A Practical Grammar of the PŒli Language
Chapter 6

Formation of Feminine Bases of Nouns and Adjectives

*This chapter has for the most part been adopted from the nirutt´dipan´.

168. From what has been already said (116, d) about grammatical gender, it will be easily understood that the gender of substantives will be better learned from the dictionary. The student will already have remarked, however, that:

169. All nouns the stem of which ends in a, and the Nom. sing in o, are Masculine.

Stem Nom. Sing. Masc.
s´ha, lion. s´ho.
assa, horse. asso.
hattha, the hand. hattho.
dŒra, wife. dŒro.

170. All nouns the stem of which ends in o, and the Nom. sing. in aµ, are Neuter.

Stem Nom. Sing. Neut.
citta, the mind. cittaµ.
rèpa, an image. rèpaµ.
bhatta, rice. bhattaµ.
hita, benefit. hitaµ.
bhaya, fear. bhayaµ.

171. All nouns the stem of which ends in Œ, and the Nom. sing. in Œ are Feminine.

Stem Nom. Sing. Fem.
vŒcŒ, a word. vŒcŒ.
nŒvŒ, a boat. nŒvŒ.
sŒlŒ, a hall. sŒlŒ.
gŒthŒ, a stanza. gŒthŒ.
pèjŒ, worship. pèjŒ.

Remarks. The Masculine nouns with stems in Œ (128) are very few in number and rarely met with. Although included by all native grammarians, as has already been remarked, in the Vowel-declension, they properly belong to the Consonantal-declension. For instance, the true stem of sŒ, a dog is san (Sanskrit •van); that of mŒ, the moon, is mas (Sansk. mŒs); again, the true stem of gaöĥ´vadhanva, Arjuna, is gaöĥ´vadhanvan.

172. All nouns whose stem ends in ´ and the Nom. sing. also in ´ are Feminine.

Stem Nom. Sing. Fem.
mah´, the earth. mah´.
s´h´, lioness. s´h´.
bhis´, a mat. bhis´.
rŒjin´, a queen. rŒjin´.
bhèm´ the earth. bhèm´.

173. There are also some Masculine nouns whose Nom. sing ends in ´. As a general rule, the Masc. nouns of this class are adjectives used substantively; they properly belong to the Consonantal-declension, and their stems end in -in.

174. There are no Neuter nouns in ´.

175. Nouns the stem of which ends in u, are either Masculine, Feminine or Neuter. The gender is best learned from the dictionary.

176. All pure substantives whose stem ends in è and the Nom sing, also in è are Feminine.

Stem Nom. Sing. Fem.
camè, an army. camè.
pŒdè, a shoe. pŒdè.
sassè, mother-in-law. sassè.
bhè, the earth. bhè.
vadhè, daughter-in-law. vadhè.

Remarks. This class is not numerous.

177. Masculine nouns the stem of which ends in u and the Nom. sing. in è, are properly not pure substantives, but adjectives, sometimes used substantively.

Stem. Adjective Substantival use. Nom. Sing. Masc.
abhibhè, mastering. chief, conqueror. abhibhè.
vedagè, knowing the vedas. a sage, a savant. vedagè.
magga––è, knowing the Way. a saint. magga––è.

178. There are no Neuter nouns the stem of which ends in è.

179. The above rules, though meagre, will somewhat help the student to discriminate the gender of nouns.

180. As in other languages, many Feminine substantives are derived from the base or stem of Masculine substantives by means of certain suffixes.

181. The suffixes used in PŒli to form Feminine bases are:
1. Œ, ikŒ, akŒ.
2. ´, ikin´.
3. n´, in´.
4. Œ, n´.

182. Feminine Bases of Substantives

183. Many Feminine bases are derived from Masculine ones ending in a by means of Œ and ´.

184. Examples with Œ

Remarks. Feminine bases formed with Œ, are not very numerous, and most of them can also be formed with ´ or in´, or ikŒ.

