A matter of Gender

Updated: Apr 18

Since our French family happily moved to the Nimbin region I noticed that the place boasted substantial German and Japanese communities, but it was only recently that I realized there was also a certain ‘French connection’ and definitely a French interest around Nimbin, especially after the regular ‘Tour de France’ and the victorious ‘Coupe du monde de football 2018’.

So, in this short article, I will touch on a topic related to understanding both French language and French culture.

One of the first things you discover when you learn a language is how it changes the way you look at things.

Let's wear your 'French glasses'

Learning French is like wearing your pink and blue French glasses and will definitely add a funny touch to what you see!

With the French language, it may be surprising to realise that each noun has a gender! When talking about the sun (le soleil), the beach (la plage), the man (L’homme), the car (la voiture), the cow (La vache), the computer (L’ordinateur)… you deal with gender (blue for male and pink for female). Unfortunately, there is no strict rule about it and statistically you are 50% likely to be right even when you guess!

It is often said that French words ending with the letter “e” are more likely to be female… yes, but let’s not make it a rule as the exceptions would make a whole book!

So, that's what you see ; )

Even countries have a gender! But there, a rule does apply! If the name of the country (in French) ends with an “e”, it is female! If not it is “male” and if it ends with an “s” we don’t mind its gender as it is considered a plural country. Can you believe it?!

So, what gender is your country ‘Australie’? and what about ‘France’? ‘Japon’? ‘Allemagne’? ‘Etats-Unis’? ‘Italie’? ‘Portugal’? 'Royaume-Uni'?

À bientôt!

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