Gender

Gujarati distinguishes among three genders; masculine, feminine and neuter. The masculine marker is o as in 2okro feminine marker is i or a as in 2okrI and =aXa and neutral marker is -uN as in 2okru&.

Exercise 1 Determine the gender of the following words.

Masculine Feminine Neuter

sap serpent

Aa&` eye

nak nose

AadmI man/ husband

3o a kind of reptile

pa8I water

2okro boy

bok6o he-goat

maXo nest

2okrI girl

bok6I she-goat

maXI a small nest

mata mother

baXa child girl

=aXa school

2okru& child

bok6u& goat

taXu& lock

Exercise 2: Make a list of the words whose gender you found difficult to determine.

B. Remember the following:

  1. Gujarati distinguishes between three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.
  2. The gender markers do not represent biological sex all the time. o in 2okro represents male, -i in 2okrI female, but the -o in m&ko6o and i in m&ko6I have nothing to do with the biological sex the ants. In fact, they indicate the size of the ants. If an ant is 'big' it is masculine, otherwise it is feminine. Similarly, the -uN and -i of pglu& and pglI 'footprint' represent roughness and gentleness of the 'footprint' and not the size.

Exercise 4 Determine the gender of the following words.

Masculine Feminine Neuter

É. kerI mango

Ê. fX fruit

Ë. ha9I elephant

Ì. kagX paper

Í. kp6u& cloth

Î. 4opI cap

Ï. 3r house

Ð. barI window

Ñ. bar8u& door

ÉÈ. bgIco garden

ÉÉ. Aaka= sky

ÉÊ. jmIn land

ÉË. hva air

ÉÌ. pxI bird

ÉÍ. keXu& banana

ÉÎ. gulab rose

ÉÏ. fUl flower

ÉÐ. im{a friend

ÉÑ. bhenp8I friend

ÊÈ. kar car

Gender II

  1. Read the following words:
  2. (I)

    Masculine Feminine

    p4el Patel p4la8I

    su9ar Carpenter su9ar8

    luhar Blacksmith luhar8

    b/a8 Brahmin b/a8I

    sonI Goldsmith sonar8

    mjUr laborer mjUr8

    hjam barber hjam6I*

    dr@ tailor drj8

    vai8yo Bania, a businessman vai8y8

    0obI washerman 0ob8

    -agIdar partner -agIdar8

    * Now an insulting word.

    (II)

    Masculine Feminine

    va3 tiger va38

    is&h lion is&h8

    sap serpent sap8

    nag cobra nag8

    ha9I elephant ha98

    (III)

    Masculine Feminine

    pa6o he-buffalo -e&s buffalo

    Aa`lo bull gay cow

    mor peacock 7el peahen

    puq male S{aI female

    (IV)

    Masculine Feminie

    ipta father mata mother

    -a; brother bhen sister

    pit husband piTn wife

    ssro father-in-law sasu mother-in-law

    veva; son/daughter veva8 son/daughter-in-laws mother

    -in-laws

    father

    Notice that through (I) to (IV), the masculine and feminine forms are identical with male and female. However, in (I) and (II) there is no feminine marker -i. In Gujarati, there is a set of 'female markers' that distinguishes male from female. What are those 'female markers'? Interestingly, in (III) and (IV) there are no feminine markers to distinguish male from female. Here, there are separate words for male and female.

  3. Remember that
  1. There are two sets of nouns.
  2. In one set of nouns the gender is not identical with the biological sex.
  3. In another set the gender is identical with the biological sex.
  4. In set one, the nouns are overtly marked or unmarked for their gender. The marked have -o as masculine, -i as feminine and -uN as neuter marker.
  5. Within set two, there is a subset of nouns in which the male is unmarked and the female is marked with an over female marker. In addition to that, there is another subset where there are separate words for male and female.