Gender in English and Arabic with Reference to Translation


  • Najat Abdul Muttalib


Gender means 'kind' or 'class'. It is a grammatical category based on forms of nouns, pronouns, and/or adjectives. English language makes few gender distinctions between feminine and masculine. The connection between the biological category 'sex' and the grammatical category 'gender' is very close. For natural sex distinctions determine English gender distinctions. Gender also makes distinctions between animate and inanimate nouns. Moreover, there are common gender and collective gender. Gender 'الجنس' in Arabic is of two kinds مذكر masculine and مؤنث feminine, and each of them could be حقيقي real or مجازي tropical , i.e. مذكر حقيقي and مذكر مجازي , and مؤنث حقيقي and مؤنث مجازي. Gender distinctions in Arabic are clear, and there are three morphemes which marks feminine gender in Arabic: تاء التأنيث and ألف التأنيث by its two kinds الممدودة and المقصورة. The research will deal, first, with gender and its kinds in English, and then gender and its kinds in Arabic. Then applied discussion of gender will be done in verses translated from Arabic into English. The last step, as a conclusion, will be a comparison between English and Arabic genders with references to their translation. The most obvious points in the conclusion show, first, that English gender is natural, whereas Arabic gender is grammatical. Second, gender in English is more relevant to pronouns, whereas gender in Arabic is relevant to nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives. Third, gender is different from one language to another not only in English and Arabic, and that is because of culture-bound.