Download Le Ou La?: The Gender of French Nouns (Modern Languages in by Surridge PDF

By Surridge

A realistic handbook designed to assist scholars of French to overcome the matter of genders. the writer simplifies the duty by means of divining phrases into lexical different types, basic as opposed to complicated nouns and day by day as opposed to discovered vocabulary. The actions objective to facilitate studying via encouraging using adjectives and buildings which mark genders sincerely.

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Extra resources for Le Ou La?: The Gender of French Nouns (Modern Languages in Practice 1)

Sample text

In other words, we presuppose a certain relationship between the gender of words and the biological or sociological gender of the persons designated by those words. This is not surprising in view of the association between these two factors which is so well entrenched in many of the Indo-European languages most familiar to Anglophone learners. Those of us who know German, Italian, Spanish, or Latin, for example, have long since learned to associate masculine with male and feminine with female, at least at the human level.

You may well ask what is the point of setting out 'rules' for which there are so many exceptions. There are several reasons for doing so. The first is that most learners of French as a second language intuitively try to do this for themselves. Most of us, however, remember the disappointment of discovering that the system did not allow us to predict gender. In fact, recognising this is in itself a move in the right direction, since it should alert us to the existence of other sets of rules. It is by playing them one against the other that we eventually become skilled at sorting nouns according to their gender.

For example, the verbs avoir and être are presented early, as are -er verbs, to be followed by verbs in -ir and -re, as well as other irregular verbs. For gender, however, teachers and manuals tend to trust to nature. Occasionally, some rules are formulated, but they appear to be at least partially contradictory. Students soon realise that the rules are limited in some way, but for the most part their best efforts do not allow them to define the limitations. The majority finally come to the conclusion that the only solution is to learn the gender of each noun by rote, but are awed by the enormity of the task.

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