Wednesday, 16 October 2013

ਲਿੰਗ لنگ Gender

Punjabi nouns always have gender associated with them. So they must be either masculine or feminine. Though some patterns can be identified, guessing them is not always an easy task. So purse (ਬਟੂਆ/بٹوآ), water (ਪਾਣੀ/پانی), mountain (ਪਹਾੜ/پہاڑ), sea (ਸਮੁੰਦਰ/سمندر) are used in masculine gender while air (ਹਵਾ), car (ਗੱਡੀ/گڈی), night (ਰਾਤ/رات), hill (ਪਹਾੜੀ/پہاڑی) etc. in the feminine gender.

Though you need not worry about the definite article in Punjabi like the 'le' or 'la' in French, still all the adjectives and verbs have to be in agreement with the gender (and the number too!). Though assignment of gender to inanimate objects is arbitrary, some patterns can be identified albeit with exceptions. One such pattern is the endings of the nouns i.e. ਾ (ਆ) for masculine nouns and  ੀ (ਈ) for feminine ones. Also sometimes larger/bigger parts are termed masculine while their smaller counterparts as feminine by just changing the ending. Even the adjectives are made to agree with the noun in this respect. Examples are:

ਪੁਲਿੰਗ/پلنگ (Masculine)                ਇਸਤਰੀ-ਲਿੰਗ/استری-لنگ (Feminine)

  • ਨਾਂਵ /نانوَ Nouns

ਪਹਾੜ/پہاڑ (mountain)                        ਪਹਾੜੀ/پہاڑی (hill)
ਰੱਸਾ/رسا (a large/thicker rope)          ਰੱਸੀ/رسی (a smaller/weaker rope)
ਦਾਦਾ/دادا (paternal grandfather)        ਦਾਦੀ/دادی (paternal grandmother)

  • ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ਣ /وشیشن Adjectives

ਚੌੜਾ/چوڑا (broad)                             ਚੌੜੀ/چوڑی
ਕਾਲ਼ਾ/کالا (thin)                                 ਕਾਲ਼ੀ/کالی
ਛੋਟਾ/چھوٹا (small)                              ਛੋਟੀ/چھوٹی

  • ਕਿਰਿਆਵਾਂ /کریاواں Verbs

ਉਹ ਚਾਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ।                                  ਉਹ ਚਾਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ
اوہ چاہندا ہے۔                                    اوہ چاہندی ہے۔                                       
He wants.                                       She wants.

ਕੀ ਮੈਂ ਕਰ ਸਕਦਾ ਹਾਂ?                           ਕੀ ਮੈਂ ਕਰ ਸਕਦੀ ਹਾਂ?
کی میں کر سکدی ہاں؟                              کی میں کر سکدا ہاں؟
Can I (male speaker) do it?            Can I (female speaker) do it?


  1. In the last example, "Can I (female speaker) do it?", why does sihari make an "ee" sound? I am not very good at reading Punjabi, but I thought it is supposed to make an "i" sound, like the i in hit. But when I think of people saying ਸਕਦੀ, it is said ending with an ee sound. Does sihari just make the sound of bihari sometimes?
    Anyways, thanks for making this blog, it's really helpful.

  2. Hi Rupinder, I'm glad that this blog is of help to you. Regarding, the sihari and bihari, you are correct in observing that the former represents 'i' sound (small vowel) while latter represents 'ee' sound (long vowel). I'm not so sure where do you see sihari in the last example. I have used bihari (ੀ) for sakdi (ਸਕਦੀ) since it ends with a long 'ee' sound. Sihari never makes a long vowel sound like bihari does.
    Hope it helps :)