Why do the french use masculine and feminine words?

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This is a quite tricky theme, but it has got a simple answer.
"Gender" of words may have 2 main roles:

1) As far as living beings are concerned:

_In some cases, they are used to differentiate males from females in certain activities, job, professions and among the animal kingdom (similar to German in that case), hence avoiding ambiguities.

eg: "un conseiller" (masculine) vs "une conseillère" (feminine): both mean "councellor", however, the gender of the subject is known. But that is not always the case, and quite a good deal of words are still limited to their masculine form, which leads a few to speak of "language sexism"

2) As far as objects, actions, ideas and concepts are concerned:

_The second and perhaps most important use of masculine/feminine words, however, is totally subconscient and most French people themselves do ignore it completely.

"Feminine" words in French are more general, vague, they express categories, species, groups of ideas, whereas "masculine" words are specific, precise and accurate, they refer to the things themselves.

You can define a masculine word with a feminine one, because that word necessarily belongs to a wider category of ideas, but you can hardly ever do the opposite, because if the language were a river, that would be like going against the main stream. It goes from broader (feminine) to thinner (masculine) like in a funnel, and defining a larger theme (feminine) with only one of its elements (masculine) would be either wrong or incomplete.

Eg: "Une boisson" is the feminine word for "a drink", but a drink may be "de l' alcohol" (alcohol), "du lait" (milk), "du vin" (wine), "du sirop" (syrup) etc... all of which are masculine words. Of course there are a few exceptions, but the idea's there.

Those, basically, are the 2 main functions of "word gender" in French.
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How can you tell if a word is masculine or feminine in french?

Some rules: Nouns as things. They have a fixed gender: masculine or feminine and can be detected by some rules. a) MASCULINE 1. The noun ends in: -ier,-age, -as, -ement, -ament, -in, -is, -on, -oir, -eur. Un encrier, le canotage, le platras, le chargement, le testament, le patin, un abatt ( Full Answer )

How do you work out if the word is feminine or masculine in french?

tip N°1 : spot the article. . masc. : un, le; (in 'le soleil', the article 'le' indicates that soleil [the sun] is a masculine noun) . fem. : une, la; (in 'la lune', 'la' indicates that 'lune' [moon] is a feminine noun) . tip N°2 : spot the adjective. An adjective tuned to the feminine oft ( Full Answer )

Is the word sheep masculine or feminine in french?

un mouton (masc.) Of course some sheep are feminine - the word for a ewe is 'une brebis' (fromage de brebis - ewe's cheese is one of my favourite cheeses). A lamb can also be masculine - 'un agneau', or feminine - 'une agnelle'.

Is the word it feminine or masculine in french?

There is no word in French for the neuter pronoun "it" because French grammar knows only masculine and feminine gender. Use the masculine or feminine pronoun, il or elle, respectively, depending upon the gender of the antecedent. Where the gender of the antecedent is not specified, use the mascu ( Full Answer )

Do you use la for masculine or feminins for french?

'la' is used for feminine nouns, like 'une'. ex: la maison, une maison ; la nuit, la voiture, la lune, la salade. 'le' and 'un' are used for masculine nouns. ex: le chien, le soleil, le jour.

Why is the masculine and feminine words in french?

You mean what are they...... for one guy you say Il for one girl you say Elle for a group for girls you say Elles for a group of girls with only one or more guys in it you would say Ils for just a group of guys you would say Ils For a group of guys with one girl you would still say I ( Full Answer )

What word can be both feminine and masculine in french?

One example would be vase. "Un vase" is a vase, used for holding flowers. "La vase" is the fine mud found at the bottom of rivers. This is unusual because the change of gender completely alters the meaning. The word "eleve" can be masculine or feminine according to the gender of the student conc ( Full Answer )

Is the word for 'bear' feminine or masculine in French?

" Ourse " is feminine, and " ours " is masculine. Specifically, the French word " ourse " means "female bear." The French word " ours " means "male bear." Despite the difference in meaning and spelling, the pronunciation is the same for both words: "oorss."

Is the French word for 'rubber' a masculine or feminine noun?

Masculine is the gender of the French equivalent of the English word "rubber." Specifically, the French word is " caoutchouc ." Its singular definite article is " le " ("the"). The pronunciation is "luh kah-oo-tshoo."

Is the French word 'art' a masculine or feminine noun?

Masculine is the gender of the French equivalent of the English word " art ." Specifically, the French word is " art ." Its masculine singular definite article is " l "* ("the"). The pronunciation is "ahr." *The article actually is " le ." But the vowel " e " drops before a noun that begins wi ( Full Answer )

Is the French word 'cours' feminine or masculine?

Cours in French is feminine when it is the plural of cour ("court of justice," "courtship," "courtyard"),masculine when it is a synonym for "(school) class," and neitherwhen it is part of the conjugation of the verb courir ("torun").

Is the French word 'bas' feminine or masculine?

Bas in French is masculine as a noun for "bottom" or "stocking" oras an adjective for "low" even though it has no gender as an adverbfor "down" or "downstairs."

How do you know the French word chat is masculine or feminine?

un chat is a masculine noun. The undefinite article 'un' or the definite article 'le' are masculine, indicating the gender of the noun. A female cat is 'une / la chatte', where the feminine articles 'une' or 'la' indicate a feminine noun.

What words are masculine in French and what words are feminine in French?

In French, nouns are masculine or feminine as there is no "neutral"gender. The related adjectives take the gender of the noun. Thefirst difficulty is to learn what gender is each noun. Frenchchildren master all this in their early years, simply by listeningand speaking. When they go through primary ( Full Answer )

What is the feminine form of the French masculine word 'beau'?

Belle is the feminine form of the French masculine word beau . The respective pronunciations of the singular adjectives/nouns/pronouns in French will be "behl" for "beautiful" in the feminine and "bo" for "handsome" in the masculine.

How do you know if a french word is feminine or masculine?

Words ending with an additional 'e' following accented 'e' - é, ette, elle and many more are mostly categorized as feminine words, there are some exceptions. Feminine words in french: Cigarette - cigarette Epée - sword Jumelle - twin (females) or (Jumelles) binoculars Piqure (the 'u' ( Full Answer )

Is the french word argent feminin or masculin?

It is masculin, but you wouldn't really say "un argent" as money is expressed in quantity, just like you wouldn't say 'one water'. You should use "de l'argent".

Is the French word for friend feminine or masculine?

Ami, Copain -> masculine (to represent a male friend) Amie, Copine -> feminine (to represent a female friend) Copain & Copine can also be used to define a Boyfriend or Girlfriend.

How do you know if a French word is masculine or feminine?

French kids have to learn for every word, what gender they are.Articles are useful clues: "le" and "un" are masculine, so thefollowing noun is masculine. "la" or "une" are feminine, and so isthe following noun. If the noun is qualified by an adjective, a feminine noun willoften end with "e" (not alw ( Full Answer )