[LMB] Ba, gender, etc

Peter Granzeau pgranzeau at cox.net
Fri Sep 12 16:11:07 BST 2008

At 07:02 PM 9/11/2008, Jane Hotchkiss wrote:
>Those of us who are English-only speakers tend to forget (or never knew) that there are several terrestrial languages that have neuter as a perfectly-normal gender: Latin, German, and I don't know what else. Jane H

I know that in German, one always uses the proper article for the gender of the noun (der, die, das).  I would suppose that Germans learn the proper article and gender from birth, so never use the wrong article.  Likewise, in Latin-derived languages, the gender of a noun is also accompanied by the proper article (el, la in Spanish, for instance) and gender also frequently announced by the ending letter of the noun.  Ditto for learning.

But I didn't learn the use of gender except for pronouns (and note that English, being a Germanic language, has a neuter gender, at least in pronouns), so I find it very, very difficult to associate a noun with a gender.  In German, it's nearly impossible (why is "maedel", for instance, neuter?); you just have to memorize each noun with the proper article.  In Spanish, it's more difficult.  Why is a chair "la silla" (feminine) and not "el sillo"?

Grrr.  No wonder I could never learn Spanish.

Regards, Pete
pgranzeau at cox.net 

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