In this lesson I wanted to answer a question I receive from many, many, many students:
How can I remember the gender of nouns?
I would love to tell you that there is a trick or a simple way of remembering what gender each noun is. Unfortunately noun genders are just one of those things you will have to learn on a case by case basis.
At first, it seems like an impossible task, because Luxembourgish has three genders – masculine, feminine and neuter. So as you go, you will inevitably make some mistakes, but that doesn’t really matter as long as you’ve got the basic ones right. That’s the most important.
Whenever you learn a new word, the first thing to do is to ask “what’s the gender?” and actually write the word down with its gender.
You can guess the gender of many words using generalised rules:
The following nouns are always masculine:
The article for words in these categories is always de(n)* the or e(n)* a or an.
*In this lesson I only refer to the articles in the nominative & accusative case / den & en are subject to the n-rule
Days: Méindeg, Sonndeg …. – Monday, Sunday …
Months: Juli – July
Seasons: Summer, Hierscht, Wanter – summer, fall, winter. Exception: d’Fréijoer – spring
Directions: Süden, Norden, Westen, Osten – south, north, west, east
Weather: Reen, Schnéi, Niwwel – rain, snow, fog/mist
Names of cars and trains: den Audi, den Intercity, den TGV
Names of drinks: Wäin, Béier, Kaffi, Jus – beer, wine, coffee, juice
People who do something and most occupations:
Affekot – lawyer, Dokter – doctor, Verkeefer – seller / salesperson, Student – student
Note: that the feminine form of these terms almost (but not all) always ends in -in: Affekotin, Verkeeferin, Studentin, but Doktesch.
Nouns ending in –ismus:
Journalismus, Optimismus, Realismus (equal -ism words in English)
Nouns ending in –ist, iker:
Optimist, Jurist – legal expert, Techniker – technician, Akademiker – universtiy graduate
The following nouns are always feminine:
The article for words in these categories is always d’ the or eng a or an.
Nouns ending in –heet, –keet:
Gesondheet – health, Fräiheet – freedom, Méiglechkeet – possibility, Schwieregkeet – difficulty
Nouns ending in –téit, –ung, –schaft:
Qualitéit – quality, Realitéit – reality, Zeitung – newspaper, Meenung – opinion Frëndschaft – friendship, Gesellschaft – society
Nouns ending in –ei:
Bäckerei – bakery, Bei – bee, Partei – party /political group
Nouns ending in –ie: Theorie – theory, Geographie, Industrie
Nouns ending in –ik: Grammatik – grammar, Klinik – hospital, Panik – panic, Kritik – criticism.
Nouns ending in –ioun: Situatioun – situation / job, Reunioun – meeting, Traditioun – tradition / custom
Nouns ending in –ur and –in: Natur, Kultur, Léierin – school teacher (female), Frëndin – friend (female)
but: Benzin – petrol
Most types of flowers and trees: Eech – oak, Rous – rose
but: Bam – tree
The following nouns are always neuter:
The article for words in these categories is always d’ the or e(n) a or an.
Nouns ending in –chen: Bréitchen – bun, Meedchen – girl, Männchen – stick figure
but: de(n) Puppelchen (masculine) – the baby
Infinitives used as nouns: d’ Iessen – the eating, d’ Schreiwen – the writing, d’Liesen – the reading
Nouns ending in –ment: Dokument, Experiment, Abonnement
Most nouns starting with Ge-: Gebai – the building, Geschier – tools / crockery & cuttlery Gesetz – law, Gespréich – discussion
but: there are exceptions, such as de(n) Gedanken (masc) – thought, d’Gefor (fem) – danger, d’ Gebuert (fem) – birth, d’ Gedold (fem) – patience, d’ Gemeng (fem) – town hall, d’ Geschicht (fem) – story / history …
Don’t look for shortcuts. That’s really the way to go with the noun genders in Luxembourgish. Some things in language learning you just have to put your head down and remember it.
Find the correct gender & article: of the following words
- Samschdeg – Saturday
- Tulp – tulip
- Téi – tea
Check the solution by downloading the PDF and practice MORE !
I hope you liked it and found it useful. And …. why not sharing this lesson with your friends:-)
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