Masc. base Fem. base
mŒnusa a man. mŒnusŒ, a woman.
assa, a horse. assŒ, a mare.
kumbhakŒra, a potter. kumbhakŒrŒ, a potter's wife.
kaÊapètana, a demon. kaÊapètanŒ, a she-demon.
vallabha, a favourite. vallabhŒ, a favourite woman.

185. Examples with ´

Remarks. Feminine bases derived from the Masculine by means of ´ are very numerous.

Masc. base Fem. base
s´ha, lion. s´h´, lioness.
miga, deer. mig´, doe.
kumŒra, boy, prince. kumŒr´, girl, princess.
mŒöava, a young man. mŒöav´, a young woman.
sŒmaöera, a novice. sŒmaöer´, a novice (fem.)

186. The Feminine of many patronymics is also formed by means of ´.

Masc. base Fem. base
kacchŒyana. kacchŒyan´.
vŒseÊÊha. vaseÊÊh´.
gotama. gotam´.

187. Nouns in ka (mostly adjectives used substantively) form their Feminine in ikŒ or ikin´.

Masc. base Fem. base
nŒvika, a boatman. nŒvikŒ, nŒvikin´.
paribbŒjaka, a wandering ascetic. paribbŒjikŒ, paribbŒjikin´.
paµsukèlika, a monk wearing robes made of picked-up rags. paµsukèlikin´, paµsukèlikŒ, a nun wearing robes made of picked-up rags.
kumŒraka, a boy. kumŒrikŒ, a girl.

188. Examples with in´

Masc. base Fem. base
rŒjŒ, king. rŒjin´, queen.
kumbhakŒra, potter. kumbhakŒrin´, potter's wife.
miga, deer. migin´, doe.
s´ha, lion. s´hin´, lioness.
yakkha, an ogre. yakkhin´, an ogress.

189. Examples with n´

Remarks. The suffix n´ is used after Masculine bases ending in i, ´, and u, è. The ´ and è of the base are shortened before n´.

Masc. base Fem. base
bhikkhu, Buddhist monk. bhikkhun´, Buddhist nun.
bandhu, a relative. bandhun´, a female relative.
paÊu, a wise man. paÊun´, a wise woman.
dhamma––è, a pious man. dhamma––un´, a pious woman.
daöĥ´ a mendicant. daöĥin´, a female mendicant.
brahmacŒr´, one who lives the higher life. brahmacŒrin´, a woman who lives the higher life, a religious student.
hatthi, an elephant. hatthin´, female elephant.

190. Examples with Œn´

191. A few nouns form their Feminine by means of the suffix Œn´.

Masc. base Fem. base
mŒtula, uncle. mŒtulŒn´, aunt.
vŒruöa, VŒruöa. varuöŒn´.
khattiya, a nobleman. khattiyŒn´, a noblewoman.
Œcariya, a teacher. ŒcariyŒn´.
gahapati, householder. gahapatŒn´, householder's wife.

Remark. Note that in gahapati, final i is dropped before Œn´.

192. Some nouns assume two or more Feminine forms.

Masc. base Fem. base
atthakŒma one wishing to be useful. atthakŒmŒ, atthakŒm´, atthakŒmin´.
kumbhakŒra, potter. kumbhakŒrŒ, kumbhakŒr´, kumbhakŒrin´.
yakkha, ogre. yakkh´, yakkhin´.
nŒga, snake, elephant. nŒg´, nŒgin´.
miga, deer. mig´, migin´.
s´ha, lion. s´h´, s´hin´.
byaggha, tiger. byaggh´, byagghin´.
kŒkŒ, a crow. kŒk´, kŒkin´.
mŒnusa, a man. mŒnusŒ, mŒnus´, mŒnusin´.

193. The suffixes used for the formation of Adjectival Feminine bases are the same as those
given above (181), that is;-

194. Of Adjectives the stem of which ends in a, some form their Feminine in Œ, some in ´.

195. Adjectives ending in i, ´, and u, è, form their Feminine by adding n´ (189), before which long ´ and è are shortened.

(For examples see Chapter VII. Adjectives.)