
Important exceptions: Mesjid مسجد (mosque), Mehfil محفل (party), Menzil منزل(destination), Mejlis مجلس(The Parliament/ or meeting)

(h) Nouns ending with the suffix "-istan" (including country names -- this can be included in category (d) as well since "-ann" can be nasalized in proper speech):
Ex: Gulistan گلستان (Garden), Hindustan هندستان (India), Régistan ريگستان(Desert), Kohistan كوهستان(Mountain-Range)


(i) All female names:
Shenaz (şênaz), Ayesha (Aişa), Maliha (Melîha), Feryal, Mehreen (Mêhrîn), Shaheen (şahîn) etc etc.
AND ALL professions OR dispositions when referring to a female, IRRESPECTIVE of endings:
Veziré Azem- وزير عاظم (Prime Minister), Hemşira-
ہمشيره (sister), Alima عالمه(Scholar), Ranî راني(Queen), Maulvainn مولوائن (Cleric), Pailit پائلٹ (Pilot) etc.

(j) All nouns ending in "-î" or "-îya" - with the exception of nationality (which could be either):
Ex: şadî شادى (wedding), Lerkî لڑكى (girl), Kehanî كہانى (story), Roti روٹى (bread), Ciriya چڑيا (Bird) etc.

(k) All nouns ending in "-t" or "-et" or "-at"
Ex: Halet حالت (condition), Behişt بہشت(paradise), Jennet جنت (heaven), Lanet لعنت (curse), šohret شهرت(fame) şenaxt شناخت (identity), reft رفت (speed) etc.
Two important exceptions: Vekt وقت(time), and şerbet شربت (juice)

(l) All nouns ending in "-gî"
Ex: Zindegî زندگى (Life), Bendegî بندگى (Slavehood), şaistegî شائستگى (eloquence)

(m) All nouns ending in "-iş"
Ex: Lerziş لرزش(trembling), Leğziş لغزش(faux-pas), Maliş مالش(massage), Verziş ورزش (excercise), Danişدانش (knowledge) etc.

(n) Abstract knowns formed by dropping "-na" in verbs, such as in:
"Mar" from "Marna" (to hit) -- Uskî mar khana asann nehîn (to bear his beatings is not easy),
"Lén-Déna" from "Léna and Déna" (to take and to give) -- Uskî léndén xerab hê. (His transactions are faulty.) etc.

These rules are fairly regular but there still are a few exceptions. Moreover, there are words that lack all markers, and for those you simply have to learn the gender - such as "kelem" (pen) is fem., "gher" (house) is masc., "kitab" (book) is fem. and "şaul" (shawl) is fem etc

Lastly, usually the same rules, as above, apply to English words used in Urdu. "Country" is feminine as it ends with the "-î" sound, "méri country yé hê" (rule: (j)), "méra radio" (rule: (e)), méra shoe (rule:(e)), "mérî varnish (rule: (j)) etc.


User avatar
Posts: 4227
Joined: 2007-01-12, 19:24
Gender: female
Country: ES Spain (España)

Postby kalemiye » 2008-01-10, 15:25

Thanks a lot for your post, very well-done as all your other posts are :).

I was surprised that the gender of arabic loanwords was different in Urdu, such as kitab or qissa.
Not available

User avatar
Posts: 4918
Joined: 2004-12-06, 15:19
Real Name: Thanasis
Gender: male
Location: SX
Country: GB United Kingdom (United Kingdom)

Postby ego » 2008-01-10, 15:43

Thanks Hamza. Some of them, like the verbal nouns, I didn't know

User avatar
Posts: 2891
Joined: 2006-05-24, 20:29
Location: Los Angeles
Country: US United States (United States)

Postby Sisyphe » 2008-01-11, 8:03

Huhmzah, you are my savior. :praise:
Actively learning: ImageImageOn the back burner but in love with:ImageImage A life-long endeavor: Image

Posts: 1
Joined: 2018-11-14, 12:03
Real Name: Ali
Gender: male
Location: New York
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: How to tell GENDER in Urdu & Hindi !

Postby irismedia » 2018-11-14, 12:14

Created account to share how much I enjoyed reading this. Keep up the great work.

Please ping me with an email I could reach out to you at. I have a project you might enjoy :)

Return to “Hindi/Urdu (हिन्दी/اُردو)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest