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Hindi nouns - masculine vs. feminine

Good Day!

This question involves identifying nouns in Hindi - as to which are masculine and which are feminine.  Obviously if the word ends with "a" it is considered masculine, and if the word ends with "i" it is considered feminine (with some exceptions to this rule).  However, I am curious as to why certain nouns are considered masculine vs. feminine, where the "a" and the "i" rule do not apply.

Example:  Sham (Evening) - feminine, where Din (Day) is masculine.  

Are there certain categories that masculine nouns fall under, and others that feminine nouns fall under?  Or is there simply no logic to it at all?

Thank you!!!

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4 Answers

Hi Shane,
 
I always caution students to avoid categorizing aa-ending nouns as masculine and ii-ending nouns as feminine as there are simply too many exceptions.
 
For beginners, I suggest that you simply learn the gender of nouns as you learn the meaning. I think doing something like this for each noun is useful:
 
ek badaa makan (one big house)
do bade makan (two big houses)
 
ek badii mez (one big table)
do badii meze (two big tables)
 
So you practice putting the nouns into the plural along with a changeable adjective (like badaa), which can be done orally or through writing.
 
When you get to a higher level, you will start to see patterns in terms of noun gender (e.g. all Sanskrit-derived nouns that end in -taa are feminine). But at the basic level, just make gender part of your learning routine whenever you encounter a new noun.
 
PS  For some reason this system doesn't let me type in either the Hindi script or special characters for the Roman transliteration (a little frustrating!)
The male/female dynamic in Hindi is something even seasoned speakers sometimes have difficulty with so don't fret.
There are cultures who speak Hindi and Urdu who muck this up regularly. Native speakers just find it amusing.
 
Though I love the language, this is one aspect I've always felt was unnecessary. I wish they would have gone the English route on this one where only humans and animals have male and female.
Shane,
 
Moon is not feminine in Hindi, it is masculine! Hindi words for Moon are:
 
Chaand, Chandrama, Chanda and despite being  "a" that is pronounced "aa" it is masculine.
 
There is a small amount of generalization such as, gaadi, kursi, pakodi are all feminine but "Rahi" is not.
 
Like wise Mej does not have "aa" or "i/ee" at end yet it is feminine. It varies case to case and one learns it gradually by building vocabulary .
 
Hope it helps.
 
 
 

Hi Shane!
Okay, long story short... Hindi is an ancient symbolic system and its expression is tied to the philosophies of Hinduism. Many of those exceptions you speak of, like "Evening" and "Day" have to do with the masculine and feminine energies of creation (God/Goddess, Shiva/Shakti, Man/Woman, etc). The Sun is attributed with the masculine, the moon is attributed with the feminine. With the words you're unsure of, try keeping this aspect of the Hindu philosophy in mind. Get to the root of what the word actually means. It may or may not help, but it's always stuck with me. Studying Hinduism isn't a bad way to spend your time either. It's extremely complex and offers a metaphysical perspectives about human archetypes that is hard to match in western practices.