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Arabic Words – Masculine/feminine?


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#1 Ali_Hussain

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:18 PM

as-salaamu alaykum


I’m having some trouble knowing if a word is masculine or feminine, I get that for the most part, a word finishing in ‘taa marbutah’ is going to be feminine, and also countries will be feminine.

But is there a general rule? An explanation or link to a site that explain it would be very helpful

Jazak Allah

#2 Ali_Hussain

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 02:15 AM

anyone?

#3 Haydar Husayn

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 02:40 AM

Like you say, there are some general rules, but then there are words where you just have to know whether it is masculine or feminine, without any clue being given in the word. For example, ارض . You just have to know that this is feminine. But this isn't something unusual. In many languages, for example, French, you are expected to know whether a word is masculine or feminine, without it necessarily being obvious from the word itself. Luckily there aren't nearly as many of these types of words in Arabic as there are in French.

Sometimes though there are general rules for certain groups of words. For example, when it comes to the body parts, anything that you have two of (hands, eyes, etc) will be feminine.

As for reference, just look at the first two chapters of Thackston's book The Grammar of Koranic and Classical Arabic (mainly the second chapter), Chapter 21 of Arabic Verbs and Essential Grammar (2nd ed), or any other Arabic grammar book for that matter.
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#4 Ali_Hussain

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:02 AM

Ok, but when it comes to learning them, how do you know if they are masc. or fem.? (is the book available online?)

If
ارض
is fem. does that mean that
بحر
جبل
سماء
etc are also fem.?

What about items of clothing? Anything a man wears is masc. anything a woman wears is fem.?

Is that book available online?

#5 Gypsy

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:06 AM

There is no rational explanation on why inanimate objects have gender in the Arabic language. I guess you just need to get familiarize with the words and gender because they are very arbitrary.

#6 Haydar Husayn

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:30 PM

Ok, but when it comes to learning them, how do you know if they are masc. or fem.? (is the book available online?)

When you learn a new word, then you should learn if it is masculine or feminine. I'm pretty sure that in most books, if they introduced the word ارض in the vocabulary, they would point out it is femine. In French, is there a rule that always tells you whether to put 'un' or 'une' in front of a word? No, not always. You just need to know it.

To be honest, in terms of just having to know stuff, this is nothing. Much harder is the fact that plural forms are quite unpredicatable, so you need to learn the plural of the word, just as the singular. Alos, when learning a verb, you need to know what type it is, ie what vowel the middle letter will take in the mudaria. Bascially, Arabic is just like any other language, some things, you just get to 'know' through practice. It's not mathematics, that you can just reduce to a bunch of rules.


If
ارض
is fem. does that mean that
بحر
جبل
سماء
etc are also fem.?

No. I wouldn't have used to word if it fitted into some kind of 'rule'. It's just one of those words that you might assume is masculine due to the absence of the ة, but is in fact feminine.



What about items of clothing? Anything a man wears is masc. anything a woman wears is fem.?

Unless you see a rule somewhere, I wouldn't assume things like that.


Is that book available online?

The site I usually recommend to get them from is down right now, but are you sure you don't already have these books? If you do, just read the chapters I recommended. They will explain it better than I could.
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#7 phoenix

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:41 PM

Al-salaam `alaykum

To discern the gender of Quranic words which do not fit into the framework of rules for the same:

http://corpus.quran....apter=2&verse=1 ?


http://understandqur...ds/english.html
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#8 Ali_Hussain

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:49 PM

thanks for the answers

#9 Haydar Husayn

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:20 AM

The site http://www.kalamulla...ing-arabic.html is working again, so I'll post links to the two books I mentioned in a previous post.

The Grammar of Koranic and Classical Arabic (chapters 1 and 2)

Arabic Verbs and Essential Grammar (2nd ed) (chapter 21)

#10 Calm

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:43 AM

1-Ok, but when it comes to learning them, how do you know if they are masc. or fem.? (is the book available online?)
If
ارض
is fem. does that mean that
بحر
جبل
سماء
etc are also fem.?

2-What about items of clothing? Anything a man wears is masc. anything a woman wears is fem.?

1-To make it easier for you when you're reading a sentence and there is word say one of those words you mentioned (bahr, jabal, samaa' etc) which gender is not obvious to you because there is no taa' marbootah at the end of the word, you can tell from the adjectives or verb that follows it. Since the verbs use the rules for masculine and feminine, plural, singular so you can't go wrong on those.

Example: word jabal : لو أنزلنا هذا القرآن على جبل لرأيته خاشعا (suratul al7ashr ayah 21)
Ra'aytahu is muthakar/masculine because the 'hu' at the end of a verb is masculine (the 'hi' 'ha' or taa' is feminine) . Since ra'yatahu (the verb/the fi3l) is masculine then jabal (the faa3il) is masculine too.

Example 2: word samaa': إِذَا السَّمَاء انشَقَّتْ (suratul infitaar ayah 1)
The taa' marbootah at the end of the verb. Also, any word that ends with alf and hamzah at the end is usually feminine (samaa', hayfaa', shahlaa', alaa' etc), there are exceptions though just like not every word that ends with taa' marbootah is feminine just like: حمزة ، حنظلة، جعدة all masculine despite the taa' marbootah.

Example 3: word bahr: مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيَانِ (suratul rahmaan ayah 19)
The "yaa'" at the beginning of the verb is masculine so bahr is masculine.

Know the simple rules of conjugation, it will make it easier for you. I hope my post did not confuse you further.

Edited by Calm, 13 January 2012 - 03:47 AM.
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