Gender of פנים

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by trigel, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    I see people use panim as masculine plural. How high register is the correct gender (feminine plural)?
     
  2. ystab Senior Member

    Hebrew
    פָּנִים is both masculine and feminine, neither of which is of higher or lower register.
     
  3. Tararam Senior Member

    Hebrew
    The feminine form is actually the common one, and isn't considered high register at all.
    They are both equally correct. You can say either one, the feminine one is slightly more common, if any.
     
  4. GeriReshef

    GeriReshef Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    פנים is the plural of פן (=side) which is in masculine.
    In spoken Hebrew there is a tendency to reffer זכר זוגי (* pair masculine) as feminine: מכנסיים, תחתונים, משקפיים, אופניים..
    I don't know if the dictionary consider it as both feminine and masculine because that is the way the people use it, or because of a more deep reason..

    * In Semitic languages there is a special plural for pairs.
     
  5. Tararam Senior Member

    Hebrew
    פנים has two meanings: face and sides.
    The former can be masculine and feminine interchangeably, whereas the latter is mostly masculine only.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  6. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    ישראל
    עברית
    But פנים is not זוגי (dual plural).
     
  7. GeriReshef

    GeriReshef Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    You are right!
    I thought the tendency is typical to זכר זוגי, and פנים is 2*פן..
    However, I checked again and the word already appears in the Bible as נקבה רבים.
     

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