# Noun

# Gender

There are three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter genders.

  1. The outstanding feature of masculine gender nouns is “o”. e.g. manusso (the man), Buddho (Buddha) etc.
  2. The outstanding feature of the feminine gender nouns are “ā, ī and inī”. e.g., mālā (the flower), nadī (the river), rājinī (the princess).
  3. Major feature for the neuter gender nouns is “aṃ”. e.g., Vanaṃ (the forest), phalaṃ (the fruit) etc.

Note: All features are for nouns in nominative singular. This is a tradi­tionally taught basic for the beginners. Please note this fact clearly.

# Gender and Nouns

These liṅga (genders) are to be assigned to each individual nouns such as masculine gender noun, feminine gender noun and neuter gender nouns. There are various kinds of nouns which students of grammar should understand as a basic knowledge. They are: (1) Nāma nāma: individual nouns with specific gender. (2) Sabba nāma: common nouns such as ya-which, ta, eta-that, ima-this, kiṃ-what, amu-so and so, which have varia­ble three genders. (The pronouns such as tumha-you, and amha-me, are included in this group though they have no specific gender) (3) Samāsa nāma: compound nouns with specific gender. (4) Taddhita nāma: nouns in Taddhita-affixes with specif­ic gender. Numerical nouns are also included in this group though some are of variable gender. (5) Kita nāma: nouns in Kita-affixes with specific gender (Uṇādi-affixed words included in this category).

Note: The term “Nāma” means noun.

This Sutta clearly sets out the rule that the vibhattis are to be applied after nouns of clearly defined three genders in order to be changed into various word­ forms and inflections in accordance with the prescribed morphological rules of Suttas in this grammar text.

Verb-terminations also similarly known as vibhatti are to be applied after the roots in the case of Pali Ākhyāta verbs.

Note: Even though it cannot be defined in terms of noun or gender, some certain upasagga and nipāta particles, which are used as an independent word in a sentence are applica­ble to this rule as an exception.

Vibhatti means that which defines and distinguishes between what is one and what is more than one, i.e. singular and plural, (vi-specifically, bhatti-setting aside, to divide). Vibhatti means preposition, but the translated English term is a misnomer as the vibhattis are to be applied after nouns, a rather different linguistic norm most prevalent in the an­cient Indian languages and one aspect different from the English grammar.

What are those Vibhatti (noun case-endings) ?

They are namely:

  1. Si, yo, these two are called paṭhamā vibhatti (Nominative case, si is nominative singular, yo is nominative plural).
  2. Si, yo, these two are called ālapana paṭhamā vibhatti (Vocative case). (This is not in the original text, added for the completeness’s sake for vocative case.)
  3. aṃ, yo, these two are called dutiyā vibhatti (Accusative case, aṃ is singular, yo is plural).
  4. nā, hi, these two are called tatiyā vibhatti (Instrumental case, nā is singular, hi is plural).
  5. sa, naṃ, these two are called catutthī vibhatti (Dative case, sa is singular, naṃ is plural).
  6. smā, hi, these two are called pañcamī vibhatti (Ablative case, smā is singular, hi is plural).
  7. sa, naṃ, these two are called chaṭṭhī vibhatti (Genitive case, sa is singular, naṃ is plural).
  8. smiṃ, su, these two are called sattamī vibhatti (Locative case, smiṃ is singular, su is plural).

Note that Dative and Genitive case are similar except in the meaning.

# The ending of nouns

All nouns are simply grouped according to their base-endings. These endings are called “Kāra’nta”. [kāra-syllable+anta-the end. i.e. the end-syllable] This is the vowel-ending of a noun in its initial base stage before all the nec­ essary morphological procedures are done. Altogether, there are eight “Kārantas” in Pali Language. They are a, ā, i, ī, u, ū, o and ṃ.

# Noun endings based on gender

There are seven Kārantas in the Masculine gender. They are a, ā, i, ī, u, ū and o.

There are six Kārantas in Feminine gender. They are ā, i, ī, u, ū and o.

There are seven Kārantas in the Neuter gender. They are ṃ, ā, i, ī, u, ū and o.

Note: In the Rūpasiddhi, it is stated “akāranto napumsakaliñgo Cittasaddo” which means “the neuter-gender word Citta ending in a”. However, many teachers rather prefer as “aṃ-ending” because it is a very outstanding mark of the neuter gender nouns found in the Pali canon. In Pali, all nouns are grouped only in vowel-endings though there are some affix-based nouns which can be assumed as the consonant endings such as those ntu-affīxed ones and those which ends in an āra-morpheme. However, it has been grouped based on their base-ending of vowels by the traditional teachers of Pali grammar.