Hindi-Urdu: guru

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    At work a male colleague said to a female colleague, "You are the new "guru" in this field now!" Is there a female equivalent of the word "guru"?
  2. greatbear Senior Member

    India - Hindi & English
    गुरुआइन (guruuaain). But using guru (which is also an English word now since a long time) for a female is not incorrect.
  3. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    As your context sentence is in English, I agree with the previous post that it should be left as it is in English. But because the thread is marked Hindi-Urdu, we need to have Hindi or Urdu forms for discussion. For a lady who is a guru, the same word can be used as well in Hindi; although there are several feminine words coming to my mind, out of which the one submitted by greatbear, if at all, comes as the last:


    Let it be noted that these words designate a lady guru as well as Mrs. guru - the spouse of a male guru.
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The context is indeed English but my question concerns the term used for a guru, who happens to be a female, in Hindi and Urdu. I will have to spend some time contemplating the suggestions provided hitherto.
  5. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    ^Take your time please, and if the original Hindi script is required, here you are: गुर्वी, गुर्विणी, गुरुआनी. I'd rather not go for the suggestion of gb. Please note that the word is cognate with 'grave - gravity', means a person who posesses graveness or gravity. This as extra information.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  6. greatbear Senior Member

    India - Hindi & English
    That is not merely my suggestion: any Hindi textbook would tell you that. I must have learnt it when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I have never heard the words you have suggested, and the last one from you seems certainly wrong to me.

    Meanwhile, "gaurav" - gravity (used especially in physiological/medicine contexts).
  7. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I was under the impression that "guru" did not have a grammatical feminine equivalent. Looking at the Oxford Hindi Dictionary, "guruaanii" is given to mean both a " guru's wife" and a "female mentor or guide". This is the only female equivalent that is listed.

    To my ears "guru'aain" sounds very plausible construction especially when there are other "'aain" ending feminine words such as "paNDitaa'in". I have to confess that I have not come across any of the words that have been put forward so far.

    "gurudev" is used to impart even greater reverence to a guru. Would "gurudevii" work?
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  8. greatbear Senior Member

    India - Hindi & English
    It should work, though it must have been rarely used so far. However, I don't see anything against using it.
  9. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    My intention has not been to implicate that your contribution is *merely* a suggestion nor to state it to be wrong; in fact it is listed by Platts SaaHib, together with a phonetic alternation:

    H گروائن गुरुआइन guruʼāʼin, or गुरुवाइन guruwāʼin [S. गुरु+क+इनी], s.f. The wife of a spiritual preceptor; a religious preceptress.

    However I said that I wouldn't go for this word as my Hindi lexicon declares guruaain to be a local form (sthaanik) and redirects to ''guruaanii''. Possibly it may be uncommon in some areas but certainly not *wrong*, as per your opinion - please refer to the Oxford dictionary mentioned in the above post of QP SaaHib's.

    I agree on gurudevii.
  10. greatbear Senior Member

    India - Hindi & English
    Your suggestion, guruaanii, marrish, certainly gets 1000+ Google hits, whereas mine gets 300+. I, however, never heard of "guruaanii". Meanwhile, does this Oxford dictionary give "panDitaanii" or "panDitaain" as the fem. of "panDit"?

    Meanwhile, "guru" might not be related to "heaviness": there are various theories about its etymology. Read here.
  11. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you for sharing the info, I had not conducted a net search. I do not possess the Oxford Hindi-English dictionary while QP SaaHib apparently does, it is better to ask him the question. The Hindi lexicon which I often refer to, is a Hindi-Hindi one. Again, thank you for the Wiki reference but it says that other etymologies than ''heavy'', which is a well known adjective in Sanskrit, are folk-etymologies.
  12. greatbear Senior Member

    India - Hindi & English
    When it comes to the question of etymologies, I personally do not discount out the folk etymologies: conjecture arrived at in a "scientific" way is still conjecture.
  13. langnerd Junior Member

    English (NE US), Hindi/Urdu, Punjabi
    S گروي गुर्वी gurvī, and H. गुरवी gurwī (fem. of guru, q.v.), adj. & s.f. Heavy (with child), pregnant;—a pregnant woman;—the wife of a guru or teacher.
    Obviously gurvii does not seem to be the primary word for "female guru" -- but the use for "pregnant woman" makes sense. She is gravid!

    But back to the main topic, what about guru ma(n)? गुरू माँ? Cf http://www.gurumaa.com/ (I'm not endorsing anything on that website.)
  14. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Interesting angle re: guru-maaN. But, if I had a choice and "guru-devii" was acceptable, I would go for this. It would be nice to get our native Sanskrit speaker (Chandragupta Bhartiya)'s views on this thread.

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