Arabic Grammar – 29 (from old website)

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Nouns

Gender of Nouns

Feminines without markers

Although feminine markers identify most of the feminine nouns, there will still be few feminine nouns that do not have any of these markers. We will cover here most of these.

►Some nouns that refer to female humans do not have feminine markers.

Mother ʔumm

أُمّ

Daughter bint

بِنْت*

Sister ʔuxt

أُخْت*

Wife

in classical Arabic

za

زَوْج

Bride ʕarȗs

عَرُوْس

*The open tȃʔ ت is not recognized as a feminine marker in traditional Arabic grammar.

►Some nouns that refer to female animals.

Female scorpion

also male

ʕaqrab عَقْرَب
Female spider ʕankabȗt عَنْكَبُوْت

Female horse

also male

faras فَرَس
Female donkey ʔatȃn أَتَاْن

All town and country names are feminine except for some Arab countries that are named after geographical features (such as mountains, seas, rivers, etc.). Those are namely Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco.

Examples:

Aleppo (fem.)

Ħalab

حَلَب

Baghdad (fem.)

Baɣdȃd

بَغْدَاْد

Damascus (fem.)

Dimašq

دِمَشْق

Egypt (fem.) Miṣr

مِصْر

India (fem.) ʔ·Al‑Hind

اَلْهِنْد

China (fem.) ʔ·Aṣ‑Ṣȋn

اَلْصِّيْن

Greece (fem.)

ʔ·Al‑Yȏnȃn

اَلْيونَاْن

Iraq (masc.)

ʔ·Al‑ʕIrȃq

اَلْعِرَاْق

Jordan (masc.) ʔ·Al‑ʔUrdun

اَلأُرْدُن

For names of body parts that do not have feminine markers, a general rule is that all the parts of which there are more than one are feminine and the rest are masculine.

In more detail:

  • In the head, all the parts are masculine barring the eye, ear, and tooth.

  • In the trunk, all the parts are masculine.

  • In the limbs, all the parts are feminine barring the elbow and the forearm.

  • All the internal organs are masculine barring the liver.

This is, of course, for parts that do not have feminine markers in their names.

Examples:

Eye (fem.) ʕayn

عَيْن

Ear (fem.) ʔuðun

أُذُن

Hand (fem.) yad

يَد

Foot (fem.) qadam

قَدَم

Liver (fem.) kabid كَبِد
Head (masc.) raʔs رَأْس
Back (masc.) ð̣ahr ظَهْر

The following list contains nearly all the singular feminine nouns without feminine markers which have not been mentioned above.

Land/earth (fem.) ʔarḍ

أَرْض

Heaven (fem.) samȃʔ سَمَاْء
Sun (fem.) šams

شَمْس

Fire (fem.) naar

نَاْر

Residence (fem.) daar

دَاْر

Route/way (fem.) arȋq

طَرِيْق

Market (fem.) suwq سُوْق
Wine (fem.) xamr

خَمْر

Well (fem.) biʔr

بِئْر

Millstone (fem.) raħa·y

رَحَىْ

Stick/cane (fem.) ʕaaa

عَصَاْ

War (fem.) ħarb

حَرْب

Axe (fem.) faʔs

فَأْس

Knife (fem.) sikn

سِكِّيْن

Pot (fem.) qidr

قِدْر

Cup (fem.) kaʔs

كَأْس

Wind (fem.) ri رِيْح
Soul/spirit (fem.) ru

رُوْح

Soul/being (fem.) nafs نَفْس
State (fem.) ħaal

حَاْل

Ship (Ark) (fem.) fulk

فُلْك

Hell (fem.) ǵahannam

جَهَنَّم

Exercise

Can you guess the gender of the following singular nouns?

Court

مَحْكَمَة

Largest

كُبْرَىْ

Death

مَوْت

White

بَيْضَاْء

Sad

حَزِيْن

Germany

أَلْمَاْنْيَاْ

Peas

بَاْزِلاَّء

Constructing

إِنْشَاْء

Paper

وَرَقَة

Sea

بَحْر

Evening

مَسَاْء

Female personal name

مَيْسَاْء

Helping (help)

مُسَاْعَدَة

Thirsty

عَطْشَىْ

The Nile

اَلْنِّيْل

Turkey

تُرْكْيَاْ

Leg

سَاْق
Drunk

سَكْرَاْن

Pen

قَلَم

Knife

سِكِّيْن

Answers

Court (fem.)

مَحْكَمَة

Largest (fem. adj.)

كُبْرَىْ

Death(masc.)

مَوْت

White (fem. adj.)

بَيْضَاْء

Sad(masc. adj.)

حَزِيْن

Germany (fem.)

أَلْمَاْنْيَاْ

Peas (fem.)

بَاْزِلاَّء

Constructing (construction)

(masc.)

إِنْشَاْء

Paper (fem.)

وَرَقَة

Sea(masc.)

بَحْر

Evening (masc.)

مَسَاْء

Female proper name (fem.)

مَيْسَاْء

Helping (help) (fem.)

مُسَاْعَدَة

Thirsty (fem. adj.)

عَطْشَىْ

Nile (masc.)

اَلْنِّيْل

Turkey (fem.)

تُرْكْيَاْ

Leg (fem.)

سَاْق
Drunk (masc. adj.)

سَكْرَاْن

Pen (masc.)

قَلَم

Knife (fem.)

سِكِّيْن

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