Urdu/Farsi: Maadar e zameen vs Maadar-watan


Senior Member
English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
Dear Foreros,

I am flummoxed by the izaafat in both terms above. Whilst although I regularly hear Maadar-watan being used for mother country in lieu of Maadar E watan. I would like to know the purpose of these izaafats and whether or not they were compulsory in both cases? Most Urdu-phones at least in daily conversations would say Maadar-watn instead of Maadar E watan and such is the case in Urdu news media as well where Maadar-watn a compound term is preferred to the longer Maadar E watn. I would like to know your thoughts on whether or not the izaafat was redundant in your opinion in these particular cases, and thus their use is entirely a matter of choice? If not do you think it is grammatically wrong to overlook the izaafat in Maadar-watn and maadar-zameen?

Considering these are both terms that find their origins in European Indo-European languages where the terms in each case tend to be hyphenated compound terms, I would think it would be the same in Farsi and Urdu. That being said I do not quite comprehend the need for an izaafat in the first place. What is it trying to suggest, mother the country? How would you translate the sentiment verbatim in English. Since maadar E watan in all honesty could easily mean a mother of the country in other words a human being as opposed to a landmass. Similarly just as the Indic variant of mother nature is dhartii-maaN, I would assume the more suited Persianises variant in Urdu would be maadar-zameen as opposed to maadar E zameen which again could easily mean mother of nature.

Where do you stand in this debate, and which variant do you tend to use in daily speech or is it just a matter of momentary verbal discretion?
Are Maadar-watn + maadar-zameen intrinsically incorrect or more suited alternatives?

  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    There are two separate issues being discussed here. Compound word formation and the izaafat. While I am a firm supporter of formation of compound words in Urdu, here with the examples that have been provided, we have the izaafat, in both "maadar-i-vatan" and "maadar-i-zamiin".

    We generally suppose that the izaafat simply depicts possession but grammarians provide more than a dozen types of izaafat with subdivisions.

    Let's take a look at "maadar-i-vatan". What does it mean?

    Does it mean

    a) وطن کی ماں

    b) وطن جو ماں کی طرح ہے

    c) وطن جو ماں ہے

    Clearly, مادرِ وطن does not mean وطن کی ماں but we can say that both b) and c) could fit the meaning. I believe b) is known as اضافتِ تشبیہی (the izaafat of simlitude) and c) اضافتِ استِعارہ (the izaafat of metaphor)


    Senior Member
    English, Hindustani
    I believe b) is known as اضافتِ تشبیہی (the izaafat of simlitude) and c) اضافتِ استِعارہ (the izaafat of metaphor)

    Thanks for sharing this useful piece of terminology, @Qureshpor jii :) Here's a nice example of an izaafat-e-iste3aarah(/tashbiihii?) that I just ran into, in the poem meraa safar by Ali Sardar Jafri:
    phir ik din aisaa aa'e gaa​
    aankhoN ke diye bujh jaa'eN ge​
    haathoN ke kaNwal kumhlaa'eN ge​
    aur barg-e-zubaaN se nutq-o-sadaa​
    kii har titlii uR jaa'e gii​