Gendered Speech: Nouns

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:

  1. By changing the whole word
  2. By Changing the first part
  3. Addition/ Change of suffixes



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.


                            MALE                   |              FEMALE

          बाबु (babu/ father)                   –   आमा (aama/ mother)

          भाले (bhaale/ male-)               –    पोथी (pothi/ female-)

          गोरु (goru/ ox)                        –    गाई (gai/ cow)

         राँगा (raga/ male buffalo)         –   भैँसी (bhaisi/ female buffalo)

         सासुरा (sasura/ father-in-law)   –   सासू (sasu/ mother-in-law)

         बोका (boka/ billy goat)              –   बाख्री (bakhri/ nanny goat)

        मामा (mama/ mat. uncle)         –   माइज्यू (maijyuu/ wife of mama)

       ____________________________________*mat. = maternal 



A neutral words is preceded by a gender differentiating word. When that happens, we changed the gender differentiating word instead of changing the neutral word. 

An example of this in English is:  Male Cat -> Female Cat

An example in Nepali is: लोग्ने मानिस (logne manis/ male person) -> स्वास्नी मानिस (swasni manis/ female person)

Learn these suffixes in order to perform this!

केटा (keta/ boy) / केटी (keti/ girl)

लोग्ने [logne/ male (humans only)] / स्वास्नी [swasni/ female (humans only)]

भाले [bhale/ male (animals only)] / पोथी [pothi/ female (animals only)]

 झाँक [jhaak/ male (deer only)] / मुडुली [muduli/ female (deer only)]

मत्ता [matta/ male (elephant only)] / ढोई [dhoi/ female (elephant only)]


                       MALE                       |                FEMALE

भाले हाँस (bhale haas/ male duck  )   –  पोथी हाँस् (pothi haas/ female duck)

मुडुली मृग (muduli mriga/ buck)          –  झाँक मृग (jhaak/ doe)

मत्ता हात्ती (matta hatti/ m. elephant) – ढोई हात्ती(dhoi hatti/ f. elephant)




We can change genders by addition or modification of their suffixes, otherwise their last part.

An example of this in English is:  Actor -> Actress

An example of this in Nepali is: केटा (keta/ boy) -> केटी (keti/ girl)

RULE 1: If the ending vowel sound of a masculine noun is either ‘आ’ (aa/ like ’a’ of father) or ओ (o/ like ’o’ of ago), we replace it with ‘ई’ (ii/ like ‘ee’ of feet) sound. 


काका (kaakaa/ paternal uncle) [ends with ‘आ’ (aa) sound]


Since,        आ (aa)           ->   ई (ii)

Therefore, का (kaa)          ->   की (kii

Hence,      काका (kaakaa) ->   काकी (kaakii/ wife of kaakaa)  

Other examples:


                   MALE                          |                    FEMALE

घोडा (ghodaa/ male horse)              – घोडी (ghodii/ female horse)

रो (charo/ male bird)                     – चरी (charii/ female bird)

भँगेरा (bhangeraa/ male sparrow)   – भँगेरी (bhangerii/ female sparrow)

भाञ्जा (bhanjaa/ sibling’s m. child)  – भाञ्जी (bhanjii/ sibling’s f. child)


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)


देव (deva/ god)   [Ends with ‘अ’ (a) sound]


Since,         अ (a)        -> ई (ii)

Therefore,   व (va)        -> वी (vii)

Hence,        दे (deva)  -> देवी (devii/ goddess)

Other examples:


                   MALE                          |                    FEMALE

पुत्र (putra/ son)                               – पुत्री (putri/ daughter)

कुमा (kumar/ a m. suffixal name) –  कुमारी (kumarii/ a f. suffixal name)


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). 


मालिक (maalik/ master)  


= मालिक (maalik) + नी (nii)

    = मालिक् (maalik-) + नी (nii)

        = मालिक्नी (maalikni/ mistress)

Other examples:


                   MALE                          |                    FEMALE

नेवा (newar)                                   –  नेवार्नी (newarnii)

धोबी (dhobi/ washerman)               –  धोबिनी (dhobinii/ washerwoman)

छेत्री (chhetri)                                   –  छेत्रिनी (chhetrinii)

सिपाही (sipahi/ m. sepoy)                – सिपाहिनी (sipahinii/ f. sepoy)

सुब्बा (subba)                                  – सुब्बेनी (subbenii)

न्त (panta)                                   – पन्तेनी (pantenii)

सापकोटा (saapkotaa)                      – सापकोटेनी (saapkotenii)


RULE 4: If the masculine noun ends with the vowel ‘अक’ (ak), then we convert it into ‘इका’ (ikaa). 


नायक (naayak/ hero)

Since,             अक (ak) -> इका (ika)

Therefore,       यक (yak) -> यिका (yikaa)

Hence,            नायक (naayak) -> नायिका (naayikaa/ heroine)

Other Examples,


                   MALE                          |                    FEMALE

बालक (baalak/ boy child)                 – बालिका (baalikaa/ girl child)

लेखक (lekhak/ writer)                      – लेखिका (lekhikaa/ writeress)

गायक (gaayak/ m. singer)               – गायिका (gaayikaa/ f. singer)



And despite these, there are special modifications given below:


                   MALE                          |                    FEMALE

राजा (raja/ king)                              –  रानी (rani/ queen)

बाज्यै (baajyai/ grandfather)           –  बज्यै (bajyai/ grandmother)

गुरु (guru/ m. teacher)                   –  गुरुमा (guruma/ f. teacher)

गुरुङ (gurung)                                – गुरुङसेनी (gurungseni)

श्रीमान (shriman/ husband)           – श्रीमती (shrimati/ wife)



That’s all about conversion of gender between nouns! If you are confused, then you can ask anytime. Do you notice any shortcomings? Don’t hesitate to tell!




1. नट (nat/ m. dramatist) 

2. सुगा (sugaa/ m. parrot)

3. लिम्बू (limbu)


1. सेविका (sewika/ maid)

2. कछुवी (kachuwi/ f. turtle)

3. रानी (rani/ queen)


A. 1. नटी  (nati)

A. 2. सुगी (sugi)

A. 3. लिम्बूनी (limbuni)

B. 1. सेवक  (sewak)

B. 2. कछुवा  (kachuwa)

B. 3. राजा (raja)

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