All dialects: ماء (water) - gender

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Virgin Boy

Member
Chinese
I suppose that in MSA ماء is a masculine word, and it appears in my Lebanese textbook that ماء comes as "may sukhne", so I think that in Lebanese ماء is feminine, isn't it?
And what about other dialects?
 
  • analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    It's feminine in all Levantine dialects (mayy or mAyy etc). I think, based on the ending, that it's also feminine in Egyptian (mayya).
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Hello,

    It's masculine in Moroccan dialect, and we say 'ماء' (ma2).
    Your example would be said 'ma2 skhun'. I think the same goes for Algerian and Tunisian.
     

    Xence

    Senior Member
    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    In Algeria also ماء (generally pronounced ma or elma) is masculine. However, when the diminutive form مويهة (pronounced m(w)ayha) is used, it's of course feminine.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It's feminine in all Levantine dialects (mayy or mAyy etc). I think, based on the ending, that it's also feminine in Egyptian (mayya).
    How is mAyy pronounced? What sound does your capital A represent?

    In Palestinian Arabic it's either mayy or mayye, depending on the region. It's feminine in either case.
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I'm never quite sure how to transcribe it, but I think it's a back a or A in x sampa. The pronunciation is distinct from the Jordanian pronunciation which i remember as normal mayy.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    I suspect that Eastern Arabic forms like mayya, mōya, māy etc. betray the influence of an Aramaic substratum. The Aramaic word for “water” is mayyā which is a plurale tantum (masculine plural in form, but singular in meaning), but in an Arabic context it could have been reinterpreted as a feminine singular. Just a guess.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Well, this form is used in Hijazi Arabic, but I don't think that Hijazi is influenced by Aramaic, neither Egyptian nor Libyan by the way. I think those last also say "mayya". I would rather say as an hypothesis that both form exist according to the dialect and the word used nowadays might be a leftover of the word used by Arab tribes who settled in each places.

    I mean that "mayya" may also be a word used in Arabic in ancient times but in modern Arabic, has been replaced by "ma2"
     
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    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    It's a reasonably common strategy in dialects which have consistently lost final hamza to replace it, in many forms, with a -ya - mraaye < miraa2 for example. That's not to say that the mayya forms weren't in some way influenced by Aramaic, and this may be particularly the case in Palestine. There are Aramaic loanwords in Egyptian, too (مرمطة for example) which suggest that Aramaic words either found their way from Levantine dialects, or, as seems to me just as likely, that Aramaic influences have been felt on Arabic in general since the pre-Islamic period (which makes sense, since there are Aramaic loanwords in the Qur'an, too, including - according to some people - Qur2aan itself).
     

    MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    I wanted to point out that the song "Mayya Mayya" (from the Hindi movie "Guru") became very popular in Bollywood some years ago.

    The author, A.R.Rahman, claims to have heard the word during his travel to Mecca, but the movie scene where the song is played happens in Turkey.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    The Aramaic theory doesn't explain how the word occurs in Egypt.

    The traditional Najdi/bedouin word is ما maa, which is masculine, but nowadays موية mooyah is more common and it is feminine. It may be an influence from the Urban Hijazi dialects, but I'm not sure. You'll also find an alternative form ماية in old poetry for example. In the Gulf region it it is ماي, which is masculine.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    The traditional Najdi/bedouin word is ما maa, which is masculine
    Same for the Maghreb. ماء (maa or méé according to the area) is the only term I've ever heard. As Djara said, if ماية is used, it's only as a diminutive personally, and I've never heard it in Morocco.
     
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