Arabic and Urdu: fishes

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Alfaaz, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Alfaaz Senior Member

    جمع الجمع

    The following question is based on the observation that plurals seem to be made from Arabic words in other instances such as خبر ، اخبار ، اخبارات and دوا ، ادویہ ، ادویات , even وجہ ، وجوہ ، وجوہات . While these seem to be accepted (in certain cases as terminology), others such as لواحقین for لاحق / لاحقہ ، لواحق and اکابرین for اکبر ، اکابر seem to be strictly marked as incorrect usages/formation of plurals. In English, fish is used as both singular and plural. However, when referring to more than one species of fish (especially in a scientific context-Biology, Ecology, etc.), fishes is used.

    Question: What word is or could be used for fishes in Arabic and Urdu?
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    machhliyaaN in Urdu.

    samak is fish as a generic word. One fish is samakah. The Plural is asmaak/simaak (fish/fishes).
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  3. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Are you suggesting that samak etc. are not used at all in Urdu? The reason for not including ماہی (from Persian) or مچھلی (from Prakrit) was that they would probably be the same for both plurals (fish and fishes).
    Could you please elaborate on what you mean by "generic word"? So it would be samakah, asmaak, simaak?
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Both "machhlii" and "maahii" are not just singular words but also describe the class of animal collectively.

    baNgaal ke log machhlii nahut pasand karte haiN.

    This does not mean they just like fish in the singular. It means they like the class of animal known as fish and eat all kinds of fish.

    A "maahii-giir" is someone who does n't just catch one fish but all kinds of fish.

    samak, in the above sense is fish/all kinds of fish

    samakah = a fish

    asmaak/simaak is the plural (fishes)
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  5. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I agree with Qureshpor in what regards Arabic. There is not أسماكات, but the singular سمكة (samaka) becomes أسماك and سَمَكات in plural.
    And the form سمك is the collective noun, just like the English fish which is used for any kind of fish and for more than one fish (a fish).
  6. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Thanks for the detailed answers.

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