mardi 27 juillet 2010

French language: The use of le, la and les

Good staff from this article

1. Nice remark about the Latin origin of French gender (Learn more about it)

If you are a Latin scholar it may be useful for you to know that 90% of French nouns retain their Latin gender and where Latin nouns were of the third gender, neuter, these have almost all become masculine in modern French.

2. Quite complete list of nouns groups (Learn more about it)

Masculine Nouns Groups
(colours, Days of the Week, Months, Seasons, Points of the compass, Languages, Definite male animals and people: l'homme, le chien (dog)(but la chienne for a bitch), le taureau (bull), Metals: le fer (iron), l'argent (silver)

Also the following are invariably masculine: Trees, shrubs, weights and measures.

Feminine Nouns Groups
(Definite female animals and people, The Arts, The Sciences)

Not so good staff

1. No mention of final e being a reliable feminine ending. Only briefly mentioned for countries and cities (Learn more about it)

The names of countries and cities ending in e are feminine: la France. But: le Canada and Paris are masculine. ?????

2. As expected no mention of -ion, -son and ité being feminine suffixes which explains why avion and poisson cannot be feminine (They don't derive from those suffixes) (learn more about it)

Gender Determination by Word Ending
Reliable Feminine endings are ion, -son, -té, tié. Common exceptions include: l'avion, le camion, le poisson.

Most eur endings which refer to a person are masculine, otherwise they are usually feminine (la fleur). But there are exceptions such as le Coeur (heart) which have to be learned.

Apart from the endings mentioned above nouns ending in a, e', i, o, u and y are masculine.

Ray COOK ends with a very optimistic statement:
If you learn these rules you will be correct most of the time.

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