Since English does not have grammatical gender for inanimate nouns, we native English speakers often have trouble remembering the correct gender of nouns in other languages. I would like to ask you native speakers of languages that have grammatical gender some questions, please. Does it seem odd to you that English does not care what the gender is of a table or a book? If you learn a second language that has grammatical gender, and the gender of a particular noun is not the same as it is in your native language, does this bother you? Do you actually think of feminine nouns as being "feminine" in any meaningful way, or is it just like having "Category A" nouns and "Category B" nouns? Among native speakers of your language, do children ever get the gender wrong as they are learning to speak?

Thank you for your help with this. I have studied French and Russian, and remembering genders has always been difficult for me. (It's easier in Russian than French, because you can more often tell the gender by the way the word is spelled.)
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I'd be interested in this as I've never understood why an inanimate object needs a gender!
Hi, Khoff and all you native English speakers!
I've always been sympathetic with English/American people trying to study my native language, Bulgarian. We are lucky, because it is easier for us to learn English. It doesn't sound strange that inanimate nouns do not have gender in English - it just makes it simpler. That's one of the reasons why I believe English will certainly become an universal language one day (if it hasn't yet).
As you note, you can guess the gender in Russian by the spelling. It's the same in my native language (it is similar to Russian). However, little children tend to make mistakes with the gender of words that do not fit the pattern (e.g. feminine nouns ending in a consonant and vice versa - these are the exceptions). In Bulgarian, there is no set rule for "Caterogry A" and "Category B" nouns, but it is not that difficult to tell the gender in most cases.
However, you sometimes use gender for inanimate nouns in English and they do not always correspond to the gender in my native language. Such for instance is the case with "ship" - feminine, right? It is masculine in Bulgarian. Also, in literature, you can sometimes refer to Death as he. In Bulgarian death is feminine. However, Moon (f.) is the same gender in my language, while Sun (m.) is neuter in Bulgarian. I just remember them - they are not too many in English and most of them are rarely personified.
A curious point to mention is that the words for girl and boy in Bulgarian are neuter, while woman and man are feminine and masculine, respectively. I guess the explanation has something to do with cultural/social notions.
Hope somebody from France will give you a clue for remembering gender. Emotion: smile
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Hi khoff,

it doesn't seem odd to me that English does not care what the gender is of a table or a book, but it bothers me when the gender of a new word in French doesn't coincide with the gender in Spanish, my language.

I don't think of feminine nouns as being "feminine". If I think about that, just the article attracts my attention a little bit.
I would like to know more about genders in languages especially english and spanish becouse I am writing diploma on this theme
Yes, your question is really interesting. I'm Brazilian and consequently a Portuguese speaker. In my native language, like in Italian, French, Spanish and German (some languages that I've been studying, other than English), people use the definite and indefinite articles, pronouns, etc. according to the noun gender. We Brazilians (I'll try to answer for the country, forgive me if I'm wrong!) normally learn our language by thinking of words as having gender, be it masculine or feminine. And teachers of very young students teach them by using stories (fables) where objects and animals are really portrayed as male or female beings. This follows the way we think. In our stories, a fox is considered female because "raposa" is feminine in Portuguese ("a raposa"). I don't know if I answered your question but, by the way, I'd also like to know about English noun gender "exceptions" . For example, why do you, when referring to a ship, use "she"? Do you know where I could find a kind of list with some of these "exceptions" (I quoted because I don't know if English Grammar considers it this way) ?
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English isn't complete immune from the terrible gender system. Ship or country is definitely somethnig feminine.
The feminine quality in English of nouns such as ship usually have poetic or symbolic meaning. Sailors, for example, refered to ships as "she" because the ship was their wife, their mother, their lover. It's a "she" in a poetic sense, and the convention carried over into common usage. But it is not incorrect to refer to a ship or a country as "it." No one would think you were weird if you say "The ship lost its mast" instead of "The ship lost her mast." Both would be correct.
in Italian every word has a gender. I have to say that you recognize if a word is "a male" or "a female" looking at the last vowel. Umm, not 100% sure, though, on second thought there are some exceptions, but... well, I think practically no one here get the gender wrong, not even children. Examples:

All feminine: casa (house), bomba (bomb), persona (person), finestra (window), strada (road), giraffa (giraffe), acqua (water), auto (car), pizza Emotion: pizza, bocca (mouth)...

All masculine: computer Emotion: computer, qualcuno (somebody), nessuno (nobody), frigorifero (refrigerator), sale (salt), mare (sea), piede (foot), pomodoro (tomato)...

Yeah, it could seem strange, it doesn't seem strange to me because I'm used to that. English doen't have that distinction, that's ok, but sometimes it has given me trouble, for example in sentences like: "A person left a message. - What did he/she/they wrote?"
In Italian it doesn't matter if a person is male or female, if you say "person", which is a feminine name, then you have to treat it like a female. Translation: "A person has left a message - What she has written?" Emotion: smile
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