You have already been briefed about ‘Gendered Speech’ in the previous lesson. Just in brief, Gendered Speech is a type of differentiation in speech according to the object’s gender.
As you know, there are three genders in Nepali. They are:
Masculine (puling) -Denotes Male Gender
Feminine (striling) - Denotes Female Gender
Neutral (napungsakling) - Denotes no gender otherwise unknown gender
Most of the times, neutral words are sometimes masculine words too. That doesn’t mean neutral words are masculine words! It means that some words can be used to describe both Masculine and Neutral Objects. Usually, adjectives belong to this category.
Today, we are going to learn about the gendered aspect of Nouns.
So what constitutes as a Masculine Noun, Feminine Noun and a Neutral Noun?
Nouns that describe 'masculinity’, like 'boy’,'man’ etc. are masculine nouns. Examples in Nepali: केटा (keta/ boy), भाले (bhale/ male)
A feminine noun describe 'femininity’ like 'girl’, 'woman’ etc. Examples in Nepali: केटी (keti/ girl), पोथी (pothi/ female-)
However, 'neutral’ gender can describe groups, inanimate objects etc. Like: Person, Birds, Pen etc. are neutral gender, because they denote a gender that is unknown or a mix (like 'person’ can be both a girl or a boy) otherwise is neutral (like 'pen’).
So how do we convert Nouns between Masculine and Feminine Genders?
Please note that, gender is usually differentiated between humans only and animals to some extent. Plants, Non-animates are not assigned a gender.
There are three ways to convert between genders, they are:
By changing the whole word
By Changing the first part
Addition/ Change of suffixes
BY CHANGING THE WHOLE WORD
The whole word is changed. An example in English is: Boy -> Girl
An example in Nepali is: लोग्ने (logne/ man) -> स्वास्नी (swasni/ female)
Since you will not see any pattern, you have to memorize them unfortunately.
RULE 2: If the ending vowel sound of a masculine noun is 'अ’ (a/ sounds like ’a’ of ago), then we replace it with 'ई’ (please note that sometimes the ’a’ sound gets omitted by Schwa deletion…even in that case the rule doesn’t change)
RULE 3: Masculine words that describe : Caste, Profession, Title etc. are changed into feminine words by the addition of 'नी’ (nii). Please note that if the schwa is not pronounced in the masculine word, then that word (whose schwa is not pronounced) gets turned into a ligature and then the ’nii’ is added. Also, if the masculine ending is in ई (ii), then that ई (ii) will be converted into इ (i). If the masculine ending is in 'अ’ (a) which is conjuncted (like in 'क्य’; where 'k’ is conjoined with consonant 'y’ with vowel sound 'a’) otherwise it is an 'आ’ (aa) then it will get converted into ए (e).
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